Saturday, August 12, 2017

Farewell And God Bless

Chris Hughes has made a life-changing decision that inspires those who may wonder about the future of our Catholic Church.  Today at the 4:00 pm Mass we say farewell to him and provide a blessing as he begins his studies for the priesthood for the Diocese of Fall River.   He will attend the Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ.

Chris has been on the altar learning and assisting for quite a while at Christ the King under the tutelage of Monsignor Hoye, Christ the King’s former pastor, and now our new pastor, Father Healey.   As one of the deacons at Christ the King, I’ve been on the altar with him many times, and I’ve witnessed dedication, enthusiasm, and a passion for our faith.   He has written thoughtful blogs at our “King’s Corner.”

I for one will miss him because of who he is and the role model he provides for the young, as well as the older.   His attention to detail when serving on the altar and his knowledge of what to do and when has been more than a little impressive. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Fire And Fury

Yesterday’s Boston Globe had an article on page 5 of Section A entitled, “Pastor backs Trump’s fire and fury.”  It quoted one of President Trump’s evangelical advisors, pastor Robert Jeffress of Texas, as saying that Romans 13, “gives the government the authority to do whatever, whether it’s assassination, capital punishment, or evil punishment to quell the actions of evildoers like Kim Jong-un.”  The quote continued, “A Christian writer asked me, ‘Don’t you want the president to embody the Sermon on the Mount?’ he said referring to Jesus’ famous sermon. I said, ‘Absolutely not.”

Such a poor and inappropriate interpretation of Paul!   This is the “Christian advice” our president is taking?!   We surely hope not.

No one will know exactly what Paul meant, but great theologians have ventured their own interpretations based on the fact that Paul was speaking to Christians living in Rome under imperial control.  

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Roots

Jesus said to his disciples: "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.  Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.  Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be.  The Father will honor whoever serves me."  [today’s Gospel reading]

I have a bag of grass seed in my shed.  It has been there quite a while.   There has been no change – an understandable outcome considering it’s in a sealed bag.   It has not fallen to the ground where it would be watered and doused with sunshine.  

Many of us are in sealed bags, closed off from family and friends due to anger, disappointment, envy, and many other reasons some just plain foolish.  Our bags need to be opened so we will die to old behavior and grudges and sprout a new attitude and sunny dispositions.   

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Blind Spots


I have blind spots.  Yes, age spots too, but I’m more worried about the blind ones.  We all should be of the same mind.

I’m reminded of those spots by Matthew Kelly, author of “Resisting Happiness” (2016) and “Rediscover Jesus: An Invitation” (2015).  In the latter book he tells us a truth: “We don’t see things as they really are – especially ourselves.  We think we have 20-20 vision in life, but we don’t…” 

He asks, “Do you play golf?  Have you ever had your golf swing recorded?  When you got the recording back, did your swing look like you thought it would?  Probably not.  How many  surprises were there…In your mind you may have thought you had a nice, easy swing like Fred Couples’, but the recording doesn’t lie and it quickly dispel that myth…” 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Crabby Mystics

The Daughters of Saint Paul were at Christ the King about 10 days ago to offer books, CDs, DVDs and other media material to parishioners.  I have a special appreciation for these Daughters because for decades I’ve visited their stores in Dedham and Alexandria.  I’ve made many purchases.

According to their website, “The Daughters of St. Paul journey with humanity, seeking to respond to each person’s longings with the loving invitation of Christ. We are media apostles who dedicate our lives to share the beauty and light of the Gospel with as many people as possible. Through just a moment of connection—a smile, a word, an email, a prayer, a book, a song, an app—we endeavor to create a sacred space where every person can encounter Jesus Christ.

Today more than ever, we witness a world in anguish, fragmented and desperate for God. When people discover God, that their lives are held in his hand, it changes everything. Join us in filling the world with Christ’s hope, Christ’s love, and Christ’s mercy.”

Monday, August 7, 2017

Facade

Robert Louis Stevenson is that famous author who wrote many classics such as Treasure Island.  He has many well-known quotes such as: “Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a poor hand well" and “You think those dogs will not be heaven!  I tell you they will be there before any of us."   And, “To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.”

Then there is “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”   Just recently I read the story.   I have a CD with the music from the Broadway production – great score!  Here are some of the lyrics from the song “Facade.”

There's a face that we wear
In the cold light of day -
It's society's mask,
It's society's way,
And the truth is
That it's all a façade!
There's a face that we hide
Till the nighttime appears,
And what's hiding inside,
Behind all of our fears,
Is our true self,
Locked inside the façade!...

Sunday, August 6, 2017

How Good it is for Us to be Here ~ Bishop Edgar da Cunha, August 6, 2017

August 6, 2017 Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

Readings for today's Homily

To watch Mass in its entirety click The Mass

Protestant vs Catholic Version of the Ten Commandments


My Bible Study at Falmouth Hospital always inspires me to learn more about my Catholic Faith. The reason being is that more than half the study group are Protestant and they often challenge me on why the Catholic Church believes in a way that is not in concurrence with the Protestants. This week the subject of the Ten Commandments came up. Luckily I was prepared for that one. I was also interested in the reason for the difference so I had researched it and found some interesting facts that explained the differences.

To begin with, the 10 Commandments are not numbered in the Bible. God has not explicitly set out for us how they are to be numbered. If we were to number every "command" in those sections of the Bible we would have about 17 commandments or more. So different efforts have been made to number and group them over the centuries. Two of the major players in the early Church were Augustine and Origen. Augustine is considered a Saint and a doctor of the Church. Origen is considered in high regard on many accounts, although several of his positions have been rejected, such as his idea that souls in hell could eventually get back to heaven (which is not scriptural). Catholics and Lutherans generally prefer the 10 commandments set out by Augustine and the Eastern Churches and Protestants follow the 10 Commandments set out by Origen.

Comparison of the Catholic and Protestant 10 Commandments:

 Most common Protestant listing:

Thou shalt have no other gods before me
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy
Honour thy father and thy mother
Thou shalt not kill
Thou shalt not commit adultery
Thou shalt not steal
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour
Thou shalt not covet

Latin Rite Catholic (and Lutheran) listing: (Note "Latin Rite". Eastern Rite Catholics usually use the Origen version)

Thou shalt not have other gods besides Me
Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain
Remember to keep holy the Lord’s day
Honor thy father and thy mother
Thou shalt not murder
Thou shalt not commit adultery
Thou shalt not steal
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods

Here are two paragraphs from the Catholic Catechism which talk about the history of the 10 Commandments:

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

What is Salvation History? (May the Faith Be With You)


For the longest period of time I heard the phrase “Salvation History” but I never really knew what it meant. Priest often mentioned it in their homily, there were references to it in Faith Formation classes, and occasionally I would come across the term in some of my readings. Recently I was preparing a bible study on Chapter 11 of Hebrews which is often called the “Faith Chapter”. The first sentence starts with “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” (New American Bible (NAB)) There is a lot of depth in that phrase. It tells us what faith is but also what hope is. Sometimes I like to read different translations to get a better understanding for what the author means. I found one that expresses it a little more clearly in The Message (MSG) which translated it this way, “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.” The rest of Chapter 11 of Hebrews talks about examples of faith from the formation of the universe through our redemption by Christ to and including our own salvation. If you want to know salvation history, just read Chapter 11 of Hebrews.

Marc Cardaronella has an excellent definition in his article, “What is Salvation History: A Catholic Definition.” In it he defines salvation history as the story of God and the story of man and how God enters into the story of man at critical points throughout history. It is how God has loved and cherished humanity since the beginning of time and how humanity has journeyed from Godly riches to rags and back again. It is how our Savior Jesus Christ came down from his throne to share his life and free us from captivity. Quite literally, salvation history is the story of how we are saved.

Salvation history comes primarily from the Bible which is a collection of stories that have different literary genres. The historical books tell a story that unfolds over thousands of years. Cardaronella says God writes the world like men write books. He orchestrated events so that what happened, from the dawn of time to the present and forever, is like his own book. Therefore, history is really “His-Story,” God’s story. All of salvation history is grounded in Christ and the Cross. Everything before leads to him. Everything after emanates from him. God created us to live in this union with him, hence, everything God “wrote” in history is for that purpose – the union of humanity to himself. So in a sense salvation history is past history, but it’s also present. The story of salvation isn’t over and the plan of God is that we are actively a part of it. Consequently, salvation history forms the foundation of the whole supernatural work and mission of the Church.

Chapter 11 of Hebrews talks about the faith of our ancestors, the faith of Abel, of Enoch, of Noah, of
Abraham, of Jacob, of Joseph, of Moses, and of the prophets and judges. As you can see, in one chapter it summarizes the history of the Old Testament and talks about how God was instrumental in the faith of our ancestors and how he entered into their lives. In other words, Salvation History. The chapter begins with “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.”  (NAB) It ends with “God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one complete whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours.” (MSG) May the faith be with you.

Deacon Greg Beckel

Sunday, July 30, 2017

ARE YOU LISTENING?



The Gospel on July 16, (Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time) was about a sower sowing seed, some on a pathway, some on rocky soil, some among thorns and some on rich soil. (Mt 13:1-23) There are actually three parts to the story, the first is the parable, the second Jesus explains why he uses parables, and the third Jesus explains the parable to his disciples.

Originally, Jesus probably only said the first part of the parable – the one without the explanations. The second and third part was added on at a later time when there were persecutions of Christians and many of the new converts were falling away. It was meant to give them encouragement and to reinforce perseverance. It must have been frustrating wondering if the word of God would ever take hold.

At the end of the first section of the parable there is an important phrase, “Whoever has ears ought to hear.” In other words, are we really listening to what is being said? Are we getting the meaning?

Have you ever been told you should do this or you need to do that. That brings up red flags for me and I put up my barriers. I tend not to listen and I close my ears.

Think of a child, or especially a teenager. If you tell them one thing, they are going to do the exact opposite of what you are telling them to do even though you know it is good advice. You may need to be a little more subtle and talk in parables. Instead of telling them what to do, you might ask them “What do you think is the best thing to do?” More often than not, they will come up with the solution you were going to suggest, but they are the ones that thought of it. They are more likely to follow their own advise than they are of a parent.

Or what about a spouse who is always telling you what you should do. I have a feeling that that can cause tension in a marriage. Instead of saying you need to do this, instead ask “What do you think we should do about that? That leads to dialogue and allows the two of you to come up with the solution together.

Or have you ever had someone talk to you about religion. I think about the Jehovah Witnesses. As soon as we see them walking up the driveway we close the curtains and lock the doors. In other words we close our ears before they have even said a word. If they do get in the door, we may politely accept their literature and then throw it in the thrash can as soon as they leave. Are we too insecure about our own faith that we are afraid to have a conversation with them about we believe? Maybe we need to learn and think about our own faith a little more. There is an excellent opportunity to learn more on Monday July 31, 2017.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Jesus CEO

Homily 4:00 PM Saturday:   Mid-July is a good time to talk about seeds.  The fruits of those seeds are flowers and vegetables that bless Cape Cod with beauty and food.  Many of us are gardeners and some are farmers so we know the hard work that’s necessary to get seeds to create plants of all sorts.

A seed gives us a wonderful example of God’s creation.   A mighty oak grows from a small acorn.  A beautiful daisy arises from a formless seed.  From nothing comes something truly marvelous.  Every plant and tree in a forest comes from a seed and then they create more seeds.  

The meaning of the Gospel parable about seeds as applied to all of us is explained in the text itself.  For example, “The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold."  

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Soul Killing

“What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna”   This is part of today’s Gospel reading from Matthew (10:24-33). 

First “speak in the light” means always tell the truth.  We must never be afraid of letting the light shine on us – that which symbolically occurs when we are truthful.  Unfortunately our nation is witnessing much “speaking in darkness” with lies and whispering.  

Secondly, we must all “proclaim on the housetops,” that is, we must speak the truth and loudly to all who need to hear it.  Those who whisper falsehoods speak from basements and are destroyers of souls – theirs and those who follow them.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Begone Bugs

It’s July, and black flies abound in the streams and mountains of New Hampshire where my family and I like to hike and camp.  But woe to us when we run out of bug spray, and the crazed flies cloud our faces where they swarm with blood-seeking purpose. 

Hey, flies gotta eat, and we all understand, but find some other victim, please!  Not a convincing request for flies parking on spray-less skin and perfumed cheeks.  

Some have said that north-woods’ escapades during fly season can drive one insane.  I believe it.   Ever see “Naked and Afraid?”   Peace be with them!  Hardly.