Reflections on this week's Catholic Masses

Cervantes

Woodpecker
Tomorrow begins the post Christmas season.

During Advent we reflect on the coming of Christ into our world ( the conversion of our world), and prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ into our hearts.

During the Christmas season itself one of the things we witness is the signs of Christ's divinity before his public ministry: the annunciation, the host of angels calling shepherds to the manger, the magi, Simeon recognizing Jesus as the Christ in the temple, the story of John the Baptist. These stories show Christ's divinity through others: angels, magi, prophets.

Now we start the season between now and Lent where we tell the story of Jesus' public ministry.

----Tridentine Mass ----

In the Tridentine missal the next three Sundays (to Septuagesima Sunday on Jan 31) are an extension of the Christmas season that continue the proofs of Christ's divinity, this time though his own early miracles: transforming water into wine at the wedding at Cana ("My hour is not yet come"), the cleansing of a leper and the Centurion's servant at Capernaum ("I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof..."), and Jesus calming a storm in a boat on Lake Genesareth ("O ye of little faith").

This Sunday is known as the 2nd Sunday after Epiphany, because the 1st Sunday is taken up by the Feast of the Holy Family. So we start this new season on the second Sunday.

The Epistle reading, St. Paul to the Romans 12:6-16 contains three lessons:

1. God gives each person different gifts: "Having different gives, according to the grace that is given us..."

These are intended to be shared for the benefit of all. Not every person is called to do everything. Being called to rule is numbered as one of God's graces. This is the foundation of the idea that those in a position of authority are there by the grace of God, and must execute this calling not pridefully as their own personal right, but as servants of God.

2. That everything should be done with "caritas" which is translated sometimes and "love" and sometimes as "charity".

Neither is perfect translation. In English "charity" is giving something away for a benefit to others - but it does not require that the giver have love for the recipient. You can give to charity for a tax break for example. And "love" in English means a lot of different things that the Greeks and the Romans divided a whole bunch of different ideas, such as erotic love, love of country etc.

To the Romans "caritas" meant "preciousness" or "expensiveness". This meaning survives in Italian, Spanish and Portuguese where the word for "expensive" is still "caro". Early Christians adapted this word to mean that people are precious to God. Many Christian prayers start "dearly beloved", in latin "carissimi". This is why in English we also still begin letters as with "dear", and in many Romance languages letters also start with "caro", and "dear" still maintains the meaning of "expensive". So remember: "Dear" is a Christian greeting.

The meaning of "caritas" is that we are to love each other because we love God and God considers each person to be precious. Almost every practical application of Christian morality can be derived from this idea.

3. That we should love our enemies: "Bless them that persecute you: bless and curse not." Our enemies are also precious to God. Even as they persecute us, God is calling them to conversion. We should join God in this.


The Gospel is from John 2:1-11, the story of the miracle of wine at the wedding at Cana.

I will give you three reflections on this:

1. This is the first public miracle by Jesus. His mother is aware that he has this power and urges him to use it. At first he resists "My hour is not yet come". But his mother instructs the waiters to proceed, and Jesus performs the miracle. It is interesting that Mary, who brought Jesus into this world, is also the one who inaugurates Jesus public ministry. He begins performing miracles at her urging.

2. Metaphorically the water is the human condition before Jesus, and Jesus transforms the water into wine at the wedding, as he is about to transform humanity's relationship with God. Think of the words of the steward "Every man at first sets forth good wine, and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse. But you kept the good wine until now." The way of men is to take the good things now, and save the worse for later. The way of God is to give the good things later. God reserves "the good wine" for us in the days after Christ. And reserves the even better things for the saints in the afterlife.

3. At the start of his public ministry Jesus transforms water into wine, and at the last supper wine will be elevated yet again into Jesus own precious blood. Think of your progress through mass: first blessing yourself with holy water, a reminder of baptism, then bringing wine up to the altar, and finally consuming it as Jesus blood in the Eucharist.


--- Novus Ordo Mass ---

In the Novus Ordo missal we enter Ordinary time. "Ordinary" just means "numerically ordered" (e.g. "Ordinal numbers" numbers like 1st, 2nd etc.) These are the numbered Sundays that are not part of the two great liturgical seasons (Christmastide and Eastertide). This is where we get the meaning of "ordinary" as "not special", the usual. ("he is just an ordinary person").

Ordinary time, also starts on the 2nd Sunday because technically the first Sunday of ordinary time is usually taken by the Baptism of the Lord.

This 2nd Sunday the theme is answering God's call and doing God's will.

We are made by God for a purpose - to do God's will. God reveals his will to us and we are meant to respond. (Though he gives us free will to ignore his call.)

The first reading is from 1 Samuel 3:3-10, 19. This is the story of Samuel being called.

Over and over God calls Samuel, but instead of answering back to God, Samuel is confused and thinks it has to be something calling him from the world. In this case he thinks it must be his teacher Eli calling him probably for something normal, like to get him something. After many nights of this Eli recognizes what is happening and tells Samuel the right way to answer God: "Speak for your servant is listening". This is where we get the Christian idea of "a calling". This is a mission from God. Some are called to the priesthood. Many are called to matrimony, and raising a family. Some are called to perform great works of charity.

Most people ignore God calling to them because they are afraid that it will interfere with with what they want to do. The attitude of "you only live once, so do whatever you want" or "YOLO" is a non-Christian attitude. Satan's primary objection to God is "I will not serve". The core tenet of Satanism is "Thelema" ancient Greek for the individual will. Satanism is literally the worship of the individual will. Their key beliefs are: "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" (direct opposition to having any God given exterior law), "Every man and every woman is a star", and "love under will" (Love serving your own will - not God's will). Their concept of "love" is closer to "desire" or "lust" than Christian "caritas".

For us it is the opposite: we orient our will to the will of God.


The psalm is taken from Psalm 40:2,4,7-8,8-9,10.

The key passages are the response: "Here am I, Lord; come to do your will."
and later: "In the written scroll it is prescribed for me, to do your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is written within my heart!".

God's plan for us is "prescribed". "Pre" is before, "scribed" is written. It was written in God's book before we were born. To do what? "to do your will". And finally we are born with God's law in our hearts. We can't say we don't know it. This is why God will judge non-Christians also. Those who have never been exposed to scripture will be judged more leniently than we will - because they never got the same amount of God's guidance and the same grace - but they are still judged.

Contrast this last verse with Satan's plan: Your will not God's will. Ignore God's law in your heart. Satan doesn't care if you do any thing more evil than simply following your own will.

The Epistle is taken from 1 Corinthians 6:13-15, 17-20.

The main idea is that your body belongs to God. Your soul is something precious to God. He gave you a holy temple to hold it in. You are meant to keep this temple not just clean and undefiled, but to treat it with dignity. This is the basis of the respect we show to dead bodies. The soul may have departed, but this was still a holy vessel.

Reflect on this: what things belong to me? Nothing that you have really belongs to you. All material goods are of this world. They come to you mostly by chance, they don't last, you can't take them with you. St. Paul just told you that your body also doesn't belong to you either. We have been given stewardship over the earth - which means we take care of it for its real owner - God. Even your life is given to you by the Holy Spirit - and can and will be taken by surprise at some day in the future.

All of these things are things that the Devil can tamper with: your belongings, your body, your life, the world.

So what did God really give us all our own, which he promised never to take from us, and forbids the Devil to tamper with? Only one: your will. You can do whatever you want with it. What does the Devil want from you? The one thing he can't take by force: your will.

What does God ask of you: to give him back the only thing he truly gave you. You can decide to keep it for yourself.


The Gospel is taken from John 1:35:42

This story is very simple: Andrew and Peter are standing with John the Baptist. Jesus walks by. John says "that's the Christ". John and Simon immediately decide to follow Christ. They are called, and they answer the call. A few years later Jesus would be crucified in about 30AD. Both would continue to follow Christ until each was themselves crucified in about 60AD, Andrew the patron of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and Peter of the Western Latin Church.
 
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Lavabis Me

Sparrow
Tomorrow begins the post Christmas season.

During Advent we reflect on the coming of Christ into our world ( the conversion of our world), and prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ into our hearts.

During the Christmas season itself one of the things we witness is the signs of Christ's divinity before his public ministry: the annunciation, the host of angels calling shepherds to the manger, the magi, Simeon recognizing Jesus as the Christ in the temple, the story of John the Baptist. These stories show Christ's divinity through others: angels, magi, prophets.

Now we start the season between now and Lent where we tell the story of Jesus' public ministry.

----Tridentine Mass ----

In the Tridentine missal the next three Sundays (to Septuagesima Sunday on Jan 31) are an extension of the Christmas season that continue the proofs of Christ's divinity, this time though his own early miracles: transforming water into wine at the wedding at Cana ("My hour is not yet come"), the cleansing of a leper and the Centurion's servant at Capernaum ("I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof..."), and Jesus calming a storm in a boat on Lake Genesareth ("O ye of little faith").

This Sunday is known as the 2nd Sunday after Epiphany, because the 1st Sunday is taken up by the Feast of the Holy Family. So we start this new season on the second Sunday.

The Epistle reading, St. Paul to the Romans 12:6-16 contains three lessons:

1. God gives each person different gifts: "Having different gives, according to the grace that is given us..."

These are intended to be shared for the benefit of all. Not every person is called to do everything. Being called to rule is numbered as one of God's graces. This is the foundation of the idea that those in a position of authority are there by the grace of God, and must execute this calling not pridefully as their own personal right, but as servants of God.

2. That everything should be done with "caritas" which is translated sometimes and "love" and sometimes as "charity".

Neither is perfect translation. In English "charity" is giving something away for a benefit to others - but it does not require that the giver have love for the recipient. You can give to charity for a tax break for example. And "love" in English means a lot of different things that the Greeks and the Romans divided a whole bunch of different ideas, such as erotic love, love of country etc.

To the Romans "caritas" meant "preciousness" or "expensiveness". This meaning survives in Italian, Spanish and Portuguese where the word for "expensive" is still "caro". Early Christians adapted this word to mean that people are precious to God. Many Christian prayers start "dearly beloved", in latin "carissimi". This is why in English we also still begin letters as with "dear", and in many Romance languages letters also start with "caro", and "dear" still maintains the meaning of "expensive". So remember: "Dear" is a Christian greeting.

The meaning of "caritas" is that we are to love each other because we love God and God considers each person to be precious. Almost every practical application of Christian morality can be derived from this idea.

3. That we should love our enemies: "Bless them that persecute you: bless and curse not." Our enemies are also precious to God. Even as they persecute us, God is calling them to conversion. We should join God in this.


The Gospel is from John 2:1-11, the story of the miracle of wine at the wedding at Cana.

I will give you three reflections on this:

1. This is the first public miracle by Jesus. His mother is aware that he has this power and urges him to use it. At first he resists "My hour is not yet come". But his mother instructs the waiters to proceed, and Jesus performs the miracle. It is interesting that Mary, who brought Jesus into this world, is also the one who inaugurates Jesus public ministry. He begins performing miracles at her urging.

2. Metaphorically the water is the human condition before Jesus, and Jesus transforms the water into wine at the wedding, as he is about to transform humanity's relationship with God. Think of the words of the steward "Every man at first sets forth good wine, and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse. But you kept the good wine until now." The way of men is to take the good things now, and save the worse for later. The way of God is to give the good things later. God reserves "the good wine" for us in the days after Christ. And reserves the even better things for the saints in the afterlife.

3. At the start of his public ministry Jesus transforms water into wine, and at the last supper wine will be elevated yet again into Jesus own precious blood. Think of your progress through mass: first blessing yourself with holy water, a reminder of baptism, then bringing wine up to the altar, and finally consuming it as Jesus blood in the Eucharist.


--- Novus Ordo Mass ---

In the Novus Ordo missal we enter Ordinary time. "Ordinary" just means "numerically ordered" (e.g. "Ordinal numbers" numbers like 1st, 2nd etc.) These are the numbered Sundays that are not part of the two great liturgical seasons (Christmastide and Eastertide). This is where we get the meaning of "ordinary" as "not special", the usual. ("he is just an ordinary person").

Ordinary time, also starts on the 2nd Sunday because technically the first Sunday of ordinary time is usually taken by the Baptism of the Lord.

This 2nd Sunday the theme is answering God's call and doing God's will.

We are made by God for a purpose - to do God's will. God reveals his will to us and we are meant to respond. (Though he gives us free will to ignore his call.)

The first reading is from 1 Samuel 3:3-10, 19. This is the story of Samuel being called.

Over and over God calls Samuel, but instead of answering back to God, Samuel is confused and thinks it has to be something calling him from the world. In this case he thinks it must be his teacher Eli calling him probably for something normal, like to get him something. After many nights of this Eli recognizes what is happening and tells Samuel the right way to answer God: "Speak for your servant is listening". This is where we get the Christian idea of "a calling". This is a mission from God. Some are called to the priesthood. Many are called to matrimony, and raising a family. Some are called to perform great works of charity.

Most people ignore God calling to them because they are afraid that it will interfere with with what they want to do. The attitude of "you only live once, so do whatever you want" or "YOLO" is a non-Christian attitude. Satan's primary objection to God is "I will not serve". The core tenet of Satanism is "Thelema" ancient Greek for the individual will. Satanism is literally the worship of the individual will. Their key beliefs are: "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" (direct opposition to having any God given exterior law), "Every man and every woman is a star", and "love under will" (Love serving your own will - not God's will). Their concept of "love" is closer to "desire" or "lust" than Christian "caritas".

For us it is the opposite: we orient our will to the will of God.


The psalm is taken from Psalm 40:2,4,7-8,8-9,10.

The key passages are the response: "Here am I, Lord; come to do your will."
and later: "In the written scroll it is prescribed for me, to do your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is written within my heart!".

God's plan for us is "prescribed". "Pre" is before, "scribed" is written. It was written in God's book before we were born. To do what? "to do your will". And finally we are born with God's law in our hearts. We can't say we don't know it. This is why God will judge non-Christians also. Those who have never been exposed to scripture will be judged more leniently than we will - because they never got the same amount of God's guidance and the same grace - but they are still judged.

Contrast this last verse with Satan's plan: Your will not God's will. Ignore God's law in your heart. Satan doesn't care if you do any thing more evil than simply following your own will.

The Epistle is taken from 1 Corinthians 6:13-15, 17-20.

The main idea is that your body belongs to God. Your soul is something precious to God. He gave you a holy temple to hold it in. You are meant to keep this temple not just clean and undefiled, but to treat it with dignity. This is the basis of the respect we show to dead bodies. The soul may have departed, but this was still a holy vessel.

Reflect on this: what things belong to me? Nothing that you have really belongs to you. All material goods are of this world. They come to you mostly by chance, they don't last, you can't take them with you. St. Paul just told you that your body also doesn't belong to you either. We have been given stewardship over the earth - which means we take care of it for its real owner - God. Even your life is given to you by the Holy Spirit - and can and will be taken by surprise at some day in the future.

All of these things are things that the Devil can tamper with: your belongings, your body, your life, the world.

So what did God really give us all our own, which he promised never to take from us, and forbids the Devil to tamper with? Only one: your will. You can do whatever you want with it. What does the Devil want from you? The one thing he can't take by force: your will.

What does God ask of you: to give him back the only thing he truly gave you. You can decide to keep it for yourself.


The Gospel is taken from John 1:35:42

This story is very simple: Andrew and Peter are standing with John the Baptist. Jesus walks by. John says "that's the Christ". John and Simon immediately decide to follow Christ. They are called, and they answer the call. A few years later Jesus would be crucified in about 30AD. Both would continue to follow Christ until each was themselves crucified in about 60AD, Andrew the patron of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and Peter of the Western Latin Church.
This is an amazing post. I've read many volumes on the epistles and gospels of the Mass and listened to many sermons over the years; and still a fair chunk of the things you've covered were new to me ("dear" for instance).

This is another proof that the Catholic Church and what it teaches are real; it is endless. This is what I mean by that: any good scientist will tell you that with every new scientific discovery, it's like opening a door into a room with 10 new doors or mysteries that need to be solved. Every new answer only presents you with multiple new questions... and why wouldn't it? It's reality, God's creation, isn't it? Of course the human mind will never get be able to plumb the depths of the mind of God. It's like the number of "halves" between the numbers 1 and 2 - they are infinite - 1 1/2, 1 1/4, 1 1/8, .... etc.

And so with the Catholic Faith. Every "new" understanding only opens the door to myriad other mysteries and lessons... and they all fit together, never negating the basic truths that came before them. Sure, people can talk endlessly, say about, say Star Trek (I liked the original 60's series and thought it fun) but any such discussion quickly goes stale because it's simply a made-up product of some mortal mind.

Thanks again for taking the time to post this. Excellent! Are you planning on making this a weekly post?
 
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