Saturday, July 28, 2012

"Fragments" of the Eucharistic Species

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, John 6:1-15
When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments loft over, so that nothing will be wasted.”
After the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fish, by which our Savior fed some five thousand men, the Lord instructed his disciples to gather up all of that which was left over. These “fragments”, as Jesus calls them, fill twelve wicker baskets – a sign of the fullness of time, and that the Savior is come twelve tribes of Israel.
However, recalling that our Lord gave the Bread of Life Discourse shortly after the miracle of the loaves, we may well recognize that this gathering of the “fragments” was an illustration of the presence of Christ under each and every part of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Jesus is teaching his disciples that the Eucharistic particles must be cared for, even after the conclusion of the Mass.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Why did Jesus call Sts. James and John the "sons of thunder"?

July 25th, Feast of St. James the Greater
And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and [Jesus] named them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder (Mark 3:17)
Today the Church celebrates the feast of St. James the Greater, who was the brother of St. John the Evangelist. This is the St. James who was first among the Apostles to be martyred (by Herod in Jerusalem) and whose relics are venerated in Compostella, Spain.
St. James the Greater was not called “the brother of the Lord” (that is St. James the Less), but he and his younger brother St. John were called Boanerges or “sons of Thunder”. Why did Jesus give them this designation?
The fiery style of the sons of Zebedee
There are certainly several incidents recorded in the Gospels which indicate the fiery preaching style of Sts. James and John. Certainly, these two were burning in their evangelical zeal, even to the point of some slight imperfection – this impetuousness was, of course, purified through their experience of our Savior’s Passion and Resurrection (as well as in the descent of the Holy Spirit).

Friday, July 20, 2012

"Like sheep without a shepherd" - A metaphor for war, and the spiritual combat

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Mark 6:30-34
When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd.
In the current year of the Lectionary cycle (year B), the Church reads from the Gospel according to St. Mark. However, starting next Sunday, we will turn from Mark to the Gospel according to St. John. There, we will read of the multiplication of the loaves and fish, as well as the Bread of Life Discourse.
Before this five-week turn to the Gospel of St. John, we hear of the compassion which led Christ to work the great miracle of feeding the multitudes. He saw the people as sheep having no shepherd. We will appreciate this metaphor far better, if we consider the history of this phrase in the Old Testament.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Why call it a "scapular"? How is it different from a blessed medal?

July 16th, Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
“Take, beloved son, this scapular of thy order as a badge of my confraternity and for thee and all Carmelites a special sign of grace; whoever dies in this garment, will not suffer everlasting fire. It is the sign of salvation, a safeguard in dangers, a pledge of peace and of the covenant.”  (From the apparition of the Blessed Virgin to St. Simon Stock, 16 July 1251)
While there are many scapulars, the brown scapular of the Carmelite Order is certainly the most popular among the devotion of the people. We need not mention the many miracles and graces which have been bestowed upon the Christian faithful through this most precious gift of the Mother of God. Through the brown scapular, countless souls have been converted, families reconciled, and whole nations restored to the dominion of Christ.
However, while we must surely recognize the great privileges bestowed upon the brown scapular, we may not fully understand its significance. Why is it called a “scapular”? And, what makes the brown scapular different from a religious medal (like, for example, the Miraculous Medal)?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Ought the preacher to carry neither food, nor sack, nor money? Must he wear only sandals?

St. Francis of Assisi, lover of poverty

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Mark 6:7-13
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick – no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.
When our Savior sent forth the twelve Apostles in pairs to preach the Gospel to the Jews, he bade them to carry no earthly provisions for their ministry, but simply to rely wholly upon the good will of the people to whom they preached. Through the centuries, many saints have imitated the letter of this precept – the obvious example is of St. Francis of Assisi.
However, it is most common today for both the parish priest and the apostolic preacher to carry not only a walking stick, but even several tunics. While bishops and priests surely do rely upon the free-will offerings of the people (generally through the Sunday collection), they now have not only shoes (as opposed to merely sandals), but even cars!
What shall we say of this? Are the Catholic bishops and priests of the modern day failing to observe Christ’s precept of poverty?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

At a new parish, but back to blogging soon

I have recently been assigned to a new parish, and thus have been quite negligent in keeping up the New Theological Movement blog over the past weeks. However, I am now officially at the new assignment and will return to regular blogging, starting tomorrow morning.

I thank you for your patience, and for your prayers. The parish is named Corpus Christi, and is in Great Falls, MT. It was newly established by Bishop Michael Warfel in January 2012 (we are only six months old). It is my great joy to be assigned to serve the people of God in this place!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Salvation history, mystically signified in the Sunday Gospel

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Mark 5:21-43
One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing Jesus he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, “My daughter is at the point of death.” […] There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse.
In today’s Gospel, we read of two figures: A woman and a young girl. The woman has suffered from hemorrhages for twelve years; the child was only twelve years old when she died. Our Savior heals the former, and raises the latter.
While many modern(ist) biblical scholars have all sorts of theories as to why these two miracles are intertwined, the Church Fathers see in these two women (rather, a woman and a little girl) a metaphor for salvation history. These two are figures for the manner in which the Jews and the Gentiles have been called to salvation in Christ.