December 6 is the Feast of St. Nicholas, a third century devout Christian who gave his inheritance to the poor, became a bishop, participated in the Council of Nicaea, was persecuted but not martyred, and is celebrated today for the way he lived, not for distribution of presents once a year on the birthday of Jesus. So, we may have well-justified curiosity about how St. Nicholas morphed into the American Santa Clause. It began with the Reformation’s de-emphasis of saints. You can read the story HERE. Here is an excerpt from that linked article about the pivotal years in the early 1800’s.
Maybe the US Church should consider returning to the distribution of gifts at the Feast of St. Nicholas and focusing only on worship of Jesus, God in flesh, on December 25th.
Given that Advent is to be a time of personal reflection, this may be a bit more personal than previous posts. I hope I am not skewing the discussion too much. Please feel free to comment and critique.
Our discussion about “having a personal relationship” with Jesus, God incarnate, reminded me of a song of my Baptist youth and our discussion about responses to the question, “Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus?” The lyrics of that remembered popular song, What a Friend We Have in Jesus are by Christian Irish poet and Canadian citizen Joseph Scriven who wrote them in the 1850’s to comfort his ill mother. The music came a dozen or so years later by Charles C. Converse.
I was pretty sure I wouldn’t find that song in a Catholic Hymnal but did a quick check of first line indices in three that we have at home. Beginning with “What,” I found What Child is This, What Doth the Lord Require, What is this Place, What Star is This, What Wondrous Love is This, and Whatsoever You Do but no “What a friend….”
There are some things I like about What a Friend. I like the community emphasis suggested by use of first person plural rather than first person singular, and I like the clear expressions that Jesus is God, Lord, precious Savior, and blessed Savior. But, it seems to me that the song, if not all about me, is at least all about us and what we need and want rather than about Him and our appropriate responses to Him.
Personal piety is of course personal, and it’s not my intention to criticize anyone’s personal piety. But, as Father Linsky pointed out during the discussion, our personal relationship with Jesus begins with an answer to the question he asked St. Peter, “Who do you say that I am?”
The concept of having a personal relationship with God is unique, among world religions, to Christianity. It begins with our response to that question, our confession that He is “the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” and then with responding to his words such as, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
That leaves me uncomfortable with thinking of Jesus as a buddy, or “friend,” on whom I can call for anything I need. (It also leaves me uncomfortable with my behaviors and the way I spend some of my time.) Our personal relationships with Jesus have to be on His terms and not on ours. He didn’t some to satisfy the need of the Jews for a worldly and powerful king, and he didn’t come to satisfy our needs for a spiritual ATM.
I checked the Gospels and found only two instances referring to a friend or friends of Jesus:
NAB John 11:11 He said this, and then told them, “Our friend Lazarus is asleep, but I am going to awaken him.”
NAB John 15:14-15 You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
Therefore, as far as a “personal relationship with Jesus goes,” I believe I should be concerned not about whether I have Jesus as a friend but whether I can be considered a friend of Jesus as St. Nicholas certainly seems to have been.
Everything in the Catholic Church is all about Jesus:
SACRED SCRIPTURE ALL ABOUT JESUS: CCC 134: “All Sacred Scripture is but one book, and that one book is Christ, because all divine Scripture speaks of Christ, and all divine Scripture is fulfilled in Christ.”
BLESSED VIRGIN MARY POINTS US TO JESUS: NAB John 2:5 His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.”
THE CHURCH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST JUST AS JESUS WAS THE BODY OF CHRIST: Ephesians 4:11-14 And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ, so that we may no longer be infants, tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming.
So, for Advent, one option is to get to know Jesus better, and be a better friend of Him, with a focus on the parables he told. Here is a handy list I found on line at this site. They are in at least one person’s understanding of their chronological order. Did you know there are 46? Well some people may count a bit differently but 46 is a pretty good number.
Thanks to Father Linsky for leading the discussion Wednesday morning on “patience” as used in Luke 21:19, the November 29th Gospel reading of Jesus instructing and warning his followers of difficulties to come.
NKJ Luke 21:19 “By your patience possess your souls. (Last verse in Gospel Reading for November 29th)
NAB Galatians 5:22-23 In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Understanding Sacred Scripture
One difficulty in understanding of Sacred Scripture is that meanings of words, even within a single language, change with time. That confounds efforts to understand what those ancient NT Greek words and OT Hebrew words really meant to the persons who wrote and read and heard them thousands of years ago.
There are three easy steps that can be taken to dig deeper without having any knowledge of those ancient languages and cultures.
I have some Bible software that lets me quickly compare translations of the Greek in 24 different English translations. The Greek word sometimes translated “patience” in Luke 21:19 is defined in Strong’s Concordance as “endurance, steadfastness, patient waiting for.” http://biblehub.com/greek/5281.htm
Checking all 24 translations, the score on word choice by translators was:
That is not the only difference in translation of the verses. You can read them all at the end of this post.
It is interesting that a different Greek word is translated “patience” in the list of fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. That word is defined in Strong’s Concordance as “patience, forbearance, longsuffering.” The score on uses in English translations in this case is:
So, it seems to me, considering context, that the emphasis of both words is on perseverance, endurance, standing firm, suffering, being patient, and trusting in the face of afflictions and challenges and difficulties. And that seems to imply existence of a goal, a responsibility, a target, a hope. Interestingly, one of the Greek words was used by St. Paul, one of those early Christians warned by Jesus. It is in Romans 5:3-5, and is translated in the NAB as endurance.
Romans 5:3-5 Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.
The score here on English word choices by my easily accessible versions is:
So, my conclusion from all this is that I want to keep on keeping on, steadfastly standing firm, enduring and going through whatever difficulties occur, persevering in faith and good works (two sides of the same coin), trusting God patiently for the results. That seems consistent with those “theological virtues” in the inner ring in the chart above: Faith, Hope, and Charity
BGT Luke 21:19 evn th/| u`pomonh/| u`mw/n kth,sasqe ta.j yuca.j u`mw/nÅ
NRS Luke 21:19 By your endurance you will gain your souls.
NAB Luke 21:19 By your perseverance you will secure your lives.
ASV Luke 21:19 In your patience ye shall win your souls.
BBE Luke 21:19 By going through all these things, you will keep your lives.
DBY Luke 21:19 By your patient endurance gain your souls.
DRA Luke 21:19 In your patience you shall possess your souls.
ESV Luke 21:19 By your endurance you will gain your lives.
GNV Luke 21:19 By your patience possesse your soules.
KJG Luke 21:19 In your patience possess ye your souls.
KJV Luke 21:19 In your patience possess ye your souls.
MRD Luke 21:19 And by your patience, will ye preserve your souls.
NAS Luke 21:19 “By your endurance you will gain your lives.
NAU Luke 21:19 “By your endurance you will gain your lives.
NIB Luke 21:19 By standing firm you will gain life.
NIV Luke 21:19 By standing firm you will gain life.
NJB Luke 21:19 Your perseverance will win you your lives.
NKJ Luke 21:19 “By your patience possess your souls.
NLT Luke 21:19 By standing firm, you will win your souls.
PNT Luke 21:19 Possesse ye your soule by patience.
RSV Luke 21:19 By your endurance you will gain your lives.
RWB Luke 21:19 In your patience possess ye your souls.
TNT Luke 21:19 With youre pacience possesse youre soules.
WEB Luke 21:19 In your patience possess ye your souls.
YLT Luke 21:19 in your patience possess ye your souls.
BGT Galatians 5:22 o` de. karpo.j tou/ pneu,mato,j evstin avga,ph cara. eivrh,nh( makroqumi,a crhsto,thj avgaqwsu,nh( pi,stij
NRS Galatians 5:22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness,
NAB Galatians 5:22 In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness,
ASV Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
BBE Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, a quiet mind, kind acts, well-doing, faith,
DBY Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, fidelity,
DRA Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is, charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity,
ESV Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
GNV Galatians 5:22 But the fruite of the Spirit is loue, ioye, peace, long suffering, gentlenes, goodnes, fayth,
KJG Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
KJV Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
MRD Galatians 5:22 But the fruits of the Spirit are, love, joy, peace, long suffering, suavity, kindness, fidelity, modesty, patience.
NAS Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
NAU Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
NIB Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
NIV Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
NJB Galatians 5:22 On the other hand the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness,
NKJ Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
NLT Galatians 5:22 But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
PNT Galatians 5:22 But the fruite of the spirite is, loue, ioye, peace, long sufferyng, gentlenesse, goodnesse, fayth,
RSV Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
RWB Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
TNT Galatians 5:22 But the frute of sprete is loue ioye peace longesufferinge gentlenes goodnes faythfulnes
WEB Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
YLT Galatians 5:22 And the fruit of the Spirit is: Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith,
And below are the screen clips of information about the two Greek words from Strong’s Concordance as published on biblehub.com. http://biblehub.com/greek/5281.htm
A group of 20 gathered, Brian Durocher leading, and welcomed two new participants, Skip Mouradjian and Keith Brinkmann. Skip is a friend of and former co-worker with Mike Carroll, and Keith is a St. Peter’s parishioner (since about 2011) who works at the Richland County Library on Main Street.
We had some discussion about the issue of early departures from Mass and concluded that little can, or should, be done beyond improved catechizing with emphasis on the importance of mental preparation for, presence of mind and body during, and reflection following, the Mass. There is always room for improvement for all of us. Can I be so present in mind and body that I don’t even notice if someone leaves early?
Then we turned to Advent, its history and meaning and appropriate celebration. Father Fryml encouraged us to prepare with a plan for personal growth during Advent. There were several suggestions, one of which was reading of Jesus of Nazareth by Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, an unread (by me) copy of which I happen to have. It has 343 pages so I will endeavor to read 20 per day between now and Christmas, praying for enlightenment as I read. It is $10.99 on Kindle.
Brian suggested use of an Advent Calendar available at the USCCB Website. Just click on a day on the calendar for suggestions for worship and observance for that day.
Advent comes from Latin Adventis which comes from Greek Parousia. Here is information from Strong’s Concordance about the Greek word Parousia. Below are the New Testament verses that use the word parousia in reference to Jesus:
From Matthew 24:3-44 As he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached him privately and said, “Tell us, when will this happen, and what sign will there be of your coming, and of the end of the age?”…27 For just as lightning comes from the east and is seen as far as the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be….37 For as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man….39 They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be (also) at the coming of the Son of Man. (Read the whole passage)
NAB 1 Corinthians 15:1-58 23 but each one in proper order: Christ the first fruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ; (Read the whole passage for this in context plus earliest form of Creed.)
NAB 1 Thessalonians 2:19 For what is our hope or joy or crown to boast of in the presence of our Lord Jesus at his coming if not you yourselves?…3:13 so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. (Amen.)…4:15 Indeed, we tell you this, on the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not precede those who have fallen asleep….5:23 May the God of peace himself make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (The whole book, 1 Thessalonians, is only four pages and is probably the earliest of Paul’s letters, all of which predate the Gospels.)
NAB 2 Thessalonians 2:1 We ask you, brothers, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling with him,…8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord (Jesus) will kill with the breath of his mouth and render powerless by the manifestation of his coming, 9 the one whose coming springs from the power of Satan in every mighty deed and in signs and wonders that lie, (And 2nd Thessalonians is only three pages.)
NAB James 5:7 Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You too must be patient. Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand. (Only about four pages. A book Martin Luther didn’t like because it emphasized good works too much.)
NAB 2 Peter 1:16 We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty….3:4 and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? From the time when our ancestors fell asleep, everything has remained as it was from the beginning of creation.”…12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames and the elements melted by fire. (2nd Peter is only two or three pages, and Chapter 3 is all about delay of the Parousia, the Second Coming.)
NAB 1 John 2:28 And now, children, remain in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not be put to shame by him at his coming. (In context here.)
Here is the whole story including evidence that Advent was first celebrated in the Church in the late 500’s or early 600’s.
In 2007 we were in Austria during Advent and visited this village market with building sized Advent Calendar for all to share. I have a photo below, not nearly as pretty as this one taken to promote tourism but better showing the Advent Calendar. Looks like we were there on day 5 while the photo below was taken on Day 11. I had to zoom in to see the numbers in this photo.
And below is the photo I took. No snow!
Catholicism is dominant in Austria, claiming about 58% of the population. Catholicism was much stronger in 1731 when on October 31, the Church/State ruler, Count Leopold Anton Eleutherius von Firmian, signed the Edict of Expulsion, expelling all the Lutherans, many of whom settled in South Carolina and Georgia and some of whom founded Wachovia Bank. I wonder why Firmian chose October 31. Here is a colorful description of The Great Expulsion. Thank God for the religious freedom we enjoy in much, but not all, of the world today.
If you want to visit Austria, mid-December is a wonderful time to go.
And here is the final word. Do your own research.
The Gospel Reading for November 14th, Luke 17:7-10, ends with Jesus saying to his Apostles, “When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.'”
Well, wait a minute, Jesus, don’t we have some kind of deal here that promises us good things if we “do good,” maybe some prosperity and good health and freedom from suffering and a long life and then a mansion in Heaven?
Well, not really. It is in the Gospel of John (14:15) that he says to his Disciples, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” So, it sounds like we are to “do good,” loving God and our neighbor, motivated only by thanksgiving for the bounteous gifts we have received through our Baptism and Confirmation and the Eucharist and by love of Jesus, looking for and expecting nothing in return. We are not working for rewards but have a debt that neither can be nor is expected to be repaid. We owe everything to The Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and are neither owed, nor can we earn anything. The relationship of the believer with God is not a transaction but is based on divine love.
The Gospel Reading for November 15th, Luke 17:11-19, was about the Samaritan leper, one of ten healed by Jesus and the only one to return and thank Jesus for the healing. Jesus: “Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”
With introduction to the discussion of leprosy, we have an intersection of suffering and thanksgiving. In Bible times, leprosy meant ostracism, isolation, and early death. Healing was miraculous and justified abundant and enthusiastic thanksgiving.
But here is a twist. St. Paul seems to say that Christians can be abundantly thankful even in suffering, “in all circumstances,” even leprosy! Here is the quote, in context:
We urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, cheer the fainthearted, support the weak, be patient with all. See that no one returns evil for evil; rather, always seek what is good [both] for each other and for all.16 Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophetic utterances. Test everything; retain what is good. Refrain from every kind of evil. – 1 Thessalonians 5:14-24
(Father Linsky spoke of the value of adversity and how it can be redemptive and can strengthen us. The example of controlled adversity such as in military training for the purpose of preparing to deal with and survive uncontrolled adversity was given.)
In reflection, we might think about the relationship between THANKSGIVING and SELF ESTEEM and which is more emphasized in twenty first century USA culture.
Tom Gregory shared these verses from Sirach. This is a screen shot from the online Bible linked from this blog under Books/Aids. Footnotes included.
And Mike Ugino, esteemed Columbia hand surgeon and group member, spoke of Dr. Bland, hand surgeon who served lepers. You can buy Dr. Bland’s book here.
(1) The title of this post was inspired by the title of a song written at and sung by the brothers at Mepkin Abbey. Here is a quote about it from a sermon delivered at Mepkin: “For I believe that Joy is what shapes the minds and the hearts of all who make Mepkin their home. Richard Grendahl gave expression to this in the Entrance Song he wrote for our Founders Day Mass over 35 years ago: Sing a song of Joy Never Ending. Praise the Lord, the God of our life. Come before him singing thanksgiving. We are his people, he is our God.”
Luke 14:26-27 “If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
Here is some information ( thanks to this site ) on the Greek words translated “disciple” (noun) and “to disciple” (verb). (So much information at our fingertips now!)
If we are feeling a need to be humbled, that need can probably be met by reading these excerpts from the Catechism about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.
Paragraph 546: Jesus’ invitation to enter his kingdom comes in the form of parables, a characteristic feature of his teaching. Through his parables he invites people to the feast of the kingdom, but he also asks for a radical choice: to gain the kingdom, one must give everything. Words are not enough; deeds are required. The parables are like mirrors for man: will he be hard soil or good earth for the word? What use has he made of the talents he has received? Jesus and the presence of the kingdom in this world are secretly at the heart of the parables. One must enter the kingdom, that is, become a disciple of Christ, in order to “know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven”. For those who stay “outside”, everything remains enigmatic.
Paragraph 1275: Christian initiation is accomplished by three sacraments together: Baptism which is the beginning of new life; Confirmation which is its strengthening; and the Eucharist which nourishes the disciple with Christ’s Body and Blood for his transformation in Christ.
Paragraph 1319: A candidate for Confirmation who has attained the age of reason must profess the faith, be in the state of grace, have the intention of receiving the sacrament, and be prepared to assume the role of disciple and witness to Christ, both within the ecclesial community and in temporal affairs.
Paragraph 1709: He who believes in Christ becomes a son of God. This filial adoption transforms him by giving him the ability to follow the example of Christ. It makes him capable of acting rightly and doing good. In union with his Savior, the disciple attains the perfection of charity which is holiness. Having matured in grace, the moral life blossoms into eternal life in the glory of heaven.
Paragraph 1816: The disciple of Christ must not only keep the faith and live on it, but also profess it, confidently bear witness to it, and spread it: “All however must be prepared to confess Christ before men and to follow him along the way of the Cross, amidst the persecutions which the Church never lacks.” Service of and witness to the faith are necessary for salvation: “So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”
Paragraph 2233: Becoming a disciple of Jesus means accepting the invitation to belong to God’s family, to live in conformity with His way of life: “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
Parents should welcome and respect with joy and thanksgiving the Lord’s call to one of their children to follow him in virginity for the sake of the Kingdom in the consecrated life or in priestly ministry.
Paragraph 2466: In Jesus Christ, the whole of God’s truth has been made manifest. “Full of grace and truth,” he came as the “light of the world,” he is the Truth. “Whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” The disciple of Jesus continues in his word so as to know “the truth [that] will make you free” and that sanctifies. To follow Jesus is to live in “the Spirit of truth,” whom the Father sends in his name and who leads “into all the truth.” To his disciples Jesus teaches the unconditional love of truth: “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes or No.'”
Paragraph 2470: The disciple of Christ consents to “live in the truth,” that is, in the simplicity of a life in conformity with the Lord’s example, abiding in his truth. “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth.”
And, if those Catechism excerpts haven’t sent me to Confession, maybe these words from Sacred Scripture will.
The Conditions of Discipleship.24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? – Matthew 16;24-26
18 Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20
39 And he told them a parable, “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? 40 No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher. 41 Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? – Luke 6:39-41
25 Great crowds were traveling with him, and he turned and addressed them, 26 “If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? 29 Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him 30 and say, ‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’…and verse 33: In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple. – LUKE 14:25-33
(I have to admit the parable in Luke 14:28-30 made me think of SCANA and a cancelled nuclear project including some “towers.”)
Middle Eastern Culture must be considered when interpreting Sacred Scripture and also when trying to deal with current events and the difficulties presented by them. Many thanks to Father Linsky and to John Hadjis for sharing their insights based on personal experiences in that part of the world about the importance of family, clan, tribe, ethnicity, and nationality in that order.
There is considerable detail in this article on the Middle East tribal culture and at least one man’s opinion about how “Seventh-century Arab tribal culture influenced Islam and its adherents’ attitudes toward non-Muslims.” We still pay the price today for those attitudes. Below are a couple of key paragraphs from the article.
“Prior to Muhammad’s ascendancy, the tribes of northern Arabia engaged in raiding and feuding, fighting among themselves for livestock, territory, and honor. Muhammad’s genius was to unite the fissiparous, feuding Bedouin tribes into a cohesive polity. Just as he had provided a constitution of rules under which the people of Medina could live together, so he provided a constitution for all Arabs, which had the imprimatur not only of Muhammad but also of God. Submission—the root meaning of the Arabic term islam–to God and His rules, spelled out in the Qur’an, bound into solidarity Arabian tribesmen, who collectively became the umma, the community of believers.
Building on the tribal system, Muhammad framed an inclusive structure within which the tribes had a common, God-given identity as Muslims. This imbued the tribes with a common interest and common project. But unification was only possible by extending the basic tribal principle of balanced opposition. This Muhammad did by opposing the Muslim to the infidel, and the dar al-Islam, the land of Islam and peace, to the dar al-harb, the land of the infidels and conflict. He raised balanced opposition to a higher structural level as the new Muslim tribes unified in the face of the infidel enemy.”
Think about what a different message that is from the Isaiah text Tom Gregory mentioned shown in this screenshot from Bible Gateway.
Even these verses from Isaiah in the Old Testament challenge us to discipleship.
Just to avoid “burying the lead,” it seems to me that the point of Father Linsky’s comments is that we are commanded to be holy, to achieve “the fullness of Christian life and the perfection of charity.” (See source in the first Catechism clip below.)
Our first example is the sacrifice of Jesus, God Incarnate, who gave all for us. That sacrifice is symbolized by the Sacred Heart of Jesus, “the chief sign and symbol of that love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings” without exception.” (Second Catechism clip)
And, though we are all saints (Third Catechism clip), the Church has identified and raised up and canonized some “by solemnly proclaiming that they practiced heroic virtue and lived in fidelity to God’s grace.” (Fourth Catechism clip) As Father Linsky pointed out, there are probably many saints who might have been canonized but were not because they labored in obscurity or died for the faith unknown.
Below are some sources and supporting texts from Sacred Scripture and The Catechism of the Catholic Church. Just ignore the underlining in those Catechism clips. It is from some previous reading.
NAB Leviticus 11:45 Since I, the LORD, brought you up from the land of Egypt that I might be your God, you shall be holy, because I am holy.
NAB Leviticus 19:2 “Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them: Be holy, for I, the LORD your God, am holy.
NAB Leviticus 20:7 Sanctify yourselves, then, and be holy; for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.
NAB Leviticus 21:6 To their God they shall be sacred, and not profane his name; since they offer up the oblations of the LORD, the food of their God, they must be holy.
NAB Numbers 15:40 Thus you will remember to keep all my commandments and be holy to your God.
NAB Deuteronomy 23:15 Since the LORD, your God, journeys along within your camp to defend you and to put your enemies at your mercy, your camp must be holy; otherwise, if he sees anything indecent in your midst, he will leave your company.
NAB Romans 1:7 to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
NAB 1 Corinthians 1:2 to the church of God that is in Corinth, to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy, with all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.
NAB Ephesians 1:4 as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love
NAB 1 Peter 1:15 but, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct,
16 for it is written, “Be holy because I (am) holy.”
NAB Revelation 22:11 Let the wicked still act wickedly, and the filthy still be filthy. The righteous must still do right, and the holy still be holy.”
Here are the four Catechism clips referenced above:
I chose St. Luke as my Confirmation Saint based on the fact that he wrote The Gospel According to Luke and The Acts of the Apostles, about 27% of the New Testament. Without his work, we might not have the story of the first martyr, St. Stephen, whose account of Salvation History (Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon) given as he awaited stoning is documented in Acts 7.
Note Stephen’s final prayer in Verse 60 of Acts 7. Sound familiar?
And here is information about St. JoseMaria Escriva, canonized only fifteen years ago and claimed by one of our members. I had never heard of him. Nice website. Too bad St. Luke doesn’t have a website.
Finally, if you don’t have a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church with all the references from Sacred Scripture and the Church Fathers and other important church documents, your own personal copy is only a click away. Looks like you can get a used one for $3.00.
And finally, finally, here is the scoop on Going My Way! You can watch it on YouTube.