July 25th – Feast of St. James, Apostle and Martyr

St. James in Sacred Scripture

All three synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke share accounts of three events in the life of St. James.

  • His call to quit fishing and follow Jesus and his response to it.
  • His inclusion in lists of the twelve apostles.
  • His presence at the transfiguration of Jesus.

Only the Gospels of Mark and Luke record the invitation of St. James to witness the healing of the daughter of Jairus.

Only St. Luke’s Gospel mentions the suggestion by James and John that fire from Heaven be called down on some uncooperative Samaritans.

Only St. Mark tells of the sons of Zebedee asking for a special favor (Matthew blames it on their mother.), questioning of Jesus about the future, and the invitation to join Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

It is interesting that, in the Synoptic Gospels, there are nine verses in which Peter, James, and John and only those three are mentioned together.

The Gospel according to St. John does not mention St. James.

In the Acts of the Apostles, there are two mentions of St. James. He is included among those gathered in a room immediately following the resurrection, and his death at the hands of Herod is documented.

All the pertinent verses are in the table below.

Simple Summary from Franciscan Media

And All About Santiago de Compostela

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And, if you are interested in a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, there are travel companies ready to assist. Here is just one.
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Google Map of Spain showing location of Compostela

Franciscan Media Article on St. James (Simple and elegant summary of what we know from Sacred Scripture)

Wikipedia Article on St. James (Includes origin of the name Santiago as discussed by Fr. Linsky and the legends.)

Travel Company organizing pilgrimages.


July 18th – Assyrious Issue

Belief vs. Faith

You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble.
– James 2:19 (NABRE)

Well, so much for “belief!” And here are all the instances in the NABRE in which “faith” and forms of “save” are found in the same verse. Note the difference between James 2:14 and the others.

Matthew 9:22 Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, “Courage, daughter! Your FAITH has SAVEd you.” And from that hour the woman was cured.
Mark 5:34 He said to her, “Daughter, your FAITH has SAVEd you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”
Mark 10:52 Jesus told him, “Go your way; your FAITH has SAVEd you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.
Luke 7:50 But he said to the woman, “Your FAITH has SAVEd you; go in peace.”
Luke 8:48 He said to her, “Daughter, your FAITH has SAVEd you; go in peace.”
Luke 8:50 On hearing this, Jesus answered him, “Do not be afraid; just have FAITH and she will be SAVEd.”
Luke 17:19 Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your FAITH has SAVEd you.”
Luke 18:42 Jesus told him, “Have sight; your FAITH has SAVEd you.”
1 Corinthians 1:21 For since in the wisdom of God the world did not come to know God through wisdom, it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation to SAVE those who have FAITH.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been SAVEd through FAITH, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God;
1 Timothy 2:15 But she will be SAVEd through motherhood, provided women persevere in FAITH and love and holiness, with self-control.
James 2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has FAITH but does not have works? Can that FAITH SAVE him?
James 5:15 and the prayer of FAITH will SAVE the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.
1 Maccabees 2:59 Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael, for their FAITH, were SAVEd from the fire.
Sirach 49:10 Then, too, the TWELVE PROPHETS– may their bones return to life from their resting place!– Gave new strength to Jacob and SAVEd him by their FAITH and hope.

And, there is that great chapter on FAITH and WORKS, Hebrews 11.

I’m reminded of a saying that goes something like this: Faith and certainty are perfect strangers, but faith and doubt walk hand in hand. One might say that we are commanded to step out on faith to do the good works for which we are created.

Assyria and the Jews

How do we find the right balance of history and theology in the Old Testament? I strongly recommend A History of the Jews by Paul Johnson. It is unusual to find a faith-affirming secular book but this one qualifies. I read it a dozen years or so ago and kept and intend to keep on keeping it. It is only $2.99 on Kindle.

The first 135 pages or so cover Abraham to the AD70 destruction of the Jewish Temple. If you can read that 135 pages and then quit, I will be surprised. The book was published in 1987 so the last thirty years or so are missing. Here are a couple of teasers (showing my underlining from the first reading) included just for the purpose of teasing you to buy and read the book for better understanding of the OT. The first is a glimpse of the advanced theology of the ancient Jews. The second mentions Persia, Babylonia, Assyria, and Cyrus’s return of the Jews to their homeland, all referred to in this morning’s MPG meeting.

In a prologue to the book, Johnson gives for reasons for writing this book First is this: “When I was working on my History of Christianity, I became aware for the first time in my life of the magnitude of the debt Christianity owes to Judaism.”


And today we get a little bonus, a glimpse into Father Linsky’s past life as a military chaplain.




Catholic Religious Orders and Where We Fit In

Catholic Religious Orders

Wow! Google “Catholic Religious Orders” and you get this impressive collection of symbols of 52 Orders and a very detailed article HERE. Long and rich histories are bound to be complicated. The neat thing is that clicking on any of the symbols at that link takes one immediately to the article on that Order.

Wednesday MPG Discussion

In Wednesday’s Morning Prayer meeting, Father Linsky was addressing Monasticism and in particular the Benedictines and the Rule of St. Benedict. You can read all 73 chapters of the Rule of St. Benedict HERE.

Here is another good LINK to information about Catholic Orders. At this link we learn that:

Original Catholic religious orders of the Middle Ages include:

Probably the most interesting links for immediate clicking and investigation are the Benedictines (Discussed by Fr. Linsky Wednesday morning), the Trappists (Mepkin Abbey), the Ursulines (Important in the history of the Basilica of St. Peter)

The Very Rev’d Canon Gary S. Linsky, V.F. Pastor

Most of the orders are designated in shorthand by initials such as S.J. for Society of Jesuits, O.S.B for Benedictines, O.C.S.O for Trappists, etc. How many Basilica of St. Peter parishioners know what the initials V.F. in Father Linsky’s title, “The Very Rev’d Canon Gary S. Linsky, V.F. Pastor” mean. It’s not a religious order but stands for “Vicar Foran,” a priest with some responsibility for other priests in a region. You can read all about it HERE.

The Main Point

But, to skip the complications and get back to the simple point: It is important for us to strive for a balance between prayer and work, prayer meaning listening and meditating as well as speaking and work meaning all our responsibilities as Catholic laymen, not just paying jobs which several of us don’t even have. 

June 27th – True Prophets, False Prophets

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son.  With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.  He has spoken through the Prophets. 

False Prophets

(All NABRE Verses Containing Words Prophet and False)

OT Classical Prophets’ Comments on False Prophets
NAB Jeremiah 28:15 To the prophet Hananiah the prophet Jeremiah said: Hear this, Hananiah! The LORD has not sent you, and you have raised false confidence in this people.

NAB Lamentations 2:14 Your prophets had for you false and specious visions; They did not lay bare your guilt, to avert your fate; They beheld for you in vision false and misleading portents.

NAB Ezekiel 13:9 But I will stretch out my hand against the prophets who have false visions and who foretell lies. They shall not belong to the community of my people, nor be recorded in the register of the house of Israel, nor enter the land of Israel; thus you shall know that I am the LORD.

NAB Ezekiel 22:28 Her prophets cover them with whitewash, pretending to visions that are false and performing lying divinations, saying, “Thus says the Lord GOD,” although the LORD has not spoken.

And this from Lamentations
NAB Lamentations 2:14 Your prophets had for you false and specious visions; They did not lay bare your guilt, to avert your fate; They beheld for you in vision false and misleading portents.

Gospel Writer Comments on False Prophets

NAB Matthew 7:15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.

NAB Matthew 24:11 Many false prophets will arise and deceive many;

24 False messiahs and false prophets will arise, and they will perform signs and wonders so great as to deceive, if that were possible, even the elect.

NAB Mark 13:22 False messiahs and false prophets will arise and will perform signs and wonders in order to mislead, if that were possible, the elect.

NAB Luke 6:26 Woe to you when all speak well of you, for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way.

Other Comments on False Prophets
NAB Acts 13:6 When they had traveled through the whole island as far as Paphos, they met a magician named Bar-Jesus who was a Jewish false prophet.

NAB 2 Peter 2:1 There were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will introduce destructive heresies and even deny the Master who ransomed them, bringing swift destruction on themselves.

NAB 1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

NAB Revelation 16:13 I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come from the mouth of the dragon, from the mouth of the beast, and from the mouth of the false prophet.

NAB Revelation 19:20 The beast was caught and with it the false prophet who had performed in its sight the signs by which he led astray those who had accepted the mark of the beast and those who had worshiped its image. The two were thrown alive into the fiery pool burning with sulfur.

NAB Revelation 20:10 The Devil who had led them astray was thrown into the pool of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

NAB Tobit 14:4 and flee into Media, for I believe God’s word which was spoken by Nahum against Nineveh. It shall all happen, and shall overtake Assyria and Nineveh; indeed, whatever was said by Israel’s prophets, whom God commissioned, shall occur. Not one of all the oracles shall remain unfulfilled, but everything shall take place in the time appointed for it. So it will be safer in Media than in Assyria or Babylon. For I know and believe that whatever God has spoken will be accomplished. It shall happen, and not a single word of the prophecies shall prove false. “As for our kinsmen who dwell in Israel, they shall all be scattered and led away into exile from the Good Land. The entire country of Israel shall become desolate; even Samaria and Jerusalem shall become desolate! God’s temple there shall be burnt to the ground and shall be desolate for a while.

OT Prophets and Prophecy – View from 50,000 Ft

If you have a few minutes to take a look, the PowerPoint slide show below gives an overview of prophets and prophecy in the Old Testament. I used it with a ninth-grade confirmation class in a previous life. There are interesting differences in prophets such as Nathan and Elijah who confronted kings person to person and the so-called classical prophets, Amos to Malachi, who addressed the people and left written records of their messages.

After the Power Point link is the last slide to which the Power Point builds. If that doesn’t keep you from clicking on the slide show, nothing will. It’s just an attempt to put all in historical context.

Prophets Slide Show


Note and Shared Video from Paul Bartow

I know it’s a bit tardy after Father’s Day, but I was wondering if you would be willing to float this video to the rest of the Men’s Prayer Group. It’s an outstanding sermon on the meaning of fatherhood and the threats it faces in the culture.
I hope all is well with you in South Carolina, and I look forward to returning in September.
Paul Bartow
History Ph.D. Student
University of South Carolina