Monthly Archives: March 2013

No Matter What the Consequences!

“Hear as Jesus heard; speak as Jesus spoke; suffer as Jesus suffered; die as Jesus died; rise as Jesus rose.”–One Bread One Body for Wednesday, March 27, 2013.

I have been sitting here with pen poised trying to visualize what this day would have looked like for Jesus and His disciples.  Was there an aura of intrigue about the temple and were they aware of it?  Had the disciples relaxed a bit because of the Hosannas ringing out when Jesus entered Jerusalem a few days before?  Were they watchful and anxious or just “hanging out” with Jesus?  Beginning Thursday evening, they will fall asleep, betray, flee, deny, despair, and hide.

I think I’m “hanging out” with Jesus after this post until Saturday afternoon.  I’m praying that I won’t fall asleep, betray, flee, deny, despair, and hide.  What about you?

Well, today, we study the final 9 verses of the Sermon on the Mount:  Matthew 7: 21-29.  I have learned much during this study.  Hope you have, too.

Concerning Self-Deception

Matthew 7:  21-23

7: 22 on that day:  This is the Day of Judgment on which Jesus will be the Divine Judge.  God’s sanctifying grace makes our soul fit for heaven.  We manifest it when we conform ourselves to the Father’s will, by knowing and obeying Jesus.  Sanctifying grace is conclusive evidence of our personal sanctity and membership in the family of God.  Charismatic graces, while heaven sent, are not.  (CCC 2003)

Hearers and Doers

Matthew 7: 24-29

7:24 like a wise man:  true wisdom puts Jesus’ teaching into practice and prepares for the future.  his house:  Physically, this parable alludes to building in New Testament Palestine.  Mud-brick houses were generally built in dry season.  Only a house with a solid foundation would resist erosion and destruction when torrential rains came.  Jesus’ reference to a wise man and his house is a reference to King Solomon who built the temple upon a great stone foundation.  Morally, the enduring house is the soul that is maintained only through labor and the materials of prayer and virtue grounded on Christ.

7:29 One who has authority:  Jesus delivered “new teaching “(Mk. 1: 27).  This teaching excelled over Mosaic Law in perfection.  (Matthew 5: 21-48)  Later, Jesus would denounce traditions that are incompatible with God’s word.  (15: 3-6; CCC 581)

The Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 25:  these are all part of Jesus’ blueprint for Holy living.  I know that I will continue to read and ponder them often during this pilgrimage to heaven.

“Save us, save us, Savior of the world, for by your cross and Resurrection, you have set us free.”

Bloch-SermonOnTheMountNext time:  Easter Monday

Have a blessed and holy Triduum and a Joyous Easter!

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The Race to the Empty Tomb Begins

“Mary brought a pound of costly perfume made from genuine, aromatic nard, with which she anointed Jesus’ feet.  Then she dried His feet with her hair, and the house was filled with the ointment’s fragrance.”–John 12: 3

I love this passage from John.  It makes me think.  “Am I willing to give everything I have and everything I am to Jesus without counting the cost?”  Good question to think about during Holy Week.

Now to the second last section of the Sermon on the Mount.

Ask, Seek, Knock

(Matthew 7: 7-12)

7: 7  Ask. . .given you:  Jesus advocates perseverance in prayer.  Answered prayers stem from faith-filled intentions.  (CCC 2609)

CCC 2609 “Once committed to conversion, the heart learns to pray in faith. . .the beloved Son gives us access to the Father. . .He can tell us to “seek” and to “knock” since He Himself is the door and the way.”

7: 11 you then, who are evil:  Jesus indicates the pervasive sinfulness of man.  good things: the material necessities of life as well as the grace to live as God’s children.

7: 12 do so to them:  Jesus states the Golden Rule positively. (CCC 1970)

CCC 1970 the entire Law of the Gospel is contained in the ‘ new commandment’ of Jesus, to love one another as He has loved us.”

The Narrow Gate

(Matthew 7: 13-14)

Cities surrounded by a fortified wall had both wide and narrow gates for access.  Main, wide gates were big enough for whole caravans to pass through.  Small, narrow gates permitted only pedestrians.  Jesus is telling us that many will pass through this “easy” gate to “destruction.”  The “few” must exert some effort to make it to “life.”

False Prophets

(Matthew 7: 15-20)

These so-called prophets appear harmless, yet their ministry breeds error, division, and immorality.  (2 Peter 2: 1-3)

2 Peter 2: 1-3 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.  And many will follow their licentiousness, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled.  And in their greed they will exploit you with false words; from of old their condemnation has not bee idle and their destruction has not been asleep.”

Jesus Enters Jerusalem

Jesus Enters Jerusalem

Wednesday:  Matthew 7:  21-29

Study Question:  In Catholic Tradition, what is sanctifying grace?

Meditation:  Am I ready to carry my small sharing in the Cross of Jesus?

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“Judge not, that you be not Judged.” Matthew 7:1

Today is the last Friday of the 40 days of Lent.  Are you preparing yourself for the holiest week of the year?  I suggest that everyone spend an hour this coming week in front of the Blessed Sacrament in preparation for the Triduum.  What a wonderful heavenly climate to realize that Jesus is God.  As you “fix your eyes” on the eucharistic Jesus (Heb. 3: 1) let Him fill you with “eucharistic amazement.”  (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, Pope John Paul II, 6.  Let’s make Holy Week a priority!

Judging Others

Matthew 7: 1-6

Jesus’ teaching on judgment has two sides.  1) He condemns judging others’ faults.  (7: 1-2)  We can’t judge others with fairness and accuracy because we can’t see another’s heart like God can.  He alone know the heart.  2) However, Jesus commands us to exercise critical discernment (7: 6, 15-19.)  Otherwise, we might profane what is holy (7: 6) or embrace what is false. (7:15)

7:2  you will be judged:  We set the standards of our personal judgment (by God) by our own conduct toward others.  (cf 18:35)

7: 6 dogs. . .swine:  The Jews would call pagans, dogs and swine.  Jesus uses these insulting labels to describe anyone who is inhospitable to the Gospel–both Jew and Gentile.  what is holy: In Judaism, holiness characterizes anything consecrated for covenant worship.  To treat holy things, then, in a common manner would profane them.  (Ex 29: 37; Lev 22: 10-17)  Jesus is applying this notion in the New Covenant.  The Early Church used this statement to rightly withhold the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist from the unbaptized.

Next time:  Chapter 7:  7-20

Study Question:  The Gospel for Palm (Passion) Sunday:  Luke 22: 14-23:56)

Meditation:  In heaven, the saints stand “before the throne and the Lamb, dressed in long white robes and holding palm branches in their hand.”  (Rev. 7:9)  Some Palm Sundays last forever.  Yours can as well.—One Bread One Body for Sunday, March 24, 2013.

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Do Not be Afraid for Anything!

Today’s study will conclude Chapter 6 of Matthew’s Gospel and we are two-thirds of the way through the Sermon on the Mount.  I can’t speak for any of you, but I am having a great Lent so far.

What plans have you made for Holy Week?  On here, I plan on finishing Chapter 7 in Matthew by next Wednesday.  Then, I will begin a two day do-it-yourself Ignatius retreat with the book “Consoling the Heart of Jesus.”

That means I will spend the Triduum off-line.  When we return on Easter Monday, we will begin a bible study using “The Year of Faith: A Bible Study Guide for Catholics” by Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.  Hope you all join me for that journey.  It will be a great way to celebrate the Easter Season.

Concerning Treasures

Matthew 6: 19-21

“For where you treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

The Sound Eye

Matthew 6: 22-23

6:22  the eye is the lamp:  this is an ancient metaphor.  Jesus uses this metaphor to advocate generosity.  According to the passage, if we have sound eyes, we are filled with light and generous with our belongings.  Those who are evil are filled with darkness and are stingy.

Serving Two Masters

Matthew 6: 24

6:24  mammon:  this is an Aramaic word meaning “wealth” or “property.”  Jesus is warning that anything that comes between us and God is idolatry.  (CCC 2113)

CCC 2113  “. . . Idolatry rejects the unique Lordship of God; it is therefore incompatible with communion with God.”

Do Not Be Anxious

Matthew 6: 25-34

6: 28-30  Jesus teaches using the logic of a rabbi.  He tells us that God supplies our physical needs to signify His great concern for our spiritual needs.  He desires to clothe us with glory and immortality in heaven.  (cf. 1 Cor 15: 15-55; Rev. 19: 7-8)

6:33  seek first His kingdom:  The pursuit of holiness must be a priority for us.  We can’t be lazy in practical matters, but we must trust our Father’s care.  (CCC 2608)

Jesus is My Lifeguard!

Jesus is My Lifeguard!

Next time:  Chapter 7: 1-29

Study Question:  List some ideas that you have thought about during reading the Sermon on the Mount.

Meditation:  “Judge not, that you be not judged.”

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The Our Father (CCC 2786-2865)

Six days until Palm Sunday and the 40 days of Lent will be over.  Are you ready to renew your Baptismal vows?  Reject sin and Satan?  Hunger and thirst for holiness? (Mt. 5: 6)  Refuse to compromise with the Prince of Darkness even if you are persecuted?  (Mt. 5: 10)

Remove all obstacles and stumbling blocks so that you will be able to go straight along the road to eternal life. — St. Cyril of Jerusalem.

Concerning Prayer

Matthew 6: 5-15

6: 6 in secret:  Private prayer is a complement to communal prayer not a rejection of it.  (cf 18: 20; Acts 1: 12-14; CCC 2602, 2655)

CCC 2602   Jesus often draws apart to pray in solitude, on a mountain, preferably at night.

6: 7  empty phrases. . . many words:  Jesus considers the false piety and religiosity of pagans who would recite long lists of “divine” names to get the attention of their gods.  This practice is devoid of faith and reverent love for the deity.  However, with a pure heart, repetitious and lengthy prayer can be fruitful and intimate.  Jesus Himself repeated the same prayer three times in Gethsemane.  (26: 44)

The Lord’s Prayer (oratio Dominicia)

Matthew 6: 9-13

The Lord’s Prayer is a model of prayer.  It has seven petitions and can be divided into two parts:  the first section (6: 9-10) glorifies God; while the second half (6: 11-13) petitions God about human needs.  (CCC 2765, 2781)

6:9  Our:  This is the universal Church’s prayer. (CCC 2768)

Father:  Jesus may have taught this prayer in Aramaic.  In this, He would have addressed the Father as “Abba” an affectionate title.  We are God’s children by the grace of Divine adoption so we can call Him “Abba” also.  (CCC 2766, 2780)

Hallowed be your name:  we recognize God’s name is thrice holy.  (CCC 2807)

6:11  Our daily bread:  the Greek “epiousios” (daily) is used only here and in Lk 11: 3 in the New Testament.  It probably means “for tomorrow” or “for the future.”  This petition concerns food for body and soul.  1)  the necessities of life that fathers provide for their children is a form of daily bread.  2.)  Church Fathers interpret “daily bread” as a reference to the Holy Eucharist.  (CCC 2837)

6: 13  evil:  This is definitely Satan:  the Evil One.  We are praying for God’s deliverance in the final days when the devil and evil will be destroyed.  (Rev 20: 10)

Our FatherNext Time:  Matthew 6: 19-34

Study Question:  What are the proper dispositions for one who prays the Our Father?

Meditation:  Let us say the Lord’s Prayer each day; meditating on our Father who art in Heaven.

 

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Habemus Papam!

I have been watching the conclave and received His Holiness Pope Francis’  his first blessing and so I have decided to take the day off from the regularly scheduled blog to celebrate and pray.  We will return to the “Our Father”  on Friday.   God bless all of you.

Now, I must say that this is so cool that I am speechless. . .

 

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The Big Three: Chapter 6: 1-18

At the beginning of Chapter 6, St. Matthew writes about the Lenten Big Three:  Almsgiving, Prayer & Fasting.  Let’s see what he has to say, shall we?

(6: 1-18)  Jesus reaffirms these three traditional works of mercy. (CCC 1434; 1969)  He does not challenge these practices in themselves.  He warns against performing them for public esteem. (CCC 1430)

(CCC 1969)  the new law practices the arts of religion:  almsgiving, prayer, and fasting, directing them to the “Father who sees in secret” in contrast with the desire to “be seen by men.”  Its prayer is the Our Father.

Concerning Almsgiving

(6: 2): give alms:  alms are charitable gifts given to the poor.  The exercise of one’s faith CAN be public so long as it flows from proper intentions.  (CCC 2447)

(CCC 2447)  Giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity; it is also a work of justice pleasing to God.”

He who has two coats. let him share with him who has none; and he who has food must do likewise.  But give for alms those things which are within, and behold, everything is clean for you.

Concerning Prayer

(6: 5-15)  The Our Father is such an important prayer, that my Wednesday blog will cover this alone.

Concerning Fasting

(6: 17)  anoint your head:  Fasting was often a public practice accompanies by wearing sackcloth and putting ashes on one’s head.  (Esther 4: 3; Dan 9: 3)  Hypocrites utilized this to appear devout to others.  Washing and anointing outwardly symbolize happiness and disguise one’s inner commitment to God.  (Ruth 3:3; Ps 23: 5; Is 6: 1-3; CCC 1438)

(CCC 1438)  The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent and each Friday in memory of the death of Our Lord) are intense moments of the Church’s penitential practice.  These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works.)

The Return of the Prodigal Son.

The Return of the Prodigal Son.

Next time:  Matthew 6: 5-15

Study Question:  How is the Our Father divided?  What are the 7 petitions?

Meditation:  “. . .and the greatest of these is love!”

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