Agony in the Garden

As we begin the Lenten Season we once again start with the Sorrowful Mysteries. The first is the Agony in the Garden it can be found in all the Gospels in different ways. Since the events covered are from the end of Last Supper and the Arrest of Jesus.  The Fruit of the mystery is Sorrow for Sin as Uniformity to God’s Will.

When the Last Supper was ended Jesus took a walk to pray, he went to the Garden of Gethsemane at the foot of the Mount of Olives with his apostles/disciples to pray. Peter, James and John were there and Jesus asked them to stay awake for an hour and pray with him. Jesus went off and prayed to the Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. I don’t want to take this poison. Going back to the apostles he finds them asleep and wakes them saying couldn’t you stay up just an hour. While Jesus was praying his sweat was blood and he ended his prayer by accepting it” If the cup can’t pass by let me drink of it your will be done.” After all of this Jesus recognizes that his hour to be betrayed has come.

Let us remember this during Lent we are offered several opportunities for other religious activities confession and stations of the cross seem to be at least a weekly thing along with a fish fry on Fridays during the season. If you have some time take it and go to one of these events or whatever else is offered in our local church.


Salvific Doloris: Part 1

Salvifici Doloris is an Apostolic Letter from Pope John Paul II which was written after the assassination attempt in 1981. It is about suffering and joy or as the title says in Latin saving passion. During Lent we will be working through this Apostolic Letter and hopefully some more.  Today is the first day of Lent for the Western Church (Roman rite) some eastern rite catholic church began the season on Monday and in the Orthodox Church Great Lent begin on Clean Monday (19 February). John Paul II writes this letter to the Bishops, Priest, Religious Families and the faithful of the Catholic Church on the Christian meaning of Human Suffering. This was issued during the Holy Year of Redemption 1983-84 so it continually refers back to this.

John Paul II starts with quoting from Saint Paul’s letter to the Colossians (1:24) where the idea get put forth “I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.” Suffering has been here for all of human history, just look at Paul before he became that nice guy we all like was one of the fiercest persecutors of the faith causing all kind of suffering. Now he is rejoicing in the suffering because of Jesus. Suffering is universal it is with us all at every point on earth: in a certain sense it co-exists with us in the world, and demands to be constantly reconsidered. yet we must remember that it is through the cross of Christ comes our redemption. This is all tied together for we are all of one body. His Holiness then quotes his encyclical Redemptor Hominis saying that “in Christ we all become that way for the Church” and add on “when suffering enters his life.”  Suffering is inseparable from our lives. Yet from this suffering come great things it evokes compassion, respect, and in its own way it intimidates. For in suffering is contained the greatness of a specific mystery.

In the second section the focus turns to the World of Human Suffering. There are two types of suffering physical suffering (the body hurts) and moral suffering (pain in the soul), While the Physical suffering (mental physical, emotional pain) can be eased with medication moral suffering can not. Turning to the Bible the Pope notes that it is a book filled with Suffering, looking in the Old Testament they link the moral suffering onto parts of the body, it isn’t until the Greek when suffering show up and is linked to evil. This now takes a turn in the For God made all things Good why is there evil? The Church looks at it as we suffer on account of evil which is a limitation or distortion of good. or “we suffer because of a good in which we don’t share, from which in a certain sense we are cut off, or of which we have deprived ourselves. We particularly suffers when we ought—in the normal order of things—to have a share in this good and does not have it.” We all suffer alone together (collective consciousness) in the same old anxiety ridden world that we live in and our suffering is compounded by the sins of our times, with mad men running the world.

The third section looks at the quest for an answer to the question of the meaning of suffering. The whys why do we suffer? why is there evil? Looking at the Book of Job we see this idea taken up (a couple of years ago I went through it during Lent) Job was a good just man and then lots of suffering happens to him one of his friends indicates that the suffering come from some sin. Yet, Job has done nothing wrong but God recognizes this but doesn’t do anything about it, since it was a competition between the Devil and God. Sure the Book of Job does a good job at asking the question it doesn’t answer it but points out that suffering affects all people those as punishment for sin and also the innocent. It can be seen as a test of righteousness. The Book of Job isn’t the last word on the subject of suffering but it acts as a foreshadowing of Passion of Christ. To find an answer we need to look to Divine Love.

In section four we turn to Jesus Christ: Suffering conquered by love. Jesus himself is salvific love John Paul II point to John 3:16. Now this is where it gets good breaking down the Bible. For God so loved the world that He gives, not directs or sends, but gives the world, His only Son so that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. This is remarkable as it points that the opposite of eternal life is suffering for eternity we literally perish being away from God forever.  We are reminded here that we (humankind) are but dust and to dust we will return from way back in the Garden of Eden we are body and soul our Body will fade but our spirit will live forever but through Christ’s salvific mission to “blot out from human history the dominion of sin, which took root under the influence of the evil Spirit, beginning with Original Sin, and then he gives man the possibility of living in Sanctifying Grace.” Perhaps that isn’t how it will end now. Turning to Jesus in the Gospel we see how he is deep in suffering he went deep into the weeds and starts pulling. He healed the sick, consoled the afflicted, fed the hungry, brought hearing to the deaf sight to the blind, free those from leprosy, from the devil and from various physical disabilities, three times he restored the dead to life. He was sensitive to every human suffering, whether of the body or of the soul. And at the same time he taught, and at the heart of his teaching there are the Beatitudes, which are addressed to people tried by various sufferings in their temporal life.”  But it is his Suffering and death on a cross that will conquer suffering.

This Lent as we enter into our churches let us raise our eyes toward the large cross with Jesus and recognize that this is a gift of love. As John 3:16 says For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whosoever believes in him may have eternal life.  Let us keep this in mind during this upcoming season and remember the joy in suffering.


Something Rotten!

Something Rotten is a musical that is a grand old love letter to Broadway musicals. It tells the story of Nick Bottom and his brother Nigel, who are desperate for a hit show in 1595 England. Since Nick hates William Shakespeare because of The Bard’s success. The patron of Bottom’s acting troupe learns that it  seems like Shakespeare will be doing Richard II, the play that Nick and Nigel are working on. Their patron leaves saying they need a new show by tomorrow or he will no longer patronize them.  To make a sure fire hit Nick goes to a soothsayer and it’s Nostradamus, Thomas Nostradamus, the nephew of the famous one, to find out what the next big thing in theater will be, it turns out to be a musical. Nick is convinced and tries at first but his attempt with a musical about the plague doesn’t go over well.  So Nick goes back to T. Nostradamus and ask what Shakespeare’s biggest play will be, and that will be the musical, it’s Hamlet but Nostradamus misinterprets it as Omelette instead, a musical about breakfast food. That’s the main story for the first act.

This turns out to be the greatest thing ever from the audience’s perspective as there are references to just about all of musical history from Oklahoma and South Pacific to Mary Poppins and Wicked. If you are a fan of musical you are bound to have some good laughs and who would have thought that have a recipe for an omelette in a song is the best thing in the world. If you have the opportunity to go see this I would highly recommend it. In a few year I could see this being one of the popular shows done at high schools.


2018 Winter Olympics

Today the Winter Olympics begin in Peyongchang, South Korea. Sure they actually started yesterday with some mixed doubles curling and some qualification for ski jump, as well as some other events team skating, moguls and more mixed curling earlier today, before they officially begin at the Opening Ceremony at 20:00 KST or 6 AM on the east coast. If you want to watch it live the ceremonies will be streamed live on NBCsports.com/live. It will also be broadcast in a shortened version tonight at 8pm on NBC. It is unique that they’ve scheduled the Olympics around the American audience with events in the morning airing live in the US, I think they do this regularly. Also for the first time the games will be broadcast across the US at the same time in every timezone so no more having to avoid twitter or online for those on the west coast. So here’s to the next about two and a half weeks when we get to explore some of the finest that the Winter Olympics can offer up.


Falcon Heavy

SpaceX is at it again, this time launching the biggest rocket currently launched it is capable of carrying 63,800 kilograms into space. Yesterday’s launch sent Elon Musk’s Tesla into a Earth-Mars elliptical orbit and will be going there around for ages. The launch went off superbly and the only hitch in the whole launch was that two of the three reusable booster landed safely, those two were on land and the one landing at sea is an insignificant loss as it wasn’t going to be reused again. Now this I though was going to be the launch vehicle for traveling to the Moon and Mars for SpaceX however on Monday I learned about the BFR or the Big Falcon Rocket or as it seems like everyone is going to call it Big F’ing Rocket 150,000 kilograms for the reusable variant, this will match or exceed the Saturn V rocket payload of 140,000 kilograms. The BFR is expected to replace both the Falcon and Falcon Heavy rockets so this is a pretty cool thing that you can watch it on youtube.


The Institution of the Eucharist

The final Luminous mystery is the Institution of the Eucharist, you know that thing that happened at the Last Supper, it is in all the Gospels (Matt 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-26, Luke 22:7-39 and John 13:1-17:26) and Paul mentioned it in his first letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 11:23-26). We all know this story we hear it every time we go to Mass, Jesus was gathered with his friends, Jesus took some bread blessed it and broke it gave it to his friend saying “This is my Body. Take. Eat.” Jesus then took a cup filled with wine, blessed it and gave it to his friends saying “This is my Blood. Take. Drink.” This is the institution of the Eucharist. It is repeated at every Mass so we all should know it. The fruit of the mystery is Adoration. As we move toward the season of Lent some there may be some added special events like an Eucharist Adoration or a Benediction, if you have a chance perhaps take the time and go this year. The other thing is that we all could make an effort to come to Mass a bit earlier/leave a bit later and pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament.


Eagles Win Super Bowl

The city of Philadelphia is rejoicing, at winning their fourth NFL Championship and first Super Bowl. However it seems like they have a quarterback controversy with Nick Foles leading the team to a victory in the Super Bowl what will happen when Carson Wentz comes back, or to put it simply what will happen with Foles will some other team try to pick him up as a starting Quarterback or will Foles be happy to sit and see how Wentz does when he comes back. The game was pretty great as it was a back and forth affair. Featuring two missed points after touchdowns, two missed 2-point conversions, another missed field goal along with two passes to the quarterback Brady missed his and Foles caught his for a touchdown. These are some of the crazy things that happened in the game. It was nice to see someone other than Tom Brady and the Patriots win but it seems like Brady will be back for another year. It is the first time that the Eagles have won something since 1960 and perhaps they could win back to back like they did in 1948-49. The best commercial of the night was the Eli Manning one with the Dirty Dancing routine. I for one hope to see more of these group dance routines next season since they only relaxed the celebration rule in like May of 2017 before the season began but before anything so crazy could be planned, here hoping for some like this next season.


Super Bowl LII Prediction

This weekend we’ve got the big game Super Bowl LII in Minnesota. This is the first game in Minnesota since 1992 and the second overall. It is in the new stadium. Super Bowl LII is a rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX which was won by the Patriots, as of recent games which were rematches the winner of the previous game has won again. The Patriots are playing in their tenth Super Bowl over all and eighth since the turn of the century (to many for most fans besides those in NE) if they win they will tie the Steelers for the most Super Bowl wins with six. For the Eagles this is their third time at the Super Bowl and they haven’t won yet, although they have won three NFL Championships the last was in 1960. History has stacked the odds against the Eagles this year but they have somehow gotten to the Super Bowl with a backup QB in Nick Foles yet they are facing Tom Brady and New England who have been here many times before. On to the prediction, while I am sure that New England will win somehow, it would be fun to see a new team win but many online are opining for a third option that it ends in a tie or that a meteorite comes and hits the stadium killing both teams involved.


The Grapes of Wrath

Well, in high school this was another one of the books that I had to read but didn’t get all the way through  (the read the beginning, skim the middle and read the last chapter method). So I finally got around to reading it all the way through. It is the novel about the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. It is also widely considered to be on of the main reasons that Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize.

The Grapes of Wrath is the story about the Joad family as they travel from Oklahoma after being kicked off of their farm. They pack up everything and travel to California a place that is billed as having jobs. This is the hope that they have. The Joad family meet some interesting folks on the road.  Eventually they get involved with the labor union movement. It is  a compelling book and if you haven’t read it yet go out and pick up the book.



Native American Mascot controversy debate part 11

There has been some news for better or worse in the Native American naming controversy debate. Yesterday it was announced through Major League Baseball that the Cleveland Indians will be removing Chief Wahoo from the uniforms and hats that are used on the field. However the Indians will retain the trademark and still produce gear with the Chief on it. So it’s sort of a step forward, although it seems like the change was mostly made in order to get the All Star Game to come to Cleveland, the first time since 1997. Now will this massive shift stir more cries for the Redskins to drop the name or even the Atlanta Braves, Florida State University Seminoles and Kansas City Chiefs to drop the Tomahawk Chop or what not. Sure this past December Rising Hearts made some big news with the website/twitter campaign that said that the Redskins would be changing their name to the Redhawks. Sure the Chicago Blackhawks are also considered offensive but since it is an ice hockey team there never has been much outcry over the name.

While it is nice to see some movement on this issue I hope that we don’t eventually drop all mention of Native peoples from society since we shouldn’t forget about our past however dark it might be.