Over this past week I’ve seen two stories relating to Ancient Rome. First was the discovery of a Chinese Skeleton in Roman Britain. The other was the finding of coins in Japan from Rome with images of Emperor Constantine I. In all the history classes you hear about Rome and China and Japan as different civilizations and sure Ancient Japan and China most likely existed and did things in the same sphere of influence and perhaps something about the silk road linking them to Rome but you never really think about the two dealing with each other since they are so far from one another. So the news seems pretty cool. For the simple fact that people from China and Japan could have traveled to the Roman world and visa-versa. I never did much in Ancient History but if these things are true than the world has been a small place for so much longer than we have all realized.
Space X: Space X has announced a crazy plan to go to Mars and even farther, here’s the video. How any of this will work and when it will happen but Elon Musk has been planning for a Mars mission in the mid 2020s.
Movies: Martin Scorsese’s latest film based on Shusaku Endo’s novel Silence has a release date. It is about the Japanese persecution of the Catholics in the 1600s. The film will come out in selected places on December 23 and later on across the country. This is so that the film qualifies for this upcoming years Oscars. I’m looking forward to the first trailer as this movie is one that I will be going to see this winter along with Rogue One.
The August Wilson play Fences is also coming to the screen. This will be the first of Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle to be made into a film and hopefully this film is successful. If it brings all ten of the show on to the screen it would be amazing as Wilson’s works are wonderful. He is one of a few playwrights to win two Pulitzer Prizes and most of the others are considered among the pantheon of American Drama (Edward Albee, Eugene O’Neill, George S. Kaufman, Thornton Wilder, and Tennessee Williams). It would be wonderful if more people went to see plays but if they were made into movies that would fix the problem as well.
Since October is the month of the Rosary, I will be looking at some of the many Encyclicals and other Church Documents that focus on the Rosary over the next couple of weeks. The first two weeks are going to look at some of Pope Leo XIII’s Encyclicals including Octobri Mense and Vi e ben noto. Leo XIII is known as the Rosary Pope and wrote eleven Encyclicals on the Rosary. The following two weeks are up in the air currently but might be more of Pope Leo. If you are looking for something to do perhaps pick up a rosary at some point in this upcoming month and pray for the Holy Spirit to guide the voters in the United States to choose the candidate who will lead justly.
The Baseball regular season doesn’t end until next week October 2 or perhaps later with a play-in game. So far most divisions have a winner except for the AL Central where Cleveland has a seven game lead on Detroit but they play each other the next couple of days. As for the wild cards that might get even crazier over the next week.
In the American League Texas has won their divisions, with Cleveland on the verge of winning the Central and Boston having clinched a playoff spot but the Yankees could play spoiler along with Toronto and force Boston into the Wild Card game but that seems unlikely. In the Wild Card race Toronto, Baltimore and Detroit are all within a three games of each other. Baltimore faces Toronto for three games then Toronto face Boston for three more so they might be on the outside looking in come next week.
In the National League Chicago, Washington and Los Angeles have wrapped up their respective divisions and it looks like Washington and LA will be facing off in the NLDS. As for the Wild Cards it is a three team race between New York, St. Louis and San Francisco, all three teams are within a game and a half and there is a strong possibility that there might be a tie between at least two of the three teams. If that happens there will be a play-in game it would be crazy with the game on Monday the third since the Wild card games are scheduled for Tuesday October 4 and Wednesday the 5th. This will be an exciting week of Baseball.
This week the readings come from the prophet Amos 6:1,4-7; Psalm 146; Paul’s first letter to Timothy 6:11-16; and Luke’s Gospel 16:19-31.
We begin with a strange passage where Amos says that the Lord berates Zion for its complacency. This message could be the exact same today as most people only care about themselves and how they can make things best for them we still are lacking this compassion thing and it is an important thing to have. Paul reminds us that we should be living a virtuous life. In the Gospel we have another parable the Rich man and Lazarus. Now, this isn’t the same Lazarus with Mary and Martha as sisters but a beggar named Lazarus. Lazarus sat covered with sores outside the gate of the rich man’s house, the rich man ate to his heart content and wore the best purple money could buy while Lazarus sat outside hoping for table scraps from the rich man while dogs licked his sores. They both died Lazarus was taken to the bosom of Abraham while the rich man went to the netherworld. The rich man pleads to Father Abraham for help but since the rich man gave no help to Lazarus in life, the same would be done for him. The man then asks if someone could go and tell his brothers about this. Abraham say “They have Moses and the Prophets. Let them listen to them.”
This is important we have the Bible the Books of Moses and the Prophets along with a bunch of stuff written by saints from all ages to guide our way through life. This relates back to the first reading we need to care about more then just ourselves but for the whole human family. I mean just look at the state of things currently we have people complaining about immigrants and refugees as well as the general inequality between people of color and white people along with men and women. We need to all work together to make things better and it shouldn’t take someone to rise from the dead to tell us this. This is the focus of the Year of Mercy declared by Pope Francis, this is still going on right now. Let us all try and act with compassion and justice to everyone that we meet in our lives over the rest of this Jubilee Year.
With the new television show coming out this fall the Atlantic has an interesting article about it and Catholic Literature as well. It notes that in the 70s when the book and film were released Catholicism had a place in the world as opposed to today where skepticism about religion seems to reign. Currently attendance at Mass on Sunday is down and it seems that after Confirmation many young people leave the Church until perhaps they get married and have kids but that might not even happen as it’s more of a cultural Catholicism that exist.
William Blatty considered his book to be “an argument for God … an apostolic work, to help people in their faith” will this be explored in the new series or will it just be a horror show with superficial elements of Catholicism tossed in now and then. Sure it seems likely that the show will be closer to the latter but there are more stories to be told about Catholicism. It is more than just The Story about Jesus and what’s in the Bible. Sure most of the religion we get on TV and in the movies in some basic Christianity, but never goes that far into explaining what type. We’ve got like two great examples of Catholicism on television currently that of the sunny Jane Villanueva on Jane the Virgin and the darker Matt Murdock on Daredevil, lets hope if they go for more of a Daredevil and questions of faith/catholic guilt route in the show.
This is one of the problems that currently exists in the world of television and literature sure there are bound to be several Catholics behind shows and books but where are those days of a Flannery O’Connor who is well regarded as a masterful writer, I can’t name any modern writers who are Catholic that don’t write books that are about faith or saints. We could also take a look at Catholic celebrities and that’s a short list off the top of my head Stephen Colbert, Mark Walburgh, Martin Sheen, and Jim Gaffigan. Would it be good to see more celebrities make a deal about what they believe sure especially with how much the average person can follow their favorite celebs. This might bring about a more robust revival of Catholic characters on television, films and book that are deemed Catholic literature
I read an interesting story about Netflix. It focuses on how there are plans to make half of their content original stuff. Now this is pretty cool news as most of the original Netflix programming is top notch and think about the all the new content that they have coming up (a rumored fifth season of Arrested Development, more Black Mirror, more Marvel shows, The Crown, that Bill Nye show, Lost in Space, MST3K, as well as many others) not to mention all of the movies that they are making and releasing as well. This however might not be the greatest thing as marketwatch points out that this might mean that Netflix will be dropping old TV shows that they have to pay licensing fees on as well as movies. Netflix invented binge watching old television shows are wonderful for this, I’ve watched several shows this way Quantum Leap, Breaking Bad, Twin Peaks and best of all it’s got all types of Star Trek, even the animated series, that I can work my way through. This is the greatest thing about Netflix and hopefully they won’t be dropping some major television shows, but will be adding more of both the original content as well as leased things.
Movies: First up we’ve got the trailer for the new Jennifer Lawrence/Chris Pratt movie Passengers. It is scheduled to be released around Christmas and is a sci-fi romance about two people who are mysteriously woken up from their sleep chambers 90 years before they are scheduled to arrive at their destination. It’s Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt staring so it will have a big audience when it opens and it looks like it will be just them for a majority of the film.
Television: The CW has some good news for fans of the DC Comic Television shows as The CW will be available for free for everyone through the CW App. This is good news as recently The CW announced that they will no longer be on Hulu as they have been in the past but the good news about this is that the latest seasons will be added to Netflix a matter of days after the season ends compared to the months that it currently does.
Election 2016: This is pretty stupid news as we’ve got a story looking at who is to blame for the election and although many would blame Millennials with their support for third-party candidates as a major factor according to this article the real generation to blame is the Baby Boomers who have a strong bond to the Republican party. Next Monday, is the first Presidential debate so hopefully this will do something to change people’s mind of who they should vote for in November.
This is a prayer from Pope Leo XIII, he is best remember as the Rosary Pope and he wrote 11 Encyclicals about the Rosary. This is a prayer that Pope Leo wrote. It is a nice little prayer and is about devotion to Mary. Mary is the mother of us all so this is a great little prayer for us all to pray sometime. The prayer is as follows.
As a little child, I loved you like a mother. Now that I am old, my love for you has grown. Receive me in heaven as one of the blessed, and I will proclaim that I have obtained such a great prize through your patronage.
Elstree 1976 is an interesting Documentary about the lives of some of the lesser known Star Wars actors, It focuses on Paul Blake, Jeremy Bulloch, Garrick Hagon, Anthony Forrest, David Prowse, Angus MacInnes, Pam Rose, Derek Lyons, Laurie Goode and John Chapman and looks at the impact that being in Star Wars had on them. Sure everyone knows Jeremy Bulloch as Boba Fett and David Prowse was Darth Vader but it is interesting to see them without the masks on. The documentary is sort of interesting for the first three quarters of it and it is wonderful that these unrecognized actors from Star Wars are getting a time to shine. It has the built in audience of Star Wars fans and it seems that might be the only audience. It is a clever idea for a film and is something wonderful to come from kickstarter. If you’d like to know a little more about the unknown actors of Star Wars this is a fun film to check out.