We have made it to the third luminous mystery. This is a difficult one since it isn’t a single event that we can point to as “The Proclamation” Jesus does this in various ways notably in the parables. There are a bunch of parables just focusing on the Kingdom of God, the sower, the mustard seed, the pearl of great price, the hidden treasure, the leaven, and the growing seed are all great examples. In most of these the focus is on some small object a seed or yeast or some great treasure that although is small the individual takes all that they have to get the treasure or grows into something much larger. At the Easter Vigil we see this as the Pascal Candle is lit and from that single fire every candle in the church is lit as we pass on the fire up the rows of pews. Sure we all are hoping for the Kingdom to come but perhaps it is here in our small action (works of mercy) that we need to pass on to one another. Let us all keep this in mind as we begin our Lenten journey in about a month.
This week the readings come from Malachi 3:19-20, Psalm 98, Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians 3:7-12 and Luke’s gospel 21:5-19.
Once again we are looking to the end time but today we have the idea of salvation added to it. Malachi warns us that “Lo, the Day is coming” when all of this will end, the Lord will come and Justice will happen the proud and evil doers will be set on fire and those who fear the Lord will arise. Paul touches on this in a way by saying that when they brought the message to Thessalonica they hoped to be models for imitation in how to act and all that jazz. Their message is that the end is coming but we don’t know when, so go about your lives like normal work but try and model our behavior. In Luke we get Jesus echoing the message of Malachi and Paul, the Day is coming and the Lord will come. Sure it won’t be nice nation will rise against nation and you will be persecuted not for who you are but for what you believe in.
This is a great message for this week as it seems about half the United States isn’t pleased with the result of the Election, but we all can deal with it. As we need to be models for the world as Tertullian observed the pagans say “See how those Christians love one another” we need to continue to show this love to more than just those in our parishes but out in the community we should care about how are communities function. Sure there may be those who we don’t care for in the world but we need to be able to show them the same love that we show to our own family and friends. By bringing love out into the world we are working to building the kingdom here on earth.
This week the readings come from the second Book of Maccabees 7:1-2,9-14; Psalm 17; Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians 2:16-3:5; and Luke’s Gospel 20:27-38.
The readings this week all talk about death. We begin in Maccabees with a reflection on Martyrdom all seven brothers face death not with fear but with hope as we all are promised resurrection through Christ Jesus on the last day. This idea continues in the second reading where Paul speaks of this hope with the Lord being our strength and consolation during our lifetime. The Gospel takes the idea of hope and flips it the Sadducees ask Jesus about seven brothers who all married to the same woman after the previous one died and who would be the husband in heaven. Yet Jesus tells them it doesn’t matter “children of this age marry and remarry” but in heaven it won’t matter for as long as the individual believes in God they will not die for we are forever alive in the Lord. This mean that marriage is a contract between people and not between God and the people if you remember it is the husband and wife who are the individuals who preform this sacrament as opposed to all the others. Let us remember this hope that exist in our life knowing that we are all called to another age, like how the ring bearers in Lord of the Rings went to the Undying lands.
We could also take the classic John 3:16 to pull this idea out “For God so love the World that he gave his only Son for whom so ever believes in him will have eternal life” or something to that effect. The Hope that we have in our lives is Eternal life and sure we hope that we will meet the people we knew in this life who have pass before us especially our family and friends but we often forget that they are still alive in our lives through our memories and other individuals. It is a simple idea and I hope that we can reflect upon this during this upcoming week.
This week the readings come from the beginning of Acts 1: 1-11, Psalm 47, Paul’s letter to the Ephesians 1:17-23 or Letter to the Hebrews 9:24-28, 10:19-23; and Luke’s Gospel 24:46-53.
We’ve got options but the main deal this week is the Ascension. If you forget that’s what’s being celebrated this week it’s when Jesus ascends into heaven. We get a double dose of Luke this week, with Acts and the gospel reading. The message of the two men dressed in white is something we need to remember and live by. The men in white ask “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky?” Sure we can remember Jesus but he will be coming back someday but we don’t know when. All too often we live our lives looking up at the sky reacting to events out of our control or just shut down when things aren’t going our way, these angels are reminders to us to not be stuck in our head but to focus on the world around us and what we can do in it so as to make it a better place for Jesus to return to.
The fruit of this mystery is Salvation and Forgiveness.
This is the final Sorrowful Mystery and the fruits are apt. With his death leading us all to salvation as St. Paul says it is through the death of Jesus that leads us to life eternal. This is the turning point in Salvation History we are living in the aftermath of this as we try to build the kingdom here on earth. Forgiveness is another thing that stems from the death of Christ. As we inch closer to the end of the season of Lent if you have the chance to go to Confession by all means go and do it. Let us also take some ownership in building up the kingdom by making the world a better place.
This week the readings come from Deuteronomy 26:4-10, Psalm 91, Paul’s letter to the Romans 10:8-13, and Luke’s Gospel 4:1-13.
These reading lay out Salvation History in a quick review in the Old Testament we get how the Jewish people were in Egypt and then Moses lead them to the promised land this story continues in Paul’s letter with Jesus. In the Gospel we hear about how Jesus himself went out into the desert for 40 days after he was baptized. In the desert he was tempted by the devil. Our lives are a journey through the desert just like the people of Israel longing for the promised land so to do we long to be with Christ in our Eternal reward. Sure the devil is present in this desert but unlike the experience of Jesus it seems that the devil is working in and through many more people and things. We have more than just Moses and Jesus leading the way for us but all the other saints in heaven, as well as those here on Earth like the Popes and Patriarchs across the world. We all are working toward that one place sort of like that Buddhist idea of the bodhisattva, where they are working for the complete enlightenment of the whole world. Let us try to uses this Lenten season to reflect on life in the desert and how we can try and mend the world into a better place, perhaps this can be done through love.
This week the readings come from the prophet Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19; Psalm71; Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians 12:31-13:13 and Luke’s Gospel 4:21-30.
In the readings this week it focuses on the prophet call, we hear in Jeremiah that “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.” This is not only the call of Jeremiah but also a call for us in our own times, The Lord has singled us all out and before we were born to be prophet to all nations. What we need to bring to the world is made clear by Paul while he talks on and on about the power of love. Then we hear from Jesus in the gospel that a prophet can’t do much in their native place so we need to go out from our communities and bring the message of Love out to the world.
Love is a complicated notion in the world today were we are more apt to relate love to the sexual or the mundane “I love this hamburger”, sure in the past I’ve talked about how society has degraded what it mean to love by making it more akin to like. But there are four types of love (agape, eros, philia, and storge) and as Pope Benedict points out in his Encyclical God is Love. Let us all be willing and able to bring all types of love out into the world. In bringing out love to the world we are working toward building the Kingdom of God
The Fruit of the mystery is Trust in God. There is a second part of the fruit which is call to conversion. The first part really doesn’t make much sense to me since isn’t that what we need to do in life trust in the Lord and put ourselves in the God’s hands then the second part isn’t the life of a christian supposed to be one of conversion in that we are continually trying to become better people. These are some easy things to reflect upon are we trusting in the Lord that the things in our lives turn out well. As well as continually trying to make ourselves better, kinder people and the world a better and nicer place
The Fruit of the Mystery of the Visitation is Love of Neighbor.
This is sort of easy to understand. As the it is the second of the Great commandments and it is basically the Golden Rule of ages past. Do unto others as you would have done unto them, or however you want to phrase it is a common thread for all human kind. Both the religious and even the humanists of the world can live by this idea.
It would be awesome if everyone in the world could follow this rule, but this mean everyone and I am sure that some individuals like those in ISIS wouldn’t care for this one bit. If we could all try to love our neighbors a little more it would be a step into building the Kingdom here on earth and this is the mission for all humans.
As we arrive at the final week in the Liturgical year we once again have readings that speak of the end of the world but also about the kingship of Jesus. The first reading comes from the same place as last week the prophet Daniel. Daniel tells us of a dream in which the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven and when he met the Ancient of Days, the Son of man received dominion, glory and kingship. All people will serve him and reign of the Son of man will never end. This is saying that we should have hope that even though we are stuck in our situations in life the Son of man will be our king. Christians have used this as a reference to Jesus, the Jewish people have at least from my reading that it means more like the Children of the most high or like the Chosen People there will be a time when they will be in control of their own lives, Daniel wrote during the captivity in Babylon. So these were words people wanted to hear.
Turning to the second reading we hear from the final book of the Bible, Revelation. This is from the beginning of the book and John writes that it is to the seven churches and from Jesus and the seven spirits. The main part of this reading is the “I am the Alpha and Omega…the one who is and was and is to come” I am the beginning and the end as we enter this final week of the year we are reminded that Jesus is the beginning which we will get in a couple of weeks as John begins his Gospel “The Word was with the Lord and the Word was the Lord” The Word will be made flesh and make its dwelling with us. Here we are reminded that Jesus and his heavenly father will be there for us at all times. Finally in the Gospel of John we hear from the Passion narrative where Pilate asks Jesus “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus replies that sure he is a King but his kingdom doesn’t belong to this world. Let us remind ourselves that Jesus is the King of the Universe and that our mission is to try and build his kingdom here on earth this is the role of all people.