There were a couple of cool thing I found on the internet yesterday first off. His Holiness Pope Francis Skyped in a TED talk in it Francis talks about how the only future worth living in is one in which we all work together. It’s basically the message from the parable of the Good Samaritan, we need to look out for each other no matter who they are.
The other interesting thing is a nice article on Huffington Post about Kenan Thompson, from All That, Kenan and Kel, and currently SNL. It offers a unique look at how important Kenan is to the show. Thompson who is currently in his record tying 14th season with SNL and it doesn’t look like will be leaving the show anytime soon. It nice to see a kid grow up doing sketch comedy and be successful at it.
There two news items are on opposite sides of the spectrum, one was widely speculated and the other is a bit unexpected.
Fatima: As we’ve all sort of guessed Jacinta and Francisco Marto, two of the children of Fatima who died a long time ago will be Canonized by Pope Francis when he visits Fatima on May 13. I still sort of feel like we should all be expecting Lucia will be Beatified before the year is over as well, perhaps on October 13?
X-Files: On the other side of things Fox has decided to bring back Mulder and Scully for another ten episodes. The show which last aired the six episode “Event series” in early 2016 will air during the 2017-18 television season. Fans are clamoring for them to bring back the old team of writers with the likes of Vince Gilligan, want William to show up at some point, some redemption for characters and for Chris Carter not to write an episode. We will have to wait and see what all they can bring together but hopefully the 10 episode season will get the right balance of episode types.
I am sure you’ve all heard that this year in the one hundredth year since Our Lady appeared to the three children in Fatima. Later on this year on the thirteenth of May through October we will focus on what all happened at Fatima and talk about the secrets of Fatima as well. In what seen like the least kept secret it has been confirmed by the Vatican that Jacinta and Francisco Marto will be canonized during the Papal visit to Fatima in May. It also seems likely to think that Sister Lucia will be beatified sometime this year, since she is also connected with Fatima. Lucia’s cousins, Jacinta and Francisco will become two of the youngest saints who are not martyrs as they died at nine and ten.
To mark the end of the Year of Mercy Pope Francis has written an Apostolic Letter, in which he reflects on the year and what we should do. Pope Francis begins by saying that mercy need to be apart of our lives, looking at the Gospel story of Jesus and the woman taken in adultery (John 8:1-11) the woman by the Law of Moses should be stoned, but Jesus reminds us the intent of the Law. There is love at the heart of the Law for it is God’s Law and God is love. Pope Francis goes on to the time the woman came and washed the feet of Jesus with her tears and anointed them, Jesus says that “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7:47) It all comes down to forgiveness which is the most visible sign of God’s love and mercy is a concrete action of love.
The letter goes into a what can we do now that the year is over. Francis make an appeal for confession and he says that the provisions made during this Jubliee year for regular priest forgiving Abortion and the faithful in SPPX communities can obtain absolution for their sins will continue. The Pontiff continues “The Jubilee now ends and the Holy Door is closed. But the door of mercy of our heart continues to remain wide open.” Let us all remember that Mercy is available to all of us in all shapes. Pope Francis the names the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time as the World Day of the Poor. If you have some time over this upcoming holiday weekend take a look at this Apostolic Letter. Mercy is distilled down to love, let us all go out into the world filled with love for one another.
NFL on TV: According to Engadget watching NFL RedZone saves fans 35 hours of commercials a season. This is sort of ridiculous as to how many commercials are being aired during an average game. The ads account for a third of what is being broadcast during a game, this added to the fact that football contains according to the Wall Street Journal, about 11 minutes of action. There is some talk about the NFL considering fewer ads but in the age of instant streaming through the likes of Netflix or Hulu where there are no or only a couple of ads per show. I have found myself watching more of the NFL Network’s NFL GameDay Live which is basically RedZone or not even watching another football game on Sunday. The NFL has got to see this dip in people watching football and try to figure out how to make a better experience for people watching at home.
Stranger in a Strange Land: Syfy is working on adapting this book into a new series. Would it be a great show, that really is the main question but it is nice to see Syfy going into the Science Fiction catalogue and finding another book to adapt for the screen as they are already working on adapting Brave New World into a series. If this works it would be a wonderful change for the network which as of late has rested on face off, ghost shows and shows from Canada. Sure Heinlein’s book is a great work but it seem like the one that has the most problems with it, the whole religion and sex aspect might cause some problems with some audiences.
Pope Francis: Four Cardinals have asked Francis to clarify Amoris Laetitia for them specifically Chapter 8. It is interesting to see that even after eight months there are people who are not sure what all was said in this Apostolic Exhortation. Now let us remember that an Exhortation isn’t a doctrinal document and is used to encourage a community to do something. In Amoris Laetita, the focus is on the family as the Synod on the Family had wrapped up and this is the document which summarizes and coalesces the ideas in one place.
This week the readings come from Isaiah 66:18-21; Psalm 117; the Letter to the Hebrews 12:5-7,11-13; and Luke’s Gospel 13:22-30.
The readings focus on salvation this week we begin with Isaiah where we basically have salvation for all people from Tarshish, Put, Lud, Mosoch, Tuba and Javan. If you have a great memory and remember that these names are descendants of Noah congratulations. The Noahic Covenant is still in effect and all people of all nations are in on the deal (that God will not flood the world to destroy everything. The focus shifts in the epistle where we hear that following the Lord isn’t easy as it requires discipline as those who the Lord love he disciplines. Sin is bound to happen but it is better to sin and repent on earth compared to suffering in the afterlife. This idea lead into the Gospel where Luke has Jesus warning us that “some who are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” It a peculiar saying in a world where we care about whoever comes out on top, we’ve spent the past two weeks doing this at the Olympics and in November as those in the US decide between Donny and Hillary. Yet these result really don’t matter as we should care more about the least of our brother and sister than we do about the rich and powerful. As Oscar Romero, Dorothy Day and Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis have pointed toward in Catholic Social Teaching , the poor (the least in the world) are the most important people in the world. We are a church of the poor.
We finish off the Franciscan Crown with the final two Glorious mysteries. These next two (Assumption and Coronation) can be combined or just one of them used. It seems like the Assumption of Mary is the more traditional of the two. After her life on earth was over Mary was taken to heaven, there is some differences as to if she died before hand or if was she put to sleep and then brought to heaven. In a matter of days we will celebrate this feast as well as the Dormition of the Theotokos. Let us all turn to our heavenly mother, Mary this month and reflect on the choices that she made in her life to live closer to the Lord. What would we do if we were in the same situation? Mary said Yes, and most of us hem and haw over what to do. As Pope Francis reminded us at World Youth Day The Lord calls us all by name and wants to be apart of our lives all we need to do is make some room and say “yes” every once in a while to this call.
For the past five or so days young pilgrims from around the world have gathered together in Krakow, Poland. This World Youth Day had added significance as Krakow was where Karol Wojtyla later Pope John Paul II, current Saint John Paul served as Archbishop before he became Pope. World Youth Day is one of the ideas that John Paul developed and this is the thirty-second World Youth Day and the fifteenth global celebration. As every year since 1984 there have been celebration at the diocesan level and about every three years there is a International gathering. The next World Youth Day will be in Panama in 2019. Hopefully the next World Youth Day will take place in like Africa or
On the final day (Sunday) at Mass the Gospel reading was the Zacchaeus story and in his homily Pope Francis talked about how we are all like Zacchaeus. If you have some time read the whole homily. It was what Francis said towards the end that caught my mind, it was what Jesus says to Zacchaeus “Come down, for I must stay with you today.” it isn’t asking to stay it’s Jesus saying I must stay. This is the same message to us all Jesus must stay with us. Pope Francis notes that “The Lord doesn’t want to remain in this beautiful city, or in cherished memories alone. He wants to enter your homes, to dwell in your daily lives: in your studies, your first years of work, your friendships and affections, your hopes and dreams.” At our baptism we are given a special name and the Good Shepherd uses this to calls us to draw nearer to him. Let us all listen for our names and remember that World Youth Day continues tomorrow in our lives at our homes, outside of the “mountaintop experience” of something like a World Youth Day. We can’t be like Peter asking to put us tents to prolong the Transfiguration we should take what we got and bring it into our lives to use.
This week the readings come from Ecclesiastes 1:2, 2:21-23; Psalm 90; Paul’s letter to the Colossians 3:1-5,9-11; and Luke’s Gospel 12:13-21.
We begin with a great quote “Vanities of vanities…everything is vanity” Pope Francis touched upon this in the past saying that we need to not be like soap bubbles showing off how much of a Christian we are, or what priest/bishops we know but we need something in our lives to exist as an individual. If everything is pretension we need some humility in our lives. In Paul’s letter we hear how we must die unto ourselves, pushing aside all earthy things, on our journey to Christ. This is a difficult thing for us to do, just look at the rich man in the parable who tore down his barn and built a bigger one for all his grain only to die that night. It isn’t what we have on earth that makes us special it’s what we await in our afterlife. For we do not know the day or the hour when we will shuffle off this mortal coil. Far to many of us are concerned with things here on earth having the high paying job, a fancy car, or like a gigantic house. However these things as we here from Ecclesiastes mean nothing in the grand scheme of things, the most important part of our lives is the relationships that we make for it is here where we can experience Jesus in our lives. I hope that this week we can all keep those coming home from World Youth Day and everyone else who is traveling in our prayers.
In the first part I sort of went over the first five chapters. Now it’s on to chapters six through nine of Amoris Laetitia.
Chapter six offers some Pastoral Perspective, as we can tell Pope Francis goes through some perspective on the family from that of bishops using the final reports from the synod. It emphasizes that families need to be evangelized and go out and evangelize as well. Sure the training of religious is lacking in understanding the complexities of families face today but training could be better and there is a wealth of knowledge in the oriental tradition (Coptic, Marionite, Ruthenian, Melkite) where there are married clergy. Pope Francis turn to divorce and calls it a evil and hopes that by focusing on the family the Church can prevent the spread of the evil of our times.
The focus of chapter seven is about the education of children. It starts off by saying that parents shouldn’t be that concerned where their children are and how they are doing at all times but rather who they are with. As Pope Francis puts it “obsession is not education.” It goes on talking about how parents are the first teachers of their children. Surprisingly, there is a section focusing on sexual education it needs to be more encompassing then just the biological with an emphasis on ‘safe sex’ it need to be a education for love or mutual self-giving.
Chapter eight is the most talked about section of this exhortation. It begins echoing what Pope Francis said “Let us not forget that the Church’s task is often like that of a field hospital.” This section covers some controversial subjects and the word guiding, discerning and integrating are key. It is best summarized by a paragraph where the faithful in complicated situation should talk with pastors or other lay people “They may not always encounter in them a confirmation of their own ideas or desires, but they will surely receive some light to help them better understand their situation and discover a path to personal growth. I also encourage the Church’s pastors to listen to them with sensitivity and serenity, with a sincere desire to understand their plight and their point of view, in order to help them live better lives and to recognize their proper place in the Church.” (312)
Chapter Nine turns back to marriage and the family. Here we talk about gifts of love small but real gestures that not only lead us closer to each other but also closer to our Father in heaven for as Pope Benedict XVI said blinding ourselves of the world and those around us blinds us to God as well. The final paragraph is necessary reading material for all families “no family drops down from heaven perfectly formed; families need constantly to grow and mature in the ability to love.” This is our never-ending vocation. Pope Francis then concludes with a prayer to the Holy Family.