Friday, November 30, 2012

This Sunday at MQP

1st Week of Advent; First Sunday of the Month

Mass times:
Saturday, 5pm
Sunday, 7:30, 9, and 11am; and 5pm.

Blessing of the new Advent Wreath; and blessings for Expectant Parents and December Marriage Anniversaries.

See you at Church.

Also, beginning Sunday, on this blog, the Advent Daily Dose.  Short reflection everyday leading up to Epiphany on January 6.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Holy Hour Tonight

8-9pm in church

Theme: The Eucharist: Reception, Adoration, Imitation

Guided meditation with Father Craig.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Advent Spiritual Reading

Advent begins on Sunday!

In addition to the Daily Dose that will be offered here, I wanted to pass along a few titles I'd recommend for spiritual reading this Advent.

The first is the third and final volume of Pope Benedict's XVI seminal work called Jesus of Nazareth.  The third volume focuses in on the nativity accounts found in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew- very timely for Advent.

Click here for a link to book description.

Edward Sri has a new book out that offers the biblical basis for everything that we do in the Mass. This is a great book and an easy read. If you want to deepen your understanding, appreciation and participation in the Mass, I highly recommend this little gem.

Click here for a link to the book description.

And finally, I found this little gem via a Catholic magazine I subscribe to.  This is a great book that contains short meditations on everything from the nature of God, to prayer, Scripture, and virtue.  The meditations are designed to foster prayer and lead one deeper into the mystery of God and faith. The meditations are very short and this would be a great "page-a-day' kind of book.

Click here for a link to book description.

So, there are some ideas. If I run across anything else, I'll pass it on.

Peace and prayers for you today.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

An End and a Beginning

This brings our Chapter-a-Day journey through the Synoptic Gospels to a close.  We got off track a few times (totally my bad!) but we finished and encountered Jesus in his own Words and allowed Him to speak to us, teach us, and transform us.

At some point, we'll come back and take up John's Gospel. Stay tuned for that.

For now though, Advent is set to begin in a week and we'll, once again, be blessed with the Daily Dose reflections to guide us towards Christmas, and beyond. So, stay tuned for that. That'll start on Sunday, Dec. 2.

Here are some resources if you want to read more about St. Luke and his Gospel.

The Human Face of Jesus: Meditations and Commentary on the Gospel of Luke, by Alfred McBride, O.Praem. (Our Sunday Visitor Press: Huntington, 1992).

Jesus, the Divine Physician: Encountering Christ in the Gospel of Luke, by Christoph Cardinal Schonborn, (Ignatius Press: San Francisco, 2008).

Dear and Glorious Physician: A Novel, by Taylor Caldwell, (Ignatius Press: San Francisco, 2008).

Continue to check back on a daily basis. I've been reading a bit and I've got some book titles to pass along.  It's also time to start reflecting on the Year of Faith that Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed last month.

Lots goin' on!  God is good. Life is good!  

Oh, and go Tigers! And Irish! And Rams!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Luke Chapter 24

This chapter is packed!

We have Luke’s account of the Resurrection in vv. 1-12. Notice the first verse: on the first day of the week- that is, Sunday. The significance here is huge for all sorts of reason. Think back to Genesis, remember the 10 commandments, remember Jesus’s teaching about the Sabbath… this was the only day that Jesus could have Resurrected from the dead- it just makes sense.  We now gather on this day to remember the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, on this the first day of the week. I like to think of it this way: Sunday does not mark the end of the weekend and Mass is not the last thing we do before going back to work or school or whatever. Instead, Sunday is the first day of the week in which we prepare for the week ahead and receive our nourishment from God’s Word and Eucharist as food for the journey as we make our way through the week.

Jesus first appears to a pair of disciples as they make their way to Emmaus (vv. 13-35) and then to the rest of them in a locked room (vv. 36-49). Luke notes that all fo this happens on Sunday afternoon and into the evening.

Some salient points here: notice the emphasis on Jesus “opening up the Scriptures” to the two disciples. Jesus unpacks for them the Old Testament and in doing so makes room for the New Testament that will become, in a way, our bread and butter by way of Scripture. That’s what we strive to do every week when we gather for Mass. We ask the priest to open up the Scripture for us so that may learn from Jesus and apply his teachings and our faith in him to our everyday life.

Jesus then ascends into Heaven at the end of this chapter. He has ascended but will indeed come back: his coming in the Pentecost which is recounted in the Acts of the Apostles in a prefigurment of his second bodily coming at the end of the age. And so we wait, confident in his promises. We remember what he told us, what he promised us and we Hope in those things.

Point for Prayer
Risen Jesus, I hear your first risen word, Peace. I am grateful for this most needed gift of peace. You reconcile me to you, to others, and to myself. As your peace takes more and more possession of me, I will be able to bring that to others. I praise you forever. Amen”(216).

Luke Chapter 23

Chapter 23 includes the trials before Pilate and Herod; his sentencing; and his crucifixion, death and burial.  Again, a lot here- let’s highlight a few points.

Jesus’s questioning of Jesus is no accident. Here Pilate asks Jesus if he is the King of the Jews, and by 38 there is a sign above Jesus on the Cross that reads: This is the King of the Jews.”  Whether Pilate intended or not to make this bold proclamation, that what it is. Pilate is possibly the first person to proclaim Christ as King!  That’s how we can remember this man who otherwise sentenced the Savior of the World to death.

Jesus before Herod is a quizzical sort of exchange (vv. 6-12). Herod sort of represents the Jewish establishment that just couldn’t accept who Jesus was. Herod is often portrayed as sort of this bumbling fool who inherited his power from his father. Herod’s dismissal of Jesus is certainly indicative of the three-year history in which Jesus was constantly being questioned and dismissed by the Jewish establishment. As this point in the story, Herod represents the Jewish establishment’s desire to just make Jesus disappear.

We are familiar with the crowd’s reaction at the false trial and subsequent sentencing of Jesus. The same crowds who shouted “Hosanna” at his entry to Jerusalem are now shouting “Crucify him.” The Jewish establishment did its job by creating a conspiracy and stirring up the crowd against Jesus. And of course, notice the pseudo-stoic way in which Jesus responds. He does refute their cries or their accusations. He does not try to defend himself. He offers himself up willingly, freely. There is nothing left for him to except embrace what has been the Father’s plan since the beginning of Time. While they shout for him to be crucified, they do not realize that the Crucifixion will be the pivot point of Salvation History. By killing the King of Life, they have destroyed Death in an instant.

One last act of mercy before his death: Jesus forgives the thief on his right (vv. 39-43). Even at the moment of his death, Jesus extends his mercy and forgiveness to those who profess faith in him. Tradition holds up for us that the name of this thief crucified with and forgiven by the Lord is Dismas- now St. Dismas.

His death marks the end of one time, and in the chapter, at his Resurrection, we behold the dawning of another. Remember, there is no death, there is only life for those who believe in Him.

Point for Prayer
“Lord Jesus, crucified God, the story of your dying remains the most powerful and heart converting of all meditations. Bring me again and again to the Cross where I may experience your saving graces. May your cross continue to change my values and my attitudes into those that you witnessed so powerfully at Calvary. I rest in your love. Amen” (207).

Click here for daily readings.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Holy Hour Tonight, 11/21


A quiet, peaceful time of prayer in the Presence of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Guided meditation by Father Craig.

A great way to pray before Black Friday.

How 'bout those rhymes?  Booya!

Luke Chapter 22

Chapter 22 begins the Passion of Jesus. The action moves pretty quickly and there’s a lot here. Let’s tag some highlights.

It starts with a meeting among the Jewish establishment to conspire against Jesus (vv. 1-6). The Jews had to stir up the masses to put enough pressure on the Romans to avoid an uprising by crucifying Jesus. We also read here of Judas falling to temptation and betraying Jesus. 

Luke then recounts the event of the Last Supper, a sequence of events with which we are familiar. Remember the significance of the Passover- the Exodus, the Lamb, the Bread, the Wine. The New Exodus if a Passover from Death to Eternal Life. Jesus is the Lamb of God who will be slaughtered on the Cross and whose blood will be spilled for the Redemption of all Humankind. The Bread, the Eucharist, is that which will give life, more than the quail and manna that fell from Heaven during the Exodus. The wine become Blood is that which will mark the New Covenant- that those who eat and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus will live forever and have communion with him.

Even in this sublime action there is classic bickering among the apostles about who is the greatest between them. Jesus quickly puts an end to that discussion. Peter’s denial is foretold. This denial will solidify two things for Peter: his humility and his remarkable dependence on Jesus’s forgiveness.
Jesus sort of gives Judas permission to do what he needs to do in vv. 35-38. The swords represent the great battle that will occur between the forces of good and evil in the coming events, and at the end of time. Jesus, for his part, seems a little frustrated at this point though. Perhaps he is at the time when he wants to accomplish the Father’s will.

We know the rest of this chapter, the events that transpire that lead Jesus to his false trial, torture, crucifixion and death.

By way of prayer, look at vv. 54-62. Notice the way Jesus and Peter interact, especially towards the end of that section. Notice the description of Peter’s sorrow- he wept bitterly. Scholars say that the bitterly connotes a certain sorrow, and guilt and shame that will allow Peter to see his denial, but also accept Jesus’s forgiveness and then he will be prepared to serve Jesus and the Gospel for the rest of his life- even giving his own life for the Gospel. In other words, sometimes, it can be remarkably healthy to “cry” over our sins. It reminds us that we are human, and when we go to Him, he forgives us and empowers us and restores us. Him. Only Him.

Point for Prayer
“Holy Shepherd and Lamb of God, you became more giving and loving the more you suffered. AS the forces of pain closed in on you, trying to fill you with self absorption, you burst through with affection, healing, forgiveness, and love for each person you touched. Fill me with such a divine attitude that I may let your magnificent obsession with love pour out through me to the world. Amen”(199).

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Luke Chapter 21

This chapter has a slight carry over from chapter 20 in the first 4 verses.  In theory those verses belong more to chapter 20 because they are thematically related to the “denunciation of the Scribes” that ends chapter 20.  Notice Jesus teaching about the generosity of the widow, contrasted with the hypocrisy of the Scribes.

The rest of chapter 21 is dedicated to a single theme- the future. More specifically: the Second Coming of the Messiah. There’s a lot going on here, so let’s break it up.

vv. 5-9 – The Destruction of the Temple
vv. 10-19 – Signs & Persecutions
vv. 20-24 – The Destruction of Jerusalem Foretold
vv. 25-28 – The Coming of the Son of Man
vv. 29-33 – The Lesson of the Fig Tree
vv. 34-38 – The Need for Watchfulness/Vigilance

The ancient Jews thought that the coming of the Messiah would be foretold by the destruction of the temple, cosmic events and the defeat of the oppressive Romans. Jesus is using these prophecies in one last attempt to convince the Jews that He is the Messiah but that all those prophecies (found throughout the Old Testament prophetic books) were not meant to be taken literally- like the part about the Messiah being this great powerful military leader who would defeat the Romans in battle. So, Jesus is using the bulk of chapter 21 to try to communicate that the time is now! The Messiah is in their midst if only they would soften their hearts and embrace Jesus as their Savior. He is there to save them not from the oppressive Romans and restore their promised land. He is there to conquer sin and death and take them to the Promised Land of Heaven.

We have entered a time now. We are waiting for the Second Coming of the Messiah which will mark an end of this era. Our hearts are turned to the closing of the chapter where Jesus talks about the need for vigilance and watchfulness. That’s a lesson we can all learn to hear and embrace- you just never know.

Point for Prayer
“Lord Jesus, judge of the living and the dead, I know that you have come into my life in baptism and continue to come to me in the Eucharist an in my life of prayer with you. Remind me that my daily faith commitment and acts of love constitute the best way to prepare both for my own death as well as the endo f the world and the second coming. Amen” (187).