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Ember Saturday

FEAST OF ST. MATTHEW-INTL DAY OF PEACE-OKTOBERFEST

Ephesians, Chapter 4, Verse 1-6
1I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, 3striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: 4 one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Paul is making a plea for unity in the church. Christians have been fashioned through the Spirit into a single harmonious religious community (one body), belonging to a single Lord (in contrast to the many gods of the pagan world), and by one way of salvation through faith, brought out especially by the significance of baptism. But Christian unity is more than adherence to a common belief. It is manifested in the exalted Christ’s gifts to individuals to serve so as to make the community more Christlike. It is here understood of Christ, ascending above all the heavens, the head of the church; through his redemptive death, resurrection, and ascension he has become the source of the church’s spiritual gifts.

Ember Saturday of September-Commemoration of Yom Kippur and the Feast of Tabernacles (both of which occur in the Jewish calendar around this time), two important foreshadowings of the Christ event.[1] 



Feast of Saint Matthew[2]


Put your hope in Christ and not in money, possessions, or position as did the Apostle Matthew.

MATTHEW, also called Levi, a son of Alpheus, and brother of the holy apostle James the Less, was a receiver in the Roman customhouse on Lake Tiberius. Such officers were hated by the Jews for their injustice, and were called publicans, or public sinners. While he was sitting at the receipt of custom, he was called by Christ to be one of His disciples, and immediately leaving his lucrative office and all that he had, followed Him. On account of his distinguished zeal he was afterwards received into the number of the apostles. After the descent of the Holy Ghost he remained in Judea, preached the Gospel, wrote the passion of Our Lord as contained in his gospel, and lived strictly in the fear of God. At a later day he travelled through Persia, Ethiopia, and other countries. At last he was killed at the altar, by command of King Hirtacus, for opposing his marriage with the Princess Iphigenia, who, by St. Matthew’s direction, had vowed to God perpetual virginity. His holy remains were brought to Salerno, Italy in the tenth century. Thus, may great sinners become great saints by following faith fully, like St. Matthew, the voice of God.


At the Introit of the Mass the Church sings: The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak judgment; the laws of God is in his heart.

Prayer. May we be assisted, O Lord, by the prayers of the blessed apostle Matthew, that what of ourselves we are unable to obtain may be given to us by his intercession.

EPISTLE. Ezech. i. 10-14.

The likeness of the face of the four living creatures: the face of a man, and the face of a lion on the right side of all the four: and the face of an ox on the left side of all the four: and the face of an eagle over all the four. And their faces, and their wings were stretched upward: two wings of every one were joined, and two covered their bodies: and every one of them went straight forward: whither the impulse of the spirit was to go, thither they went: and they turned not when they went. And as for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like that of burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps. This was the vision running to and fro in the midst of the living creatures, a bright fire, and lightning going forth from the fire. And the living creatures ran and returned like flashes of lightning.

GOSPEL. Matt. ix. 9-13.

At that time Jesus saw a man sitting in the customhouse, named Matthew: and He saith to him: Follow Me. And he rose up and followed Him. And it came to pass as He was sitting at meat in the house, behold many publicans and sinners came, and sat down with Jesus and His disciples. And the Pharisees seeing it, said to His disciples: “Why doth your master eat with publicans and sinners? But Jesus hearing it, said: They that are in health need not a physician, but they that are ill. Go then and learn what this meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice. For I am not come to call the just, but sinners.

Explanation. This gospel teaches us:

1. That when God calls, we should obey at once, lest, by not giving heed to His voice, lie should
cease to call us, or withdraw from us His grace.

2. To forsake the occasions of sin; as St. Matthew not only left the place where he sinned, but abandoned entirely the very house and office which had led him into sin.

3. That we should not only cease to sin, but, like St. Matthew, should follow Christ in poverty, humility, meekness, patience, if we would enter the kingdom of God.

Prayer. O holy apostle, who hast made ready for us a glorious feast in thy gospel, pray for me that thy gospel may be in truth food for my soul; pray that in it I may devoutly consider the life, virtues, passion and death of Jesus Christ, that I may faithfully follow, in all things, thy words, written by inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and by the operation of the same Spirit may be able to exclaim: How sweet are thy words to my palate! more than honey to my mouth.

St Matthew Facts[3]


·         Tax collectors worked for Rome, and not only did Jews pay Roman taxes to them, the collectors received a percentage for their own profit.  Jews in good standing did not associate with publicans.
·         Once Matthew begins to follow Jesus, he holds a dinner for other tax collectors and sinners (Matthew 9:10).  The Pharisees, the strict Jewish law abiders that were leaders in the community, complained about Jesus, a teacher eating with sinners.  Jesus said, "For I have come to call the not the righteous but the sinners." (Matthew 9:13)
·         Early church writers claim that after Jesus' death and resurrection that Matthew preached Christianity in Persia, Macedonia, and Syria.
·         In the Orthodox Church, tradition says that St. Matthew refused to die even after several attempts.  He was first placed upside down and lit on fire, then sunk in a coffin in the sea overnight.  The ruler of Ethiopia, who tried to kill Matthew, apologized to the apostle and converted to Christianity.
·         St Matthew was one of Jesus' 12 disciples and writer of the Gospel of Matthew.  His feast day is held on September 21 in the Roman Catholic Church and November 16 in the Orthodox faith.

Things to Do[4]

·         Do something for the needy: money for missions, donations of clothing or toys, canned goods drive, etc.
·         Take time to read St. Matthew's Gospel, keeping in mind that St. Matthew depicts the humanity of Christ and emphasizes His physical sufferings. He makes frequent reference to the fulfillment of prophecies because he wrote to Jews and to Jewish Christians.
·         Discuss St. Matthew's call from Christ "Follow me" with your children and how we are all called to belong to the family of God.
·         Pray for people who work for financial institutions.
·         Make Silver Dollar Pancakes, you can use this recipe on Catholic Cuisine's website or one of the suggestions we offer under recipes.

Selichot[5]

Selichot (Hebrew: סליחות) means 'sorry/forgiveness prayers'.  Selichot are recited from the Sunday before the Jewish New Year until the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).  Selichot are aimed for both the individual and communities to atone their sins between man and God.  They are intended for Jews to reflect on their actions of the past year and to refrain from committing the same sins in the next New Year.

Selichot Facts

·      For many Orthodox Jews, Selichot prayers are added to the daily cycle of religious services.  Selichot are recited before normal daily shacharit (morning prayers) service.  They add about 45 minutes to the regular daily service in a typical service.
·      A fundamental part of selichot service is the repeated recitation of the Thirteen Attributes, a list of God's thirteen attributes of mercy that were revealed to Moses after the sin of the golden calf (Ex 34:6-7): Ha-shem [1], Ha-shem [2], God [3], merciful [4], and gracious [5], long-suffering [6], abundant in goodness [7] and truth [8], keeping mercy unto the thousandth generation [9], forgiving iniquity [10] and transgression [11] and sin [12], who cleanses [13].
·      This is the season to begin the process of asking forgiveness for wrongs done to other people.  According to Jewish tradition, God cannot forgive us for sins committed against another person until we have first obtained forgiveness from the person we have wronged.
·      Many of the Selichot prayers are in the form of a main Selichah (forgiveness) prayer and a Pizmon (chorus), which is repeated after each changing Selichah prayer. Some of these Selichot have cantorial music for the Selichah and a repeating tune for the chorus.

Selichot Top Events and Things to Do

·      Consider your position in life and ask God for forgiveness. Use this time to reset your daily habits and think how to change them to the better.
·      Use this period of time to forgive others and as well as ask others for forgiveness. This is often most difficult to do between life partners, parents and children.
·      Many people visit cemeteries at this time, because the awe-inspiring nature of this time makes us reflect on our own life, death, and mortality. Consider visiting the graves of your ancestors, soldiers, or anyone who may have made a positive impact on society.
·      Attend to a Selichot prayer ceremony or watch one on YouTube.  A popular Selichot rendition is by Yitzchak Meir Helfgot.

International Day of Peace[6]


International Day of Peace seeks to promote peace among nations and peoples.  Peace is recognized as both an innate state of being, and a dynamic evolutionary process wherein constructive growth can occur and the children of this and future generations may gain hope for a better world to inherit. International Day of Peace was established by the United Nations in 1981.  In 2002, the United Nations declared it a permanent holiday.   Through education and public awareness events, the UN endeavors to strengthen the ideals of peace among all of the world's inhabitants.  International Day of Peace is observed on September 21st each year.  On this day, the UN urges all hostilities to stop, worldwide.

Inner Peace of Christ[7]


On Dec. 14, 1989, the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released its "Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation." This document, approved by Pope John Paul II, recognizes that some Christians, experiencing a "spiritual restlessness arising from a life subjected to the driving pace of a technologically advanced society," have investigated certain Eastern techniques of prayer, seeking "a path to interior peace and psychic balance." Eastern methods of prayer often depart from Christian principles by "abandoning not only meditation on the salvific works accomplished in history by the God of the Old and New Covenant, but also the very idea of the One and Triune God." Instead, inner peace and union with the Absolute is attained by "immersion 'in the indeterminate abyss of the divinity'"; hence, a person can lose his identity by being "swallowed up" by the Deity. Contemporary Catholics seeking inner peace need not dive headlong into Eastern mysticism. A host of Catholic writers has advocated ways by which spiritual happiness may be realized. One of the best but least recognized guides is Saint Leonard of Port Maurice (1676-1751), a Franciscan friar known for his preaching in defense of the Immaculate Conception. He offered four "rules" to help achieve peace of soul.
1.      To be attached only to God. Status and wealth may be beneficial, but to be overly concerned about them is to invite inner spiritual havoc. The soul's primary need is communication with its Creator. One needs to view objects and persons in reference to God and His will if peace is to reign. To be "dead" to the world and creatures is paramount.
2.      To surrender to Divine Providence. All Catholic spiritual writers are unanimous on this point: Sanctity and inner peace are attained only when God's will holds sway. The Lord knows best. Humbly accepting His will is vastly different from reluctantly putting up with it. When a person yields to the divine plan, he demonstrates a belief that God will sustain him--come what may.
3.      To welcome suffering and hardship. Human nature tends to resist difficulties. Yet, spiritual perfection entails carrying the cross of Jesus. Scorn and rejection from others--while hardly pleasant--must be seen as an opportunity to experience solidarity with the suffering Christ.
4.      To undertake only that which our situation in life demands. Often a person takes upon himself too many activities at once. "The more, the better" does not necessarily apply in the realm of good works. Prudence dictates what one can accomplish. Inner turmoil may spring from a plethora of activities, even when they are morally good acts. Prayer and counsel will determine what to undertake and what to forego.
When thousands are turning to Eastern methods of prayer in search of peace, Catholics should take heed of the advice offered nearly three centuries ago by this Italian preacher. Happiness of soul occurs when a person conforms himself to Christ through acceptance of the Father's will. Only then may one experience the peace which the world cannot give (cf. John 14:27).
Oktoberfest (Sep 21-Oct 6)[8]


Oktoberfest is a 16-day folk festival celebrated in Munich, Bavaria, Germany.  It is also the world’s largest Volksfest, which are German events that combine beer festivals with traveling funfairs.  Oktoberfest first emerged on October 12, 1910 when King Ludwig I married Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. Citizens of Munich celebrated the marriage in fields leading to the city gates.  These fields were named ‘Theresienwiese’ in honor of the Princess.  The wedding celebrations ended on October 17th with horse races and until 1960, horse races were held annually. Eventually, carnivals, amusement rides, food booths, beer tents and parades were all added to the celebrations. Today, Oktoberfest is still held annually at the Theresienwiese fairgrounds in Munich although there are no longer any horse races.  Oktoberfest celebrations have also spread globally, becoming synonymous with beer and German culture. This festival usually starts on the third weekend of September and ends on the first weekend of October.

Oktoberfest Facts

·         According to tradition, beer tents at the Oktoberfest can only sell beer that has been brewed in Munich.  The beer has to adhere to the Bavarian Purity Requirements called Reinheitsgebot.

·         The six breweries allowed at the Oktoberfest include:
1) Augustiner
2) Hacker Pschorr
3) Hofbräu
4) Löwenbräu
5) Paulaner
6) Spaten

·         Since Oktoberfest is still held on the Theresienweise, locals refer to Oktoberfest as Wies'n.
·         Beer served at the Oktoberfest is poured in mugs called Maß.  A Maß is made of clear glass, so that the consumer can see whether the Maß is full or not.  Maß also contains a calibration mark to which beer must be filled and the calibration mark has to amount to 1-liter.  If a Maß is not completely filled, or the calibration mark falls below the true 1-liter position, or if there is no calibration mark, then the seller can be prosecuted for committing fraud.  Verein gegen betrügerisches Einschenken is a Munich-based organization that monitors whether glasses are being completely filled or not.
·         Traditional German clothing for Oktoberfest includes a Sennerhut.  Sennerhut is a woollen hat that may have symbols of a person’s hometown or is embroidered with bright flowers.  For a measure of good luck, some people add goat hair on the hat.  Men traditionally wear Lederhosen, which are leather breeches, while women wear Dirndl.  A dirndl is a dress that consists of a bodice, blouse, skirt and apron.
·         In 2015, 5,900,000 visitors attended Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.  Approximately 7.3 million liters of beer was consumed and the average 1-litre mug of beer cost approximately 10.22 euros ($12).

Oktoberfest Top Events and Things to Do

Attend the real Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.

·         Try traditional Oktoberfest food:
1) Bavarian Brez’n, a soft pretzel that is served with sausage and mustards
2) Sausages including Bratwurst, Weisswurst, or Currywurst
3) Slow roasted ox
4) Rotisserie chicken
5) Schweinshaxe which is a pickled ham served with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes
·         Celebrate Oktoberfest at beer gardens in the United States.  Here are some recommendations:
1) Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
2) Founders Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids, Michigan
3) Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma, California
4) Fremont Brewing Company in Seattle, Washington
5) Draught House Pub & Brewery in Austin, Texas
6) Frankford Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
7) Radegast Hall & Biergarten in Brooklyn, New York
8) Cisco Brewers in Nantucket, Massachusetts
9) Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in San Diego, California
10) Der Biergarten in Atlanta, Georgia
11) Rhein Haus in Seattle, Washington
12) Wurstküche in Los Angeles, California
·         Host an Oktoberfest party.  Try different German beers and Oktoberfest dishes including sausages and soft pretzels and even dress up in traditional Oktoberfest clothing called Tracht, including a dirndl for women and a lederhosen for men.

35 Promises of God[9] cont.

“For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”-Is 54:10

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Battle for the Soul of America-Day 35



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