Monday, October 28, 2019


FEAST OF ST. SIMON AND JUDE


Job, Chapter 37, Verse 24
Therefore people fear him; none can see him, however wise their hearts.

We cannot see God, but we can see His justice which condemns self-righteousness and is good to all; both the evil and the virtuous. Elihu proclaims God’s majesty is revealed in the entire universe and due to this majesty men are fearful.

Who has seen God[1]


The First Letter of John begins: “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.” “No one has ever seen God”? Wait . . . we definitely believe Jesus is God, and lots of people saw Jesus during his lifetime; doesn’t that count? What’s going on? Also John 1:18 (“No one has ever seen God. The only son God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.”) and 1 Timothy 6:16 (“. . . the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, and whom no human being has seen or can see”).

Not even Moses saw God; although he talked to the LORD “face to face” (Deuteronomy 34:10) – meaning in a conversational manner – the Scripture is clear that he didn’t really see God’s face (see Exodus 33:18-23). In addition it took a few centuries for mortal minds to fully wrap around the idea of the Trinity, even though it’s clearly in the Gospels (see, for example, Matthew 28:19). So it’s understandable that they say things that seem a bit askew to modern ears. And yet . . . is there more wisdom to be gleaned here? In Mark we see how Jesus walked on water after the miracle of feeding the five thousand. “But at once he spoke with them, ‘Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!’ He got into the boat with them and the wind died down. They were completely astounded. They had not understood the incident of the loaves. On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.” Christ’s answer of “It is I” is literally translated as “I am,” which points to the divine revelation found – among other places – in Exodus 3:14 (“God replied, ‘I am who am,’ Then he added, ‘This is what you shall tell the Israelites: IAM sent me to you.'”). Look at the last two sentences from Mark: “They had not understood the incident of the loaves. On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.” What did they not understand? Why were their hearts hardened? Simply put, they didn’t understand the signs of Christ’s divinity. Their hearts were hardened to the truth that was before them: That Jesus was God. If you were walking along the street two thousand years ago and saw Jesus, you would not immediately know he was God. You would not “see” him. Similarly, if a nonbeliever saw the Eucharist, he would not “see” Christ, even though we know Scripture and Tradition clearly indicate he is physically there with us during that Sacrament. And even if we believe we are practicing Catholics, in our hearts, are we sure we are “seeing” Christ? About half of American Catholics don’t believe that – during Communion – the bread and wine become the body and blood of Jesus. (I can’t find statistics worldwide, but I suspect there are a large number of Catholics across the globe who don’t understand or accept the doctrine of transubstantiation.) In the Gospel of Mark, we learn of those who saw the truth but didn’t believe, and their hearts were hardened. Let us remain ever vigilant that – through Sacraments, Scripture, prayer, and more – we have ample opportunity to know God. If we fail to do so, the fault is with us.

1376 The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring: "Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation."

1413 By the consecration the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is brought about. Under the consecrated species of bread and wine Christ himself, living and glorious, is present in a true, real, and substantial manner: his Body and his Blood, with his soul and his divinity.


Feast of Saint Simon and Jude[2]

ST. SIMON and St. Jude were probably brothers; the former received the surname Canaanite, to distinguish him from Simon Peter, either because he was a native of Cana, or because of his zeal for Christ (Luke v L 15; Acts i. 13). Judas was surnamed Thaddeus, or Lebbeus, to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot. Both were chosen apostles by Christ, and were constant witnesses of His life and deeds. It is related of them in the Martyrology that the light of faith was communicated to Egypt and other countries of Africa by Simon, and to Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Greater Armenia by Thaddeus. Meeting in Persia, and propagating the Christian faith there by their preaching and miracles, they both gained the crown of martyrdom. There is extant an epistle of St. Jude which the Church has incorporated into the Holy Scriptures. From these two apostles learn to have zeal for the glory of God, for your own salvation and for that of your neighbor.

Prayer.

O God, Who, by means of Thy blessed apostles Simon and Jude, hast granted us to come to the knowledge of Thy name, grant that we may celebrate their eternal glory by making progress in virtue and improve by this celebration.

EPISTLE. Ephes. iv. 7-13.

Brethren: To every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the giving of Christ. Wherefore He saith: Ascending on high He led captivity captive; He gave gifts to men. Now that He ascended, what is it, but because He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended above all the heavens, that He might fill all things. And He gave some apostles, and some prophets, and other some evangelists, and other some pastors and doctors: for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: until we all meet into the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fulness of Christ.

GOSPEL. John xv. 17-25.

At that time Jesus said to His disciples: These things I command you, that you love one another. If the world hate you, know ye that it hath hated Me before you. If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember My word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake: because they know not Him that sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin: but now they have no excuse for their sin. He that hateth Me, hateth My Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no other man hath done, they would not have sin: but now they have both seen and hated both Me and My Father. But that the word may be fulfilled which is written in their law: They hated Me without cause.
Explanation.

From the fact that Christ and His disciples were hated and persecuted by the world the greatest consolation and encouragement may be derived by those who are obliged to suffer mockery, contempt, and persecution because they are not of the world; that is, because they do not follow its foolish principies and sinful customs. But they who, to escape the derision and hatred of the world, side with it, rather than with Christ, may learn to be ashamed of their cowardice and baseness. For as it is an honor to the servant to be treated like his master, so it is a great disgrace to him to be treated better than his master; if, then, the master is pleased to submit to the hatred and persecution of the world, why do his servants refuse to do so? When Christ says that the Jews could not excuse themselves on the ground that they did not know Him, but had hated and persecuted Him when it was easy for them to have known Him by His works, He teaches us that ignorance is not in every case an excuse for sin. Those Christians, therefore, are in the highest degree culpable who, like the Jews, might easily learn what they ought to believe and do, but who fail to do so either through maliciousness or neglect, and accordingly remain in ignorance by their own fault. Acting in this kind of ignorance, they become guilty of sin, and will be justly condemned forever. It is otherwise with men who, without any fault of theirs, hear nothing of Christ or of the true faith, on account of which they are not punishable, but who will be condemned for such sins as they commit against that natural law which is inscribed on the heart of every man.

Saint Simon and Jude[3]


St. Simon is represented in art with a saw, the instrument of his martyrdom. St. Jude's square points him out as an architect of the house of God. St. Paul called himself by this name; and St. Jude, by his Catholic Epistle, has also a special right to be reckoned among our Lord's principal workmen. But our apostle had another nobility, far surpassing all earthly titles: being nephew, by his father Cleophas or Alpheus, to St. Joseph, and legal cousin to the Man-God, Jude was one of those called by their compatriots the brethren of the carpenter's Son. We may gather from St. John's Gospel another precious detail concerning him. In the admirable discourse at the close of the last Supper, our Lord said: "He that loveth Me, shall be loved of My Father: and I will love him and will manifest Myself to him." Then Jude asked Him: "Lord, how is it, that Thou wilt manifest Thyself to us, and not to the world?" And he received from Jesus this reply: "If any one love Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and will make Our abode with him. He that loveth Me not keepeth not My word. And the word which you have heard is not Mine, but the Fathers who sent Me."

St. Jude Patron: Desperate situations; forgotten causes; hospital workers; hospitals; impossible causes; lost causes; diocese of Saint Petersburg, Florida.

St. Simon Patron: Curriers; sawmen; sawyers; tanners.

Charity[4]

Traditional Jews give at least ten percent of their income to charity.
·         Traditional Jewish homes commonly have a pushke, a box for collecting coins for the poor, and coins are routinely placed in the box. Jewish youths are continually going from door to door collecting for various worthy causes.
·         A standard mourner's prayer includes a statement that the mourner will make a donation to charity in memory of the deceased.
·         In many ways, charitable donation has taken the place of animal sacrifice in Jewish life: giving to charity is an almost instinctive Jewish response to express thanks to G-d, to ask forgiveness from G-d, or to request a favor from G-d.
·         According to Jewish tradition, the spiritual benefit of giving to the poor is so great that a beggar actually does the giver a favor by giving a person the opportunity to perform tzedakah.

The Meaning of the Word "Tzedakah"

"Tzedakah" is the Hebrew word for the acts that we call "charity" in English: giving aid, assistance and money to the poor and needy or to other worthy causes.
·         The nature of tzedakah is very different from the idea of charity. The word "charity" suggests benevolence and generosity, a magnanimous act by the wealthy and powerful for the benefit of the poor and needy.
·         The word "tzedakah" is derived from the Hebrew root Tzadei-Dalet-Qof, meaning righteousness, justice or fairness.
·         In Judaism, giving to the poor is not viewed as a generous, magnanimous act; it is simply an act of justice and righteousness, the performance of a duty, giving the poor their due.

The Obligation of Tzedakah

Giving to the poor is an obligation in Judaism, a duty that cannot be forsaken even by those who are themselves in need.

·         Tzedakah is the highest of all commandments, equal to all of them combined, and that a person who does not perform tzedakah is equivalent to an idol worshipper.
·         This is probably hyperbole, but it illustrates the importance of tzedakah in Jewish thought.
·         Tzedakah is one of the three acts that gain us forgiveness from our sins.
·         The High Holiday liturgy repeatedly states that G-d has inscribed a judgment against all who have sinned, but teshuvah (repentance), tefilah (prayer) and tzedakah can alleviate the decree. See Days of Awe.
·         According to Jewish law, we are required to give one-tenth of our income to the poor.
·         This is generally interpreted as one-tenth of our net income after payment of taxes.
·         Taxes themselves do not fulfill our obligation to give tzedakah, even though a significant portion of tax revenues in America and many other countries are used to provide for the poor and needy.
·         Those who are dependent on public assistance or living on the edge of subsistence may give less, but must still give to the extent they are able; however, no person should give so much that he would become a public burden.
·         The obligation to perform tzedakah can be fulfilled by giving money to the poor, to health care institutions, to synagogues or to educational institutions.
·         It can also be fulfilled by supporting your children beyond the age when you are legally required to, or supporting your parents in their old age.
·         The obligation includes giving to both Jews and gentiles; contrary to popular belief, Jews do not just "take care of our own." Quite the contrary, a study reported in the Jewish Journal indicated that Jewish "mega-donors" (who give more than $10 million a year to charity) found that only 6% of their mega-dollars went to specifically Jewish causes.
·         Judaism acknowledges that many people who ask for charity have no genuine need. In fact, the Talmud suggests that this is a good thing: if all people who asked for charity were in genuine need, we would be subject to punishment (from G-d) for refusing anyone who asked.
·         The existence of frauds diminishes our liability for failing to give to all who ask, because we have some legitimate basis for doubting the beggar's sincerity.
·         It is permissible to investigate the legitimacy of a charity before donating to it.
·         We have an obligation to avoid becoming in need of tzedakah.
·         A person should take any work that is available, even if he thinks it is beneath his dignity, to avoid becoming a public charge.
·         However, if a person is truly in need and has no way to obtain money on his own he should not feel embarrassed to accept tzedakah.
·         No person should feel too proud to take money from others.
·         It is considered a transgression to refuse tzedakah. One source says that to make yourself suffer by refusing to accept tzedakah is equivalent to shedding your own blood.

Levels of Tzedakah

Certain kinds of tzedakah are considered more meritorious than others. The Talmud describes these different levels of tzedakah, and Rambam organized them into a list. The levels of charity, from the least meritorious to the most meritorious, are:
  1. Giving begrudgingly
  2. Giving less that you should but giving it cheerfully.
  3. Giving after being asked
  4. Giving before being asked
  5. Giving when you do not know the recipient's identity, but the recipient knows your identity
  6. Giving when you know the recipient's identity, but the recipient doesn't know your identity
  7. Giving when neither party knows the other's identity
  8. Enabling the recipient to become self-reliant
World Hepatitis Day[5]


World Hepatitis Day seeks to raise awareness for the spectrum of Hepatitis diseases. Hepatitis diseases cause inflammation of the liver cells. There are five main types of hepatitis, A, B, C, D and E. It is estimated that around 250 million people worldwide are infected with Hepatitis C and 300 million people are Hepatitis B carriers.

World Hepatitis Day was proclaimed by the World Health Organization. It is celebrated annually on July 28th.

World Hepatitis Day Facts

Hepatitis A is usually transmitted by consuming contaminated food or water or coming into contact with an infected person's feces.

Hepatitis B is a sexually transmitted disease. It is transmitted through exposure to infected blood or body fluids.

Hepatitis B is spread via blood of an infected person.

Hepatitis can also be caused by alcohol and other toxins and infections.

Life Matters: Embryo Research[6]

The Nuremberg Code (1947) was prompted by the horrific and often deadly experimentation on human beings in Nazi concentration camps that came to light during the “Doctors’ Trials” before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals. The main principles of the Nuremberg Code require that experiments involving human subjects cause no unnecessary risk, be undertaken with the full and informed consent of the subjects and must never knowingly cause serious injury or death. Nazi doctors were not the first, nor the last, to perform inhumane and sometimes disabling research on unsuspecting human subjects living in poverty, in prisons, mental health institutions, and orphanages. The Tuskegee syphilis experiments, the Stateville Penitentiary Malaria Study, and the Willowbrook (Long Island) State School experiments—in which children with mental disabilities were intentionally infected with viral hepatitis—are just a few examples of cases in which doctors put the pursuit of knowledge and “cures” ahead of the lives and well-being of individual human beings. The Nuremberg Code inspired other declarations of medical and research ethics. In 1948, the World Medical Association approved a statement addressing the ethics of physicians, the Declaration of Geneva. As originally adopted, it read in part: “I will maintain the utmost respect for human life, from the time of conception; even under threat, I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity.”

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Ask for the Prayers and assistance of the Angels



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