Sunday, May 8, 2021

 

Introduction to 1 Samuel[1]

Welcome to 1 Samuel, the original Game of Thrones (cue awesome theme here). Oh, yes, that's right. As much as you've probably heard that the story of 1 Samuel is about the little guy (David) fighting the big guy (Goliath), that's actually not the whole point of the book. We are here to tell you that the plot of 1 Samuel is really about control of the throne of Israel.

·         Written at about 1000 B.C. by the Deuteronomists, the book starts off with a man named Eli serving as God's priest. But God decides that a young man named Samuel should be in charge, so when Eli eventually dies, Samuel takes over as priest and prophet. Everything's coming up Samuel. Hence the title.

·         The people of Israel decide they need a king, so God makes Samuel appoint a man named Saul, who's kind of the worst. To make a long story short, Saul is a terrible king, so Samuel has to go find someone else.

·         After a long search, Samuel ends up in Bethlehem (way before Jesus was born there), where he meets an adorable young shepherd named David, he anoints David on the spot.

·         Fast-forward a good long while, and the Israelite army is ready to fight the Philistines. Every Israelite soldier is too scared to fight Goliath, the Philistine champion, so David steps forward like a champ. Overly confident, Goliath is defeated by a stone being flung through his skull by David. Boom. Now everyone loves David. Even Saul... sort of. Well, maybe not so much Saul.

·         Now that David has gone from zero to hero, everyone has the David fever except for Saul. He tries to kill David several times out of jealousy for his newfound fame and power. And the Game of Thrones has begun. What follows until the end of 1 Samuel is a series of plot twists, battles, more plot twists, and more battles until (spoiler alert) Saul is killed on the battlefield. 1 Samuel ends on a cliffhanger, but don't worry, as with all good action adventures, there's a sequel.

Political intrigue? Check. Power plays? Check. Epic battles? Check. Seriously, 1 Samuel has all the makings of every awesome R-rated movie or rated Mature TV show to grace the HBO airwaves. And our man David's the star.

So here is the real question: if the book is really about David, why is the book titled Samuel?

Any guesses?

Fine, we'll just tell you. Although the book has got David fever along with the rest of the Israelites, as Prophet-in-Residence, Samuel's there every step of the way. In fact, it's because of Samuel that most of the events transpire. He's the Gandalf to David's Bilbo. The Dumbledore to his Harry. Without the old gray wizard to guide, there is no unexpected journey and adventure. Without Samuel, there is no Game of Thrones for Israel.

Why Should I Care?

Because you loved The Mighty Ducks, Rudy, and Star Wars. Because no one—and we mean no one—has ever said no to a good underdog story, and 1 Samuel is a classic.

Some of our greatest tales are based on the old little-dude-defeats-big-dude plot, and this one is no exception. From his very humble beginnings as a shepherd boy, David has to contend with all kinds of Big Bads every step of the way. See, 1 Samuel is one of the original underdog stories and it's not just about one big foe. David is constantly struggling to be the bigger man, whether it is against Goliath, Saul, or even himself at times.

Think of 1 Samuel as a precursor to all those people-pleasing blockbuster franchises making the big bucks in theaters these days. It's got all the awesome elements that pack people in those seats: violence, romance, power struggles, dashing heroes, and even a soundtrack (David's got a bit of a musical knack).

And yes—it even has a sequel.

 

MAY 9 Sixth Sunday after Easter

MOTHERS DAY

 

1 Samuel, Chapter 4, Verse 20

She was about to die when the women standing around her said to her, “Do not be AFRAID, you have given birth to a son.” Yet she neither answered nor paid any attention.

 

The Ark of the Covenant was the glory of Israel who had by this time had become no better than their neighbors and they worshiped the gods of their neighbors. Additionally, as they descended, they warred with each other rather than the nations opposed to them. The Ark was now considered a powerful talisman in war and when the Israelites bring it into battle with the Philistines it is captured, and the glory of Israel departs. The cause was the corruption of the priestly family of Eli who forgot the way of God. God would call another Priest: Samuel and the house of Eli was brought down.

 

Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall[2]

 

·         The Israelites lose a battle against the Philistine army. The Philistines are a sea people and a superior fighting force. The Israelites rarely stand a chance against them (1-2).

·         The Israelites decide to bring the Ark of the Covenant into the camp with them so they might win the battle the next day. Everyone gets so excited when the Ark makes its way into camp, the echoes of joy reach all the way to the Philistine camp and they become afraid.

·         The next day, the Philistines fight even harder, and they steal the Ark for themselves. So much for that plan, Israelites. Oh, and Hophni and Phinehas die just as prophesied (3-11).

·         A messenger comes to deliver the news of Israel's defeat. Eli, sitting in his place of power on the outer wall, receives the news of the defeat, the loss of the Ark, and the death of his sons.

·         He promptly falls backwards from his seat, breaks his neck, and dies. Little known fact: Humpty Dumpty is based on Eli. Little known fact: that was a lie (14-18).

·         Phinehas' pregnant wife, upon hearing of his demise, goes into labor and gives birth to a son. She is so sad, she names the child Ichabod, which means the glory has departed from Israel. Sorry kid, you're stuck with it (19-22).

 

ON KEEPING THE LORDS DAY HOLY[3] 

CHAPTER II 

DIES CHRISTI 

The Day of the Risen Lord

and of the Gift of the Holy Spirit

The day of Christ-Light

27. This Christocentric vision sheds light upon another symbolism which Christian reflection and pastoral practice ascribed to the Lord's Day. Wise pastoral intuition suggested to the Church the Christianization of the notion of Sunday as "the day of the sun", which was the Roman name for the day and which is retained in some modern languages. This was in order to draw the faithful away from the seduction of cults which worshipped the sun, and to direct the celebration of the day to Christ, humanity's true "sun". Writing to the pagans, Saint Justin uses the language of the time to note that Christians gather together "on the day named after the sun", but for believers the expression had already assumed a new meaning which was unmistakably rooted in the Gospel. Christ is the light of the world, and, in the weekly reckoning of time, the day commemorating his Resurrection is the enduring reflection of the epiphany of his glory. The theme of Sunday as the day illuminated by the triumph of the Risen Christ is also found in the Liturgy of the Hours and is given special emphasis in the Pannichida, the vigil which in the Eastern liturgies prepares for Sunday. From generation to generation as she gathers on this day, the Church makes her own the wonderment of Zechariah as he looked upon Christ, seeing in him the dawn which gives "light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death", and she echoes the joy of Simeon when he takes in his arms the divine Child who has come as the "light to enlighten the Gentiles" (Lk 2:32).

Sixth Sunday after Easter[4]

THIS Sunday is a preparation for the feast of Pentecost. At the Introit of the Mass, the Church sings: “Hear, O Lord, my voice, with which I have cried to Thee, alleluia. My heart hath said to Thee, I have sought Thy face; Thy face, Lord, will I seek; turn not away Thy face from me, alleluia, alleluia. The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall, I fear?

Prayer. O almighty and everlasting God grant us ever to entertain a devout affection towards Thee, and to serve Thy majesty with a sincere heart.

EPISTLE, i. Peter iv. 7-11.

Dearly Beloved: Be prudent, and watch in prayers. But before all things have a constant mutual charity among yourselves; for charity covereth a multitude of sins. Using hospitality one towards another without murmuring. As every man hath received grace, ministering the same to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speaks, let him speak as the words of God. If any man minister, let him do it as of the power which God administereth: that in all things God may be honored through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Practice. The virtues here recommended are excellent preparatives for receiving the Holy Ghost, for nothing makes us more worthy of His grace than temperance, prayer, charity, unity, and hospitality towards our neighbors. Endeavor, therefore, to exercise these virtues, and every day during the following week pray fervently to the Holy Ghost for help in your endeavors.

GOSPEL. John xv. 26, 27; xvi. 1-4.

At that time Jesus said to His disciples: When the Paraclete cometh Whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, Who proceedeth from the Father, He shall give testimony of Me: and you shall give testimony, because you are with Me from the beginning. These things have I spoken to you, that you may not be scandalized. They will put you out of the synagogues: yea, the hour cometh that whosoever killeth you will think that he doth a service to God. And these things will they do to you, because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the hour shall come, you may remember that I told you.

What kind of sin is scandal?

It is a frightful sin. By it countless sins are occasioned, thousands of souls are carried to perdition, while the loving design of God for the salvation of men is frustrated.

How, in general, is scandal given?

By saying, doing, neglecting to do something which becomes the occasion of sin to another.

When do parents give scandal?

When they set a bad example to their children. When they do not correct them for doing wrong, or neglect to keep them from what is bad and to teach them that which is good.

How do employers give scandal?

In much the same way that parents give scandal to their children: when, by bad example or by command, they keep their servants or other employees from divine service, or neglect to make them attend it. When they themselves use, or give to others, flesh-meat on days of abstinence. When they order the commission of sin.

Rogation Sunday

It is only a few weeks since Good Friday when we commemorated the agonizing death of Christ on Mount Calvary. This was an excruciating, shameful death even for hardened criminals who deserved it.

But for our loving Savior, the innocent lamb of God, one who had never offended God or neighbor, it was something of which the whole human race should be ashamed forever. What caused Christ that torment and death on the cross was our sins, the sins of all mankind and not the spite and hatred of his Jewish opponents, who were only instruments in the tragedy. Atonement had to be made to God for the sins of the world, so that men could reach the eternal inheritance which the incarnation made available to them.

However, not all the acts of the entire human race could make a sufficient atonement to God. A sacrifice, an expiation of infinite value was needed. The death of the Son of God in his human nature was alone capable of making such an expiation. That Christ willingly accepted crucifixion for our sakes, that he gave the greatest proof of love which the world has ever known, by laying down his life for his friends, did not make his sufferings any less, did not ease any of the pains of Calvary. His agony in the Garden before his arrest shows this: he foresaw all the tortures and pains which he was to undergo and sweated blood at the thought of what awaited him. But he was to keep his Father's commandment "not my will but thine be done." We Christians must have hearts of stone, hearts devoid of all sense of gratitude, when we forget what Christ has done for us and deliberately offend him! Alas, this is what all of us do sometimes, and many of us do all the time. Christ died to bring us to heaven, but we tell him, by our sins, that he was wasting his time. We do not want to go to heaven, we are making our happiness here! How far can human ingratitude and thanklessness go?

Christ told us, through the disciples on Holy Thursday night, that he had made us his friends, his intimates. We are no longer servants in the household, who merely earn their daily wage and have no intimacy with the family and no hope of ever sharing in the family possessions.

Instead, we have been adopted into the family by Christ becoming man, we have been guaranteed all the rights of children intimacy with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and the future sharing in the eternal happiness of that divine household. Christ's incarnation made us God's children, Christ's death on the cross removed sin. Sin is the one obstacle that could prevent us reaching our eternal inheritance. Because God gave us a free will we can in a moment of folly, a moment of madness really, deprive ourselves of the privileges and possessions which Christ has made available to us. We can choose to exchange an eternity of happiness for a few fleeting years of self-indulgence on earth. We can fling Christ's gift of love back in his face and tell him we don't want it. God forbid that we should ever act like this, that we should ever forget God's purpose in creating us. It is a marvelous thing to be alive, if we have hope in a future life. If nothing awaited us but the grave, then to live on this earth, which is a valley of sorrow and tears for the vast majority, would be the cruelest of jests. But of this we need have no fear. Life on earth is but a short prelude to our real existence. If we use this brief period as Christ has told us how to use it, death for us will be the passage into the eternal mansions. Be grateful to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; love the Blessed Trinity; prove your love by loving your fellowmen. By doing this you are fulfilling the whole law and the prophets; and you are assuring yourself of the place in heaven which Christ has won for you.

Excerpted from The Sunday Readings by Fr. Kevin O'Sullivan, O.F.M.

Mother’s Day

 

In honor of Mother’s Day, here are a few quotes from John Paul II’s apostolic letter On the Dignity of Women (Mulieris Dignitatem) about the unique vocation of motherhood.[5]

 

John Paul II: “Motherhood involves a special communion with the mystery of life, as it develops in the mother’s womb. The mother is filled with wonder at this mystery of life, and ‘understands’ with unique intuition what is happening inside her. In the light of the ‘beginning’, the mother accepts and loves as a person the child she is carrying in her womb. This unique contact with the new human being developing within her gives rise to an attitude towards human beings – not only towards her own child, but every human being – which profoundly marks the woman’s personality.”

 

“Motherhood implies from the beginning a special openness to the new person: and this is precisely the woman’s ‘part’. In this openness, in conceiving and giving birth to a child, the woman ‘discovers herself through a sincere gift of self’.”

 

“Human parenthood is something shared by both the man and the woman. Even if the woman, out of love for her husband, says: ‘I have given you a child’, her words also mean: ‘This is our child’. Although both of them together are parents of their child, the woman’s motherhood constitutes a special ‘part’ in this shared parenthood, and the most demanding part. Parenthood – even though it belongs to both – is realized much more fully in the woman, especially in the prenatal period. It is the woman who ‘pays’ directly for this shared generation, which literally absorbs the energies of her body and soul. It is therefore necessary that the man be fully aware that in their shared program of parenthood he owes a special debt to the woman.”

 

John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem (1988), no. 18


 

Mother's Day Top Events and Things to Do[6]

·         Take mom out to brunch or dinner. Be sure to book in advance as Mother's Day brunches are always very busy.

·         Clean the house for your mother or grandmother.

·         Send mom and grandma flowers. You can either pick them up or deliver them yourself if you are nearby or use one of many online services that ship directly to her door.

·         Give mom a gift she will really appreciate - a day at the spa or a weekend off.

·         A simple phone call to mom will suffice. Let her know that you love her and think about her.

Memorial Day Build Up

 

Every day from now to Memorial Day I ask your prayers for each service and all of our defenders to include police and fire on Memorial Day.

 

US Army[7]



As priest-chaplains of the Archdiocese for the Military Services we invite you to join with us in prayer. In times of joy and difficulty, in times of fear and doubt, in moments of distress and in times of peace, a simple prayer that comes from the heart becomes the place of your encounter with God’s love, mercy and protection.

Prayer for Troops[8]

Let us pray for our brothers and sisters as they go forth with courage and determination to face the forces of violence, weapons of destruction and hearts filled with hate. 

RESPONSE: THROUGH THE DARKNESS BRING US TO THE LIGHT. 

 For our President and Commander-In-Chief, and our political and military leaders that they may tirelessly seek peaceful settlements to international disputes; we pray to the Lord:

Through the Darkness Bring Us to the Light. 

That the Lord may preserve the members of our Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Air Force from all harm; we pray to the Lord:

Through the Darkness Bring Us to the Light. 

That even in war, we may keep clearly before us the defense of all human rights, especially the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; we pray to the Lord:

Through the Darkness Bring Us to the Light. 

That the families, relatives and friends of our military members may be strengthened in this time of concern and anxiety; we pray to the Lord:

Through the Darkness Bring Us to the Light. 

That the Lord may help families with men and women in the armed forces to cope with daily challenges in the absence of their loved ones; we pray to the Lord:

Through the Darkness Bring Us to the Light. 

That our homeland will be preserved from violence and terrorism; we pray to the Lord:

Through the Darkness Bring Us to the Light. 

That the nations of the world will seek to work together in harmony and peace; we pray to the Lord:

Through the Darkness Bring Us to the Light. 

That the hearts of all men and women will be moved to pursue true peace and justice; we pray to the Lord:

Through the Darkness Bring Us to the Light. 

That violence may be overcome by peace; that weapons of destruction be transformed into tools of justice, and hate give way to true charity; we pray to the Lord:

Through the Darkness Bring Us to the Light. 

That we may be grateful for and inspired by those veterans who have given their lives for our country and that we may bravely face the challenges ahead; we pray to the Lord: 

Lord God, Almighty Father, creator of mankind and author of peace, as we are ever mindful of the cost paid for the liberty we possess, we ask you to bless the members of our armed forces. Give them courage, hope and strength. May they ever experience your firm support, gentle love and compassionate healing. Be their power and protector, leading them from darkness to light. To you be all glory, honor and praise, now and forever. Amen.

Real Men ask God what they should do[9]

The special need for more frequent Communion is on the part of the men and the older boys. No man can afford to "keep his religion in his wife's name." The man is by nature the head of the family, and the family usually ends up where he leads. He can't expect his family to continue to live a very vital Catholic life unless he sets the example. As an Army captain can't hole-up in some rear line trench and cry out, "Onward, Christian soldiers!” neither can the husband and father expect his wife and children to do much in the Church Militant if he is a non-combatant, "too proud to fight."

An interesting evidence of the power of example of the adult male in encouraging devout religious practice was had in England during World War II. In a certain Catholic orphanage, the larger boys were refusing to obey the Sisters' directives to approach the Communion rail with folded hands. In the neighborhood of the orphanage was a GI camp whose soldiers soon became heroes to the orphan lads. One day a crowd of the GI's came to Mass in the orphanage and went to Communion, of course with hands devoutly folded as is done in our country. When the orphan boys saw Tex and Bill and Tom properly approaching the Communion rail, the troubles of the Sisters with the boys were over. "Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn in no other way."

Daily Devotions

·         Today in honor of the Holy Trinity do the Divine Office giving your day to God. To honor God REST: no shopping after 6 pm Saturday till Monday. Don’t forget the internet.

·         Manhood of the Master-week 12 day 5

·         Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·         Make reparations to the Holy Face

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Rosary

  

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