Introduction to 1 Chronicles
Déjà vu, that strange feeling we sometimes get that we've read something before. That what we're reading now has already been read. In 1 Chronicles, the author decides to retell the entire history of Israel from the first week of creation all the way to the people's return from exile in Babylon in 538 BCE. After all, those really long genealogies from Numbers were so fun, who wouldn't want to hear them again? But seriously, why would anyone want to retell stories from the Bible? Those tales about the prophet Samuel and King David were pretty darn awesome the first time around. If the originals not broke, don't fix it, right? Not quite. See, the author of Chronicles lived about 500 years after the death of King David. A whole lot of distressing stuff had happened since then. Israel had a string of terrible kings, it fractured into two separate countries, and it was nearly annihilated by the big boys from Assyria and Babylon. It was a rough half-millennium.
1 Chronicles is written as the people return to Jerusalem after spending nearly 70 years in exile in Babylon. They're struggling to put their lives back together. Whether they're reestablishing the city, rebuilding the Temple, or renewing their relationship with God, these guys have got a lot on their plates. So, what better time than now to retell a classic and inspiring story about Jerusalem's Golden Age? Think about it. Some of our favorite books and movies are just rehashes of older tales. Easy A is The Scarlet Letter. Ten Things I Hate About You is The Taming of the Shrew. My Fair Lady is Pygmalion. Heck, even Twilight is loosely (very loosely) based on Pride and Prejudice. By telling a story again in a new and different way, you're saying that it's valuable, important, and still has something to teach. Trust us, being timelessly wise is no easy feat. So take a trip down memory lane as we examine the phenomena of déjà vu, that strange feeling we sometimes get that we've read something before. That what we're reading now has already been read.
Why Should I Care?
We all need a hero. It's totally true. People do need heroes. We need them to give us hope, show us the way, and to fight for everything that's good in this crazy world. And no one needed a hero more than the Chronicler and his friends in Jerusalem. They had really been through some stuff. Death. Destruction. War. Exile. But now they've come back to the city they once lost and they're looking to rebuild. Late at night they toss, and they turn and they dream of what they need. They need a hero. That's why the Chronicler decides to write about King David. In his eyes, this ancient king is the ultimate hero. Not only is he unbelievably handsome, he's also incredibly loyal, faithful, humble, and strong. The guy is a kick-butt warrior. A just and fair king. A devoted servant of God. He's the total package. Seriously, the Chronicler loves David so much we're guessing he drew little hearts around his name every time he wrote it. Of course, this isn't the first time King David's heroic story has been told. But their portrayal of him is a little more, um, complicated. Do you remember the time David's own son tried to usurp his throne? Or that other time when he slept with a married woman, got her pregnant, and then had her husband killed so he could marry her? Well, none of that is in 1 Chronicles. It's not that the author is trying to hide all this stuff from us (he knows his readers already have all the dirt on David and Bathsheba). But he also knows his people need a story that will uplift them and give them hope for the hard work that's ahead. No one wants to read about an angry, brooding Superman who's struggling to find his place in this world. They need a handsome, confident Christopher Reeve-style Superman who fights for truth, justice, and the Yahweh way.
We all long for strong leaders who'll protect us from our enemies, unify the country and really care about us. Every four years, a few people try to convince us that they're exactly what we're looking for and that God's on their side. We can read about King David and think, "if only…" OTOH (on the other hand), we realize that, as much as we'd like to worship our leaders, there's no perfect leader, that running a country is way more complicated than invading foreign countries, citing Scripture, and handing out free food. We can relate to the author of Chronicles because we're willing to overlook a lot of moral failings and personal shenanigans in a charismatic political leader who makes us feel good about our country. Could the David of 1 Chronicles get elected today? We report. You decide.
JUNE 15 Tuesday in the Octave of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
APPARITION OF ST. MICHAEL-ELDER ABUSE DAY
David was AFRAID of God that day, and he said, “How can I bring in the ark of God to me?”
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him, upon those who hope for his kindness, to deliver them from death and preserve them in spite of famine.
David was afraid because he had just witnessed Uzzah being struck dead because he touched the Ark, the supreme object of Israelite liturgical worship as prohibited in the Torah. (2 Sam. 6:7)
Stand in Awe
It is obviously no surprise that liberal Catholics have traditionally placed a low value on the quality of liturgical celebrations; I say not on liturgy itself, because progressive Catholics think liturgy is extremely important - that is, so long as it is an anthropocentric, horizontal affair. It is not liturgy per se they disparage, but liturgy done well - that is, liturgy that is transcendent and centered on the dignified worship of God. "Why be so finicky about the liturgy?" they say. "There are more important issues to get upset about! Issues like poverty, war, abortion and social justice! Why get all worked up about liturgical reform? It is just a matter of aesthetics anyhow!" Unfortunately, it is also common for more conservative Catholics to hold a dismissive attitude towards the liturgy as well, adopting a minimalist approach that the externals of liturgical action are "mere" externals, that they can be discarded or changed without consequence, that all that matters is having a valid Eucharist, etc. Similarly, the charismatic movement tends to foster an attitude of undue familiarity and casualness in the presence of the Lord. All of these are deficient approaches to the Sacred Liturgy which do not fully respect the importance of this holy action. Care of the poor is certainly important. Economic and social justice are important. But while the aforementioned topics are certainly worthy of attention, liturgy takes a special place because in the Divine Liturgy we worship God Himself. Remember when Judas was indignant with Mary of Bethany for anointing the feet of Jesus? "Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" Jesus said, "Let her alone...the poor you have with you always, but you do not always have me" (John 12:5,7). When we adore and worship Jesus, we are performing a supremely important action; in fact, it is the action we were created to do. How important is liturgy in the larger scheme of things? One way of telling how important something is to God is seeing how many people He has struck dead over it. We don't mean to be facetious; consider the following facts: God did not strike Adam dead when he committed the first sin, nor did He smite Cain for murder. He did not smite Noah for drunkenness, nor did He kill Joseph's brothers for selling him into slavery. Aaron was not even smitten for making the golden calf and David was not struck down for his adulterous and murderous affair with Bathsheba. Even wicked Manasseh of Judah was not killed by God when he sacrificed babies to Moloch in the Valley of Hinnom. Yet, Scripture is replete with examples of persons who were struck dead in wrath for violating the dignity surrounding the Hebrew liturgy and the ceremonial worship of God.
The Bible furnishes us with the following examples of people who were smitten by God in divine anger:
Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, are consumed
by divine flame for offering unholy fire before the Lord, fire "such as
the Lord had not commanded them" (Lev. 10:1-3).
A man is put to death under God's Law for not
honoring the day of rest by picking up sticks (Num. 15:32-36). The day of rest
was supposed to be the day on which God was worshipped.
Korah, Dathan Abiram and their party are
consumed by fire and swallowed up into the earth because they sought to usurp
the priestly role of Aaron. Their heresy was that they asserted that "all
the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them"
Hophni and Phineas, the two wicked sons of Eli
the High Priest are marked out for death by God because they partook of
consecrated meat from the offerings made to the Lord at the Tent of Meeting (1
King Saul offers a sacrifice because the priest
Samuel is late in arriving for the ceremony. As a result, God rejects him from
being King, he becomes tormented by evil spirits and is slain on Mount Gilboa
(1 Sam. 13:8-14).
Seventy men of Beth-Shemesh were struck dead by
God for looking into the Ark (1 Sam. 6:12). As lay people and non-Levites, the
touching of the sacred object of the Hebrew liturgy and sign of God's presence
was a profanation.
King Uzziah of Judah is smitten with leprosy
"to the day of his death" for trying to offer incense in the Holy
Temple in violation of the law permitting only priests and Levites from doing
so (2 Chr. 26:16-21).
King Belshazzar of Babylon arouses the wrath of
God by using Israelite liturgical vessels for profane uses (Dan. 5). He is
slain and his kingdom is lost.
· St. Paul warns the Corinthians that improper reception of the Holy Eucharist is a profanation of Christ's Body and can lead to death (I Cor. 11:27-33).
Judging by all of these examples, it would seem that God's wrath was more provoked by Korah and Dathan usurping the priestly role of Moses than by Manasseh slaughtering infants. We know from Scripture that Manasseh was taken into captivity, had time to repent, and indeed did repent of his wickedness. But we know that Uzzah, Dathan, Korah, Nadab and all the rest on this list were slain immediately without time for afterthought or repentance. All of the people on this list died because they violated Old Testament prescriptions regarding the proper worship of God in one way or another. In all of our good deeds, we serve God in our brothers and sisters, but in the liturgy, we come into contact with God Himself, which gives opportunity for greater blessing, but also increases the condemnation of those who participate in it unworthily or profane it.
Therefore, let anybody who is tempted to think that the proper worship of God is not important (supremely important!), that it does not matter whether we use Gregorian Chant or guitars and bongos in Mass, that accurate liturgical translations are not vital, that God is not outraged by Clown Masses, Guitar Masses and all the rest of the abominations we hear about, that there is no difference between the Traditional Latin Mass and the nonsense at your typical liberal parish, let them remember St. Paul's admonition in the epistle to the Hebrews:
"A man who has violated the Law of Moses dies without mercy at the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the man who has spurned the Son of God and profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of Grace. For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge His people." It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Heb. 10:28-31).
Veneremur Cernui – Down in Adoration Falling
of The Most
Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix,
to Priests, Deacons, Religious and the Lay Faithful of the Diocese of Phoenix
on the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist
My beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Loving and Adoring the Eucharistic Lord
V. Brother priests, make the Eucharist the source of all your priestly fruitfulness.
92. Holy Thursday is the day in which Christ instituted the inseparable Sacraments of the Eucharist and Holy Orders. As the Church has reminded us in countless ways, Holy Orders, in particular the Priesthood, is ordered to the Eucharist. For this reason, I offer this Exhortation on Holy Thursday, not only to all the faithful, but in a special way to my brother priests.
93. From where does true priestly fruitfulness spring? Saint John Paul II was a priest who bore much fruit in his over fifty years of priestly ministry: his teaching, preaching, missionary trips, social and political impact, and wise shepherding the Church through many challenges, to name but a few. But his priestly “success” wasn’t the result of his own natural talents or unaided work ethic. In a teleconference, he once shared with the young people of Los Angeles that it was his daily closeness to the Eucharistic mystery from which everything flowed. “I am deeply grateful to God for my vocation to the priesthood. Nothing means more to me or gives me greater joy than to celebrate Mass each day and to serve God’s people in the Church. That has been true ever since the day of my ordination as a priest. Nothing has ever changed it, not even becoming Pope” (September 15, 1987). Despite the almost unimaginable demands of his schedule, he knelt before the Eucharist in private prayer each day.
94. When a priest makes time each day simply to be in the presence of the Eucharistic Christ, he is tapping into the deepest source of his priesthood: Jesus himself. Even when prayer seems dry or challenging, this time “wasted” with the Lord becomes the taproot for pastoral charity. How the Lord’s words to His chosen Apostles at the Last Supper penetrate the heart of us priests when we feel discouraged, alone, or a failure: “Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit” (Jn 15:5). When we priests have the courage to spend daily time in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, we find ourselves surprised and even overwhelmed, again and again, in the great mystery that He is truly and personally with us, that He is bringing life and fruit through even our most painful experiences, and that before He desires us to work, He wants to be with us like a father, brother, and friend.
To be continued…
It is evident from Holy Scripture that God is pleased to make frequent use of the ministry of the heavenly spirits in the dispensations of His providence in this world. The Angels are all pure spirits; by a property of their nature, they are immortal, as is every spirit. They have the power of moving or conveying themselves at will from place to place, and such is their activity that it is not easy for us to conceive of it. Among the holy Archangels, Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are particularly distinguished in the Scriptures. Saint Michael, whose name means Who is like unto God? is the prince of the faithful Angels who opposed Lucifer and his followers in their revolt against God. Since the devil is the sworn enemy of God’s holy Church, Saint Michael is given to it by God as its special protector against the demon’s assaults and stratagems.
Various apparitions of this powerful Angel have proved the protection of Saint Michael over the Church. We may mention his apparition in Rome, where Saint Gregory the Great saw him in the air sheathing his sword, to signal the cessation of a pestilence and the appeasement of God’s wrath. Another apparition to Saint Ausbert, bishop of Avranches in France, led to the construction of Mont-Saint-Michel in the sea, a famous pilgrimage site. May 8th, however, is destined to recall another no less marvelous apparition, occurring near Monte Gargano in the Kingdom of Naples. In the year 492 a man named Gargan was pasturing his large herds in the countryside. One day a bull fled to the mountain, where it could not be found. When its refuge in a cave was discovered, an arrow was shot into the cave, but the arrow returned to wound the one who had sent it. Faced with this mysterious occurrence, the persons concerned decided to consult the bishop of the region. He ordered three days of fasting and prayers. After three days, the Archangel Michael appeared to the bishop and declared that the cavern where the bull had taken refuge was under his protection, and that God wanted it to be consecrated under his name and in honor of all the Holy Angels. Accompanied by his clergy and people, the pontiff went to that cavern, which he found already disposed in the form of a church. The divine mysteries were celebrated there, and there arose in this same place a magnificent temple where the divine Power has wrought great miracles. To thank God’s adorable goodness for the protection of the holy Archangel, the effect of His merciful Providence, this feast day was instituted by the Church in his honor. It is said of this special guardian and protector of the Church that, during the final persecution of Antichrist, he will powerfully defend it: “At that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince who protects the children of thy people.”
· Make reparations to the Holy Face-Tuesday Devotion
· Pray Day 1 of the Novena for our Pope and Bishops
· Tuesday: Litany of St. Michael the Archangel
· Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus
· Drops of Christ’s Blood
· Universal Man Plan
· Pray for our nation.
Elder Abuse Awareness Day
The abuse of the elderly is a serious issue and something that this day aims to raise much-needed awareness of. The elderly should be given support and protection all year round, and today ensures their plight is not ignored. Financial, emotional, or physical abuse and neglect can be a real everyday issue for some elders in the world – in fact, it is estimated that around 500,000 elders in the UK alone are being subjected to abuse today. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day encourages us to make steps towards a world where elder abuse is no longer an issue, by raising awareness and providing resources and information to help the battle against it.
The History of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
The United Nations General Assembly designated June 15th as World Elder Abuse Awareness day in its 66/127 resolution. It is meant to be a day in which the entire world voices its opposition to any form of abuse of the older generation. The amount of older people in the world is growing, and will continue to do so – in fact, pretty much all countries in the world are expecting considerable growth in the number of elderly residents between 2015 and 2030. Despite it being an accepted issue across the world and the subject of much opposition, elder abuse is one of the least investigated types of violence and it does not get addressed in national action plans as frequently as many other key social issues. Those of advanced age have a full right to being treated with dignity and respect, and to live a life free of any abuse, exploitation or neglect. Today seeks to ensure that as few elderly people as possible are subjected to homelessness, bad health, hunger, and poverty.
How to Observe World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
There are a number of ways you can help fundraise for the cause of this day if you so wish. You can also donate to charities which support the elderly and their well-being. Perhaps today you could play your part by volunteering somewhere which ensures the happiness of the elderly, such as in a retirement home. You could also visit an elderly relative and spend some time chatting or having a cup of tea. Be sure to spread the word by posting about the day on your social media accounts.