Sunday, September 25, 2022

 


Introduction to Thessalonians

 

When Paul parted from Barnabas at the beginning of what is called his second missionary journey, he chose Silvanus (Silas) as his traveling companion. Soon afterwards he took Timothy along with him. Paul was now clearly at the head of his own missionary band. About A.D. 50, he arrived in Greece for the first time. In making converts in Philippi and, soon afterwards, in Thessalonica, he was beset by persecution from Jews and Gentiles alike. Moving on to Beroea, he was again harassed by enemies from Thessalonica and hurriedly left for Athens. Silvanus and Timothy remained behind for a while. Paul soon sent Timothy back to Thessalonica to strengthen that community in its trials. Timothy and Silvanus finally returned to Paul when he reached Corinth, probably in the early summer of A.D. 51. Timothy’s return with a report on conditions at Thessalonica served as the occasion for Paul’s first letter.

The body of the letter consists of two major parts. The first is a set of three sections of thanksgiving connected by two apologiae (defenses) dealing, respectively, with the missionaries’ previous conduct and their current concerns. Paul’s thankful optimism regarding the Thessalonians’ spiritual welfare is tempered by his insistence on their recognition of the selfless love shown by the missionaries. In an age of itinerant peddlers of new religions, Paul found it necessary to emphasize not only the content of his gospel but also his manner of presenting it, for both attested to God’s grace as freely bestowed and powerfully effected. The second part of the letter is specifically hortatory or parenetic. The superabundant love for which Paul has just prayed is to be shown practically by living out the norms of conduct that he has communicated to them. Specific “imperatives” of Christian life, principles for acting morally, stem from the “indicative” of one’s relationship to God through Christ by the sending of the holy Spirit. Thus, moral conduct is the practical, personal expression of one’s Christian faith, love, and hope. 


SEPTEMBER 25 Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

 

Thessalonians, Chapter 3, Verse 5

5 For this reason, when I too could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for FEAR that somehow the tempter had put you to the test and our toil might come to nothing.

 

Have you ever worked really hard on something, and then had it just amounted to nothing; at times I feel that way with this blog. At those times I am reminded that IT is the tempter is putting me to the test. We must push forward, if we know it is a good work; for it is the Lord’s work not ours and we must be patient we may not see the harvest, but we will receive his grace. 

ON KEEPING THE LORD'S DAY HOLY[1]

My esteemed Brothers in the Episcopate
and the Priesthood,
Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Introduction

3. The fundamental importance of Sunday has been recognized through two thousand years of history and was emphatically restated by the Second Vatican Council: "Every seven days, the Church celebrates the Easter mystery. This is a tradition going back to the Apostles, taking its origin from the actual day of Christ's Resurrection — a day thus appropriately designated 'the Lord's Day'." Paul VI emphasized this importance once more when he approved the new General Roman Calendar and the Universal Norms which regulate the ordering of the Liturgical Year. The coming of the Third Millennium, which calls believers to reflect upon the course of history in the light of Christ, also invites them to rediscover with new intensity the meaning of Sunday: its "mystery", its celebration, its significance for Christian and human life. 

I note with pleasure that in the years since the Council this important theme has prompted not only many interventions by you, dear Brother Bishops, as teachers of the faith, but also different pastoral strategies which — with the support of your clergy — you have developed either individually or jointly. On the threshold of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, it has been my wish to offer you this Apostolic Letter in order to support your pastoral efforts in this vital area. But at the same time I wish to turn to all of you, Christ's faithful, as though I were spiritually present in all the communities in which you gather with your Pastors each Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist and "the Lord's Day". Many of the insights and intuitions which prompt this Apostolic Letter have grown from my episcopal service in Krakow and, since the time when I assumed the ministry of Bishop of Rome and Successor of Peter, in the visits to the Roman parishes which I have made regularly on the Sundays of the different seasons of the Liturgical Year. I see this Letter as continuing the lively exchange which I am always happy to have with the faithful, as I reflect with you on the meaning of Sunday and underline the reasons for living Sunday as truly "the Lord's Day", also in the changing circumstances of our own times. 

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost-Do good works with humility 

IN the Introit of the Mass let us implore, with great confidence, the mercy of God. “Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I have cried to Thee all the day; for Thou, O Lord, art sweet, and mild, and plenteous in mercy, to all that call upon Thee. Bow down Thy ear to me, O Lord, and hear me, for I am needy and poor”. (Ps. Ixxxv.). 

Prayer. May Thy grace, O Lord, ever precede and follow us, and make us ever intent upon good works. 

EPISTLE. Eph. iii. 13-21. 

Brethren: I pray you not to faint at my tribulations for you: which is your glory. For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of Whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened by His Spirit with might unto the inward man, that Christ may dwell by faith in your hearts: that being rooted and founded in charity, you may be able to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth, and length, and height, and depth: to know also the charity of Christ, which surpasseth all knowledge, that you may be filled unto all the fulness of God. Now to Him Who is able to do all things more abundantly than we desire or understand, according to the power that worketh in us: to Him be glory in the Church, and in Christ Jesus, unto all generations, world without end. Amen. 

Explanation. St. Paul was in prison at Rome when he wrote this epistle, and was anxious lest the Ephesians might think that the faith, the proclaimers of which were thus persecuted, was not from God. He therefore exhorts them to remain firm in their belief; assures them that his sufferings would be for their glory if they remained as firm as he: and prays that they may be enlightened to know the love of God that is, what Christ had done and suffered for us. Hence, we learn to ask earnestly of God grace to understand the mysteries of faith. 

Aspiration. O heavenly Father, according to the example of St. Paul, I humbly pray that Thy spirit, Thy knowledge, Thy charity, may be deeply implanted in us, that Thou mayest possess our hearts, and that we, filled with all the fulness of Thy grace, may serve Thee more perfectly, and give Thee thanks forever. 

GOSPEL. Luke xiv. 1-11. 

At that time, when Jesus went into the house of one of the chief of the Pharisees, on the Sabbath-day, to eat bread, they watched Him. And behold there was a certain man before Him that had the dropsy. And Jesus answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying: Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath-day? But they held their peace. But He, taking him, healed him, and sent him away. And answering them, He said: Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fall into a pit, and will not immediately draw him out on the Sabbath day? And they could not answer Him to these things. And He spoke a parable also to them that were invited, marking how they chose the first seats at the table, saying to them: When thou art invited to a wedding, sit not down in the first place, lest perhaps one more honorable than thou be invited by him, and he that inviteth thee and him, come and say to thee: Give this man place: and then thou begin with shame to take the lowest place: but when thou art invited, go sit down in the lowest place: that when he who invited thee cometh, he may say to thee: Friend, go up higher. Then shalt thou have glory before them that sit at the table with thee. Because everyone that exalteth himself shall be humbled: and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. 

Why did the Pharisees watch Jesus so closely? To discover something in Him for which they might censure and accuse Him. How like them are those Christians who watch every step of their neighbors, and particularly of priests, hoping to find something for which to blame them, and represent them as evil persons! 

Who is, spiritually, like the man with the dropsy? The avaricious man; for as a dropsical person is never satisfied with drinking, so the avaricious man never has enough; and like the dropsy, too, avarice is hard to cure, since it grows worse with age, and generally does not leave a man till he comes to the grave. 

Why is avarice reckoned among the seven deadly sins? Because it is the root of many evils; for it leads to usury, theft, the use of false weights and measures, to the retaining of unjustly gotten goods, to the oppression of the poor, of widows and orphans, to the denial and suppression of justice, to apostasy from the faith, and to despair. Hence the Apostle says, “They that will become rich fall into temptation and into the snare of the devil, and into many unprofitable and hurtful desires, which drown men into destruction and perdition” (i.Tim. vi. 9). An efficacious remedy for avarice is the consideration that we are only the stewards, and not the owners of our goods, of which we can take nothing with us at the hour of our death (i. Tim. vi. 7); and that one-day God will require of us a strict account of what we have had. 

Commentary 

"'For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted". 

Jesus reveals His Love by curing the victim of dropsy[4]. Love overcomes all human obstacles. The humble man does not, of course, expose his talents to the contempt of others. But he does recognize that every best gift is from above, loaned not for himself alone, but for his less favored neighbor as well. For this reason, I bend my knees to the Father, exclaims St. Paul, as he reflects on His glorious riches: how Divine love PURGES us by strength through His Spirit, ILLUMINATES us through our faith and then UNITES us in Christ's love. . .unto. . .the fullness of God. Humbly must we recognize the power that is at work in us. 

Rosh Hashanah[2] 

Rosh Hashanah (Hebrew: ראש השנה) is the Jewish New Year.  Rosh Hashanah literally translates to the Head of the Year.  It is a two-day festival.  In the Bible, it is called Yom Ha-Zikkaron, the day of remembrance or Yom Teruah the day of the sounding of the shofar-(Leviticus 23:24-25). Jews start Rosh Hashanah festivals with lighting of the candles and synagogue prayers.  On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, Jews eat an apple dipped in honey to signify a sweet new year to come.  They also place a fish’s head at the table to commemorate 'being a head and not a tail'. 

Rosh Hashanah Facts

·       In synagogues it is common for 100 notes to be sounded with a Ram's horn as a call to repentance.

·       Jews typically wear new clothes on Rosh Hashanah and eat new fruits that have not yet been tasted in the season.  Customary foods include round hallah bread with raisins, pomegranates, pumpkins, carrots, and honey cake.

·       For Rosh Hashana, many Jews 'cast off their sins' to a running water stream/sea containing fish (the Tashlich custom).  This is to symbolically purge one's body of sin and cast the sins onto the fish.

·       On Rosh Hashanah, it is believed that the fate of all Jews and Gentiles is defined by God for that year.  Jews greet each other with many Happy New Year wishes.  It is customary to therefore greet people with a wish for a happy New Year and to 'be inscribed for a good year' - meaning to be allocated by God a full year of healthy life.

·       New Year prayers include many passages relating to the sovereignty and dominion of God over the entire world.  One of these prayers is recited daily and is called Aleinu leshabei'ach (it is our duty to praise God).  However, on Rosh Hashanah, during this prayer, Orthodox Jews bow down to accept the full Sovereignty of the Lord. 

Rosh Hashanah Top Events and Things to Do

·       Send New Year's Greeting Cards to your Jewish friends.

·       Celebrate the Jewish New Year with a Rosh Hashana Concert.  Popular concerts are held in major cities such as New York and London.

·       Attend a local Rosh Hashanah service in a synagogue near you.

St. Michael Helper of the Sick and Dying[3] 

Saint Michael the Archangel was the protector of Israel and is also traditionally known as “The Medicine of God.” Saint Michael as the military captain of the church of God has a great interest in the happenings of his people, their calamities and he does not overlook their calls for his aid. Let us therefore have recourse to him in times of sickness. He will most certainly come to our assistance bringing the healing graces of the Redeeming Blood. Yet, if it is the will of the father that we depart from this world Saint Michael does not abandon us for he is especially our advocate at our hour of death and assists at every deathbed for it is part of his office to receive the souls of the elect on their quitting the flesh. When the last hour of our earthly career draws near, we are confronted by that awful moment when our soul must leave the body which it has loved so much, to pass through the narrow portal of death, satanic hosts like raving lions will make a last attack upon our souls. But we need not fear (but be at peace) if during life we have had devotion to the Precious Blood and have been faithful in venerating St. Michael and imploring his aid. He will cover us with his strong shield and lead us safely through the midst of our enemies.

 

Catechism of the Catholic Church

PART TWO: THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY

SECTION TWO-THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH

CHAPTER FOUR OTHER LITURGICAL CELEBRATIONS

Article 2 CHRISTIAN FUNERALS

1680 All the sacraments, and principally those of Christian initiation, have as their goal the last Passover of the child of God which, through death, leads him into the life of the Kingdom. Then what he confessed in faith and hope will be fulfilled: "I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come."

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.

·       Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Today's Fast: The sanctification of the Church Militant.

·       Religion in the Home for Preschool: September

·       Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

·       Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·       Drops of Christ’s Blood

·       Universal Man Plan

·       Rosary




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