Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time - Doing the Sunday Thing  

Posted by siouxbhoney

I am trying something new for Sundays. I don't want to talk about what I think that the readings mean, because our priests and pastors and preachers are taking care of that today, so I'm just posting the readings and the footnotes with some links

On the day of 24 August

The feast of Saint Bartholomew, Apostle, who, believed by many to be the same as Nathaniel, sprang from Cana in Galilee, was led to Christ Jesus by Philip near the Jordan, after which the Lord called him to follow him and reckoned him among the Twelve; according to tradition, after the Ascension of the Lord he preached the Gospel in India where he was crowned with martyrdom.

**Saint/Feast of the day segment copied from the USCCB page.

Thus says the LORD to Shebna, master of the palace:“I will thrust you from your office and pull you down from your station. On that day I will summon my servant Eliakim, son of Hilkiah; I will clothe him with your robe,and gird him with your sash,and give over to him your authority. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. I will place the key of the House of David on Eliakim’s shoulder; when he opens, no one shall shut when he shuts, no one shall open. I will fix him like a peg in a sure spot,to be a place of honor for his family.”

[20] Eliakim: also referred to in Isaiah 36:3; he is described as loyal to God.
[22] Key: symbol of authority; cf
Matthew 16:19; Rev 3:7.
[24-25] If Eliakim should anger God, he and his family (compared here to dishes, bowls and jugs) will suffer disaster

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor? Or who has given the Lord any thing that he may be repaid? For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

[33-36] This final reflection celebrates the wisdom of God's plan of salvation. As Paul has indicated throughout these chapters, both Jew and Gentile, despite the religious recalcitrance of each, have received the gift of faith. The methods used by God in making this outreach to the world stagger human comprehension but are at the same time a dazzling invitation to abiding faith.
[34] The citation is from the Greek text of
Isaiah 40:13. Paul does not explicitly mention Isaiah in this verse, nor Job in 11:35.
[35] Paul quotes from an old Greek version of Jb 41, 3a, which differs from the Hebrew text (
Job 41:11a).

Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and he asked his disciples,“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply,“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply,“Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church,and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

[13-20] The Marcan confession of Jesus as Messiah, made by Peter as spokesman for the other disciples (Mark 8:27-29; cf also Luke 9:18-20), is modified significantly here. The confession is of Jesus both as Messiah and as Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16). Jesus' response, drawn principally from material peculiar to Matthew, attributes the confession to a divine revelation granted to Peter alone (Matthew 16:17) and makes him the rock on which Jesus will build his church (Matthew 16:18) and the disciple whose authority in the church on earth will be confirmed in heaven, i.e., by God (Matthew 16:19).
[13] Caesarea Philippi: situated about twenty miles north of the Sea of Galilee in the territory ruled by Philip, a son of Herod the Great, tetrarch from 4 B.C. until his death in A.D. 34 (see the note on
Matthew 14:1). He rebuilt the town of Paneas, naming it Caesarea in honor of the emperor, and Philippi ("of Philip") to distinguish it from the seaport in Samaria that was also called Caesarea. Who do people say that the Son of Man is?: although the question differs from the Marcan parallel (Mark 8:27: "Who . . . that I am?"), the meaning is the same, for Jesus here refers to himself as the Son of Man (cf Matthew 16:15).
[14] John the Baptist: see
Matthew 14:2. Elijah: cf Malachi 3:23-24; Sirach 48:10; and see the note on Matthew 3:4. Jeremiah: an addition of Matthew to the Marcan source.
[16] The Son of the living God: see
Matthew 2:15; 3:17. The addition of this exalted title to the Marcan confession eliminates whatever ambiguity was attached to the title Messiah. This, among other things, supports the view proposed by many scholars that Matthew has here combined his source's confession with a post-resurrectional confession of faith in Jesus as Son of the living God that belonged to the appearance of the risen Jesus to Peter; cf 1 Cor 15:5; Luke 24:34.
[17] Flesh and blood: a Semitic expression for human beings, especially in their weakness. Has not revealed this . . . but my heavenly Father: that Peter's faith is spoken of as coming not through human means but through a revelation from God is similar to Paul's description of his recognition of who Jesus was; see
Gal 1:15-16, ". . . when he [God] . . . was pleased to reveal his Son to me. . . ."
[18] You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church: the Aramaic word kepa - meaning rock and transliterated into Greek as Kephas is the name by which Peter is called in the Pauline letters (
1 Cor 1:12; 3:22; 9:5; 15:4; Gal 1:18; 2:9, 11, 14) except in Gal 2:7-8 ("Peter"). It is translated as Petros ("Peter") in John 1:42. The presumed original Aramaic of Jesus' statement would have been, in English, "You are the Rock (Kepa) and upon this rock (kepa) I will build my church." The Greek text probably means the same, for the difference in gender between the masculine noun petros, the disciple's new name, and the feminine noun petra (rock) may be due simply to the unsuitability of using a feminine noun as the proper name of a male. Although the two words were generally used with slightly different nuances, they were also used interchangeably with the same meaning, "rock." Church: this word (Greek ekklesia) occurs in the gospels only here and in Matthew 18:17 (twice). There are several possibilities for an Aramaic original. Jesus' church means the community that he will gather and that, like a building, will have Peter as its solid foundation. That function of Peter consists in his being witness to Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of the living God. The gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it: the netherworld (Greek Hades, the abode of the dead) is conceived of as a walled city whose gates will not close in upon the church of Jesus, i.e., it will not be overcome by the power of death.
[19] The keys to the kingdom of heaven: the image of the keys is probably drawn from
Isaiah 22:15-25 where Eliakim, who succeeds Shebnah as master of the palace, is given "the key of the house of David," which he authoritatively "opens" and "shuts" (Isaiah 22:22). Whatever you bind . . . loosed in heaven: there are many instances in rabbinic literature of the binding-loosing imagery. Of the several meanings given there to the metaphor, two are of special importance here: the giving of authoritative teaching, and the lifting or imposing of the ban of excommunication. It is disputed whether the image of the keys and that of binding and loosing are different metaphors meaning the same thing. In any case, the promise of the keys is given to Peter alone. In Matthew 18:18 all the disciples are given the power of binding and loosing, but the context of that verse suggests that there the power of excommunication alone is intended. That the keys are those to the kingdom of heaven and that Peter's exercise of authority in the church on earth will be confirmed in heaven show an intimate connection between, but not an identification of, the church and the kingdom of heaven.
[20] Cf
Mark 8:30. Matthew makes explicit that the prohibition has to do with speaking of Jesus as the Messiah; see the note on Mark 8:27-30.

On the day of 23 August
Of Saint Rose, virgin, who, already given to uncommon austerities in girlhood, received the habit of the Sisters of the Third Order of Preachers regular at Lima in Peru, gave herself over to penance and prayer; and ardent in zeal for the salvation of sinners and of the Indian people for whom she desired to give her life, she subjected herself to all manner of torments that they might become rich in Christ. Her death occurred on the twenty-fourth day of August.

This is considered a true likeness of St. Rose painted after her death.

**Saint/Feast of the day segment copied from the USCCB page.

Reading 1: Ezekiel 43:1-7ab

When God says, "Son of man, this is where my throne shall be,this is where I will set the soles of my feet;here I will dwell among the children of Israel forever." , is he talking about the temple in Israel, or is he talking about any building that we choose for him, like every time we build a church? In other words, is this why we call every church "God's House"?

I do love these prophetic visions, though, with God swooping in from the east and angels and Ezekiel falling down on his face with the glory of it all. I almost don't even care what it means, the description is so lovely.

Gospel: Matthew 23:1-12

There are a couple of themes in this one that I'd like to talk about:

  • First, Matthew 23: 1-7 covers that our religious leaders may sometimes be less than perfect. I don't know how many people I know who have been driven away from God by a preacher, priest, or youth minister who said one thing and did another. Basically, Jesus tells us to shore up against this. It's kinda par for the course when you are dealing with humans. Just listen to the words, and follow those, he says.

  • Second, these particular set of verses, Matthew 23:8-10: As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Christ. I have heard this set of verses used a lot against the Catholic Church. So I checked the footnotes, and even though it doesn't answer any questions for me, I'll bring them on over for you: These verses, warning against the use of various titles, are addressed to the disciples alone. While only the title "Rabbi' has been said to be used in addressing the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23:7), the implication is that Father and "Master' also were. The prohibition of these titles to the disciples suggests that their use was present in Matthew's church. The Matthean Jesus forbids not only the titles but the spirit of superiority and pride that is shown by their acceptance. Whoever exalts . . . will be exalted: cf Luke 14:11. So, I remain confused.

  • Last, this passage again directs us to a spirit of servitude. Maybe this is all that we are supposed to be taking from this: As Christians, we should embrace a spirit of servitude.

Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary  

Posted by siouxbhoney

On the day of 22 August
The commemoration of the Virgin Mary as Queen, who bore the Son of God, the prince of peace whose reign will have no end, and is hailed as Queen of heaven and Mother of mercy by the Christian people.

**Saint/Feast of the day segment copied from the USCCB page.

"The Blessed Virgin Mary should be called Queen...because God has willed her to have an exceptional role in the work of our eternal salvation." --Pope Pius XII

Reading 1: Ezekiel 37:1-14

Reading this now and hearing it in the time that Ezekiel was prophesying are hugely different things. At the time, people were just thinking about the restoration of their homeland. Maybe they were thinking a little bit about the resurrection of the body, but I don't know if that idea had entered into the Jewish religion yet. My footnotes assure me that "This vision is a prediction of the restoration of Israel under the figure of a resurrection from the dead; it is not concerned with the doctrine of resurrection itself. " Even so, even if it is not concerned with the doctrine of resurrection, it certainly brings it to mind for the modern reader. I'm convinced that it intends to makes me think about the resurrection and restoration of spirit and mind that God can make occur in anyone who prays and asks for it.

I read a story once about my patron saint, Zita. When she was a little girl, apparently the only discipline and direction that she needed from her mother was the reminder of what God would want her to do. For example if she was bad, her mother would tell her "this would make God unhappy." If she was good, "This will make God happy." This reading always makes me think about this. Jesus is asking us to consider God before anything else. Zita makes it look easy.

Memorial of Saint Pius X, pope  

Posted by siouxbhoney

On the day of 21 August
The commemoration of Saint Pope Pius X, a priest with care of a parish, bishop of Mantua, then Patriarch of Venice, finally elected Roman Pontiff, who took as his motto of governance "to re-establish all things in Christ," which he fulfilled with simplicity, poverty and strength of spirit, building up Christian faith among the faithful through participation in the Eucharist, the grandeur of sacred Liturgy, and integrity of doctrine.

**Saint/Feast of the day segment copied from the USCCB page.

This seems pretty straightforward to me. God is telling his people that everything will be alright. He will deliver them from bondage. It seems kind of implied to me that he did it before, he'll do it again. There is only one part that bothers me, so I would love some explanation, or for this to be put into context. Verse 27 says: I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes, careful to observe my decrees. Since when does God make anybody do anything? This guy is all about free will, and making correct choices on our own. So, is this reading about heaven, or deliverance from Babylon, or about the coming Messiah? Somebody help me here!

I love the imagery in this. You grasp right away that Jesus is talking about his/his father's rocky relationship with his chosen people. This does make me want to get a little more dressed up for church on Sunday, though.

On the day of 19 August
Of Saint John Eudes, priest, who for many years devoted himself to preaching in parishes, then founded the Congregation of Jesus and Mary for the education of priests in seminaries, and also the monastery of Our Lady of Charity to support penitent women in Christian life, and nourished devotion especially to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, until he piously fell asleep in the Lord at Caen in Normandy, France.
**Saint/Feast of the day segment copied from the USCCB page.

Reading 1: Ezekiel 28:1-10
I cringed before I read this, because I was afraid more bad stuff was going to happen to Ezekiel. I mean, the guy lost his wife yesterday! I was relieved then, 'cause it's only warnings of bad stuff for someone else. I do enjoy how upset God is, though. I can relate. He's basically saying: "Because you are so vain, and you think that you are as good as me, I will get someone to impale you and throw your body in the desert. Savvy?" Sooo, let's not fall into the vanity, trap, eh?

Gospel: Matthew 19:23-30

This is what the footnotes said about But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first:

Different interpretations have been given to this saying, which comes from Mark 10:31. In view of Matthew's associating it with the following parable (Matthew 20:1-15) and substantially repeating it (in reverse order) at the end of that parable (Matthew 20:16), it may be that his meaning is that all who respond to the call of Jesus, at whatever time (first or last), will be the same in respect to inheriting the benefits of the kingdom, which is the gift of God.

But what I take it to mean is this: We are here to serve. We are meant to serve each other and serve God. This doesn't mean that we can't be successful. A CEO of a Fortune 500 company is still serving his employees by providing them a means to pay their bills. As long as we remember that we are servants, and not first, we are doing okay in the eyes of God.

On the day of 18 August
Of Utica in Africa, of the sainted martyrs of the White Mass, believers more numerous than the fish hauled up in the net by the apostles, who went to death with their bishop courageously confessing together that Christ is the Son of God.

**Saint/Feast of the day segment copied from the USCCB page.

Wow. Someone with a little more knowledge needs to tell me. Did God really take Ezekiel's wife? Seems like a harsh lesson. Why do it to him? Do you think that this was a test of Ezekiel's loyalty to God, as well as an example for the rest of the Israelites? I get the symbolism that whatever happens to Ezekiel in his personal life is gonna happen to everybody in their shared, or political life, but what a terrible path for him to agree to let God lead him down.

The commandments that Jesus lays out in this passage are hard to keep. Why is the toughest one getting rid of our stuff? It is, though. I totally feel for the guy in this passage. He's been trying sooooo hard to be a good guy, to love God, to be good to his neighbors. He probably even gives to the poor pretty often. Jesus calls us to more, though. He calls us to perfection. He calls us to be saints.

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time  

Posted by siouxbhoney

On the day of 17 August
Of Samur, near Anjou in France, of Saint Jeanne Delanoue, virgin, who, inwardly trusting in divine Providence for assistance, first made a home for orphaned girls and aged, ailing and ruined women, and then, with associates, laid the foundations of the Sisters of Saint Ann of Providence.

**Saint/Feast of the day segment copied from the USCCB page.

I am trying something new for Sundays. I don't want to talk about what I think that the readings mean, because our priests and pastors and preachers are taking care of that today, so I'm just posting the readings with some links.

Thus says the LORD: Observe what is right, do what is just; for my salvation is about to come,
my justice, about to be revealed. The foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, ministering to him, loving the name of the LORD, and becoming his servants—all who keep the sabbath free from profanation and hold to my covenant, them I will bring to my holy mountain and make joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be acceptable on my altar, for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.

Brothers and sisters: I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I glory in my ministry in order to make my race jealous and thus save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. Just as you once disobeyed God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now disobeyed in order that, by virtue of the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. For God delivered all to disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all.

At that time, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out,“Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her. Jesus’ disciples came and asked him,“Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.” He said in reply,“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But the woman came and did Jesus homage, saying, “Lord, help me.” He said in reply,“It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” Then Jesus said to her in reply,“O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And the woman’s daughter was healed from that hour.