Memorial of Saint Augustine, bishop and doctor of the Church  

Posted by siouxbhoney

On the day of 28 August

The commemoration of Saint Augustine, bishop and distinguished doctor of the Church, who, after a youth unquiet in both doctrine and morals, was converted to catholic faith, baptized by Ambrose of Milan and, having returned to his own country, led an ascetical life dedicated to God and the study of the Scriptures with some friends; later chosen bishop of Hippo in Africa, for thirty-four years he was an example to his flock, instructing it with a great many sermons and writings, in which also he vigorously fought against the errors of his day or learnedly shed light on right faith.

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

I'm starting to get the hang of these letters. At least the salutations. Paul says "hi", tells the church that they are doing well, thanks to God. He tells them (and us) that if we keep our faith in God, and keep him in our sight, we will be able to stay strong through anything that could affect us or our faith.

I love it when Jesus snaps at the disciples. It reminds us that even the men who were closest to God when he was here needed to be nudged on to the right path all the time. After the crucifixion and then the Ascension, Christians were literally looking over their shoulders all day long. They expected Jesus to be there. He was, and still is, just not in the way anybody thought. The second coming was further away than they could have imaged, but it was always expected to be tomorrow. Jesus is telling us to act as if he is coming to our homes tomorrow. In the old testament, they used to say "get your house in order". I think this means to stop putting off the spiritual things and charitable acts that we don't think we have time for. Maybe we should go further. We should act as if He's a guest in our homes, not just coming tomorrow.

Memorial of Saint Monica  

Posted by siouxbhoney

On the day of 27 August

The commemoration of Saint Monica, who, given in marriage to Patricius when still a young girl, bore children among whom was Augustine for the sake of whose conversion she shed many tears and besought God with many prayers, and, having set out for Africa, departed this life from Ostia on the Tiber with an exceedingly great desire for the things of heaven

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

Wow. I really needed to read this. Paul has a great way of just making sense. His problem, though, was that he wanted everyone to work as hard as he did, physically and spiritually. But he was a saint, and most of us are not. That doesn't necessarily mean that God doesn't want us all to try.

Wait, I'm starting to get it. The scribes and the Pharisees were hypocrites, right? This is drummed into us all this week, well, throughout the entire set of gospels, I guess. Why this same theme over and over and over? Is it so that we recognize that hypocrisy is something that all Christians will have to fight for our entire time on earth? Are we to be ever watchful of this in our own leaders? Or is it just that the authors of the gospels were so overwhelmed by the obviousness of the Pharisees, and their blatant phony sanctimoniousness that they can't help talking and writing about it over and over?

On the day of 26 August

The commemoration of Saint Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of God Most High, who greeted Abraham upon his return from victory, blessing him, offering a holy sacrifice, a spotless victim to the Lord; and, although without offspring, is recognized as king of peace and justice, and as priest forever in prefiguration of Christ.
**Saint/Feast of the day segment copied from the USCCB page.

As sometimes happens, the footnotes say it, and with more history, better than I could:

The Thessalonians have been shaken by a message purporting to come from Paul himself that the day of the Lord is already present. He warns against this deception in eschatology by citing a scenario of events that must first occur (2 Thes 2:3-12) before the end will come. The overall point Paul makes is the need to reject such lies as Satan sends; he also reaffirms the Thessalonians in their calling (2 Thes 2:13-14). They are to uphold what Paul himself has taught (2 Thes 2:15). There is a concluding prayer for their strengthening (2 Thes 2:16-17). As in 2 Thes 1:8-10, the Old Testament provides a good deal of coloring; cf especially Isaiah 14:13-14; 66:15, 18-21; Ezekiel 28:2-9; Daniel 11:36-37. The contents of 2 Thes 2:3b-8 may come from a previously existing apocalypse. The details have been variously interpreted. An alternative to the possibilities noted below understands that an oracular utterance, supposedly coming from a prophetic spirit (2 Thes 2:2-3a), has so disrupted the community's thinking that its effects may be compared to those of the mania connected with the worship of the Greek god Dionysus. On this view, the writer seems to allude in 2 Thes 2:6-8 to Dionysiac "seizure," although, of course, ironically, somewhat as Paul alludes to witchcraft ("an evil eye") in Gal 3:1 in speaking of the threat to faith posed by those disturbing the Galatians (Gal 1:6-7; 5:10b). On this view of 2 Thes 2:2, the Greek participles katechon (rendered above as what is restraining) and katechon (the one who restrains) are to be translated "the seizing power" in 2 Thes 2:6 and "the seizer" in 2 Thes 2:7. They then allude to a pseudocharismatic force or spirit of Dionysiac character that has suddenly taken hold of the Thessalonian community (see 2 Thes 2:2). The addressees know (2 Thes 2:6) this force or spirit because of the problem it is causing. This pseudocharismatic force or spirit is a kind of anticipation and advance proof of the ultimate, climactic figure (the lawless one or the rebel, 2 Thes 2:3), of which the community has been warned (see the note on 1 Thes 3:3). It is, however, only the beginning of the end that the latter's manifestation entails; the end is not yet. For in the course of the mystery of lawlessness (2 Thes 2:7), false prophetism, after it ceases in the Thessalonian community, will be manifested in the world at large (2 Thes 2:8-12), where it will also be eliminated in turn by the Lord Jesus.

First of all, I love this: Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel! What a visual. I think there have been times for everyone when we have been so concerned with appearances that we neglect our real duty to God. Jesus was pointing out some huge examples in the religious leaders of the day, but maybe we should all take this as a lesson for us, as well. It all comes down to a subject that Jesus went back to again and again: Don't get all caught up in the letter of the law, worry about following the spirit of the law.

Monday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time  

Posted by siouxbhoney

On the day of 25 August

Of Saint Joseph of Calasanz, priest, who established schools for the people in order to educate boys and adolescents in the love and wisdom of the Gospel, and founded the Order of the Poor Clerics Regular of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools at Rome.

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

I have such a hard time with the letters. I resist actually looking at them at all. So, it looks like what is going on here is that the Thessalonian Church was being persecuted, maybe worse than some other early churches. So, Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy are writing to let them know that they are spoken well of and being prayed for. Also, the missionary trio is pretty sure that God likes the Thessalonians, too.

This is a scary reading to me. Jesus is chastising the religious leaders of the day who have it wrong. They are emphasizing the wrong things for their congregations and, according to Jesus, sending themselves and everyone who listens to them to hell. Great. First we are told to listen to our leaders, and now, I take this as a message to further research and double check the things my religious leaders tell me. Oh well. I do that anyway. I hope everyone does. Nice to see that God continues to push us towards making the right choices