February 22, 2008

The Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter

I have posted a homily for today.
Click HERE for it.

Self-Promotion

Me Monk. Me Want to Meander to Australia.
Anyone's group want to have a chaplain on the trip to World Youth Day?


February 19, 2008

Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent

I have posted a homily for today's Mass.
Click HERE for it.

February 17, 2008

The Second Sunday of Lent: “Don’t tell anyone about it until after Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday."

“One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.” Yes. However, within the Catholic Church— in union with the Pope, the Bishop of Rome— we have Latin Catholics, Melkite Catholics, Byzantine Catholics, Maronite Catholics, Malabar Catholics, Chaldean Catholics, Ruthenian Catholics, and many other kinds.

In the United States, the majority of Catholics are “Latin Catholics”— though “Roman Catholic” is the more usual, but imprecise term. “Roman Catholic” is imprecise, because Melkite Catholics, Byzantine Catholics, etc., are all “Roman” since they are in union with the Bishop of Rome. “Latin Catholic” precisely refers to those Catholics whose official Eucharistic Liturgy is in Latin, even if they celebrate it in translations, such as English or Spanish in the United States, for example.

What about Maronite Catholics, etc.—in what languages do they celebrate? Maronites, for example, whose liturgical homeland is Lebanon, have their official Eucharistic Liturgy in Arabic, though they may celebrate it in local translations. Furthermore, the Maronites, Melkites, Byzantines, etc., celebrate the Eucharistic Liturgy in a ceremonial form that developed in the Greek language in the city of Byzantium, while Latins celebrate it in a ceremonial form that developed in the Latin and Greek languages in the city of Rome.

Perhaps some of you wonder why I said the Latin liturgy developed in Latin AND GREEK. Evidence? “Kyrie, eleison.... Christe, eleison.... Kyrie, eleison....” Latin spelling for Greek words! (Lord, have mercy.... Christ, have mercy....) Also, the extremely ancient chants for the Adoration of the Holy Cross on Good Friday in the Latin Liturgy still include Greek acclamations: “Hagios o Theos.... Hagios Ischyros.... Hagios Athanatos.” (Holy God.... Holy Mighty One.... Holy Immortal One....) When Christianity was planting roots in Rome, it was a bilingual city, speaking both Latin and Greek. The majority of Christians would have been Greek-speakers, and that is why the Lettter of St. Paul to the Romans is in Greek.

So what does all this have to do with the Second Sunday of Lent?

We Latin Catholics use a three-year cycle of readings on Sundays. We are presently in the first year, “Year A.” Until the liturgical changes effected after Vatican Council II, the Latin Catholic Church had only a one-year cycle of Sunday readings, and it corresponded to what we now know as “Year A.” The reading selections in Year A were made before the A.D. 1000 in many cases, if not most.

The Second Sunday of Lent is precisely forty days before Good Friday. The Gospel for this day in Year A presents the Transfiguration of the Lord. The same span of forty days between the Lord’s Transfiguration and the Lord’s Cross is celebrated twice in the Latin Catholic liturgical year: once in Lent (Second Sunday to Good Friday), and once in Ordinary Time when we celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration on August 6 and the Feast of the Cross on September 14.

Some say this forty-day span may be a remembrance that Christ’s Transfiguration actually took place forty days before his Crucifixion.

The liturgies of the Catholic (Latin, Melkite, Byzantine, Maronite, Ruthenian, etc.) and the Orthodox Churches all celebrate the two events forty days apart on August 6 and September 14.

Even if the two events did not historically happen forty days apart, they are absolutely linked to each other. In Luke’s Gospel, Moses and Elijah at the Transfiguration speak to Jesus of his “exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.” According to Matthew and Mark, Jesus tells his apostles not to tell anyone of his Transfiguration until after his Death and Resurrection.

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Are you interested in reading one of my blogposts that is about the Churches in full communion with the Bishop of Rome?
Click HERE for it.