Soldering 101

Last month I received a very warm compliment after Mass.

captain kirkBut yesterday I got the best compliment EVER:

Father, we love to listen to you preach.

You have a kind of tone when you speak…

It’s like Captain James T. Kirk! You talk like Captain Kirk of the Starship Enterprise!

…Here is Captain Kirk’s homily for this beautiful Sunday:

The Law of the Lord is perfect. –Psalm 19:7

We human beings are complicated. Some of us are more complicated than others. But all of us are complicated, compared to other creatures, like squirrels and dogs. Squirrels and dogs follow instinct. We, on the other hand, make choices.

We are unique creatures on the earth. We have free will. The problem is that we don’t exactly know what to do with it.

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Too Long?

…to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus –I Thessalonians 3:13

Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so. –Matthew 24:45-46

st monicaSt. Monica waited a LONG time for her son to turn from his wicked ways. But she kept praying and never gave up.

One of the primary causes of doubt about the Christian faith has always been: the Lord Jesus has not come back in glory yet. It has been almost 2,000 years. The skeptics think: He must not be coming back after all.

There are two reasons why this skepticism doesn’t make sense. St. Peter explained the first reason a long time ago:

Do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,” but He is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (II Peter 3:8)

It is quite ridiculous for us to think that we can grasp the time-frame of God. He perceives all of history, from beginning to end, in a single glance. We cannot begin to understand what is a “long time” for God.

God knows how long the Age of the Church should be. If it will last 100 million years, what business of ours is it to question that? Our job involves the here and now. The length of history is God’s business.

There is another reason why it makes no sense to doubt that Christ will come again:

People who live their lives waiting for Christ to come again tend to be happy and at peace. IF it were possible to find a happier way of life, then skepticism might make sense.

But the fact is: To “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we will die,” does NOT make a person happy. In addition to the hangovers, there is the abiding sense of emptiness and dread.

We are made to wait for Christ. When we wait for Him to come, doing what we need to do to be ready–we are as happy as human beings can be in this world.

pantocrator

Compendium of John 6 Homilies + “How are you?”

Here are links to the homilies on John 6 that I have given:

deathstarIntroduction to John 6

“On Him, the Father, God, has set His seal.”

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Liturgy the Lord Gave Us

“Lord, to whom shall we go?”, The Former Way of Life

Bigger than Death, Dead Ancestors

The Kind Will of the Father

The Two Kinds of People Who Think We are Crazy

How He Gives Us His Flesh

…Plus, here is one of the funnier movie scenes.

Han and Luke (disguised as imperial stormtroopers) and Chewy have just commandeered the cellblock control station. They are rescuing Princess Leia from the Death Star jail.

Apparently, Harrison Ford ad-libbed his lines in this scene.

Pastor’s First Sermon

Thank you for your prayers and kind concern for me. Here is the little homily I gave on Sunday…

joshua1Joshua said to the Israelites, “If it does not please you to serve the Lord, decide today whom you will serve, the gods your fathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are dwelling.

As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Joshua 24:15

The Lord called Abraham from the darkness of paganism and promised to make a mighty nation from his descendants. The Lord gave Abraham his son Isaac, and Isaac his son Jacob–also known as Israel.

The Lord sent Moses to lead Jacob’s descendants out of slavery. God did wonders to defeat all of Israel’s enemies. And the Lord brought the Israelites into the Promised Land. He gave them food to eat which they did not plant and cities to live in which they did not build.

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Briefly Laid Up

I was hoping to holler at you today about:

1) Joshua’s household serving the Lord instead of the gods of the Amorites, and
2) St. Peter sticking with Christ no matter what He said.

Regrettably, the distress pictured above befell me during my first afternoon run in my beloved new parish.

H St., N.E., is an exciting area.

Just make sure you keep your eyes on the sidewalk at all times, because there can be surprises.

Owing to my little injury, I am unable to bloviate here according to my usual custom.

Say a prayer for my swift recovery, if you would be so kind.

Providential Conclaves

The Holy Spirit guides the ultimate outcome of all papal conclaves.

white smokeMany of us exulted with inexpressible joy at the speedy conclusion of the Conclave of 2005.

The Conclave of 1903 was likewise an occasion to glorify the Provident Hand of God.

The “Sage of Baltimore,” H.L. Mencken, anticipated that Conclave in this way:

…We had another Methodist in the office, a reporter named Stockbridge, but he was so pleasant a fellow that no one held it against him…When, in July 1903, Pope Leo XIII died, and the cardinals began hustling to Rome to elect his successor, an office wag put the following notice on the city-room bulletin-board:

FOR POPE:
The Right Rev. Jason Stockbridge, D.D.,
Bishop of Sodom and Gomorrah in partibus infidelium
Subject to Democratic primaries

The good Lord, however, chose differently. Pope St. Pius X was elected.

menckenPius died eleven years later, on August 20, 1914. We keep his Memorial at Holy Mass today.

Pope St. Pius X defined and refuted the heresy of which H. L. Mencken was certainly guilty, the heresy of Modernism. The Pope explained the problem in his encyclical Pascendi.

Not long ago, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of Pascendi. It seemed like a good occasion to contrast the truth of the Holy Faith with the dictatorship of relativism. I gave the following homily:

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Cato–or Laelius

I stand by what I said about Brett Favre: More power to him for wanting to stick it to the Packers. (Even though the Packers never did him any wrong.)

If ever there was a good reason to come out of retirement to play football, a personal vendetta is it.

SenecaSpeaking of returning All-Pro quarterbacks: My heart goes out Michael Vick as he fights doggedly to get his reputation back…

…The Roman statesman and philospher Seneca wrote letters to a young friend to exhort the young man to live a virtuous life.

Seneca was a demanding moralist, much like his hero Cato. He urged his young friend to choose a role model.

We need to set our affections on some good man and keep him constantly before our eyes, so that we may live as if he were watching us and do everything as if he saw what we were doing.

Excellent advice. Even more excellent, I think, is the way Seneca then tempered his advice:

So choose yourself a Cato–or, if Cato seems to severe for you, a Laelius, a man whose character is not quite so strict.

According to Cicero, Laelius like to go on holiday to the seashore and collect shells on the beach, “like a child.”

Strict role models are good. Not-quite-so-strict role models who are good men are okay, too.

non sequitur
(“Non Sequitur” by Wiley Miller)

Sixteen Years of Splendor

john_paul_ii_pencil_drawing1Dear reader, you will have to forgive me for being almost a fortnight late.

On August 6, the Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ, we marked the sixteenth anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor.

Veritatis Splendor considered the basics of Christian morals. The encyclical affirms that some acts are prohibited by God; there can never be a good reason to do them.

(If you have to ask what these things are, let me answer by saying: “They are exactly what your grandmother would have said they are.”)

The Pope explained Veritatis Splendor with these words:

The good of the person lies in being in the Truth and in doing the Truth.

This essential bond of Truth-Good-Liberty is largely lost in contemporary culture.

Therefore today it is one of the proper tasks of the mission of the Church to lead people back to seeing this union.

The Law of God is not our enemy. We cannot do whatever we want, but we can and must do whatever is good for us. We are truly free when we obey God.

The encyclical is based on the following event, narrated in the Gospel:

A rich young man came to the Lord Jesus and asked Him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

The Lord told him to keep the Ten Commandments. Then He invited the pious young man to follow Him.

Christ and the Rich Young Ruler by Heinrich Hofmann

Christ and the Rich Young Ruler by Heinrich Hofmann

Jesus Christ IS the Law of God. Through the sacraments of the Church, He gives us the grace to obey Him–and to be truly free.

Hibachi, Yes. Delpo, No. Plus, Tough Evangelization

arenas-cut1Click here for some encouraging news about Gilbert Arenas.

40+ Wizards wins this season? Oh, yes…

…Delpo looked like he had Andy Murray in the bag this afternoon at the Rogers Masters finals in Montreal.

But Murray rallied to even things up with a second-set tiebreaker. Delpo fell apart, and Murray whupped him in the third set.

(Delpo beat Andy Roddick in the semifinals yesterday.)

Let’s face it: The U.S. Open is shaping up to be incredibly sweet. Too bad only one of these heroes can win.

I will be pulling for Roddick, by the way. Federer is my man, but Roddick won me over in the Wimbledon final.

murray

Rogers Masters champ

mencken…Click here* for one of the funniest accounts of attempted evangelization ever written, from H. L. Mencken’s Newspaper Days.

(*The link brings you to the middle of a chapter about Mencken’s trip to the Indies in the summer of 1900. The account of his encounter with the Methodist man of God starts in the middle of the page.)

Heaven is Real

The place in Jerusalem from which the Blessed Mother was assumed into heaven

The place in Jerusalem from which the Blessed Mother was assumed into heaven

Today the Virgin Mother of God was assumed into heaven as the beginning and pattern of your Church’s perfection and a sign of sure hope and comfort to your pilgrim people.

Justly you would not allow her to see the corruption of the tomb,
because from her own flesh she brought forth ineffably your incarnate Son, the author of all life.

–from the Preface to the Eucharistic Prayer in today’s Mass

Our little study of Bertrand Russell’s erroneous philosophy is now catalogued the among the Compendia.

madonna1We undertook our consideration of the Bertrand Russell Case as a penitential preparation for today’s Solemnity.

It is not reasonable to think that there is no life after death. The argument that the soul is immortal is more probable: No observable force of nature can annihilate a soul.

Moreover, we have it on divine authority that our Lord Jesus rose from the dead in His human body, and He took His mother with Him to heaven.

Happy Assumption Day!