Another Banner Day

Beautiful pro-life billboard–right here in my humble ‘hood! Thank you Prolife Across America! (On display at 9th and G Streets, N.E.)

…How fired-up are we for the Caps?

…Call me obtuse, but I have always found this parable difficult to understand:

No one pours new wine into old wineskins.

Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled, and the skins will be ruined. Rather, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins.

And no one who has been drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’ (Luke 5:37-39)

The parable seems clear enough:

Christ has inaugurated the New Covenant. The New Covenant requires a complete renovation of religion. The ancient observances of the Old Covenant had to be changed. Those who were accustomed to the old way had a hard time accepting the Christian way of life, even though it is sweeter and better than Judaism.

Fair enough.


The fact is that the taste of wine improves with time, up to the point when it reaches its peak. The ancient Palestinians used inside-out animal skins as wine bottles (until the Prohibition of Mohammed deprived them of the joy of the vine).

Skins were used for transporting wine on camel-back. The wine would ferment a second time in the skins, under the hot sun.

So, while it is true that pouring wine into old, dried-out skins would never be wise, neither would it be wise to drink wine that you had just poured into a wineskin. Better to take your journey, then drink it later.

So the “newness” interpretation doesn’t do full justice to the parable.

Today I finally found the perfect explanation. In order fully to grasp the parable, we have to understand it as applying to the Holy Mass:

The wine of Christ’s blood, drawn from the many grapes of the vineyard that He had planted, is extracted in the winepress of the cross. When men receive it with believing hearts, like capacious wineskins, it ferments within them by its own power. (St. Gaudentius of Brescia)

Me, God’s Priest, and God

His mercy endures forever. (Psalm 118)

The Solemnity of Easter lasts for eight days–a week and a day, from Sunday to Sunday. It is the biggest feastday of all, too big for just twenty-four hours.

On the eighth day of Easter in the year 2000, Pope John Paul II declared that this day is ‘Divine Mercy Sunday.’ He declared this while he was canonizing St. Faustina Kowalska, the nun who had seen the vision of Jesus with rays of merciful love pouring out from His Heart.

When the Pope declared that the eighth day of Easter is Divine Mercy Sunday, he noted that none of the prayers or readings of the Mass needed to be changed. From the beginning, from the first eight days after our Lord rose from the dead, the Solemnity of Easter has been the feast of divine mercy.

When the Lord Jesus spoke to the Apostles after He rose from the dead, He commissioned them to preach His message. The message is: Repent of your sins, and be forgiven!

The Apostles obeyed. When St. Peter preached to the citizens of Jerusalem, he addressed the very people who had stood in front of Pontius Pilate’s praetorium and clamored for Christ’s crucifixion. St. Peter spoke to these enemies of Christ and said, “You denied the holy and righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. The author of life you put to death…Repent, therefore!”

Dear brothers and sisters: If we want to keep this holy feast, the feast that lasts for a week and a day, the feast of the Lord’s Resurrection, the feast of Divine Mercy—if we want to keep this feast in sincerity and truth, then we must acknowledge that we are the very citizens to whom St. Peter spoke.

Continue reading “Me, God’s Priest, and God”

Altogether Under

That time, Alex Ovechkin knocked everything else, other than the kitchen sink, into the crease.

This is what Steve Kolbe said about Ovechkin’s disallowed goal in the second period this evening. Will the streak end? Caps are clawing back from a 5-2 deficit right now.

…I am not trying to be a priss. But to call our mid-Atlantic snowbound situation an “apocalypse” is really a sacrilege.

The Apocalypse will occur when the Lord Jesus Christ appears again in glory. If we are not ready for it, it will be a great deal more unpleasant than four feet of snow.

I think Mike Wise described our situation better in his column:

We have run out of bread and milk. We can’t move our vehicles. We can’t move our muscles.

We are snowed in until June, people. June!

We are trapped in a Ukranian hamlet, huddled around a bonfire trying to thaw, comforted by just three things: grain alcohol, the thought of global warming and our money-in-the-bank hockey team — Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom and the boys, winners of 14 consecutive games.

Fr. Matteo Ricci, S.J.
We are fed up. We are freezing. We are “Dr. Zhivago” with a Target.

All we have left is the Caps. C-A-P-S! Caps! Caps! Caps!

…Don’t forget that it is only three months until the 400th anniversary of the death of Fr. Matteo Ricci.

Fr. Ricci was a Jesuit missionary in China. He is one of the most excellent men who has ever lived. He died on May 11, 1610.

Bigger and Better Things

Red in the red.  Caps out.
Red in the red. Caps out.
Dirk hit the...dirt.  Dallas out.
Dirk hit the...dirt. Dallas out.

My teams are out.

Now I have to come up with more subject matter. Yikes.

…By a strange co-inky-dink, a priest friend of mine from the Pittsburgh area is visiting this week.

Soon, he will return to the land of gleeful Penguins people. He promised that he would speak to them about our pain.

BrooklynTrolleyYes, the Penguins won the series fair-and-square. But it hurts. It hurts…

…Did you know that, back in the late 19th century, the borough of Brooklyn was thick with trolley cars?

There were so many trolley car lines in Brooklyn that Manhattanites called their Brooklyn neighbors ‘trolley dodgers.’

mannyThis is the origin of the name of Manny Ramirez’s team

Another question I have is: Why does Notre Dame University hold its graduation ceremony on Sunday? I thought college graduations were customarily held on Saturday, Sunday being the sabbath and a holy day…

…Finally, let’s discuss:

Was St. Matthias the first to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders from someone other than Christ Himself?



yanniC’mon Caps! Another loss in Pittsburg. Now we have fallen to 2-2 in the series, after a 2-0 start.

Quick turnaround for the next game: tomorrow night. Yanni rules the roost in Pittsburgh.

…Click here to read the text of Archbishop Burke’s talk at this morning’s Catholic Prayer Breakfast. (My favorite part is when he cited the Baltimore Catechism in paragraph three.)

Forgive me for saying that overall I find his speech rather turgid.

I agree with everything he said, of course. But I do not think this speech advanced the pro-life, pro-family argument very much.

I wish he had given a speech focused exclusively on what he said in paragraph 24. In my opinion, this is the territory that needs to be covered: the relationship between morality, law, individual freedom, and disputed metaphysical questions.

Archbishop Burke InterviewIn other words: Why is it legitimate for us to say that the law must bind even people who disagree with our positions? How can we answer the supposed ‘separation of Church and state’ objection?

When the Holy Father visited the U.N. last spring, he tried to address this problem. Unfortunately, I think few people paid attention and/or understood what he was talking about.

robinsonWhat we are up against is: What is obvious to God-fearing people is NOT obvious to everyone else. In fact, many people think that we are obviously wrong to insist that human law must harmonize with God’s law. This Pulitzer-prize winner is one of those people.

Archbishop Burke rallied the troops. But he did not say anything that we troops–and everyone else–have not already heard.

Pópulum tuum, quaésumus, Dómine, intuére benígnus

“Look kindly upon Your people, we beseech You, O Lord”

This sentence is from one of the priest’s prayers in today’s Mass.

This is why I exist: to ask God to look kindly upon His people.

The sacred priesthood is: Begging God, look kindly on us, please.

Plus, there is preaching and teaching.

But the main thing is begging God.

This sentence from today’s Mass is a shorter version of my favorite Mass prayer:

“Father, …You sent [our Redeemer] as one like ourselves, though free from sin, that you might see and love in us what you see and love in Christ.”

sheepJohn 10 contains statements by Christ that are illuminated somewhat by the following facts of first-century life in the province of Palestine:

1. Shepherding was the #2 most common occupation, after farming.

2. Shepherding was not romanticized by first-century Palestinians. Our Lord’s audience knew that shepherding was a difficult, exceedingly dangerous life.

3. There were two kinds of shepherds: Those who owned their own sheep, and those who tended sheep owned by someone else. The second category was the LEAST desirable of all jobs, just one tiny notch above being a criminal.

4. Sheep are not stupid in every way. They have no sense of direction and are utterly defenseless against predators. BUT they learn their names quickly and recognize voices.

sheepfold5. Shepherds used common sheepfolds to protect their sheep from predators at night. One of the shepherds slept in the opening in the hedge or fence. He would be the human gate.

6. In the morning, the gatekeeping shepherd would only allow shepherds he knew and recognized to enter the sheepfold.

These facts make our Lord’s discourse a little easier to understand.

If you have never read Jesus Christ’s discourse in John 10, then you are seriously impeded from understanding reality.

caps-logo1Click the link and read it right now.

…Ovie hat-trick!!!

Caps up 2-0!!!


The Pope Brought the Springtime

I have come to proclaim anew, as Peter proclaimed on the day of Pentecost, that Jesus Christ is Lord and Messiah, risen from the dead, seated in glory at the right hand of the Father, and established as judge of the living and the dead. –Pope Benedict XVI, Nationals’ Park, April 17, 2008

slapshot…I saw Slapshot, the Caps’ mascot, yesterday evening–just moments before the beginning of the first playoff game against the Rangers.

Slapshot was fired up.

The mascot was ready to fight and take no prisoners.

But the actual hockey players were not. And

…Today our Holy Father turns 82.

One year ago, they sang Happy Birthday to him at the White House.

Bush Pope USThe Pope brought the springtime last April. And it has arrived on cue again, on his birthday.

Please allow me to point out that–when the Successor of St. Peter visited the United States–he landed at Andrews Air Force Base, in Prince George’s County.

The Vicar of Christ set foot in P.G.

He also, of course, visited the District.

Not that I want to stir up rivalry among the local jurisdictions. But the Pope never went to Montgomery County or Northern Virginia.

maries…Helen Alvare makes an excellent point in her essay about Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama.

Her point is: Notre Dame’s explanations make no sense, and the Catholic Church is supposed to make sense.

…If you want to see some beautiful manuscript illuminations, click here.

To see them in person, go to the National Gallery of Art on the Mall before the end of July. You can also see beautiful paintings of Dutch cities in happier days, like this:


Joseph vs. Theodore


This evening the Caps were in a close game decided by a shoot-out.

The hero of the game was a goalie with a first name for a last name.

Alas, it was not Jose Theodore.

Near the end of the third period, the Maple Leafs starting goalie, Martin Gerber, was ejected from the game for being a baby and shoving the ref.

Gerber’s back-up, Curtis Joseph, came off the bench. CuJo saved the day for Toronto. He stopped Ovechkin in the shoot-out.

Tough loss for the Red. Here is a little something to cheer you up…