Friday Penance

The Lord Jesus died for us on Friday, and He arose from the dead on Sunday. It happened nearly two millennia ago. But the significance of these events does not fade. We want to keep them in mind.

The death and resurrection of Christ took place in the springtime, at Passover, at the first full moon after the vernal equinox. So we keep Holy Week and Easter every year, to make sure the events of salvation stay fresh in our minds, at the time of year when they originally happened.

But, obviously, commemorating our salvation once a year is not often enough.

We need to commemorate it at least once a week.

So every Sunday we remember the resurrection of Christ in church. We keep the Sabbath by remembering the resurrection of Christ.

Every Friday, we commemorate the Passion of Christ. As the Lord Jesus tells us in today’s gospel reading:

The days will come when the Bridegroom is taken away from the wedding guests. They will fast in those days.

He was taken away from us on a Friday; He returned to us on a Sunday. So, on Friday, we fast; we do penance; we keep the Passion of Christ in mind.

The traditional way to do this is to abstain from eating meat on Fridays. A generation ago, the shepherds of the Church decided to leave it up to us individually to decide what we would do to commemorate the Passion of Christ on the Fridays of the year outside of Lent.

Abstaining from meat still makes for a good Friday commemoration of the Passion. We can abstain from meat every Friday, just like we all do together during Lent.

Also, there are other options. Coming to Mass, visiting the Blessed Sacrament, saying the Rosary, making the Stations of the Cross, sacrificing some time for the good of others, visiting the sick, abstaining for some food or drink we like—all these make for a good Friday commemoration of the Passion, too.

Now, outside of Lent, the choice of how to remember Christ’s death on Friday is ours. But God forbid that we let a Friday pass without giving a thought to what our Lord did for us.

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Christ’s Property

Here is a homily for some of the poor souls who will have to get out of bed even earlier than they already do, in order to get to Mass on Sunday morning, starting this summer…

This is the will of the Father, that I should not lose anything of what He gave me. (John 6:39)

Every day we pray to our Father in heaven that His will be done. Almighty God has a will; He has a plan which He intends to see through. He conceives of a good outcome, and He acts to bring it about.

“My Father wills that I should not lose anything of what He gave me.” Thus spake the Christ, the Word of God, to Whom the Father gave everything. The eternal Son reveals this fact: The Father wills that nothing be lost.

But what about when we change the Sunday Mass time? Then we will definitely lose people and collection money. We will lose momentum. We will lose sleep. Perhaps during such an early Mass, some of us will lose consciousness.

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little trinities

The other day, beads of sweat dripped from my elbow when I finished my morning run. The sheer joy of it moved me to compose this little rhapsody:

Come, long hot Washington summer!
Come and enfold your people in your torrid embrace.
We will take every sweaty minute of your grimy kiss.
We hardly know ourselves without your bleary fog surrounding us.
Come and wrap us in your dank blanket!

…Here is a Trinity Sunday homily for you:

Lord, what is man that you care for him? Mortal man, that you keep him in mind? Yet You have made him little less than a god. (Psalm Eight)

In Sacred Scripture, the Wisdom of God testifies that He brought about the making of all things with the Almighty Father:

When the Lord established the heavens I was there, when he marked out the vault over the face of the deep; when he made firm the skies above, when he fixed fast the foundations of the earth; when he set for the sea its limit, so that the waters should not transgress his command; then was I beside him as his craftsman. (Proverbs 8:27-30)

This is the Word of God speaking, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity. All three Persons of the Trinity brought about creation. Of all the works of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the greatest is man. Divine Wisdom says, “I found delight in the human race.” The Lord crowned the world by making us “with glory and honor, putting all things under our feet” (Psalm Eight).

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Special Easter Honor

A lot of people saw the Lord Jesus after He rose from the dead. St. Paul lists some of them:

He was raised on the third day and appeared to Peter, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, he appeared to me. (First Corinthians 15)

All of the people who saw Christ after His resurrection were certainly overjoyed. All of them were filled with zeal for the kingdom of God and hope for eternal life.

We owe these eyewitnesses everything: Our faith is based on their testimony. Our goal is to follow in their footsteps.

We love our Holy Father!

Here is a question:

Of all the people who saw the Lord after He rose from the dead—who was it who deserved to be the first to see Him?

Of course, anyone who saw Him was not about to complain and say, ‘Gosh, this is great to see Christ risen from the dead, but why did I have to wait until now? Why did so-and-so get to see Him before me?’

No—no one complained about the order in which He appeared to people. It didn’t matter if you were the first or fifth or five-hundredth to see Him. All that mattered was being an eyewitness of the Lord’s triumph over sin and death.

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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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Keep the Sabbath

This apse mosaic depicts the Cross as the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden
This apse mosaic depicts the Cross as the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden
I should like you to be free of anxieties. (I Corinthians 7:32)

For our second readings at Sunday Mass, we are in the middle of reading selections from St. Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. St. Paul wrote to his beloved Corinthian Christians to help them resolve the numerous problems they had.

In the church in Corinth, there were factions with conflicting teachings. Some of the Corinthian Christians considered themselves too good for the rules. Some liked to show off their wealth. One of them sued a brother Christian in a court of law. And everyone was scandalized by the outrageous behavior of one of the members.

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Doxology à la St. Paul

Greg Monroe had a nice dunk in the first half, though he did not have a great game
Greg Monroe had a nice dunk in the first half, though he did not have a great game
If it were a contest of faithfulness to the holy Church, Mount St. Mary’s would probably win.

And if the Mount were allowed to put its seminarians on the orthodoxy team, then they would kick Georgetown’s b–t.

But in basketball, it was a different story.

The Hoyas and Mountaineers hadn’t played since 1962. Georgetown won by eleven points, but the game was actually closer than that. It was a battle–not a pretty battle, but a battle nonetheless.

The Hoyas missed two out of every three shots. The Mount hung in the game until the last two minutes. The Hoyas got the W, but J.T. III said that he is not pleased: “I expect more from this group.”

Speaking for myself, I will take the Hoya win.

On another subject: The people in church will be spared the Preacher this Sunday morning. The deacon will be preaching.

Hoyas' Coach John Thompson III
Hoyas' Coach John Thompson III
But for you gluttons for punishment, here is a homily for the Fourth Sunday of Advent:

Brothers and sisters: To him who can strengthen you, according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret for long ages but now manifested through the prophetic writings and, according to the command of the eternal God,
made known to all nations to bring about the obedience of faith, to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ be glory forever and ever. Amen.
(Romans 16:25-27)

Let’s listen again to the way St. Paul glorified God in the passage we heard from his letter to the Romans. He wrote: “To the only wise God be glory forever.”

May God be glorified, dear brothers and sisters.

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Beltway Battle #1: Check

Freeman to the hoop
Freeman to the hoop

Hoyas 73, Eagles 49.

Ed Tapscott, head coach of the Washington Wizards
Ed Tapscott, head coach of the Washington Wizards
They clubbed them.

A little history: The last time the Eagles beat the Hoyas was December 15, 1982. Eddie Tapscott was the A.U. head coach.

Also this post has an added bonus, thanks to the synergy of the P&BD experience:

Homily for the Second Sunday of Advent (i.e., tomorrow)

St. Peter tells us today: “Conduct yourselves in holiness and devotion, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God.” (II Peter 3:12)

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