Feb 19, 2011

The Fool !

If you don't take revenge... 
If you want to be holy...
If you are not diplomatic...
If you don't argue craftily...
If you don't boast your achievements...
If you treat your enemies with kindness...
If you want to be perfect...
If you look forward to a pie in the sky that is a reward in heaven...
You are a FOOL (in bold, underlined & highlighted).

Resolutions of the great FOOL:
* You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason   
   with your neighbor (Lev 19:17)
* You shall be holy; for I the LORD your God am holy (Lev 19:2)
* God catches the wise in their craftiness (1 Cor 3:19 / Job 5:13)
* Let no one boast of men (1 Cor 3:21)
* Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Mt 5:44)
* Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Mt 5:48)
* In this way you will be sons of your Father who is in 
   heaven (Mt 5:45)
                                                                                                                      Certified to be a

"Grace can do nothing without the will and the will can do nothing without grace"-- St. John Chrysostom

Reflection based on the readings of 7th Sunday of the Year, Year A

First Reading: Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:16-23
Gospel: Matthew 5:38-48

Feb 8, 2011

Plagues Against Egyptian Gods

Purpose of the Plagues: The purpose of the ten plagues in the Book of Exodus is to make known that Israel's God is the True God and reigns over all people. The ten plagues are a direct attack against the Egyptian gods.
1. Water turning into blood (Ex 7:14-24): As Aaron, the spokesman for Moses, touched the "rod" of the Lord to the Nile River it immediately turned to blood, all the fish died, and the river stank. This plague was probably against the Egyptian god of Nile - Hapi, who was a water bearer.
2. Frogs (Ex 8:1-15): The frogs came up from the river and were in their houses, in their food, in their clothing, in every place possible. This plague was probably against the Egyptian goddess of fertility - Heket who had the head of a frog.
3. Gnats (Ex 8:16-19): At the command of the Lord to Moses, Aaron was told to stretch forth his rod and smite the dust of the earth. When he did the dust became lice throughout all the land, on both people and beasts. This plague was probably against the Egyptian god of the earth - Geb who was over the dust of the earth.
4. Flies (Ex 8:20-32): The Egyptians were plagued by the flies. This plague was probably against the Egyptian god of creation - Khepri who had the head of a fly.
5. Death of Livestock (Ex 9:1-7): This plague affected the Egyptian by creating a huge economic disaster, in areas of food, transportation, military supplies, farming, and economic goods that were produced by these livestock. This plague was probably against the Egyptian goddess - Hathor who had the head of a cow.
6. Boils and Sores (Ex 9:8-12): The people and animals were affected by boils. This plague was probably against the Egyptian goddess of Medicine - Isis
7. Hail (Ex 9:13-35): Hail rained down from the sky and destroyed the crops. This plague was probably against the Egyptian goddess of sky - Nut.
8. Locusts (Ex 10:1-20): Whatever crops were left in tact after the destruction by Hail, were now completely consumed by the swarms of locusts that were unleashed from the sky. This plague was probably against the Egyptian god of storms and disorder - Seth 
9. Darkness (Ex 10:21-29): Darkness fell upon Egypt. This plague was probably against the Egyptian sun god - Ra
10. Death of the Firstborn (Ex 11:1-10): Pharaoh the King of Egypt was considered to be the greatest Egyptian god of all.  

Feb 2, 2011

Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord

Origin of this Feast:
The fortieth day after Christmas-Epiphany was celebrated in Jerusalem as Egeria attests around 386 AD. The procession with candles was added around 450 AD. In the 6th century the feast made its way to Syria and was then accepted at Constantinople under the name ‘Meeting’ (Gk - Hypapante ): Meeting of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ with Simeon. Rome accepted this feast in the second half of the 7th century. The French liturgies of the 18th century replaced it with the title ‘Presentation of the Lord’ which the Roman calendar adopted in 1969. At the end of 7th century, during the time of Pope Sergius I the procession took place at the dawn of 2nd February. Everyone in the procession carried a candle, but the ceremony had a penitential character. The pope and deacons wore black vestements and the emperor walked barefoot. The blessing of candles made its appearance only in the 10th century in the Germanic world.

How is this feast celebrated today?
The celebration of the Presentation is marked by a procession with candles and a preceding blessing. The service begins with an exhortation calling to mind the meeting of Jesus and Simeon and leads to the meeting of the Christian assembly with the Lord in the breaking of the bread, which in turn is an anticipation of the definitive meeting in glory. The procession takes place with the singing of the Nunc Dimittis.

Extract from the Sermon of St. Sophronius of Jerusalem – “Let us all run to meet Him, we who honour and venerate the mystery of the Lord with pious devotion. Let us all go to meet Him with eager minds. Let there be no one who does not share in this meeting, let no one refuse to carry a light. We add to this the bright shining of candles. In this way we show forth the divine splendor of the coming of Him who makes all things bright, in the abundance of whose eternal light all things are bathed in light….. That true light which enlightens every man coming into this world, has come. Brethren, let us all be enlightened, let us all be filled with light……”