Known and Unknown

Today we celebrate, remember, and honor all the saints, known and unknown.  Back in the earliest days of the Church, martyrs were especially esteemed. The local church celebrated the anniversary of a martyr’s death in the name of Christ – on the anniversary date and in the place of martyrdom – it was all part of what people just knew. By the 4th century the list of martyrs was much longer and the Church was caught between its desire to remember and celebrate the martyr’s witness and death, an ever expanding geography, and the practical matter of finding days to set aside to celebrate. Very soon there was a movement to find a common day to celebrate martyrs that were important to the Church while leaving the local communities to set aside days for martyrs that loomed larger in local memory. Continue reading

All Saints Day with the saints

During the first 300 year of the Christian church, the people of God endured periods of peace, but also extended periods of persecution. Especially in the local churches, each generation remembered the martyrs and the leaders who exemplified the faith. By the fourth century these women and men were honored in liturgies that commemorated their passing into God’s bright glory. In time, churches were named to honor their memory, sometimes even built on their tombs. And in time relics were collected and honored. Continue reading

The Sadducees and Resurrection

This coming Sunday is the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Lectionary Cycle C. The gospel addresses questions on Resurrection through a dialogue between Jesus and some Sadducees “those who deny that there is a resurrection.” (Luke 20:27). In yesterday’s post we considered the many Lucan passages that lay between the encounter with Zacchaeus (31st Sunday) and our gospel for the 32nd Sunday. Today’s post introduces the Sadducees and that they did not believe in the resurrection. Both of these ideas need some background. Continue reading