This day in history

In the early afternoon of September 26, 1997 a sequence of earthquakes hit the Italian province of Umbria. The two main quakes, with a magnitude of 5.6-5.8, were followed by a series of aftershocks – one aftershock was so strong that it caused the partial collapse of the damaged roof of the basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. This dramatic event was filmed, which helped to evaluate the damage sustained by the historic frescos of the ceiling. Continue reading

Lessons for disciples

This coming Sunday is the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time in Lectionary Cycle C. Throughout the previous chapter (Luke 16), Jesus has addressed the Pharisees and scribes (scholars of the law) with beginning and ending parables: the dishonest steward and the rich man and Lazarus – each begins with a statement, “There was a rich man.” The clear target were the lovers of money, i.e., those whose love of riches prevented them from truly being lovers of God. Although the parable is aimed at the Pharisees the lesson continues a theme of 12:1 “Beware of the leaven–that is, the hypocrisy–of the Pharisees.”  The disciples are reminded of the characteristics of true discipleship and the pitfalls along the way. Continue reading

What divides us

…between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.…”  Such are words spoken about Lazarus and the rich man, traditionally known as Dives. The words describe their fates in the afterlife: Lazarus comforted by Abraham while Dives languishes in a hellish afterlife. But here is the thing – the chasm really wasn’t new. Continue reading

Bumblebees are not Fish

Yesterday the California Supreme Court ruled that the state’s bumblebees can be protected under the law as a type of fish according to California Endangered Species Act. Ahhh….ok…. This has to be fodder for all manner of internet memes, YouTube videos and possibly a SNL skit. The court actually ruled that it would not hear arguments over whether the California Fish and Game Commission can consider granting protections to a number of bumblebee species whose populations are in steady decline. In writing for the court, however, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said that even though the law does not use the word “insects,” sections of the law suggest that invertebrates may be grouped under the category of fish. She also suggested that the Legislature “is in a position to make whatever statutory amendments it may regard as necessary or useful” to clarify such ambiguities in the endangered species act. The Chief Justice warned against misconstruing the decision as “an affirmative determination by this court that under the law, bumblebees are fish.”  A needed clarification.

Remembering

I could not begin to guess the number of times I have said or heard the words: “Do this in remembrance of me” – part of the Eucharist prayer celebrated at the Holy Mass in places and times around the world. I imagine that across the globe, at every moment of time there is a voice speaking those words. At every moment of time there are believers gathered to worship and collectively remember the story we live by – the life and redeeming death of Jesus Christ. Continue reading

The Third Exchange

This coming Sunday is the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time. In yesterday’s post we heard the second of the three exchanges between the rich man and Abraham in which it is requested that Lazarus be sent to warn the brothers of the rich man about what fate awaits them. Abraham notes that their fate – good and bad – has already been well explained by the prophets. Continue reading

Padre Pio of Pietrelcina

Today is the Feast day of St. Pius of Pietrelcina. The saint began life as Francesco Forgione, born in May 1887 in Pietrelcina, a town and comune in the province of Benevento in the Campania region of southern Italy. He was the son of Grazio Mario Forgione and Maria Giuseppa Di Nunzio, one of five children. His family was pious, attending Mass daily, praying the rosary and fasting with great regularity in honor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. By age five, young Francesco stated that his life would be dedicated to God. He was a dutiful son, tending sheep, but also seemed to suffer from illnesses including typhoid fever. Around the age of 10 he told his family that he was beginning to experience visions. He soon became interested in becoming a Capuchin Franciscan. Continue reading

The Second Exchange

This coming Sunday is the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time. In yesterday’s post we listened to the first exchange between the Rich Man and Abraham in which the former cries out for mercy and relief from his torment in the netherworld. Today, the dialogue continues: 27 He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’” Continue reading

The Exchanges

This coming Sunday is the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time. In yesterday’s post we considered the passing of the parable’s characters from life into death and the reversal of roles that ensued. In the beginning post it was said that this gospel could be considered as a play in three acts. We’ve now arrived at Act 3. This third movement was described as the narration giving way to dialogue between the rich man and Abraham in three exchanges. The topics of the exchange are: the finality of judgment, the witness of Moses and the prophets, and the blindness that prevents even the Resurrection from leading to conversion. Continue reading