Showing posts with label holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label holidays. Show all posts

16 Apr 2017

The Eighth Day: Two Millennia and Counting

Easter is when we celebrate "the crowning truth of our faith in Christ" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 638)

It's among the top major events so far. Depending on how you count them, there have been only three to six: the creation of this universe; humanity's creation and fall; and our Lord's arrival, execution, and resurrection.

There's another big one coming, eventually, and I'll get back to that.

The idea that the Son of God was human and divine has seemed insufficiently 'spiritual' to some folks for two millennia now. But like John 1:14 says,1 "...the Word became flesh...."

The crucifixion, and what happened later, wouldn't mean much otherwise....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

12 Mar 2017


I say "in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" a lot: mostly when I start praying. I generally make the sign of the Cross at the same time.

The sign of the Cross is a very "Catholic" gesture. It "reminds us in a physical way of the Paschal Mystery we celebrate: the death and Resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ."1

It's a prayer, a blessing, and a sacramental; and that's another topic. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1668-1670)

Dali's "Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus)" is very "Catholic," too; although not it's not like the mass-produced 19th-century stuff many associate with our faith.

I wouldn't be surprised if a half-millennium from now, some tight-collar Catholics will be upset by new art that doesn't present the Cross as an unfolded tesseract, and that's yet another topic. Topics.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

5 Mar 2017

Living With Consequences

I've missed one morning set, and several of the evening prayer sequences, in the routine I started February 13. (February 19, 2017)

I'm doing a little better with so far with the Lenten Chaplet. I started that Ash Wednesday.

Emphasis on "so far." I nearly forgot twice, which doesn't surprise me. There's a very good reason for my wife handling the household's schedules, and that's another topic.

This is where I could quote Romans 7:19 and launch into a 'wretcheder than thou' lament. It'd be accurate, on one level, since I've felt this way often enough....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

26 Feb 2017

Oatmeal For Lent

I'll be eating oatmeal for breakfast during Lent, and walking around more. If I was in England, I'd probably call it porridge, and that's another topic.

It'll be be good for my health, and I'm sure that's one reason my wife suggested it. But that's not the only, or the main, reason.

Lent isn't about me....

...Lent is when we join Jesus in the desert. Sort of....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

8 Jan 2017

Epiphany Sunday

Statues1 of Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar started near the clock in our living room. I took those pictures of them on Wednesday. Their trip to the nativity scene ended today, Epiphany Sunday.

We read about "magi from the east" in today's Gospel: Matthew 2:1 through 12:
"1 When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, 2 behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem,
"saying, 'Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star 3 at its rising and have come to do him homage.'"
(Matthew 2:1-2)
"Magi" is how μάγοι, mágoi, looks in my native language. That's the Greek version of an Old Persian word that would sound something like "magus" if I tried pronouncing it.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

25 Dec 2016

"Good News of Great Joy"

The Christmas Mass marathon — that's not what it's called — started yesterday with the Vigil Mass. Mass During the Night was next, followed by Mass at Dawn and Mass During the Day.

I didn't go to all four, I don't know how many folks do, but I looked up the Gospel readings for each....

"...We heard parts of the Vigil Mass Gospel last week. That's Matthew 1:18-24, when Joseph learns why Mary is pregnant...."

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

18 Dec 2016

Gabriel, Joseph, and Mary

Monday's Gospel reading, Luke 1:26-38, is a repeat from December 8.

It starts with....

...A little earlier in that chapter we get an account of Gabriel's interview with Zachariah: Luke 1:10-20. That's when Gabriel personally delivers God's response to Zachariah's prayer — and Zachariah demands proof.

Zachariah got proof, all right. He couldn't talk for for months. Not until he agreed with his wife about his son's name: in writing.

Elizabeth said the boy's name was John, the same name Gabriel had specified....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

11 Dec 2016

Jesus and Expectations

Pip's Christmas doesn't have much to do with Christmas, or Advent, but I figured this post should have something that looks 'seasonal.'

"...Blessed is the One Who Takes No Offense at Me"

We'll be hearing Matthew 11:2-11 this morning. The readings still aren't particularly 'Christmassy.'
"2 When John heard in prison 3 of the works of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to him "4 with this question, 'Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?'
"Jesus said to them in reply, 'Go and tell John what you hear and see:
"5 the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. "And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.' "
(Matthew 11:4-6)
Our Lord balanced that rebuke with a reminder of the Baptist's great function in Matthew 11:7-15, and a complaint about folks who wouldn't listen to John or Jesus....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

4 Dec 2016

Sin, Awareness, Repentance

Today's reading from the Gospels, Matthew 3:1-12, doesn't seem particularly Christmassy. Not in the 'presents wrapped under the tree' sense.
"1 2 In those days John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea. "(and) saying, 'Repent, 3 for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!' ...

"...When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees 7 coming to his baptism, he said to them, 'You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
"Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance....."
(Matthew 3:1-2, 7-8)
More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

27 Nov 2016

Advent and Being Prepared

Today's the start of this year's Advent cycle, leading up to another Christmas.

With my culture's annual focus on flying reindeer, decorated trees, and overflow crowds in Bethlehem, this verse from today's Gospel reading might sound odd:
"25 Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come."
(Matthew 24:42)
We know when Jesus came, and where. That happened about two thousand years ago, near the east end of the Mediterranean.

Advent is the season when we look back at our Lord's first arrival. That's important.

It's also when we look ahead, to the day when the Son of man returns. That's important, too.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

31 Oct 2016

Happy Halloween!

Showing this picture to a few online groups, I learned that Halloween, our version, is a somewhat "American" holiday.

Today is also the feast day of St. Wolfgang of Regensberg, AKA The Almoner. He had a good reason for throwing his ax into a thicket, and that's another topic....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

3 Jan 2016

Jesus, the Magi, and Me

(Our Lady of Angels, Sauk Centre, Minnesota, Saturday afternoon. (January 2, 2015))

Statues of Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar started out across from the nativity scene in our parish church. They were lurking by the poinsettias during Friday's Mass — the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God — and no, Catholics do not worship Mary. We're not supposed to, anyway.1

Getting back to the statues, they were in place at the nativity scene when I stopped by with a camera Saturday afternoon. Two look like they're kneeling to the Baby Jesus, the third is bowing slightly.

But Friday they were in front of the altar, by the poinsettias you see in that top photo. Two of them seemed to be crouching behind poinsettia leaves; with the third several paces back, leaning out from behind a plant. It looked like they might be getting ready to yell "surprise!"...

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

27 Dec 2015

Joy to the World!

(From Silar, Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
(Nativity scene at the Christ the King Church in Sanok, Poland, 2010.)

Shepherding is a comparatively new occupation, compared to hunting and knapping.

The earliest evidence we've found so far puts the first shepherds north of Sargon's Akkadian Empire, where the Hittite Kingdom was, a dozen or so centuries later. I've mentioned them before. (August 21, 2015; October 16, 2015)

That was about the time someone carved a bit of siltstone into the Narmer Palette, and folks started building Stonehenge; and that's another topic.

Around the time Emperor Ping died, leaving Wang Mang in charge — he was either a great reformer or conniving scoundrel, depending on who you read, and that's yet another topic — the Roman Emperor ordered an empire-wide census.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

29 Nov 2015

Advent: Looking Both Ways

It's been nearly a week since I've seen someone's announcement that the end of days is upon us.

False alarms are nothing new. It's been about 18 centuries since St. Hippolytus of Rome figured the Second Coming would happen in the year 500.

Swedenborg speculated, in 1758, that the Last Judgment happened in the previous year — I give him points for originality — and Harold Camping got it wrong twice. (January 25, 2015; April 19, 2015)

Me? I believe what our Lord said: including what's recorded in Mark 13:32-37, which ties in with today's Gospel reading....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

4 Jan 2015

It Started With the Magi

Some folks, like the magi and shepherds, were happy about our Lord's birth. King Herod, not so much. Today's Gospel reading, Matthew 2:1-12, talks about this mixed reaction.

Two millennia later, I'm on the same page as the shepherds and wise men. I think our Lord's birth is cause for rejoicing. (Matthew 2:10Luke 2:20)

"Only the Beginning of a Great Procession"

"For the Church which believes and prays, the Wise Men from the East who, guided by the star, made their way to the manger of Bethlehem, are only the beginning of a great procession which winds throughout history...."
("Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, Homily of Benedict XVI," (January 6, 2013))
Today is Epiphany Sunday, when the wise men arrive at the nativity scene in our living room, and we remember Matthew's account of the magi. As usual, there's quite a bit going on....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

21 Dec 2014

Gideon, Gabriel, Mary, and Guts

(From John William Waterhouse, via, used w/o permission.)

This morning's Gospel reading is Luke 1:26-38. That's the bit that starts with....

...This comes a little after an account of Gabriel's interview with Zachariah, Luke 1:10-20. That's when Gabriel personally delivers God's response to Zachariah's prayer: and Zachariah demands proof.

Zachariah got proof, all right. He wasn't able to talk for for months. That didn't stop until he agreed with his wife about his son's name: in writing. Elizabeth's name for the boy was John, the same name Gabriel had specified

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

14 Dec 2014

Suicide, Sin, and Dealing with Depression

Like I said last week, 'tiz the season to be frazzled. It's also a time of year when folks get together with family, including folks like Yogi Yorgesson's "goofy relations:"
"...After dinner my Aunt and my wife's Uncle Louie
Get into an argument; they're both awful screwy
Then all my wife's family say Louie is right
And my goofy relations, they yoin in the fight.
Back in the corner the radio is playing
And over the racket Gabriel Heater is saying
'Peace on earth everybody and good will toward men'
And yust at that moment someone slugs Uncle Ben....
("I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas," via
Oddly enough, December is generally a month with the fewest suicides each year in America. ("Holiday Suicides: Fact or Myth?," Injury Prevention & Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (December 31, 2013))

Digging a little deeper, I noticed that those 'December suicides' statistics may or may not include murder-suicides: the sort of thing I talked about in "Psycho Santa's Slaying Spree - The Catholic Connection," back in 2008. That's not quite another topic.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

7 Dec 2014

Bah! Humbug! Christmas and Plastic Reindeer

"...'What else can I be,' returned the uncle, 'when I live in such a world of fools as this? ... If I could work my will,' said Scrooge indignantly, 'every idiot who goes about with "Merry Christmas" on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!'..."
("A Christmas Carol," Charles Dickens (1843) via
'Tis the season to be frazzled.

Advent is when some Americans max out their credit cards, buying presents and setting up holiday parties: while others kvetch over bright lights and holiday music played in stores....

More, or less, at A Catholic Citizen in America.

30 Nov 2014

Advent: Another Year of the Long Watch

Today's Gospel reading starts on the second verse of this excerpt:
" 'But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

"Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.

"It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.

"Watch, therefore; you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning.

"May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.

"What I say to you, I say to all: "Watch!" ' "
(Mark 13:32-37)
More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

'Then there eyes were opened . . .' Sunday Reflections, Third Sunday of Easter, Year A Supper at Emmaus (detail) 1606 , Ca...