Wednesday, March 27, 2019

TASTE the Fattened Calf! (Bible Study Recap)


Wow! Many thanks to Father Michael Warren et al for helping tonight's Bible Study be a SMASH!

God be praised! Last Saturday at Mass, Father Michael preached on the Gospel — the same one we're privileged to hear this Sunday! Only appearing in Luke, this Sunday we hear what is probably Jesus' most famous parable. Popularly called "The Prodigal Son,"  others have suggested alternative "titles," such as  "The Merciful Father,"  "The Two Sons" (Cardinal Ratzinger), and "The Lost Son,"  (Brant Pitre).

But let's concentrate on that "fattened calf" that the father (Father) had killed to celebrate his son.

Here's what I learned from Father Michael's homily last Saturday:

In Jesus' time, only the very best calf was kept in the barn, while the others were sent off to pasture. This calf was fed on only the best…in fact, by the same food the people of the house feasted on. What's more? Kids were encouraged to give the calf treats of their own…anything to A) make the calf happy but more importantly B) to fatten that calf up with scrumptious stuff and make him the most delectable thing ever eaten. Why? Because "the fattened calf" was to be saved only for the time an amazingly delicious feast would be held…for the visit of some REALLY important dignitary! Like, you know, the President or somebody!

Now, imagine this kid — the older brother — dutifully and probably joyfully trotting off, since childhood, to the barn…oh, I don't know, maybe on his way to school and then as he got older to his chores? You know what I mean. Everyone did it…and wondered with each delectable thing they gave they calf, who would be the next VIP to grace their fattened-calf table? I mean, gee…it could've been, if The Donald wasn't available, Mother Teresa! Or Tom Brady! Or…or…George Washington, maybe! (Okay, I'm straying a bit from Father Michael's homily, but you know what I mean.)

And, instead, who gets to eat this incredible delicacy?

The creepy brother, sheesh!

I know…amazing, isn't it? But it get's even better!

Catherine nailed it when she pointed to my Crucifix and said (I'm paraphrasing): "Him!"

Yes! Yes! And Yes again!

Jesus is the "fattened calf" and the father — far more "prodigal" than the so-called "Prodigal Son" --  celebrated the return of his repentant son with it (Him)!!!

How cool is that? I'll tell you!

On my way home, I passed by Saint Francis Chapel — and the light was on, as it is every Wednesday during Lent…and the Father and Jesus and the Holy Spirit were there, waiting for the return of each one of us…no, more than waiting — actually looking out always, for the return of the penitents! To rejoice and celebrate and feed them the "fattened calf" as the VIPs they are!

Well…as usual, I'm getting carried away. :-)

We actually did get to the other readings…and prayed. Especially for Tony, Lori's cousin, Eddie, Maureen's friend, for all the Elect who are preparing to come into the Church this Easter…and for you. In your charity, please remember us in your prayers.

And, in the words of Rocket J. Squirrel? "Now here's something(s) you'll really like…

Check out a beautiful reflection on The Solemnity of the Annunciation by Father James Doran, O.M.V.:

Pope Francis:

Let us never forget that to be confessors means to participate in the very mission of Jesus to be a concrete sign of the constancy of divine love that pardons and saves... Every confessor must accept the faithful as the father in the parable of the prodigal son: a father who runs out to meet his son despite the fact that he has squandered away his inheritance. Confessors are called to embrace the repentant son who comes back home and to express the joy of having him back again…May confessors not ask useless questions, but like the father in the parable, interrupt the speech prepared ahead of time by the prodigal son, so that confessors will learn to accept the plea for help and mercy pouring from the heart of every penitent. In short, confessors are called to be a sign of the primacy of mercy always, everywhere, and in every situation, no matter what.

Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn 

Found Alive Again

In today’s First Reading, God forgives “the reproach” of the generations who grumbled against Him after the Exodus. On the threshold of the promised land, Israel can with a clean heart celebrate the Passover, the feast of God’s first-born son (see Joshua 5:6-7; Exodus 4:22; 12:12-13).
Reconciliation is also at the heart of the story Jesus tells in today’s Gospel. The story of the prodigal son is the story of Israel and of the human race. But it is also the story of every believer.
In Baptism, we’re given a divine birthright, made “a new creation,” as Paul puts it in today’s Epistle. But when we sin, we’re like the prodigal, quitting our Father’s house, squandering our inheritance in trying to live without Him.
Lost in sin, we cut ourselves off from the grace of sonship lavished upon us in Baptism. It is still possible for us to come to our senses, make our way back to the Father, as the prodigal does.
But only He can remove the reproach, restore the divine sonship we have spurned. Only He can free us from the slavery to sin that causes us - like the prodigal -  to see God not as our Father but as our master, One we serve as slaves.
God wants not slaves but children. Like the father in today’s Gospel, He longs to call each of us “My son,” to share His life with us, to tell us: “Everything I have is yours.”
The Father’s words of longing and compassion still come to His prodigal children in the Sacrament of Penance. This is part of what Paul today calls “the ministry of reconciliation” entrusted by Jesus to the Apostles and the Church.
Reconciled like Israel, we take our place at the table of the Eucharist, the homecoming banquet the Father calls for His lost sons, the new Passover we celebrate this side of heaven. We taste the goodness of the Lord, as we sing in today’s Psalm, rejoicing that we who were dead are found alive again.

Your humble scribe,


Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Bible Study Recap: Good News!

Saints Paul Miki and Companions


"Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord!" is a favorite exhortation of priests at the conclusion of Mass and with good reason…and this Sunday's Readings enrich this command.

We relished Isaiah's vision, his theophany, the purging of his sins, and his calling in the First Reading. Especially, for me, anyway, a sinner, his purging, and the gloriously anticipatory verses which we hear every time we participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

The Response to the First Reading — particularly the lines "I bow down toward Your holy Temple," and "The LORD will fulfill His purpose in me" certainly echo this. As does Paul's sacred authorship of the Creed in his Letter to the Corinthians.

Peter's call by Jesus grabbed us firmly. Peter's humility, the miracle of the catch…yes, the person to choose to sit in the Barque of Peter.

These Readings are a wonderful reason to be rejoice in being Catholic!

Like Isaiah, we are purged by the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation. And the Mercy of Purgatory.

We are called, like Isaiah, Peter, and Paul, to "announce the Gospel of the Lord."

We are shown, by Jesus and by His disciples, not to be afraid, but to "catch men…" to become fishers for Jesus!

It was a blessed session, and thank God for that! And we prayed for you…please remember us in your prayers.

Your humble scribe,

The Living Tradition

St. Augustine: Christ says, Give me this fisherman, this man without education or experience, this man to whom no senator would deign to speak, not even if he were buying fish. Yes, give me him: once I have taken possession of him, it will be obvious that it is I who am at work in him…. The senator can always take pride in what he is; so the orator and the emperor, but the fisherman can glory in nothing except Christ alone. Any of these other men may come and take lessons from me in the importance of humility for salvation, but let the fisherman come first. He is the best person to win over an emperor. Remember this fisherman, then, this holy, just, good, Christ-filled fisherman. In this nets cast throughout the world he has the task of catching this nation as well as all the others. (Augustine, Sermon 43, 5-7; trans. E. Barnecut, p. 79)

Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn

Into the Deep

Simon Peter, the fisherman, is the first to be called personally by Jesus in Luke’s Gospel.

His calling resembles Isaiah’s commissioning in the First Reading: Confronted with the holiness of the Lord, both Peter and Isaiah are overwhelmed by a sense of their sinfulness and inadequacy. Yet each experiences the Lord’s forgiveness and is sent to preach the good news of His mercy to the world.

No one is “fit to be called an apostle,” Paul recognizes in today’s Epistle. But by “the grace of God,” even a persecutor of the Church—as Paul once was—can be lifted up for the Lord’s service.

In the Old Testament, humanity was unfit for the divine—no man could stand in God’s presence and live (see Exodus 33:20). But in Jesus, we’re made able to speak with Him face-to-face, taste His Word on our tongue.
Today’s scene from Isaiah is recalled in every Mass. Before reading the Gospel, the priest silently asks God to cleanse his lips that he might worthily proclaim His Word.

God’s Word comes to us as it came to Peter, Paul, Isaiah, and today’s Psalmist— as a personal call to leave everything and follow Him, to surrender our weaknesses in order to be filled with His strength.

Simon put out into deep waters even though, as a professional fisherman, he knew it would be foolhardy to expect to catch anything. In humbling himself before the Lord’s command, he was exalted—his nets filled to overflowing; later, as Paul tells us, he will become the first to see the risen Lord.

Jesus has made us worthy to receive Him in the company of angels in God’s holy Temple. On our knees like Peter, with the humility of David in today’s Psalm, we thank Him with all our hearts and join in the unending hymn that Isaiah heard around God’s altar: “Holy, holy, holy….” (see  also Revelation 4:8).

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Nick Sandmann's Statement: Either read it, or shut up. Thank you.

Statement of Nick Sandmann, Covington Catholic High School Junior, Regarding Incident at the Lincoln Memorial

I am providing this factual account of what happened on Friday afternoon at the Lincoln Memorial to correct misinformation and outright lies being spread about my family and me.

I am the student in the video who was confronted by the Native American protestor. I arrived at the Lincoln Memorial at 4:30 p.m. I was told to be there by 5:30 p.m., when our busses were due to leave Washington for the trip back to Kentucky. We had been attending the March for Life rally, and then had split up into small groups to do sightseeing.

When we arrived, we noticed four African American protestors who were also on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I am not sure what they were protesting, and I did not interact with them. I did hear them direct derogatory insults at our school group.

The protestors said hateful things. They called us “racists,” “bigots,” “white crackers,” “faggots,” and “incest kids.” They also taunted an African American student from my school by telling him that we would “harvest his organs.” I have no idea what that insult means, but it was startling to hear.

Because we were being loudly attacked and taunted in public, a student in our group asked one of our teacher chaperones for permission to begin our school spirit chants to counter the hateful things that were being shouted at our group. The chants are commonly used at sporting events. They are all positive in nature and sound like what you would hear at any high school. Our chaperone gave us permission to use our school chants. We would not have done that without obtaining permission from the adults in charge of our group.

At no time did I hear any student chant anything other than the school spirit chants. I did not witness or hear any students chant “build that wall” or anything hateful or racist at any time. Assertions to the contrary are simply false. Our chants were loud because we wanted to drown out the hateful comments that were being shouted at us by the protestors.

After a few minutes of chanting, the Native American protestors, who I hadn’t previously noticed, approached our group. The Native American protestors had drums and were accompanied by at least one person with a camera.

The protestor everyone has seen in the video began playing his drum as he waded into the crowd, which parted for him. I did not see anyone try to block his path. He locked eyes with me and approached me, coming within inches of my face. He played his drum the entire time he was in my face.

I never interacted with this protestor. I did not speak to him. I did not make any hand gestures or other aggressive moves. To be honest, I was startled and confused as to why he had approached me, coming within inches of my face. He played his drum the entire time he was in my face.

I never interacted with this protestor. I didn't not speak to him. I did not make any hand gestures or other aggressive moves. To be honest, I was startled and confused as to why he had approached me. We had worried that a situation was getting out of control where adults were attempting to provoke teenagers.

I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping to diffuse the situation. I realized everyone had cameras and that perhaps a group of adults was trying to provoke a group of teenagers into a larger conflict. I said a silent prayer that the situation would not get out of hand.

During the period of the drumming, a member of the protestor’s entourage began yelling at a fellow student that we “stole our land” and that we should “go back to Europe.” I heard one of my fellow students begin to respond. I motioned to my classmate and tried to get him to stop engaging with the protestor, as I was still in the mindset that we needed to calm down tensions.

I never felt like I was blocking the Native American protestor. He did not make any attempt to go around me. It was clear to me that he had singled me out for a confrontation, although I am not sure why.

The engagement ended when one of our teachers told me the busses had arrived and it was time to go. I obeyed my teacher and simply walked to the busses. At that moment, I thought I had diffused the situation by remaining calm, and I was thankful nothing physical had occurred.

I never understood why either of the two groups of protestors were engaging with us, or exactly what they were protesting at the Lincoln Memorial. We were simply there to meet a bus, not become central players in a media spectacle. This is the first time in my life I’ve ever encountered any sort of public protest, let alone this kind of confrontation or demonstration.

I was not intentionally making faces at the protestor. I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated or be provoked into a larger confrontation. I am a faithful Christian and practicing Catholic, and I always try to live up to the ideals my faith teaches me — to remain respectful of others, and to take no action that would lead to conflict or violence.

I harbor no ill will for this person. I respect this person’s right to protest and engage in free speech activities, and I support his chanting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial any day of the week. I believe he should rethink his tactics of invading the personal space of others, but that is his choice to make.

I am being called every name in the book, including a racist, and I will not stand for this mob-like character assassination of my family’s name. My parents were not on the trip, and I strive to represent my family in a respectful way in all public settings.

I have received physical and death threats via social media, as well as hateful insults. One person threatened to harm me at school, and one person claims to live in my neighborhood. My parents are receiving death and professional threats because of the social media mob that has formed over this issue.

I love my school, my teachers and my classmates. I work hard to achieve good grades and to participate in several extracurricular activities. I am mortified that so many people have come to believe something that did not happen — that students from my school were chanting or acting in a racist fashion toward African Americans or Native Americans. I did not do that, do not have hateful feelings in my heart, and did not witness any of my classmates doing that.

I cannot speak for everyone, only for myself. But I can tell you my experience with Covington Catholic is that students are respectful of all races and cultures. We also support everyone’s right to free speech. I am not going to comment on the words or account of Mr. Phillips, as I don’t know him and would not presume to know what is in his heart or mind. Nor am I going to comment further on the other protestors, as I don’t know their hearts or minds, either.

I have read that Mr. Phillips is a veteran of the United States Marines. I thank him for his service and am grateful to anyone who puts on the uniform to defend our nation. If anyone has earned the right to speak freely, it is a U.S. Marine veteran.

I can only speak for myself and what I observed and felt at the time. But I would caution everyone passing judgement based on a few seconds of video to watch the longer video clips that are on the internet, as they show a much different story than is being portrayed by people with agendas.

I provided this account of events to the Diocese of Covington so they may know exactly what happened, and I stand ready and willing to cooperate with any investigation they are conducting.


This is the only statement that has been made by the Sandmann family. Any comments attributed to any member of the family that is not contained in this document are fabricated. The family will not be
answering individual media inquiries.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Epiphany Proclamation 2019

Dear brothers and sisters,

The glory of the Lord has shone upon us, and shall ever be manifest among us, until the day of His return.

Through the rhythms of times and seasons let us celebrate the mysteries of salvation.

Let us recall the year's culmination, the Easter Triduum of the Lord: His last supper, His crucifixion, His burial, and His rising celebrated between the evening of the Eighteenth of April and the evening of the Twentieth of April, Easter Sunday being on the Twenty-first day of April. 

Each Easter — as on each Sunday — the Holy Church makes present the great and saving deed
by which Christ has for ever conquered sin and death.

From Easter are reckoned all the days we keep holy. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, will occur on the Sixth day of March. 

The Ascension of the Lord will be commemorated on Sunday, the Second day of June or Thursday, the Thirtieth day of May.

Pentecost, joyful conclusion of the season of Easter, will be celebrated on the Ninth day of June.

And, this year the First Sunday of Advent will be on the First day of December, 2019.

Likewise the pilgrim Church proclaims the passover of Christ in the feasts of the holy Mother of God,
in the feasts of the Apostles and Saints, and in the commemoration of the faithful departed. 

To Jesus Christ, Who was, Who is, and Who is to come, Lord of time and history, be endless praise, for ever and ever.