UNDOING THE BOAST OF LINEAGE

In the last two posts we see how the pride of lineage, represented by the artful deception of Jacob and his mother for the Messianic promise was interrupted with the struggle between Jacob and the angel of God in Genesis. With a new name and limp, Jacob (Israel) has a vision of Heaven opened and angels ascending and descending. With a direct reference to this vision while reintroducing a context of duplicity, Jesus the Messiah calls on the charitable heart of Nathaniel:

JOHN 1:47 Jesus saw Nathaniel coming to him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!”48 Nathaniel said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”49 Nathaniel answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.”

Christ the Messiah with His Mother have the remedy for all things presented to them by the converted heart of mankind. Now how could the knot of a boastful messianic lineage that began with warring first-borns in the womb of Rebekah be undone? If Jesus the Messiah had a brother, then maybe that would be a way.

Scripture describes three James’ specifically. There is James the brother of John, the two sons of Zebedee, and James son of Alphaeus, distinctly mentioned together when Jesus chose His apostles (Luke 6:12-14). Tradition has it that Alphaeus was an uncle to Jesus, so this James (also called the the Lesser in tradition) a first cousin. Not a brother but close. There is a third James with the “brother” descriptor mentioned by Paul in Galatians:

Galations 19: I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother.

The use of the term brother for relatives is common in the middle east but if this were a first born brother of Jesus, he would be of Joseph from his former marriage.

Various traditions, including that of the Latin Church believe that there are only two James’, and that James of Alphaeus (the Lesser) are the same as this brother of our Lord that Paul found in Jerusalem. The Eastern Orthodox churches believe that there are three. If this sounds unbelievable witness what Paul says in Galatians in his next sentence:

Galatians 19: I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie.

Unless he frequently makes a point of saying he is not lying, it sounds like Paul himself was surprised to find out that Jesus had an actual brother.

A discussion on the James’ in the New Testament can be researched from the works of the first Church historian Eusebius and related commentaries. There are also apocryphal works that describe this third James.

But do we need these?

What should be more convincing is that the Eastern Liturgical calendar has three separate feast days for each of these James’ including for “Holy Apostle James, Brother of God, First Bishop of Jerusalem” (October 23). Thrown from the Temple at Jerusalem, this James was also martyred for the faith. He was called James the Just, known for his humility, maybe a cutout of his father.

But we rightly call the first two James’ apostles because Jesus appointed them among the twelve. Why is the third James an apostle? This is answered in a prayer from his feast day:

Kontakion of Saint James

When at the completion of time, God the Word, the Only-Begotten Son of the Father, came down to us, He established you, admirable James, as the first Shepherd and Teacher at Jerusalem, a faithful steward of the Mysteries of Faith; wherefore we honor you as an Apostle.

There is a surety here because the Divine Liturgy or Mass is an eternal event. A Liturgy from that time is as real to God now as it was then. It is a building block of the future resurrection to Eternal Glory. This is why attempts to “retire” a Liturgical form such as the Latin Mass are senseless. New liturgies may be started but to do away with a Liturgy is impossible.

In the genealogy of Matthew Chapter 1 we see the lineage from Jacob to Joseph and end with a new Jacob to Joseph. At this point the Messiah of all races offers the title of Bishop of Jerusalem to His race in the first-born son of Joseph. Maybe a suggestion from His Mother. The knot of Rebecca is undone.

This is why orthodox churches even up to the 20th Century looked like synagogues. Could this be why the Orthodox liturgical traditions have more national identities and less emphasis on priestly celibacy? Here also the heroes from the lineage of the Messiah are saints in the Liturgical calendar. Prayers for self-government and their armed forces are included in the Liturgy.

There is a reminder of all this in the story of how God found a home in the charitable heart of Edith Stein, who became a Carmelite, a tradition rooted in the prophet Elijah. She was martyred by an evil whose only defeat will be through Christ. She was canonized by miracles witnessed by a Melkite priest, descendants of the same orthodox apostolic lineage from Bishop James of Jerusalem, but now in union with Rome.

St. James “brother of the Lord” icon on the throne of the Church of St. Mark in Jerusalem

On the Traditional Liturgies and the Fifth Ignatian Rule of Discernment

In bleak or desolate times, there is a good rule of thumb that has a formal teaching from the founder of the Jesuit order. It is the fifth rule of discernment on knowing what to do in difficult times.

“In time of desolation never to make a change; but to be firm and constant in the resolutions and determination in which one was the day preceding such desolation, or in the determination in which he was in the preceding consolation. Because, as in consolation it is rather the good spirit who guides and counsels us, so in desolation it is the bad, with whose counsels we cannot take a course to decide rightly.”

In other words, avoid making any major changes when you are compromised by a difficult situation. Rather hold fast to what you had before the bad times.

This is really enough said for those that want to limit the more traditional Liturgies for newer ones. And since those newer rites were developed in the “day preceding such desolation”, the availability of both can be seen as a preparation for such bad times.

The rule could also put a lid on those ideas in governments that depend on false flag operations. Causing a bad event to induce a change. An idea that has found historical use in Communism and other tyrannical ideologies. Rather a bad event should be an excuse to hold fast to traditions.

Have You Heard of the Fire Within?

Have you heard of the fire within?  The fire within first started outside. It was in the command on the Israelites to sacrifice animals as burnt offerings to the Living God. In reparation for sins. This practice is similar to the innate practices of other cultures especially before Christianity. For example in the pagan Roman empire or, since humans are animals, in the Mayan culture of central America. The sacrifice of animals is ongoing in the religious practices of Islam today.

Have you heard that in trying to fulfill this command, man is compromised by insincerity and an imperfect nature? So that the offerings were never enough to appease the living God. But God foretold the final way that this will be offered, a way that would  perfect those that present and consume the offering as well:

Genesis 22:8. Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the  burnt offering, my son.”
Have you thought about the zeal the young Jesus felt when He visited the temple of the sacrifice with His parents? He recognized His eternal home, His eternal function, to replace the offerings forever.

The fire without
The fire without

[from nourstat.com‘s rosary series on the 5th joyful mystery. Caption in Arabic: Luke 2: 41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover.  42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it.]

Have you contemplated that so drawn to the fire of the sacrifice, He disappeared into the temple to try to perfect the elders in the temple with His teachings?

The Teaching with the Fire
The Teaching with the Fire

[from nourstat.com‘s rosary series on the 5th joyful mystery. Caption in Arabic: Luke 2: 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. ]

But the plan was to internalize and immortalize this fire and action, in both spirit and flesh, and the guidance of His life and death was with His mother.  Have you heard that the fire offering has to be in spirit and flesh for consumption by people (Exodus 12:1-11) and so He had to sacrifice His Body and Soul for that consumption?

O You Who graciously gave Your Flesh to me as food, who are a fire consuming the unworthy: consume me not, O my Creator, but rather pass through all the parts of my body, into all my joints, my heart, my soul; burn, O good Lord, the thorns of my transgressions…

From the Byzantine Third Prayer of Thanksgiving after Holy Communion at the Divine Liturgy

Given all this can we understand how evil can only grow when the general consumption of this offering is limited or denied? A spiritual connection to the Divine Liturgy is fine but that is what protestants have [1]. With the physical presence of Mercy so denied, can we understand that without this consumption peoples can only resort to animal sacrifices or even worse, the sacrifice of humans?  Can we now know why the Virgin of Guadalupe felt so compelled to personally visit the Mayan race to end their human sacrifices?

[1] The selection of the Books of the Bible, which are used to defend Bible-alone Christian philosophies, was based on the collection of documents used in the Divine Liturgy at the time of the Church Fathers.

The fire within
The fire within

The Kingship of Christ (and about that Consecration of Russia)

This post is not about whether the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart has been sufficiently done as instructed by the Virgin Mother of God in the early 20th Century. I believe the declarations and suggestions of the Latin Church leadership that it has. I could be wrong. I would think that there would be nothing wrong with a repeated or more formalized consecration now. Maybe to be more sure? It can’t hurt.

Instead this post is about a more encompassing historical perspective for the consecration, its meaning for the reign of Christ the King and with perhaps an unexpected conclusion. Asking for the reader’s patience through what could be perceived as a disjointed and even superficial discourse, we will suggest at the end that a solution of our times may be a practical agreed upon footnote from the Council of Nicaea, in the 4th Century.

Certainly we know that the evils of communism began with and were spread by the Soviet Union. Our Lady of Fatima spoke of this danger for the whole world. However there is a meaning that has its roots in ancient times and echoes throughout history. It has all to do with the tug of war between secular man’s power, represented by an expanding government, even to take captive the soul, and God’s Kingdom of Love.

The Request for an Earthly King

A beginning point is when the ancient Israelites complained to God for a worldly kingdom. The passages speak for themselves:

1 Samuel 8: 7 And the Lord told him [Samuel]: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected Me as their king. …9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”…11 He [Samuel] said, “…17 … and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

The Kingdom of Heaven Established

Christ the King Icon Maaloula Syria
Christ the King Icon Maaloula Syria

Now fast forward to after the Resurrection of Christ, the Acts of the Apostles and the early centuries that followed. Christianity was rapidly expanding east and west. A peculiar event however recorded in the Acts of the Apostles gives one pause:

Acts 16: 6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”

St. Paul
St. Paul

With repeated emphasis and with outward geographical meaning [look up the locations of those regions], God directly intervenes in shifting the emphasis of the evangelization from east to west, directing Paul’s zeal. Although ultimately a mystery, a logical reason for this is the destined location for Primacy of Peter in Rome, the capital of the Roman empire. Also, within the organizational backdrop of the Roman Empire, a council can convene to create statements of doctrinal orthodoxy for the whole of Christendom, for all the churches in the orbit of the empire. Here we see the benevolence of God who does not put His Kingdom at odds with government. Rather He proposes a marriage with government through conversion of the hearts of peoples who understand His Kingship present among them.

The First Ecumenical Council

Council of Nicaea
Council of Nicaea

The first such ecumenical council occurred in Nicaea in AD 325. The primary focus of this council was the defense against Arianism, which denied the full Divinity and full humanity of Christ. God’s Kingship has been established and in harmony with cultures, nationhood, and sovereignty. This dual nature of Christ, is also directly stated with the title of Mother of God, since God, taking the nature of man, must have a mother. In fact this title would have to be defended a few years later at the Council of Ephesus (431 AD).

The Parable of the Weeds

Our next point has to do with workers of deception that latch on the blessings that God gives man in constructing a just civilization, trying to replace it with a purely worldly governance that dominates rather than frees. Everyone benefits from the presence of Christianity, but there are those, among whom are Christians, who with time forget the grace of God. And there are those outside Christianity that build empires on the backs of the workers of God’s Kingdom. The betrayal of the doctrine of the dual nature of Christ defined at the Council of Nicaea has been presented here in a prior post. Although our Lord may have been referring to a different specific point in time, His parable of the weeds, reminds one of this kind of betrayal:

Matthew 13:24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ 28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

Readers can familiarize themselves with history between the time of the First Ecumenical Council with Emperor Constantine, who was at the Council, and the rise and fall of his nephew Emperor Julian the Apostate. Julian represented the return to paganism for the empire as the Arian heresy spread and became the dominant theology amongst the bishops. From the fall of Julian, the fragmentation of the empire began, bloated from corruption, top heavy, heterodox, and mired by foreign entanglements. The fall of the empire is a type of a “time of harvest” from Jesus’ parable. The building of a worldly government always entails moral decay on a personal level, breakdown of families, loss of sovereignty, and foreign wars. This should remind us of our present time.

The Mother of All Heresies and the Mother of All Councils

Pantocrator Icon
Pantocrator Icon

In denying the Divinity and humanity of Jesus, Arianism opens up the historical figure of Jesus to all sorts of interpretations, such as that of Islam who describes Him as only a human prophet. Heterodox (errant) teachings also explode. This is touched on in our prior post. One can think of the First Council then as where Christ’s Kingship was defined for all of history just as the heresy that it countered was one from which all errors emanated. Future councils can then be thought of addressing corollaries of orthodoxy just as the heresies they fought are variants  of Arianism. This is the implicit or stated position of the present day Orthodox Churches not in communion with the Roman Church, who were, nonetheless present at the Council of Nicaea via Apostolic succession. These were the eastern Churches in the orbit of the empire at that time. The future councils that followed then were increasingly concerning the Roman Church, eventually to counter the more specific and western cultural errors of the second millennium, such as those from which emerged with protestantism, moral relativism, modernism, and the like. For the smaller and more regional Orthodox Churches, these councils seem unimportant. The Latin Church, or See of Peter, headed by the Pope, is in this interpretation the spearhead of Christianity. Where the devil concentrates his attacks in history. Without this perspective, we find ourselves arguing over the differences in titles like of the Immaculate Conception and the title All-Pure which pervades the eastern liturgy.

A Timeline Overview of a Slow Schism and Isolation Starting after the Council of Nicaea

Russian Mary Icon
Russian Mary Icon

Most scholars put the final break between the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Churches at the formal schism of 1054. Until that time, theological and political differences between Eastern and Western Christianity slowly accrued for centuries. Details of these differences include issues of the procession of the Holy Spirit, using leavened or unleavened bread in the liturgy, the role of other patriarchies. But these are better presented by scholars. Rather, we would like to point out a perspective by stepping back for an overview of this history, from the directing of the Apostle Paul’s zeal westward leading to the Council of Nicaea and to the present time. At Nicaea Christendom is defined for the faithful and for all time to follow. What follows is a slow isolation of the Apostolic Churches, Orthodox and Roman Catholic, while keeping the Sacraments available for those who chose to be faithful to them. At the latter part of the timeline, in the 9th Century, the Byzantine monks Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius translated the Gospel to the Slavonic language setting up the Christianization of the Slavs, including Russia, in the 10th Century. Suddenly, a very large chunk of the East became Christian, reaching the Pacific Ocean, and curiously just before the schism was formalized.

Our Lady of Kazan
Our Lady of Kazan

Becoming the last major Apostolic Church before the formal schism and one that did not exist in the orbit of the Roman Empire before its breakup, can we see perhaps why it was in Russia that the evils of communism began as a major political movement in the 20th Century? The western (Roman Catholic) church in the millennium after the schism and leading up to Communism, defended western attacks on the physical Kingship of Christ such as protestantism, moral relativism, modernism, secularism, etc. Being the Holder of the Keys of the Kingdom, the Latin Church was still able to effect vast eastern evangelizations in her fight against these errors and her internal corruptions. The evangelizations of Saint Francis Xavier comes to mind.

But if we are to take the warning of our Lady of Fatima seriously, the widest threat from a secular world government came from the country wherein is the last Apostolic Church before the schism, the Soviet Union. A Church that was not in the orbit of Christendom at the time of Council of Nicaea. We can see now more meaning behind the consecration of Russia.

Interestingly, the formation of the College of Cardinals, the body used to elect the Pope, was approximately coincident with the final Schism and isolation of the Churches, certainly by 1099.

There is much meaning to learn from timelines.

The Isolation of the Churches May Have Run its Course and a Footnote from the Council of Nicaea

SS Peter & Paul
SS Peter & Paul

Combining this timeline overview and the times we live in, particularly the compromise of the See of Rome with secular and shallow world government movements suggests that the isolation of the Apostolic Churches may have run its course. God exists independent of time however and promises that no trouble can befall His faithful without a way out, a grace for all trouble and temptation we undergo.

1 Corinthians 10:13…fidelis autem Deus qui non patietur vos temptari super id quod potestis sed faciet cum temptatione etiam proventum ut possitis sustinere.

Pentecost icon
Pentecost icon

Christ promises that He will return, not during trouble, but AFTER the Gospel is preached to all the earth (Matthew 14:14)[1]. So all available graces have to used first. All graces come from Christ’s supreme act of salvation on the cross and these graces became available for all time at Pentecost. The Council of Nicaea defined the true natures of Christ and addressed other matters as the empire’s first ecumenical council after Pentecost. It is the ecumenical council most proximal to Pentecost and is the last such council before the subsequent slow fractioning and isolation of Apostolic Churches.

So was there a grace defined at the Council of Nicaea as contingency for what was to follow? We point out an agreement somewhat obscure and certainly dwarfed by the definition of Christ’s dual nature:

Canon 6

Let the ancient customs in Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis prevail, that the Bishop of Alexandria have jurisdiction in all these, since the like is customary for the Bishop of Rome also. Likewise in Antioch and the other provinces, let the Churches retain their privileges. And this is to be universally understood, that if any one be made bishop without the consent of the Metropolitan, the great Synod has declared that such a man ought not to be a bishop.

While this Canon has been debated over the centuries, it should be clear that it includes the appointment of bishops by each Apostolic jurisdiction (how these patriarchies are defined I would leave for those more qualified than me). That the granularity of the Church is preserved by the patriarchies appointing their own bishops is made explicit by the last sentence. It also states that the patriarchy’s authority is the same as that for the Bishop of Rome. By using here the term Bishop of Rome, the Canon is not stating that the Patriarchies have independence from the See of Peter as the Holder of the Keys of the Kingdom. That is a different jurisdiction, instituted by Christ Himself, and not by the Council.

Peter with the Keys
Peter with the Keys

Recall that it is Christ that appoints the Apostles, not the Apostle Peter. It is Christ who admonishes the seven bishops in Asia Minor. The Vicar of Christ can admonish an eastern bishop but he does not appoint him. A bishop appointed by Rome is no guarantee of orthodoxy, as is so clearly evident in our time. Rome cannot even guarantee her own orthodoxy especially with the present College of Cardinals, let alone the orthodoxy of an eastern bishop. Is the neglect of this canon a source of pride for both sides that amplifies schisms and breeds heresies and their innumerable flavors.  Providence has defined this canon at the same time when Christ’s Nature was defined for all times to follow. Could the canon be a faint reminder of Christ’s advice in the parable of the weeds, a remedy for the ubiquity of evil? Preserve the granularity for the final harvest?

One Heart

St. Cyprian Icon in Maad Lebanon
St. Cyprian Icon in Maad Lebanon

“There is, in fact, among the bishops only one Church, only one soul, only one heart… There is, through the institution of Christ, one and only one Church, spread out over the whole world, one and only one episcopacy represented by a multiplicity of bishops united among themselves… The Church forms a single whole, whose bond is the union of bishops” (St. Cyprian of Carthage, 3rd Century).

Icon at the Home of St. Alphonsus Liguori
Icon at the Home of St. Alphonsus Liguori

This heart is the Immaculate Heart or heart of the Theotokos, present at Pentecost.

St. Joan of Arch with visions
St. Joan of Arch with visions

There is a quote from the story of Saint Joan of Arch who’s martyrdom had everything to with the loss of her county’s sovereignty, a corrupt bishop, AND THE DENIAL OF ACCESS TO THE SACRAMENTS .  “Act. And God will act.” So was Russia sufficiently consecrated to the Immaculate heart by the various Popes in the 20th Century? Maybe. Is a return to the norm of Canon 6 from the Council of Nicaea needed? With the present state of affairs, it sure can’t hurt. After all, all sides signed it.

Mother of Perpetual Help, Pray for Us
Mother of Perpetual Help, Pray for Us

 

 

 

[1] This is why I believe that we are not at the time of Christ’s second coming. But this is just my opinion.

 

The Pandemic and the Intellect Don’t Mix (Science 201)

This post is a follow-up to a prior, Science 101, and is written on Easter Sunday April 12, 2020. The marketed nightmare for the Corona virus COVID-19 rages on, promoting the cancellation of public Easter Liturgies all over the world. Bishop after bishop cancels Masses based on the reaction of “authorities” without any attempt of a creative solution or compromise to extend the Eternal to mankind, something armies and tyrants could never do to this extent. To understand the degree of this deception, try imagining every news post or article about the Corona virus, substitute the word “Common cold” instead and you will know. At worst this is a virulent strain of the common cold, engineered in a lab or not, while the statistics have still not broken from prior morbidities of Corona viruses and still not reached the levels of morbidity of the flu (Influenza A – H1N1). What is most virulent is the marketing campaign and the contagion of reaction, symptoms of sick society without any grounding. Coronaviruses have been around 100’s years, with known treatment. Are we to expect a maintained PR campaign for the same?  Can we at least use the knowledge we already have about Coronavirus? With all the afflictions of society ignored, including the mass slaughter of thousands of the unborn a day, the time was ripe I suppose.

And what of the intellect? With an ounce of intellect and a measure of time, anyone can realize that the mass media will lie about what you know to be true at some point, if it has enough funding and is in the interest of some “authority”. This is simply the age we live in. This is the nature of “uncountries”. Remember the relentless media campaign to invade the wrong country after 9/11?  Now the media will admit their mistake but say it is too late to do anything about  it. Too late to withdraw the troops. So it will be  with the new measures coming to handle the “pandemic”.

Here is a reminder to “authorities”. The scientific method was not born yesterday. It was not born with Descartes. The method to recognize the natural world has always been around with humans. It is the background needed to recognize a miracle. And almost 2000 years ago a collection of manuscripts were compiled by peer review. They are called the Gospels and Christ was risen from dead.

He is indeed risen, Hallelujah.

Addendum:  Please watch and pass on this video. Send the video link to your Bishop. While we can hope that they will use their intellect to understand what is going on, they would a least know that there are those out there who are.

dogv2

Please sign the petition.

Oh Mother of Perpetual Help, grant that I may ever invoke thy powerful name (and image), which is the protection of the living and the salvation of the dying.

XY

The lack of teaching the truth of the Faith is coming to fruition and taking leadership positions. Ordaining a female priest is as impossible as a male delivering a baby. Know what you are getting into. When you enter the Faith, you consume the flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ, God Incarnate in a male. XY.  This is not a symbol or the imagination. So having a female say the words of consecration “This is my Body” is to tell a lie in public. God cannot change the sex of a human once conceived. That is the realm of a myriad of religions and philosophies available to hide your conscience, that believe in reincarnation. Because we are conceived male OR female in love; and God cannot undo His work of Love. We can only reject His work. The Divine Liturgy is a Divine Opera that enacts God’s redemptive work and presents His Incarnate Divine Son in the flesh for consumption. XY. And not only XY, but the exact chromosome set of God Incarnate.  So a male only can act as Priest, just as a woman only can carry and delivery a baby. Any other other way will not produce consumable mysteries. Consider this a nutrition label.

The No Homily Liturgy

Ever been to a liturgy where the priest skipped the homily due to time constraints or other unknown reason. No worries I say. Some homilies are bad anyway. Here is the Psalm passage I think about whenever this happens:

Psalm 19. The heavens declare the glory of God, the vault of heaven proclaims His handiwork,

2 day discourses of it to day, night to night hands on the knowledge.

3 No utterance at all, no speech, not a sound to be heard,

4 but from the entire earth the design stands out, this message reaches the whole world. High above, He pitched a tent for the sun,

5 who comes forth from His pavilion like a bridegroom, delights like a champion in the course to be run.

6 Rising on the one horizon He runs his circuit to the other, and nothing can escape His heat.

 

No worries. In Christ.

l

 

 

PEACE BE WITH YOU AND THE FIRST SUNDAY MASS

 

For those Christians among us who attend weekly Sunday Mass or Divine Liturgy, do you ever wonder when the first Sunday Mass or Liturgy was celebrated? Did the early Church record the day when it was first celebrated? It seems not to have been recorded in any log or ledger that anybody talks about. One would think that the first time our weekly Mass happened would be documented somehow. I will propose that this is. In scripture. And how may surprise you, as well as help you witness to those that question the practice as unscriptual or even question the move of the Lord’s day from Saturday to the first day of the week: Sunday.

Let’s begin with the recounting of the resurrection in scripture [my comments are in brackets; scripture references are from the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition but any version can be used for this discussion]:

Matthew 28:1

Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week [Sunday], Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulcher.

Mark 16:2

And very early on the first day of the week [Sunday], they went to the tomb when the sun had risen.

John 20

1 Now on the first day of the week [Sunday] Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb…

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week [Sunday], the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you…[The reader familiar with the Liturgy, should recognize this as the greeting from the priest at the beginning of the Mass.]

26 Eight days later [Sunday], his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.”

Luke 24

But on the first day of the week [Sunday], at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices which they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb,…13 That very day [Sunday] two of them were going to a village named Emma′us, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. ..27 And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. … 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?” 33 And they rose that same hour [still Sunday] and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them, 34 who said, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

36 As they were saying this [still Sunday], Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you.”37 But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit. 38 …41 And while they still disbelieved for joy, and wondered, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate before them.

… 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high.”

We then find that this Sunday practice continues after the ascension via the apostles:

Acts 2:41-43

41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

1 Corinthians 10:15-17

15 I speak as to sensible men; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

Acts 20:

7 On the first day of the week[Sunday], when we were gathered together to break bread,Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the morrow; and he prolonged his speech until midnight. 8 There were many lights in the upper chamber where we were gathered.

1 Corinthians 16:1-3

16 Now concerning the contribution for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. 2 On the first day of every week [Sunday], each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, …

1 Corinthians

20 When you meet together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat.

23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

So we can summarize a pattern of the post-resurrection story as follows. Jesus appears to his disciples in the context of a meal on Sundays, often with the greeting “Peace be with you”. He appears with his glorified wounds. This is the same presentation and context of the timeless Sunday liturgy. The first Mass was then on Resurrection Sunday. The second, one week later, and so on, until His ascension to the Father. During this time He no doubt enlightens the apostles on this practice, who then continue the practice on Sunday’s after the ascension, until this day. They stand in His place, to offer the meal.

Could this be one of several layered meanings to Jesus’ encounter with Mary Magdalene at the tomb:

John 20 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rab-bo′ni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”

In His answer, is Jesus is stating that the opportunity for those who seek him to physical hold, consume, love, and adore Him will come after He ascends to Father, after which He Himself, in the consecrated meal, will be physically offered by the apostles (priests) to the faithful more universally?

This is also demonstrated in the John 21’s recounting of Jesus’ encounter with the apostles on the beach. He calls them ashore, feeds them, and instructs them (Peter) to then feed His sheep if he loves Him:

12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” …

In a remarkable consistency, the feeding of the multitudes also alludes to the commission for the apostles to feed the sheep after Jesus’ resurrection. The apostles distribute the meals. Then Jesus instructs them to leave while He visits the crowd. Jesus then walks on water to catch up with the apostles:

Matthew 14 22 Then he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he [Jesus] dismissed the crowds…25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.

The walking on the water can symbolize the resurrected Jesus. A stretch? Maybe, but look at how the apostles react when the resurrected Jesus appears to them in the upper room :

Luke 24 36 As they were saying this, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you.”37 But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit.

There you have it. The Sunday Mass is alluded to in the in the narrative of the gospel. It begins on resurrection Sunday and Sundays after that with Jesus present before the ascension, and continues to this day on Sundays after He ascended into heaven.

 

Peace be with you.