Saturday, October 27, 2007

Eucharist: The Eucharist as the "source and summit" before Vatican II

Note: I have not found official Latin versions of Mirae Caritatis nor Mediator Dei, so any Latin references I make to them are of my own (hopefully grammatically correct) invention and presumptive at best. Quotations in English are as rendered in the English translations found at the Vatican's web site.

This post will be building gradually. This essay will be a treating of the dynamism of the Eucharist already recognized prior to Vatican II (which includes the Lumen Gentium-ism "fontem et culmen"). It will do this by looking at Pope Leo XIII's encyclical on the Holy Eucharist Mirae Caritatis from 1902 (predating Vatican II and Lumen Gentium by a good 60 years). In his encyclical, the Holy Father focuses on "the nature and ... the effects" of the Eucharist. I will also be incorporating Pope Pius XII's encyclical on the Sacred Liturgy Mediator Dei from 1947 (still 15 years before Vatican II).

Fontem et culmen
Two documents of the Second Vatican Council, Sacrosanctum Concilium and Lumen Gentium, use a similar expression to denote the importance the Eucharistic Sacrifice in the life of the Church. Paragraph 10 of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, used the expression in the context of the liturgy. In Latin, it says: "Attamen Liturgia est culmen ad quod actio Ecclesiae tendit et simul fons unde omnis eius virtus emanat." In English, it has been rendered thus: "Nevertheless the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows." Paragraph 11 of Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium says, in Latin: "Sacrificium eucharisticum, totius vitae christianae fontem et culmen, participantes, divinam Victimam Deo offerunt atque seipsos cum Ea." In English, it has been rendered thus: "Taking part in the Eucharistic sacrifice, which is the fount and apex of the whole Christian life, they offer the Divine Victim to God, and offer themselves along with It."

That phrase in bold has worked its way into many documents of the Church since then; here are just a handful:
  • Sacramentum Caritatis of Pope Benedict XVI (2007)
  • Mane Nobiscum Domine of Pope John Paul II (2004)
  • Redemptionis Sacramentum of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (2004)
  • Ecclesia de Eucharistia of Pope John Paul II (2003)
  • Christifideles Laici of Pope John Paul II (1988)
  • Dominicae Cenae of Pope John Paul II (1980)
  • Eucharisticum Mysterium of the Sacred Congregation of Rites (1967)
While the English translation of Lumen Gentium found at the Vatican's web site uses the phrase "fount and apex" (and that of Sacrosanctum Concilium uses "summit ... and ... font"), the alliterative and less flowery (and evidently more popular) "source and summit" appears in the English translations of the documents that followed it. It appears the people have spoken (in English): "source and summit" sounds better.

Although the phrase was coined during the Second Vatican Council, it was not a new concept for the Church. Contrary to the opinion of some that it was not until the "renewal" and "reformation" sparked by the Second Vatican Council that Catholics saw the Eucharist as a dynamic celebration rather than a static object, the Church has always seen the Eucharist -- the Blessed Sacrament, the Real Presence of Jesus Christ, the Sacrifice of the Mass -- to be its very source and to effect its utmost end.

Dominicae Cenae
The Last Supper of the Lord, on the eve of his crucifixion, was one of the moments that can be seen as the "birth" of the Church. This must be taken alongside others such as the piercing of Christ's side on the cross and the sending of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. At the Last Supper, our Lord instituted the ministerial priesthood by ordaining those he had already selected as his Apostles to be the first men who would effect the perpetuation of the new covenant in his blood. These Apostles received, from the very actions and words of Jesus himself, the instructions for carrying out the anamnesis of his impending sacrifice. By his actions, Jesus was recasting the Passover meal as the (pre-)presentation of salvation from a prison far greater than Egypt: Satan, sin, everlasting punishment in Hell.

This first Mass had the characteristics of both a banquet and a sacrificial offering: Jesus presented himself as priest and victim, offering the bread and wine of Passover and changing their substance into his very Body and Blood; Jesus was, then, both host and hostia. The men at table with him then became priests in his service, and they would gather on the Lord's day thereafter, on Sunday, to celebrate by Word and Sacrament the saving work of their Lord Jesus Christ. Because the Eucharistic Sacrifice is the very core of the Mass, it is the Church's very beginning. Without the salvation made possible through the crucifixion, which is re-presented in the Eucharist, the Church would not exist: the Eucharist is the source of the life of the Church.

Fontem Vitae
The first of the four subheadings used in Pope Leo XIII's encyclical is "The Source of Life": fontem vitae.

The four subheadings used in Pope Leo XIII's encyclical are "The Source of Life" (Fontem Vitae?), "The Mystery of Faith" (Mysterium Fidei), "The Bond of Charity" (Vinculum Caritatis?), and "The Sacrifice of the Mass" (Sacrificium Missae). Already in the first subheading we can see the concept of the Eucharist as the source or fontem (as in LG 11) of Christian life. Pope Leo XIII then identifies the Eucharist as "the source and chief of all these gifts" which proceed from God through Jesus Christ. So here we see the recognition of the Eucharist not only as the source of "every best and choicest gift" but also as their chief (capitis, perhaps?), their head, their summit, their apex, even their culmen (as in LG 11). The Eucharist "nourishes and sustains that life" we desire so eagerly, which all those other gifts direct us to as well. The Eucharist, then, is the fount and the apex of all Christian life! This matches up with the statement of Lumen Gentium 11 which calls the Eucharistic Sacrifice "totius vitae christianae fontem et culmen", the "fount and apex of all Christian life". (Of course, you often hear it as "source and summit".)

Yes, folks, Pope Leo XIII got there first.

Friday, October 26, 2007

News: Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, to introduce the Extraordinary Rite

From WDTPRS. (Post edited.) Just go to Fr. Z's blog for the story.

Update: I have received an email from Tom Sofio, Associate Director of Public Relations for FUS. Here is the official statement regarding the Traditional Latin Mass and FUS:
As a Catholic university with a long history of faithfulness to the magisterium of the Catholic Church, Franciscan University of Steubenville fully supports Pope Benedict XVI’s recent Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, which expands the use of the Traditional Latin Mass.

Franciscan University fully supports the plans for the celebration of the extraordinary form of the Latin rite Mass at St. Peter Church in Steubenville. Franciscan University is located within the boundaries of St. Peter Parish, making it the official parish for the University and the repository for the records of any sacraments celebrated on the campus.

Summorum Pontificum indicates that it is the parish priest who is to accede to the requests of those attached to the previous liturgical tradition. The pastor of St. Peter Parish, Monsignor George Yontz, with the full support of Steubenville Bishop R. Daniel Conlon, has met with St. Peter parishioners, including Franciscan University students, and people from other parishes in the area. He is working with them to prepare for the proper celebration of Mass in the extraordinary form, and the University will remain in communication with him throughout this unfolding process.

The University is pleased that St. Peter’s will be the site for this, as it is easily accessible to our University members, being just one mile from campus. The University will provide transportation for students who need it to and from St. Peter’s Church for the traditional Latin rite Masses. The first traditional Latin rite Mass will be celebrated at St. Peter’s on Sunday, November 25, the Feast of Christ the King. The dates of future Masses will be announced later by the parish office.

As the oldest Catholic church in the Steubenville diocese, St. Peter’s has the high altar, communion railing, and other requirements to celebrate the extraordinary form of the Latin rite, which are not found in many area churches. It will provide a beautiful and fitting setting in which interested students can enter more fully into this ancient liturgy.

Franciscan University will continue to offer its monthly Latin Novus Ordo Mass. In October, the University expanded the Sunday Mass offerings from three to four, with Sunday Mass now offered at 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Humor: Photo caption

I saw this photo (courtesy Chris Helgen of Reuters) at Whispers in the Loggia, and immediately these captions came to mind:
  • "Oh, come on, ref! How can you not call that?!"
  • "Glo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-oria..."
  • "Watchoutforthatcar!"

Tradition: Imagery and Iconography available for use

H/T: The New Liturgical Movement

There's a Flickr directory of images for use in liturgy programs (courtesy of the CMAA and Musica Sacra).

Music: Jubilate Deo!

The St. Cecilia Schola Cantorum has Jubilate Deo available for download in PDF and Word format. What is Jubilate Deo, you ask? Why, it's a product of Vatican II! Didn't anyone tell you?

Pope Paul VI had the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship issue Jubilate Deo as a "personal gift" to the Catholic Bishops in 1974. It contains the "minimum repertoire of Gregorian chant" for the faithful, in accordance with Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Liturgy from Vatican II (Voluntati Obsequens).

Download it, print it out, read it, study it, learn it, love it! Introduce it to your pastor and your parish's musical director!

Tradition: Typical diatribe opposed to the Extraordinary Form

Update: I had meant to comment on the crucifix replacement at the parish in question. (Let me give a disclaimer: my parish does not have a majestic crucifix in the sanctuary, it has a "resurrectrix" -- the risen Christ. But it's not abstract art.) Holy Family Parish has "The Cross of New Life", as shown to the right here. It's pretty hideous in my opinion. Anyway, onto the actual post's content:

I have here a homily given by the pastor (Fr. Patrick J. Brennan) of Holy Family Parish in Illinois given on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus of this year. He says that, in the days when the feast was called Corpus Christi, the days of "thick Catholicism", the Eucharist was an "object, a holy thing that you put in a gold container" that people kept their distance from because they did not always feel worthy of it. He says that Vatican II, in its reformation of the liturgy, discovered a dynamism in the Eucharist that was previously unknown, and that the pre-conciliar faith saw the Eucharist as "static".

And then he says he is afraid that the Church is heading towards that "thick Catholicism" that has no dynamic understanding of the Eucharist. He speaks of an article in The Daily Herald about the (then) forth-coming motu proprio (although he says that the Pope has "just issued" it). He is upset over the Pope's formal affirmation that priests have right to say the "Tridentine Mass" -- it's important to note that the Pope did not grant any permissions in Summorum Pontificum, but simply affirmed the right of all priests to say Mass according to the 1962 Missal. The priest displays to his congregation "what it looked like" (I assume by turning around). He calls it "mumbling Latin words over objects". He threatens the congregation (which responds with laughter) that some day they might come to Mass and see that, since any priest will have the right to say Mass according to the Extraordinary Form.

Here's the audio feed (12:58):

Here's his homily, verbatim, with my emphases in bold and my comments [in bold red] (à la Fr. Z):
Some of us are of an age that remember this feast used to be called the Feast of Corpus Christi -- the Latin words for "the Body of Christ". It usually was held on a Thursday, and in churches there would be processions with the Eucharist, with the Blessed Sacrament. Sometimes the procession would go around the church; sometimes the processions actually went into the neighborhoods, and the Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist, would be in a gold container with glass called a monstrance. The priest would walk through the church and the neighborhood blessing and consecrating people with the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

There were some good things about those days. Those were the days of "thick Catholicism". [I wouldn't necessarily think "thick Catholicism" was a bad thing, especially compared to the "thin Catholicism" or the "watered-down Catholicism" I hear so much about lately.] Those were the days when ethnicity and neighborhood propagated Catholic culture. The people who celebrated Corpus Christi were people of deep spirituality and piety and devotion, and had great reverence and respect for the Eucharist. [Good! Keep up the deep spirituality, piety, devotion, reverence, and respect!]

But there was a downside to that period of thick Catholicism. For many folks, the Eucharist was an object [really?], a holy thing [the holiest! the "treasure of the Church" as Pope Benedict XVI said the very same day in his Angelus address] that you put in a gold container [it's worth mentioning that this parish's web site advertises 24/7 perpetual Eucharistic Adoration], and you kept your distance from the Eucharist. Oh, you had great reverence and respect as I said, but many people felt very unworthy of the Eucharist. [As St. Paul pointed out to the church in Corinth, it's not wrong to feel unworthy of it. You should not receive it unless you are in a state of grace.] So the Eucharist was an object, a holy thing, looked at and observed -- [Father] Denis and [Friar] Johnpaul were talking about how people used to use the language of "you go to Mass to hear Mass", not "to celebrate the Mass". The era [or was that 'error'?] of Corpus Christi.

Then Vatican II reformed the liturgy, reformed the Mass, and decisions were made to move Corpus Christi to Sunday, so that all Catholics can celebrate the importance of the Eucharist. And the title was changed to "the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus". What is the Eucharist, as renewed by Vatican II? Well, I think the answer is in the scripture readings today. Bear with me. [Brace yourselves.]

Genesis... Melchizedek celebrates a meal with bread and wine. Many folks in the Jewish tradition grew to believe that when the Messiah comes, he will offer a meal of bread and wine. And that's what Jesus did on Holy Thursday night, signifying to those who followed him that he was the Messiah, he was the promised one. And he takes that bread and wine, and he identifies the bread with his Body, and he identifies the wine with his Blood. As I say to second graders: if anybody were to give us their body and blood, what are they giving us? Their very self. In the Eucharist, Jesus gives us his very self. And notice the words in Corinthians: "this is for you". Jesus gives his very self to us in a spirit of self-sacrifice. "Do this in remembrance of me." This is a memorial meal, and in the ancient tradition of memorial meals, we remember a sacred event and the sacred event becomes present to us, and what we remember is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. [This is pretty good, but he's hung up more on the "memorial meal" idea than the sacrifice idea, I think. He mentions that the "sacred event becomes present to us", but doesn't say it's a re-presentation of the sacrifice (which is a key idea to get across). And it's not a re-presentation of the life and resurrection, it's a re-presentation (in an unbloody manner) of the crucifixion. The closest he comes to "sacrifice" is "a spirit of self-sacrifice", which I think falls a bit short of the mark, in terms of connotation.] And we enter into oneness with that mystery.

Vatican II said that the Eucharist is not a static object to be observed. No, the Eucharist is a dynamic celebration, in which we become one with Jesus, and one with each other, and one with God. And we're told also by Jesus and Paul that this meal is a celebration of a new covenant with God [it's more than a meal], a new bond with God, a new oneness with God, in and through the Real Presence of Jesus, and in and through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

The Eucharist is a sacrament, and a sacrament -- the word sacrament means a lot of things, but I'd like us to reflect on one thing today: the Eucharist pushes us out into a whole way of life. [Fr.] Eugene LaVerdiere [S.S.S.], a Scripture scholar [and a priest of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament], said that when you come to the Eucharist, it's the experience of living the Gospel for an hour, or an hour and fifteen minutes; it's like getting a booster-shot of Jesus, and what he meant by the good news and the reign of God so that we can go and live it when we leave here.

I mentioned before that we went through a period of thick Catholicism, where this dynamic understanding of the Eucharist was not present [I don't think he ever really proved the pre-conciliar Church didn't have a dynamic understanding of the Eucharist. Consider Mirae Caritatis by Pope Leo XIII in 1902.] in Catholic culture. I worry that we're going back to that period, and we're losing that dynamism that we rediscovered in the Scriptures and through Vatican II regarding the Eucharist. I don't know if you saw the front page of The Daily Herald this morning. The front page of The Herald says-- right now, if you want to offer a Latin Tridentine Mass, you have to go to the Bishop and say "can I do that?" And the Bishop may or may not give you permission to do a Latin Tridentine Mass. The Pope has just issued [sic] a document that says any priest that wants to can offer a Latin Tridentine Mass. [I don't think the priest read the article very carefully. See my comments after this homily.]

Those of you my age and older, this is what it looked like... mumbling Latin words over objects. [Cliché.] "Dominus Vobiscum." [True to form, he stumbles through the pronunciation of "vobiscum".] One of these days you're going to come to church [laughter] and this is what it's going to look like. Any priest can offer a Tridentine Latin Mass! Question: why is the Church so liberal in propagating medieval [another cliché] traditionalism-type [what does that even mean?] rituals, and so conservative when it comes to the vision of Vatican II? [I beg to differ; there has to be a widespread conservative application of Sacrosanctum Concilium! Perhaps the "vision of Vatican II" never made it onto paper? Fie on that oral tradition!] Why can any priest do Latin stuff [they could always do Latin stuff...] now, Tridentine stuff now, but just a few months ago: [I don't know what he's referring to exactly, but it was probably some USCCB or archdiocesan statement about the enforcement of the GIRM and another liturgical norms that this parish might have been in violation of.]

Who can stand up here? [Is this in reference to people congregating around the Altar during the Eucharistic Prayer?]

Who receives first? [Probably in reference to EMHCs communicating at the same time as the priest. The priest must consume the sacrifice in its entirety first.]

"Get away from the priest, he's a special guy." [Sounds like the pastor is trying to downplay the Sacrament of Holy Orders.]

"Don't come up here." [Possibly related to the previous statement, but I'm not sure.]

Who washes the dishes [He must have meant purifies the sacred vessels]? "The priest has to." [Probably in reference to the indult (which allowed EMHCs to purify the sacred vessels) not being extended.]

All sorts of liturgical legislation: controlling the liturgy. [It would seem this priest wants to control the liturgy himself, even though the type of control he's after (ignoring the norms) is forbidden by Sacrosanctum Concilium 22.] But when it comes to a medieval traditional mode of liturgy [and what's wrong with that?], hey, open the floodgates. [No, the Extraordinary Form (like the Ordinary Form!) has its own rubrics and norms that must be followed.] My goodness. We need good pastoral leadership in our church. [He ain't kiddin'.] Not controlling, abusive [?], top-down ideology [So no Pope? No visible head? Just a bunch of appendages?]. The liturgy, translated, is "the work of the people". [Liturgy (λειτουργία (leitourgia)) is the "public work", in this context, the worship of the Church. The "public" part is important. It's not our private devotions, it's what the Church, as a whole, does as its public act of worship.] Not the implementation of what hierarchies demand that we do.

Someone came up to me after Mass at the 9:00 Mass and she was crying. She said, "The direction I see the Catholic Church going in, I don't know what to do about it. People are leaving the Church. I feel so frustrated with it. What do I do about it?" And I didn't have an answer for her. [Not even "pray and fast"?] I told you before: 13 guys ordained priests this year -- one American, we don't even know if he's a Chicagoan. Next year, 11 guys getting ordained -- no Americans. Can you imagine that there's not one person [man] in the Chicago metropolitan area that wants to be a priest? [I don't know the source of these statistics.] You think there's a direction here? You think there's a problem here? Do you think there's something symptomatic going on here? Let's not allow our liturgy to be turned into the "holy thing" that we feel distanced from. [Perhaps the lack of vocations in the parish's area is due to men not wanting to be connected to the liturgy. Or perhaps men don't know the importance of the liturgy and how vital the priesthood is, nor how to discern the call to the priesthood.] Let it continue to be the celebration of the Body of Christ. And that's what I want to close on, folks: not only in this sacrament do we receive the Body of Christ, we realize that we are the Body of Christ. [Dangerous comparison. We do not become the Real Presence of Jesus Christ. We do not become his Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. He's mixing metaphors here in a way that can lead to a hazy understanding of the sacrifice of the Mass and the Real Presence.]

Did you notice what Jesus did in the Gospel today? There's 5000 men, and he breaks them into groups of 50. That's what Jesus was: he was a community-formation person. [And for that they crucified him?] And that's what it means on the Feast of Corpus Christi also: to realize that you and I are the Body of Christ, we're the Body of Christ in the world. [But we are not the Blessed Sacrament.] In the back of church this weekend, Wilma Growney is back there, the leader of small Christian communities, inviting folks to consider being in a small group during the weeks of summer. So if you might want to be in a small Christian faith-sharing group, a Bible Study group, a group that reads a book together in faith, please see Wilma in the back of church?

And finally, would you pass these cards down? There are different colors in the pews.

To become more genuine community, we have a ministry in our parish called "Neighborhood Ministry". If you look at the back of this card, there are 20 neighborhoods listed. Neighborhood Ministry is an attempt to get coordinators or overseers of each neighborhood, and then neighborhood representatives that at least once a year will make a phone call, send an email, to try to connect with their neighbors. I find this to be a very important ministry, and it's a ministry that's very much in need. I ask you to consider, do you have just an iota of time to be the parish's representative in your neighborhood? Even if you're interested in that, could you fill out this card, and give it to one of the ushers before you leave. Neighborhood Ministry: an attempt to connect the Body of Christ [at least once a year], instead of allowing us to live in pseudocommunity as the philosopher/psychologist Scott Peck has said so many religious people experience.

I mentioned this woman to you before, and I'll close with this. The music minister out at Orland Park where I served for eleven years, Mary Ellen Liebowein [spelling uncertain], wrote a song based on the words of St. Augustine, and the words go like this:

Be who you are: Body of Christ.
Become what you eat: Body of Christ.

I think that so captures what we're about at this liturgy today, and at this celebration. And let's pray that the Holy Spirit will bring forth new leaders in our Church that are not just trying to recreate a Church that aging male celibates [this cliché leads me to believe he did not read the newspaper article] are comfortable with. Let's pray that the Holy Spirit will call forth leaders that will create [?] a [new?] Church that the world really needs. [The Catholic Church has been fulfilling that need for nearly 2000 years. It doesn't need replacing.]

We believe in one God... [applause]

Thank you.
There are a few issues I'd like to deal with. First, the encyclical of Pope Leo XIII I mentioned (Mirae Caritatis). Its headings are "The Source of Life", "The Mystery of Faith", "The Bond of Charity", and "The Sacrifice of the Mass". I have read it (I have it at home with highlighting marks throughout) and I'll write about it some time in the near future as it pertains to the understanding of the Eucharist in the Church. I do not think, as Fr. Brennan says in his homily, that the pre-conciliar Church did not see any dynamism in the Eucharist. To think that the concept of anamnesis did not exist in the Church, or to think that Catholics saw the Eucharist as a "static object", is to display a fair amount of ignorance of the theology of the Eucharist in the Church. The re-presentation of Calvary at Mass is fundamental to Catholic theology, and it's something that seems to have slipped out of view since Vatican II.

Next, the newspaper article from The Daily Herald. Here are some excerpts (again with my emphases in bold and my comments [in bold red]).
Old Tradition, New Generation: Young Catholics reviving their faith via a return to old-style Latin rite.
From: The Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date: June 10, 2007
Byline: Lisa Smith <lsmith [at] dailyherald [dot] com>

Katie Kralka wants her children to experience their Catholic faith through a centuries-old tradition she only recently discovered herself: the traditional Latin Mass.

The 24-year-old
Montgomery woman [she's not an "aging male celibate"] and her husband, Jason, [nor he] were wed in a church ceremony followed by a Latin Mass ["Latin Mass" throughout this article means what is now known as the "Extraordinary Form"] and baptized their daughter using the Latin rites. They plan to do the same for their second child, due in October.


According to the pope, there is a renewed interest in the rite - especially among young Catholics
[see? young Catholics are interested in it] like the Kralkas. This generation is embracing a custom that's much more familiar to their grandparents than even their parents, who were young adults in the 1960s when widespread use of the Latin Mass [and the Latin language] ended following the major church reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

"We were just kind of sick of the song and dance Masses,"
said Katie Kralka, Virgil's village clerk. "We were just looking for something that was a little more conservative." Kralka found that in the traditional Latin Mass, also known as the Tridentine Mass because it was codified during the 16th century Council of Trent. Versions date back to the 6th century. [Congrats to Lisa Smith for doing her research.]

Unlike the typical Mass attended by most Catholics today, the priest faces the altar
[with the parishioners] instead of his parishioners. Communion is received on the tongue while kneeling at the altar rail, rather than in the hands [or on the tongue] while standing [or kneeling].


The Latin Mass affords little interaction between the priest and his parishioners and among the laity, unlike the typical Mass in which parishioners respond verbally to the priest's prayers
[which still happens at some celebrations of the Extraordinary Form] and greet each other with a handshake.

Participants can follow along by referring to a Latin-English guide provided by the Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei, a Glenview-based lay group that promotes the Latin Mass. The booklet includes a transcription of the priest's utterances in both Latin and English and explains the meanings behind his movements.
[I'm curious how many Ordinary Form missalettes ex]


Two-thirds of U.S. dioceses offer at least one Latin Mass on a regular basis - a statistic [Mary] Kraychy [the coalition's director] believes could grow exponentially.
[I'd like to point out, mathematically speaking, 2/3 "growing" exponentially is actually a declining trend ;) ]


"There's something very transcendent and beautiful about this Mass," [Cristina Borges, development director of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest] said. "People who come are searching for more depth in their spiritual life. This is a language that transcends our common day experience."

Lucretia Walker began attending Rockford's St. Mary Oratory because it was the only local church with a daily Mass that accommodated her schedule. She was taken aback when she walked in and heard Latin but began attending regularly. A few months later, she convinced her husband, Todd, to attend.

The family, who moved from Crystal Lake to Belvidere three years ago, has been attending St. Mary Oratory for two years and baptized their son, Jack, in the Latin rite Saturday.

"What keeps drawing us back was the sense of reverence that we found missing in the more contemporary church," Lucretia Walker said. "This was a new experience for us completely."

Walker hopes her children grow up experiencing a similar reverence, especially as they receive their sacraments. When her daughter, now 11, received her first holy communion at the family's previous parish, it was viewed simply as a rite of passage.

"There was a lot more focus on it being a big party and less (focus) on the sacrament," she said. "That's the difference I see. You're more focused on the meaning of the sacrament (at St. Mary Oratory). I think it's a very different environment. It's not just that the Mass is in Latin. It is the attitude that permeates everything at St. Mary's. It's very traditional."

Not all are heralding the expected return of the Latin Mass, however. A Call To Action, a Chicago-based Catholic lay group that favors ordaining married priests and female priests, said the group would not oppose an expansion of the Latin Mass as long as it doesn't result in limited access to the post-Vatican II Mass most Catholics know.
[Surprise surprise.]

"If there are people who feel their spiritual life would be enriched with the Latin Mass, we don't have any problem with that as long as it's not to the exclusion of other forms of liturgy,"
[Fr. Z makes an excellent point about the gravitational pull of both Forms on one another. I'm hoping to see a "reform of the reform" as a fruit of this.] said Linda Pieczynski, a spokeswoman for the group. "Quite frankly, I don't see a lot of people clamoring to have Latin Masses. [Well, not with the crowd you hang out with!] Whole generations have been raised on something completely different." [Could not the same have been said immediately 40 years ago?]


But to the Juns, celebrating Mass in their own language is what they relate to.

"For us the participation is a big part," said Lori Juns, who lives in unincorporated Burlington Township. "Although Katie and Jason's wedding Mass was beautiful in Latin. It's just not something for us every week."
And finally, a letter to the editor (with a tone I can't really pin down) about this article:
Some folks will be drawn to Latin rite

One would never, under any circumstances, find a girl acolyte at a Latin Mass! [You wouldn't find a girl acolyte at any Catholic Mass.] Horrors! (Old Tradition, New Generation June 10, 2007).

Those who do not understand what a Mass is will be drawn to the Latin rite. [That's plain mean, and ignorant to boot. The Mass cannot have changed in meaning or substance, or else it's not the Mass anymore. Perhaps the oft-altered liturgies most Catholics get are shrouding what the Mass really is.] To them, Mass is a place for private meditation [during some of the sacred silence, certainly], or for praying the rosary, or just idly staring at the back of a priest [cliché] and dreaming about a tragic Greek drama [never heard that one before...] which the action of the Latin Mass resembles.

There is plenty of space in the Roman Catholic church for people who prefer the Latin Mass. [That's the opposite of what I thought the last sentence would say.]
So there you have it. Perhaps Fr. Z will treat this on his blog. He'd probably do a better job than I did.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bible Study: 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Luke 18:9-14
Deus, propitius esto mihi peccatori!
Download this study [MS Word, 47 k, 4pp]

The rest is coming soon! You can download the Word Document for now.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bible Study: 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Luke 18:1-8
Semper orare et non deficere.
Download this study [MS Word, 46 k, 4pp]

Opening Prayer
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful.
R. And kindle in them the fire of your love.
V. Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created.
R. And you will renew the face of the earth.

O God, who has taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that by the gift of the same Spirit we may be always truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Jerome: pray for us.
St. David: pray for us.
St. Luke: pray for us. (St. Luke is the author of the Gospel, so we'll include him in our prayers.)
St. Ignatius: pray for us. (Wednesday, when the Bible Study is held, was the Memorial of St. Ignatius, Bishop and martyr.)

Recap of Last Week

Questions to Consider
  1. Do you remember, as a child, asking your parents for something over and over again until you got what you wanted?
  2. Do you know someone who is particularly persistent? (Maybe it’s you.)
  3. Have you ever imagined God as getting tired of listening to your prayers?
Context of the Gospel
In the First Reading from Exodus 17:8-13, we hear about a battle between the people of Israel and the army of Amalek. Moses stood on a hill and held up the staff through which God had worked miracles:
17:8 In those days, Amalek came and waged war against Israel. 9 Moses, therefore, said to Joshua, “Pick out certain men, and tomorrow go out and engage Amalek in battle. I will be standing on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” 10 So Joshua did as Moses told him: he engaged Amalek in battle after Moses had climbed to the top of the hill with Aaron and Hur. 11 As long as Moses kept his hands raised up, Israel had the better of the fight, but when he let his hands rest, Amalek had the better of the fight.
12 Moses’ hands, however, grew tired; so they put a rock in place for him to sit on. Meanwhile Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other, so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 And Joshua mowed down Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
The Second Reading, 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2, ends with an exhortation from Paul to Timothy to be persistent in all he does:
3:14 Beloved: Remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, because you know from whom you learned it, 15 and that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
4:1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power: proclaim the word; 2 be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.
Jesus tells his disciples “ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). In the Gospel, he teaches them by way of a parable to be resilient in their asking, seeking, and knocking: in their prayer.

Gospel (Lectionary)
18:1 Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. He said, 2 “There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being. 3 And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, ‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’ 4 For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, ‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, 5 because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.’”
6 The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. 7 Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? 8 I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Gospel (RSV-2CE)
18:1 And he told them a parable, to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor regarded man; 3 and there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Vindicate me against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow bothers me, I will vindicate her, or she will wear me out by her continual coming.’”
6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Study Questions
  1. What imagery can you find in the First Reading that points to Jesus? (This is an example of “types” in the Bible – the allegorical sense of Scripture.)
  2. Why does the dishonest judge eventually give in to the widow’s requests?
  3. Is Jesus calling God a “dishonest” or “unrighteous judge”? How is Jesus comparing God to this judge?
  4. Why is being persistent important? Why do you think that God sometimes has us pray repeatedly for some gift or grace? What does it teach us – in what areas of our lives do we need to learn persistence? (This is related to the moral sense of Scripture.)
  5. What are examples of persistence from the First and Second Readings?
  6. What is the meaning of the question Jesus asks at the end of this parable? What does our persistence in prayer (and not just for our needs) have to do with faith? (This is related to the anagogical sense of Scripture.)
Church Teaching and Commentary
  • St. Augustine: To this parable then, the Lord adjoined an exhortation, and urged us earnestly to ask, seek, knock, till we receive what we ask, and seek, and knock for, making use of an example from a contrary case; as of that “judge who neither feared God, nor regarded man,” and yet when a certain widow besought him day by day, overcome by her importunity , he gave her that which he could not in kindness give her, against his will. But our Lord Jesus Christ, who is in the midst of us a Petitioner, with God a Giver, would not surely exhort us so strongly to ask, if He were not willing to give. Let then the slothfulness of men be put to shame; He is more willing to give, than we to receive; He is more willing to show mercy, than we to be delivered from misery; and doubtless if we shall not be delivered, we shall abide in misery. For the exhortation He giveth us, He giveth only for our own sakes. (Sermon LV:1)
  • St. Augustine: The lesson of the Holy Gospel builds us up unto the duty of praying and believing, and of not putting our trust in ourselves, but in the Lord. What greater encouragement to prayer than the parable which is proposed to us of the unjust judge? For an unjust judge, who feared not God, nor regarded man, yet gave ear to a widow who besought him, overcome by her importunity, not inclined thereto by kindness. If he then heard her prayer, who hated to be asked, how must He hear who exhorts us to ask? When therefore by this comparison from a contrary case the Lord had taught that “men ought always to pray and not to faint,” He added and said, “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man shall come, thinkest thou that He shall find faith on the earth?” If faith fails, prayer perishes. (Sermon LXV:1)
  • St. Theophilus: We may observe, that irreverence towards man is a token of a greater degree of wickedness. For as many as fear not God, yet are restrained by their shame before men, are so far the less sinful; but when a man becomes reckless also of other men, the burden of his sins is greatly increased. (Catena Aurea)
  • St. Cyprian: Then they used to give for sale houses and estates; and that they might lay up for themselves treasures in heaven, presented to the apostles the price of them, to be distributed for the use of the poor. But now we do not even give the tenths from our patrimony; and while our Lord bids us sell, we rather buy and increase our store. Thus has the vigor of faith dwindled away among us; thus has the strength of believers grown weak. And therefore the Lord, looking to our days, says in His Gospel, “When the Son of man cometh, think you that He shall find faith on the earth?” We see that what He foretold has come to pass. There is no faith in the fear of God, in the law of righteousness, in love, in labor; none considers the fear of futurity, and none takes to heart the day of the Lord, and the wrath of God, and the punishments to come upon unbelievers, and the eternal torments decreed for the faithless. That which our conscience would fear if it believed, it fears not because it does not at all believe. But if it believed, it would also take heed; and if it took heed, it would escape. (Treatise I:26)
We had an interesting discussion about how to reconcile God, as seen in the Old Testament, with God, as revealed by Jesus Christ in the New Testament.

Now we offer our own prayers of petition and thanksgiving. With the whole Church, we also remember the general intention and the mission intention of Pope Benedict XVI this month:
  • That Christians may not be discouraged by the attacks of secularized society, but with complete trust, may bear witness to their faith and hope.
  • That the faithful may join to their fundamental duty of prayer the support also of economic contributions to the missionary works.
Closing Prayer

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

News: Fatima's new church proof of extraterrestrial life?

From The Cafeteria is Closed...

There is a new building at the Shrine in Fatima. It is a large cylinder with a stick-figure crucifix in front of it. This is the new church at Fatima. It looks more like the observatory towers in Flushing Meadows, NY, the site of the 1964 World's Fair.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Bible Study: Pope uses DTKYABS as homiletic resource?

It appears dear Pope Benedict XVI is keeping his pulse on the goings-on of the St. David the King Young Adult Bible Study! Just this past weekend, as reported by the Catholic News Agency and ZENIT, in his address to the crowd gathered for the Angelus at noon, His Holiness identified the differences between the physical healing received by all ten lepers in this Sunday's Gospel (Luke 17:11-19), and the spiritual healing received by the Samaritan leper. He also called sin the "leprosy that really disfigures man and society" (la lebbra che realmente deturpa l'uomo e la società è il peccato). These same connections were drawn last Wednesday evening at St. David the King... coincidence? I think not.

Or, perhaps, we drew from the same well of inspiration as did the Holy Father. St. Athanasius, Titus (Bishop of Bostra), and Pope St. Leo the Great seem to have rubbed off on Pope Benedict XVI just as much as they did on us.

The (original) Italian of the Pope's address (and any other translations as they appear) can be found at the Vatican's web site. Here is my attempt at an English translation, using Babelfish and my knowledge of French as guides.
The Gospel of this Sunday introduces Jesus who heals ten lepers, of which only one -- a Samaritan and thus a foreigner -- returns to give thanks (cf. Lk 17:11-19). To him, the Lord says: "Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well." (Lk 17:19). This Gospel reading invites us to a twofold reflection. In the first place we consider two degrees of healing: the superficial one regards the body; the deeper other touches the core (intimo) of the person, what the Bible calls the "heart", and from there, it irradiates to all existence. The complete and radical healing is "salvation". Everyday language, which distinguishes between between "health" and "salvation", helps us to understand that salvation is much more than health: it is in fact a new, full, definitive life. Moreover, here Jesus, like in other circumstances, speaks thus: "your faith has made you well". It is the faith that saves man, re-established him in his profound relationship with God, with himself, and with others; and faith is expressed in gratitude. Whoever, like the healed Samaritan, knows gratitude, demonstrates that he does not consider everything as due to them, but as a gift that, whether it reaches them via man or nature, comes ultimately from God. Faith then involves one's self being open to the grace of the Lord; to recognize that all is gift, all is grace. What a treasure is hidden in one small word: grazie! ("thanks!" or "thank you!")

Jesus healed these ten of their leprosy, an illness then considered a "contagious impurity" that demanded a ritual purification (cf. Lev 14:1-37). In truth, the leprosy that really disfigures man and society is sin; it is pride and selfishness that generate in the human mind indifference, hatred and violence. Of this leprosy of the spirit, that disfigures the face of the humanity, one cannot be healed except by God, Who is Love. Opening the heart to God, the person who is converted receives inner healing from evil.

"Repent and believe in the Gospel" (cf. Mk 1:15). Jesus started his public life with this, and it continues to resonate within the Church, and the Most Blessed Virgin in her apparitions especially of recent years, has always renewed this appeal. Today, we turn our attention in next to Fatima where, just 90 years ago, from 13 May to 13 October 1917, the Virgin appeared to the three shepherds: Lucia, Giacinta and Francisco. Thanks to a television connection, I was spiritually present at that Marian shrine, where Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, presided in my name at the closing of the anniversary celebration. I warmly greet him, the other Cardinals and Bishops present, the clergymen who work in the Shrine and the pilgrims who came from every part of the world for the occasion. We ask the Blessed Virgin for the gift of true conversion for all Christians, so as to coherently and faithfully announce and testify to the perennial Gospel message, which reveals to humanity the path of authentic peace.

Friday, October 12, 2007

News: Kofi Annan got the UN to award me $250,000!

I got this email today. Twice, already. I'm glad the UN has this kind of money to throw around; too bad it's all in these Nigerian banks...


How are you today? Hope all is well with you and family?,You may not understand why this mail came to you.

We have been having a meeting for the passed 7 months which ended 2 days ago with the then secretary to the UNITED NATIONS.

This email is to all the people that have been scammed in any part of the world, the UNITED NATIONS have agreed to compensate them with the sum of US$ 250,000.00 (Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand United States Dollars). This includes every foriegn contractors that may have not received their contract sum, and people that have had an unfinished transaction or international businesses that failed due to Government problems etc.

We found your name in our list and that is why we are contacting you, this have been agreed upon and have been signed.

You are advised to contact Mr. Jim Ovia of ZENITH BANK NIGERIA PLC, as he is our representative in Nigeria, contact him immediately for your Cheque/ International Bank Draft of USD$ 250,000.00 (Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand United States Dollars) This funds are in a Bank Draft for security purpose ok? so he will send it to you and you can clear it in any bank of your choice.

Therefore, you should send him your full Name and telephone number/your correct mailing address where you want him to send the Draft to you.

Conatct Mr. Jim Ovia immediately for your Cheque:

Person to Contact Mr. Jim Ovia
Tel:+234 0857 1124 12

Thanks and God bless you and your family.Hoping to hear from you as soon as you cash your Bank Draft.

Making the world a better place


Mr. Kofi Anan
Former Secretary (UNITED NATIONS).

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bible Study: Resources

Here are the online resources I use for my Bible Study Guides for the St. David the King Young Adult Bible Study:
  • Scripture
    • USCCB Lectionary - Mass readings for two months (based on the New American Bible).
    • My Bible Search & Concordance - The RSV (not the RSV-2CE), NAB, KJV, DR, LV, and BNV. You can search the RSV and NAB for text, and you can get extracts from all six translations.
  • Church Teaching
    • Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) - A"statement of the Church's faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the Church's Magisterium", declared by Pope John Paul II "to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion".
    • Compendium of the CCC - A "faithful and sure synthesis of the Catechism of the Catholic Church" which "contains, in concise form, all the essential and fundamental elements of the Church’s faith ... which allows believers and non-believers alike to behold the entire panorama of the Catholic faith".
  • Church Father Commentary
    • Catena Aurea (Latin for "The Golden Chain") - A "monumental collection of glosses by the Church Fathers on each verse of the Gospels".
    • Various works of the Early Church Fathers at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library - An extensive (but not exhaustive) collection of early Catholic Christian writings.

Bible Study: 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Luke 17:11-19
Fides tua te salvum fecit.
Download this study [MS Word, 47 k, 4pp]
Opening Prayer
If you want to see the readings for Sunday in their entirety, click the Scripture reference above.

The Latin phrase above is from the Gospel reading. It is from the Vulgate, and it corresponds to what Jesus says at the end of v. 19: "Your faith has saved you."

We start our prayer as we always do:

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Now we pause to call to mind our sins and ask the Lord for His forgiveness:

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

This is a traditional Catholic prayer to the Holy Spirit:

V. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful.
R. And kindle in them the fire of your love.
V. Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created.
R. And you will renew the face of the earth.

O God, who has taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that by the gift of the same Spirit we may be always truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Jerome is the patron saint of Bible scholarship; St. David is the patron saint of the parish:

St. Jerome: pray for us.
St. David: pray for us.

Questions from Last Time
There are none this time, but Sonny suggested we have a few minutes after the opening prayer next week to answer any questions that might have been raised from hearing the readings at Mass, or from the homily. Good idea!

Questions to Consider
  1. Have you ever done something nice for a friend or family member, but they never said “thank you” in return? How did it make you feel?
    I know it's happened for me. We expect, not rewards, but at least some small token of appreciation, something that shows the person liked what we did for them, and was moved somehow to show us their gratitude. Sometimes, we can angry and sulky if we don't hear "thank you". We probably remember those times when we we're thanked much longer (and in greater clarity) than those times when we were thanked.
  2. Have you ever neglected to thank someone for a gift or a kindness they showed you? Did they seem hurt or bring it to your attention?
    Yes. Usually I recognize their "sulky" attitude -- the same one I'd have -- and apologize and thank them later.
  3. Do we tend to think of God’s mercy as a one-time, unconditional event? Or do we find ourselves returning to Him for forgiveness?
    At the beginning of every Mass (and at the beginning of every Bible Study that I facilitate) we open with a penitential rite which calls to mind our sins and asks the Lord for mercy.
Context of the Gospel
You can click on the red Scripture links and see them in a pop-up window, as found in the New American Bible. This may be slightly different from the Lectionary.

The First Reading from 2 Kings 5:14-17 (read 2 Kings 5:1-13 for additional context) records a miraculous healing; Naaman, a pagan, is cured of his leprosy by washing in the Jordan seven times, as the prophet Elisha had instructed him to do. When Naaman realized what God had done for him, he wanted to repay Elisha:
2:15 Naaman returned with his whole retinue to the man of God. On his arrival he stood before Elisha and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel. Please accept a gift from your servant.”
Jesus spoke in Nazareth (in Luke 4) about this miraculous healing, but the people of his home town did not like what they were hearing:
4:24 And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his own country. 25 But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land; 26 and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.28 When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath.
In the Second Reading from 2 Timothy 2:8-13, Paul reminds Timothy that:
2:12 if we persevere we shall also reign with him. But if we deny him he will deny us.
Gospel (Lectionary)
This is the Gospel reading as you will hear it on Sunday, from the Revised New American Bible -- it might not match your New American Bible exactly. I have italicized certain words or phrases that I think are important to focus on (either because the translations differ or because they are profound).
17:11 As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him 13 and raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”

14 And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”

As they were going they were cleansed. 15 And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; 16 and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? 18 Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” 19 Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”
Gospel (RSV-2CE)
This is the Gospel as it is found in the Revised Standard Version, 2nd Catholic Edition. I include it so we remember... the Bible was not written in English, and different translations treat things differently. The NAB is more of a dynamic translation, whereas the RSV-2CE is a more literal translation.
17:11 On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”

14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.”

And as they went they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then said Jesus, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
Note the difference between "have pity" and "have mercy" in v. 13. We'll get into v. 19's translations a little later. Notice the bolded words in vv. 14, 15, 17, and 19. They're not the same Greek word; they're different for a reason.

Study Questions
  1. What parallels do we see between this miraculous healing done by Jesus and that done at the command of Elisha? How were they different?
    Both Naaman and the Samaritan praised God afterwards, and they both wanted to show their gratitude (Naaman to Elisha, the Samaritan to Jesus). Naaman and the Samaritan also have an internal change of heart: Naaman realizes only the God of Israel is a true God, and the Samaritan -- Samaria being a paganized nation -- recognizes God and Jesus.

    But Elisha did not cure Naaman, he simply told Naaman how God instructed him to be cleansed. But as we see from Jesus's ministry (cf. Luke 5:12-14), Jesus cures lepers. Naaman had to do something to be cleansed (wash himself seven times), whereas the lepers didn't. (Yes, they were told to show themselves to the priests, but that was for the proving of their healing.)

  2. Earlier in his ministry, Jesus cured a leper who came to him; here, he cures ten lepers. How many other people do you think the Bible records as healing those with leprosy?
    No other person in the Bible until Jesus cured leprosy. Jesus gave that power to his disciples. For a Jew in Jesus's time to see Jesus cure a leper was a big deal.
  3. Why did Jesus bring up the fact that the one who returned was a “foreigner”? Why is it significant that the leper who returned was a Samaritan?
    As a foreigner, this was foreshadowing the mission to the Gentiles, that non-Jews would have the chance to enter into a saving covenant with God without first being Jews. As a Samaritan, it calls to mind the parable of the Good Samaritan and the encounter of Jesus with the Samaritan woman: even Samaritans can be redeemed! It shows how the Jews were taking Jesus for granted, whereas the Samaritan leper stopped in his tracks and came back immediately to thank Jesus.
  4. What did the Samaritan leper do that the other nine lepers did not do?
    He returned, praising God, to thank Jesus.
  5. The Greek word in verse 19 translated as “saved” and “made well” comes from sozo which has multiple meanings, including “to heal or make well” and “to save” – generally, it implies rescue from danger. It is not the same word used in verses 14, 15, or 17. What is the difference Jesus is making between the two? Were the other lepers healed? Were the other lepers made whole?
    The difference is between physical healing and spiritual healing. The other lepers were cured of their leprosy, but they weren't "made whole". The Samaritan leper was affected more deeply: his heart was changed. We can see, then, that it was Jesus's grace -- his mercy, as they asked for it -- that cured them of their leprosy; but it was the Samaritan's faith -- Jesus identifies it -- that saves him. In other words, only the Samaritan, of those ten lepers, responded to the grace Jesus gave.

    Faith is efficacious -- it is salvific -- it is saving. The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is the ultimate sacrifice to end all sacrifices, which is why we only offer the Eucharist to God now, in the one and the same sacrifice of Calvary for all time. But at the same time, we offer spiritual sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, as Psalm 50 reminds us to do.

  6. How is this related to what St. Paul has written about to St. Timothy?
    We must persevere with Jesus, not just take what he's given us and run! We must return to him, and walk with him (cf. 1 John 2:4-6). When Paul says that if we deny Jesus, Jesus denies us, we can see that here: the nine lepers denied Jesus the praise and thanksgiving, and they were denied the healing of their souls. We needn't think this to be an eternal condemnation for them, though: even Peter denied Christ three times, and he was restored in his faith.
  7. What does it mean for us to return to Jesus in the same manner that the Samaritan leper did?
    We must repent, and turn to God. We must thank God in all things and in all times, and not from "far away", but right up close to Him. Think about when you've prayed for something... when you received it, how much time do you spend in prayer thanking God? Maybe our petition-vs-thanksgiving ratio is unbalanced. And Paul's letters -- especially the ones he wrote from prison -- show us that it's possible to thank God even when we're suffering... even for the suffering!
Church Teaching and Commentary
  • St. Athanasius: [These] the Lord again reproves, as He did those lepers who were cleansed, when He loved the one as thankful, but was angry with the others as ungrateful, because they did not acknowledge their Deliverer, but thought more of the cure of the leprosy than of Him who healed them. … And there was more given to him than to the rest; for being cleansed from his leprosy, he heard from the Lord, “Arise, go thy way, thy faith hath saved thee.” For he who gives thanks, and he who glorifies, have kindred feelings, in that they bless their Helper for the benefits they have received. (Letter VI:3, for Easter AD 334)
    We've come to the same conclusions St. Athanasius did. The nine lepers were more concerned with the healing than with the Healer. More was given to the Samaritan, who was healed in body and in soul.
  • Titus, Bishop of Bostra: They associated together from the sympathy they felt as partakers of the same calamity, and were waiting till Jesus passed, anxiously looking out to see Him approach. As it is said, “Which stood afar off”, for the Jewish law esteems leprosy unclean, whereas the law of the Gospel calls unclean not the outward, but the inward leprosy. (Catena Aurea)
    Titus is talking about the sense of spiritual uncleanliness, which the other nine lepers retained, but which the Samaritan had cured.
  • Pope St. Leo I (The Great): I entreat you, beloved, let those words of the Savior touch your hearts, Who, when by the power of His mercy He had cleansed ten lepers, said that only one of them all had returned to give thanks: meaning without doubt that, though the ungrateful ones had gained soundness of body, yet their failure in this godly duty arose from ungodliness of heart. And therefore, dearly-beloved, that this brand of ingratitude may not be applied to you, return to the Lord, remembering the marvels which He has deigned to perform among us; and ascribing our release not, as the ungodly suppose, to the influences of the stars, but to the unspeakable mercy of Almighty God, Who has deigned to soften the hearts of raging barbarians, betake yourselves to the commemoration of so great a benefit with all the vigor of faith. Grave neglect must be atoned for by yet greater tokens of repentance. Let us use the Mercy of Him, Who has spared us, to our own amendment, that the blessed Peter and all the saints, who have always been near us in many afflictions, may deign to aid our entreaties for you to the merciful God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Sermon LXXXIV:2)
    St. Leo agrees with us! Nine had received soundness of body, but only one gained soundness of soul: the others were not healed of their ungodliness of heart. In this sermon of his, St. Leo is reminding baptized, Bible-believing Catholics to "return to the Lord"! Repentance is an every-day thing for Christians. He also points out that pagans attribute good things to the "influences of the stars", whereas we know they are due to the mercy of God.
We had a few interesting questions at the end of the study. Someone wanted to know about the sources I use (there'll be a post for that later today). Someone wanted to know about how the Church chooses the readings for each Mass, so I explained the three-year Sunday cycle (and the two-year weekday cycle) in the Ordinary Form of Mass (the Mass of Paul VI), and the one-year cycle in the Extraordinary Form of Mass (the Mass of Bl. John XXIII).

Now we offer our own prayers of petition and thanksgiving. With the whole Church, we also remember the general intention and the mission intention of Pope Benedict XVI this month:
  • That Christians may not be discouraged by the attacks of secularized society, but with complete trust, may bear witness to their faith and hope.
  • That the faithful may join to their fundamental duty of prayer the support also of economic contributions to the missionary works.
Closing Prayer
After closing prayer, we stuck around for a few extra minutes to pray Compline (which, as I pointed out, Catholics started!).