Showing posts with label Last Things. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Last Things. Show all posts

20 Aug 2017

Taking God Seriously



We live in a big world. We've known that for a long time, and have been impressed.
"How great are your works, LORD! How profound your designs!" (Psalms 92:6)
But impressive as what we see is, God is greater: almighty, infinite, eternal. Ineffable, beyond what can be expressed in words.

That's pretty much what God told Moses in the 'burning bush' interview:
"'But,' said Moses to God, 'if I go to the Israelites and say to them, "The God of your ancestors has sent me to you," and they ask me, "What is his name?" what do I tell them?' "God replied to Moses: I am who I am. Then he added: This is what you will tell the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you." (Exodus 3:13-14)
Moses said "but" three times before their talk was over. I've talked about him before, and other prophets. Mary also asked a question: a sensible one. I get the impression that her reaction was calmer than theirs.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

21 May 2017

23 Apr 2017

Divine Mercy



I care about God's mercy because I'm a sinner. What that means depends on who says it.

I think and hope Jonathan Edwards meant well, and wish some of his imitators would be less enthusiastic. Or at least think about what he said.

Hollywood theology — I'd like to believe that many folks don't get their religious education from the movies, and that's another topic.

Basically, Americans have lots of options for what we think "sin" and "sinners" mean.

I'm a Catholic, so my view is 'none of the above.'...

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

16 Apr 2017

The Eighth Day: Two Millennia and Counting

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

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

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

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

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

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

15 Jan 2017

Life, Death, and Choices



Last week's Gospel reading, Matthew 2:1-12, ends with a sort of cliffhanger. "Magi from the east" arrived in Bethlehem, found our Lord's house, and paid their respects....

...Or maybe not so much — we read Matthew 2:13-18 on December 28. I don't suppose we'll see the massacre of the innocents1 in an animated Christmas special any time soon. It's far from the most cheerful parts of the Bible.

That didn't keep folks in Coventry from including it in their Shearmen and Tailors' Pageant. We got "Coventry Carol" from that mystery play....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

11 Dec 2016

Jesus and Expectations



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

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


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

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

8 Nov 2016

Numbers and Nero

From Wiley Miller's Non Sequitur (December 31, 2011); used w/o permission.

I don't have the 'I'd rather be dead' attitude of the deceased in that 2011 Non Sequitur strip. My viewpoint is more like Edison Lee's dad in yesterday's comic.

From John Hambrock's The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee (November 7, 2016); used w/o permission.

I figure that someone will win the 2016 American presidential election. It'll probably a candidate from one of the two major political parties.

I think which candidate wins matters. But I also think that whoever gets the job — America will keep going. There's a great deal more to this country than the national government.

That's not what this post is about, though....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

9 Oct 2016

Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Hope


(From Philippe de Champaigne/Tessé Museum, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)

Life in my mid-60s requires caution that wasn't necessary in my youth. Considering the alternative, though, being alive is pretty good: even in moments of loss.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

6 Aug 2016

Last Judgment: Still Pending


(From Wiley Miller's Non Sequitur, used w/o permission.)

You've heard this one before.

At the Vatican, a Cardinal's secretary bursts into a meeting. “Your Eminence! He's here! Jesus! He landed in St Peter's Square! What do we do?!” The Cardinal runs to the Pope's office, repeats the news and question. The Pope says, "look busy."

It's pretty good advice, actually, which brings me to this morning's Gospel reading: Luke 12:3248 — or Luke 12:3540, which covers the main idea....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

3 Apr 2016

Hoping for and Needing Mercy


(From John Martin, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)

I care about God's mercy because I'm a sinner, which doesn't mean what you may think.

First, a quick review of what I don't believe is true. (March 15, 2015)

I'm not "some loathsome insect," and neither are you:
"...every unconverted Man properly belongs to Hell...."

"...The God that holds you over the Pit of Hell, much as one holds a Spider, or some loathsome Insect, over the Fire, abhors you...."

"...you will be wholly lost and thrown away of God...."
("Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," pp. 6, 9, 15, 18; Jonathan Edwards (July 8, 1741) (via Digital Commons@University of Nebraska-Lincoln))
Samuel Clemens apparently had a well-defined attitude regarding "converted" folks, and I can't say that I blame him....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

1 Nov 2015

Life, Death, and Love

You might recognize this as lyrics from Carly Simon's Have You Seen Me Lately album: the fourth track.
"...And life is eternal, and love is immortal, and death is only a horizon, and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight...."
(Quite a few folks)
I ran into it as part of a prayer by Fr. Bede Jarrett, who had said he was repeating something William Penn wrote. Rossiter W. Raymond wrote the lines into his "Death is Only an Horizon" poem.

I'll get back to a longer excerpt from Fr. Jarrett's prayer: after talking about death, life, love, and all that.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

17 May 2015

Boston Bombing Verdict: Death, Life, Consequences

At 2:49:43 and 2:49:57 pm EDT/18:49 UTC, April 15, 2013, two pressure cooker bombs exploded on Boylston Street near Copley Square in Boston.

They were about 210 yards, 190 meters, apart; near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev's bombs killed Krystle Marie Campbell, Lu Lingzi (吕令子), Martin William Richard, and Sean A. Collier.

Dzhokhar said that he and his brother wanted to defend Islam from America. I think their experiences as Chechens and Avars may have been a factor, too.

Don't expect a rant against Muslims, 'foreigners,' Americans, or anyone else....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

19 Apr 2015

Jesus Christ is Risen!

Easter Sunday 2015:

Easter Sunday 2015

By Deacon Lawrence N. Kaas
April 5, 2015

Jesus Christ is risen! This means that life takes on a new horizon. Have you ever thought of yourself as immortal? Have you ever considered that you have "forever" to live? The resurrection from the death of Jesus casts a new light on our human existence. No longer are we bound by finite ends. Our life has an all new endless and brilliant horizon, and we come to share in this new resurrected and glorious horizon gifted us by Christ Jesus through our baptism.

In baptism, we are born into the resurrected life of Jesus Christ, a life that knows no end, no boundaries....

More, at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Doomsday Du Jour — or — Doing My Job

Earth was not destroyed on June 13, 1857. The comet didn't even show up.

Mass starvation and various related catastrophes didn't happen in the 1970s and '80s, but the Ehrlich's reprise of Malthusian assumptions is still popular in some circles.

Apocalyptic predictions aren't unique to Western civilization, or Christendom — which are not the same thing, and that's another topic — but I'll concentrate on the Christian variety today.

Hyppolytus of Rome said the Second Coming would happen in the year 500. He died a martyr more than two centuries shy of his spurious Parousia. Hyppolytus of Rome is Saint Hippolytus of Rome now.

Saints are canonized for their heroic virtue, not for being spot-on accurate....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

22 Mar 2015

Scrutinies, Options, and "a Great Multitude"

Someone called my father-in-law, asking which set of Bible readings were were using this week.

It's a reasonable question. One set for this fifth Sunday in Lent is Ezekiel 37:12-14; Romans 8:8-11; and John 11:1-45. The other, labeled "Fifth Sunday of Lent - Year A Scrutinies," is Jeremiah 31:31-33; Hebrews 5:7-9; and John 12:20-33.

Having options isn't odd: readings for some Sundays include an abbreviated version — I'm not a big fan of those, since I like hearing Sacred Scripture, and my attention span doesn't time out quite that fast....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

15 Mar 2015

Fire, Brimstone, and Lollipop Faith

Today's Gospel reading, John 3:14-21, includes one of my favorite bits from the Bible....

...My main job, just like everyone else, is loving and serving God.

Whether or not I do that job is up to me, every moment. Humans are rational creatures, able to decide what we do: or don't do....

...Some folks, understandably, don't particularly like being told "you will be wholly lost and thrown away of God" if you don't agree with some enthusiastic disciple of Edwards.

I think, and hope, that Edwards meant well....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

25 Jan 2015

Moderation and a Pythagorean Dribble Glass

Today's second reading reminded me of Harold Camping's high-profile End Times predictions, a few years back....

...I've read that Hero of Alexandria used Pythagorean cups in his robotic systems. That's probably a reference to Heron's fountain, Heron is another version of Hero's name, and I am not going to wander off-topic again. Not for another paragraph or two, anyway.

Pythagoras of Samos didn't invent the Pythagorean theorem, but he's the first chap to show why it works - --

Let's try this again. It's one of those days.

A Pythagorean cup is a thinking person's dribble glass, sort of....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

30 Nov 2014

Advent: Another Year of the Long Watch

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

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

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

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

"May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.

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

23 Nov 2014

Victory and Standing Orders

I've watched, and enjoyed, disaster movies like Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970) and Deep Impact (1998). It's been a few years since Harold Camping's high-profile predictions, and I'll get back to that....

...I'm a Christian, and a Catholic, so I take the Bible, Sacred Scripture very seriously: including Mark 13:32-37.

My Lord didn't know when this creation will be wrapped up, but made it clear that we were on standby alert in the meantime. That was about two millennia back now, the orders haven't changed, and every few years someone pops up with another 'end times' prediction....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

2 Nov 2014

Life, Death, and Hope

I'm going to die.

That's what happens to humans....

..."Memento mori" — Latin for 'remember your death,' more or less — makes sense: if done with common sense. Recognition of impending doom can have a wonderfully focusing effect. (May 20, 2011)

I don't have a skull mounted on my desk, reminding me that my days are numbered. For one thing, I don't think that'd be consistent with respect for the dead. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2299-2300)...

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Just A Mother: My Call, Vocation, and Witness

The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. Embracing an outdated lifestyle on a traditional, smal...