Eighteenth Sunday: Earthly and Heavenly Eutopia

The feast described by the prophet Isaiah in today’s first reading, with its “wine, milk and rich food,” was for the Jews a symbol of the messianic era in which Solomon’s kingdom would be re-established by the long-awaited Messiah.[1] This expectation points to something deeply rooted in the human psyche in the near-universal desire for an ideal society. Where there is no confidence that God will one day bring it about, man sets about attempting to achieve it in the here and now, with disastrous results. Hitler’s thousand-year Reich ended after ten years of bloodshed and cruelty on an –until then—unimaginable scale. Communism, too, wherever it has taken over, continues in power by coercion, brutality and injustice. Even capitalist America, starting with the Pilgrim Fathers, has viewed itself as the promised land and “the city on the hill,”[2] a conviction that has had a long history—“The promised kingdom is America now”[3]—and continues to be honoured even amidst the turmoil of civil unrest.

Monasticism is a Christian method of realizing the messianic era in the present age, but with radically different principles. It is an ideal society in that it realizes on earth the heavenly existence, the angelic life of Matthew 22.30: “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” The separation from society required of monasticism finds a parallel in sects such as the Amish. Their starting point, however, is radically different from that of monasticism, which sees itself as an anticipation of heaven, and hence as a sign of hope for all believers who, one day we pray, will join the monks in praising God for all eternity. The Amish, on the other hand, want to build God’s kingdom on earth by separating those predestined to heaven from the “City of Destruction,”[4] i.e., from the predestined to eternal damnation.[5]

Today’s Gospel, certainly a version of the messianic banquet, is a corrective to any false messianism. The point is that Isaiah’s ideal prophecy is only partially fulfilled in the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. We know that from the fact that, although 5,000 men were fed, not counting women and children, twelve baskets of fragments were collected and therefore remain for future use. The number twelve indicated fullness, as in the twelve months of the year and, more significantly, the twelve tribes of Israel, with their counterpart in the twelve Apostles. The twelve baskets, therefore, contain enough to feed everyone, whether from the old Israel or the new, what Saint Paul termed “the Israel of God.”[6]

Praise the Lord

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Diocesan Policy regarding the Mandatory Use of Face Coverings

Diocesan Policy is effective for all parishes in the Diocese of Saint Catharines from July 31st. DIOCESAN POLICY REGARDING THE MANDATORY USE OF FACE COVERINGS  This Diocesan Policy is effective for all parishes in the Diocese of St. Catharines from July 31 until October 1, 2020, unless extended. PARISHES IN THE NIAGARA REGION The wearing of face coverings is mandatory […]

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Notes about how the relics of the Old Testament Maccabees martyrs reached Rome

This is an interesting day liturgically. It is the Feast of the Holy Maccabees, Old Testament Martyrs, and it is also the Feast of St. Peter in Chains associated with the Basilica of St. Peter ad vincula in Rome. The connection between the two is that the relics of the Maccabees are in a sarcophagus in the crypt of St. Peter ad vincula. Of all the relics of Old Testament figures these are probably the most important because of their weight for both Christians and Jews. It is fitting that the Basilica is one of the places most visited by Jewish visitors to Rome, because of the mighty statue of Moses by Michaelangelo, intended for the tomb of Julius II, is housed there in.

I learned a long time ago, that it is best to believe the claims that certain things are where they have for centuries said to be. However, in the case of the relics of these Old Testament figures, I have often wondered about how they got to Rome, or were even preserved.

Interesting things about this interesting feast.

Praise the Lord

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How Natural Family Planning is spreading in West Africa

Denver Newsroom, Aug 1, 2020 / 02:46 pm (CNA).- In countries throughout Western Africa, the most common religions are Islam and Catholicism. Both of these religions reject the use of artificial means of birth control, such as condoms or birth control pills.

But in government health clinics in most of these countries, artificial birth control methods are often the only options offered for planning and spacing one’s family.

That is what Jennifer Overton and her team with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in West Africa are trying to change.

Praise the Lord

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Next Phase Parenting: Gen Z

The post Next Phase Parenting: Gen Z appeared first on Equipping Catholic Families.

Somewhere along the lines, we seem to have entered a new phase of parenting. Our adult to kid ratio has changed abruptly from 2:5 to 5:2 and the dynamics of this change have become more pronounced during this unexpected extended time under one roof. As the kids are getting older, we’re continuing to support and […]

Praise the Lord

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