Several years ago, a group of Cameroon women in the parish or county region came together to begin an ecclesial group. We started a chapter of the CWA (Catholic Women’s Association) here at St. Edwards. It involved our joining into an existing ministry branching out from Cameroon and Nigeria, which is making efforts to form parish groups on USA’s east coast, to where more Cameroons have moved. The first one in the region came in 2006-07 in Burtonsville. Ours followed afterward.
My own closer involvement with Cameroons in St. Edwards began with a wedding of a couple in the parish, one that brought many Cameroons into our church. That bride and many other Catholic women soon were gathering, upon my invitation, twice-a-month, after the 1130 St. Edward Sunday Mass for rosary, doctrine and Bible study, lunch, charity planning, and socializing. I have joined and led them for several years now.
This past Sunday was a Mass and social time for hundreds of CWA CMA chapters and of other Cameroon men and women Catholic organizations in the DC/Baltimore area gathered in Burtonsville. The bishop from Cameroon was the celebrant of an almost 3- hour Mass, filled with all sorts of ethnic traditions, songs, testimonies, and prayer in the Eucharistic Lord. It was long for me, of course, but it was a rich experience. It was another act of support I could give for a group of vigorous Catholic African immigrants, whom I value as an asset to the local Church. I was one of only two white persons of color in the celebration, but that was fine with me, as I act in solidarity with these new members to the Catholic USA community. I am getting used to being with them now. Above is a picture from an African style wedding celebration from a few months back. The program from Sunday also shows above. In it you see one of about 20 songs we sang in worship. n
I did not take photos within last Sunday’s celebration.
I want to swing over to a consideration that is on the other end of the pendulum. I was preaching on grace and renewal and living by faith.
But so many are not there in that realm at all.
Do you ever shed a tear for those many persons who do not celebrate a faith-in-Jesus Christmas? That’s my preaching angle right here, in this final day of the Christmas season (Jan. 9). For those who don’t get it or want to get it about “the Grace of God appearing” as to what Christmas means, there is a whole strata of a majority of people now who aren’t looking for the religious Christmas.
A large number of adult people and young adults identify themselves as a “None” as to being asked, “What is your religion or religious faith or practice or church affiliation?” They answer “none.” So they now make up a large category of people going through Christmas time seeking none of what its religious founding was about. They more are just into it as party time. This was my conclusion, as I collected a Christmas time experience down to a nearby resort, (actually to do a couple of Masses in a ballroom for just a select number of people, last month).
With all the ‘holiday decorations’ up at the resort and local area, there really was no reference to Jesus’ Coming anywhere to be found, except, as I was told, at the end of an walk-through ice sculpture exhibition. It was there where a Nativity scene was carved and chiseled out of ice. To see that religious depiction would have cost me $36 to walk through the ice house exhibition, so I passed on it. But I did the Masses for the convention people there in the ballroom, for the organization had requested it (which was MLB baseball working with Catholics Athletes for Christ). We really were the only non-icy witnesses to the Religion around Christmas. Mostly everybody and everything else was seemingly using Christmas or the holiday season for pleasures and partying, as they could afford. Lots of money was being spent into those pleasures for the party spirit. I thought: this is what a NONE Christmas is– for the fairly well off and well off. The songs playing for the season rang out: All I want for Christmas is… pleasure. good times. Me being pleased. Or if it doesn’t happen: I’ll have a Blue Christmas!
After our feast of the Magi last Sunday, remembering the arduous journey of faith by the Magi— so to see The Christ– compare that to those who are not interested today, who are not moved to seek out after God. This Christmas and Epiphany, we could say that THE manifestation of God was not yet sought soulfully after, nor noticed by a huge portion of people, even many who live just 15 miles or less from this church– in our parish territory. It is getting to become a post-religious Christmas and post-Christian era, unless for a huge outreach and successful winning of souls for Christ Jesus ahead.
Doesn’t that make you want to cry? Doesn’t that make you want to pray? doesn’t that make you want to be someone to bring a soul to Christ, as to help a person who is missing what Christmas and Epiphany is all about.
Tinsels and colored laser lights and pretty green and red and bright gold attire and chocolates and candies and liquors and presents in pretty-wrapped paper will all fade away, but Jesus in one’s heart as Savior will last forever. He is the present of Christmas. He is the Presence of Christmas. To be joined into Christ’ Body in faith community will lead on for an eternal celebration one day, too.
At this resort, where I began writing this homily, surrounded by an overwhelming secular holiday display, amid so much buying of things going on, and many treats and drinks being consumed. In a phrase: I was in a party atmosphere. But for what? Not for Jesus. For themselves maybe. Christmas was not about Christ here. I thought how fitting that the only Nativity reference was a frozen one, and I wondered if any of these NONE’s would let the real Christmas and Christ thaw out?! Then, the Lord seemed to comment: If enough of my children of light are near them, and warm-hearted in My Sacred Heart, then maybe the thaw could happen. Yet will my people shine and warm up to the treasures of loving Me and being loved by Me and one another? That is the question.
I was grateful to be a witness in that Gaylord hotel last month, along with Catholic Major League Baseball people who wanted a daily convention Mass and a ballroom to pray together in. It was an evangelism opportunity— and we showed a living witness to Jesus. Even to conventioneers that knew not of the Catholic events, I think the Lord’s presence extended out in the spiritual and mystical realm of witness. (I want to add that I am actually glad the Gaylord people let us do the Masses.) Yet all around us was a secular party holiday fare.
Is Jesus the Reason for Christmas anymore? As I walked in my collar past the resort visitors, I felt like the odd man out. Up the hill from there, one could go gamble in a new mega-casino. And I wondered if many Nones were to be going up there , being summoned by the razzle dazzle to quell the inner need for something exciting, and who knows, maybe hitting the jackpot for an upgrade of life. Was this the None’s Christmas– in finding some thrill to settle down the souls call for God’s indwelling? To be filled up by pleasures and distractions, bypassing Jesus’ Birth Day? Were there to be a lucky winner that night?
The Bible verses of Titus 3 say that luck need not be played for. Not for the bigger stakes of the soul. It proclaims “When the Grace of God appeared, He came to save all (into His favor, to those who would accept Him)… that we be delivered.”
Delivered and saved from what? Titus 2 and 3 lay it out:
Chapter 2: verse 12 “from godless and ways and inordinate worldly desires:
Chapter 2: verse 14 “from the filth of lawlessness–so to be cleansed by God”
Chapter 2: verse 3 “from slandering… from addictions (such as drink)”
Chapter 2: verse 8 “from shame”
Chapter 3: verse 3 “from foolishness… gross disobedience… being deluded…being slaves to various impure desires and pleasures… for being in malice and envy… from the act of hating one’s self or hating others.”
Chapter 3: verse 9 “from foolish argumentation, rivalry, and perversion”
This is what the teaching of St. Paul to Titus was talking about long ago as to how people are saved and delivered out of worldly sins of the worst kind, in the Fallen state of man, and into the Christian life. We need the Lord, and to try to be without Him, as to choose none of the ABOVE (GOD) for help– is to have a really blue Christmas without Him.
I thought while driving by the Casino and heading home how the real gamble for the NONE (No Religion Person), was to try to live life outside of the Revelation and salvation brought by Jesus, and play to win or be happy on their own . It’s a flesh alone life with some spiritualism or philosophy of life (and often for goodness sake not evil or bad) but in the soul possession it is not Jesus but it is more likely a place of idols or self- idolatry. Or just an empty place.
Is that the Nones lot? Is that their end? Maybe the Nones are not atheists– but people who have lost hope. Where will they find it? We believe Hope is Christ. Let’s all live on the threshold of hope eternal and offer people a better Christmas–a celebration of the Savior– who puts us into “a bath of rebirth” and of “renewal in God’s Spirit.”
To be a None is a choice. But do they understand their choice? To be apart from God? Can we show by our own satisfaction and trust and dependence in God that this is living in a true humanity, in this Catholic faith? Can we offer the hope that there is a freedom from peril which is to come for all the separated from God? Maybe they believe in hell or nothingness, but we could help them to believe in a Heaven, a much finer destination.
As I conclude, just wonder along with me: Do the rising numbers of seculars and None’s ever give it a thought, of the whole faith question? Of Jesus Christ? Of a 2000 year old Church He started that’s still around, even while mighty empires have fallen? Can our witness break down that purposed aloofness or that disappointed idealness or that dry emptiness or that idol busyness which they have settled in?
Do you think that our RCIA can help them? Do you think our liturgy can give them a sense and participation in the sacred? Do you think that our friendship with them can help them to take away their false crutches and idols that are holding them up, and see that they can healthily walk in the Truth, Who is Christ among us?
How do you feel about the Christian faith in our present practice? Do you think we are in recline? Emptier churches suggest so. The long list of businesses that forbade even Merry Christmas or Jesus references in this holiday is quite a very long one, too. What’s going on? Does it bother you at all? Do you think our children and grandchildren will not choose Christ and His Reason for the season as the meaning and center of their lives ahead? Is Christmas dying? Is even God dead, as some like to declare? Or is God-reliance really necessary anymore? Is the Catholic Church irrelevant or too archaic or too fixed in its traditions—that new invented lifestyles, ever so independent of one another, can’t co exist into an utopia? Or not?
I really have been amazed lately.
The Cubs won the World Series.
Donald Trump won the Presidential Election.
It was a long-shot surprise.
It’s like the Chicago song from the 1980′s—Baby What a Big Surprise! Right before my very eyes.
Recently, I went to a concert of a Chicago Tribute band. The band is called “Beginnings.”
They came out on stage and sounded just like the original Chicago band. They knocked it out of the park. They played “Saturday in the Park” with all the great vocals and horns and percussion. They played Only the Beginning (“Beginnings”) and it was like I was playing my LP again on my stereo in my young-adult days. Wow. Then they played a celebratory “Baby, What a Big Surprise” with gusto.
It is posed in the gospel today that something happens when we get in Heaven that makes for a change in our relationships, at least in a change from the way we hold to marriage on this earth. The change is that people are then married to God, as in the Way Jesus Christ made possible for us to all become the bride to Himself, the Bridegroom. They are not married any longer to the spouse or spouses they had on earth. This the bigger picture behind the answer Jesus gives to His questioners, in that account we hear today. Important to know, too, is that all people who died do not get this privilege, but just those who believe in God, and those God deems to elect to that honor. Plus, Jesus is NOT saying here that our life in the eternal will dismiss the great, shared married loves of history, nor do they simply end at death. Marriage can make an immense, lasting impact on our life in the
Let us study this somewhat odd gospel. It is odd because the Sadducee Jews have purposely presented an odd case to our Lord, and they come arguing against the existence of Heaven, as if they don’t want it to exist. Now that IS peculiar and odd! What good religious person argues versus an afterlife and heavenly reward?! Yet this thing they did.
Did Jews believe in the afterlife, back then in the time when Jesus lived his 33 years on earth? Yes they did, which is the purpose for the 1st Reading from Maccabees in this set of readings today. Well, we can say some of the Jews did, and others did not.
The gospel story is centered on some men who think Heaven is not, with several men arguing for death as finality, with their case of a woman of many marriages, seven, which all ended badly in the childless death of her spouse each time, and the pitiable next brother in line in the dead husband’s family, taking on the care of the widow by marrying her. They say she’ll have no place in a so-called Heaven. They say that marriage couldn’t go on for the lady in Heaven, due to confusion of who she’d belong to. The whole thing is a weird case. It is certainly all made up, just to be thrown at Jesus to solve.
Jesus calmly talks about marriage and of Heaven to them. He says the two are related. He says that one is a short term institution on earth given from God to help us to love and do so in the image of God and to get us ready for Heaven, and then the other, Heaven, is that eternal joy when God will be our primary lover, thus changing what marriage is for the afterlife. It amazes me what reasonable and courteous and clear answer that Jesus will give to such a cockeyed question. (I guess like they say in religious matters, that there are no dumb questions.)
Jesus teaches the testy arguers that people, as it turns out, aren’t married in Heaven, in that, it is mainly an institution
God set up for this earth. He did give us marriage because, as Genesis 1-2 teaches, God did not want for man to be alone. So, God has a plan to espouse us all in Heaven, so that we would NOT be left alone. After life on earth, He will love us as Bridegroom (in Christ). So Jesus comes to win our hearts and to propose His eternal love for us. And, while we live on earth, God does want to get through to us some glimpses of eternity and great love, which marriage, for example, can afford from time to time.
Jesus explains that God has shown that He invented and designed this unique marriage relationship, in which people now live in, by two mutual and exclusive partners, and it is for an earthly love, to lead to a blessing for what is to come. What Jesus teaches here, in tandem with other teachings on the topic, is that marriages’ goal IS to lead those partners to God and into Heaven. It is to bring happiness along the way, in a special person in life for the married, and likely a family of children to give living joy.
In today’s gospel in Luke, the Sadducee Jews dp present a wild, far-fetched case to Jesus. Their case of a woman going to the supposed after-life after seven marriages, presents their idea of something they think is too complex and confusing, even by Mosaic law, for any “Heaven” to exist. She isn’t going anywhere but out-of-existence, they say.
Jesus explains how some people will be called into Heaven to Glory, and will not have to fit into some limited idea as like these Sadducees propose, yet instead we will be subject to something all marvelous and new, as from God.
Jesus preaches of a Heaven to come. He will explain how He, Jesus, will be the Bridegroom, and we will be the bride (with all other believers) in the final scene of things. That miserable story of the well-traveled multi-wife in the account could actually be the description of what we must seem to be in God’s views, as we stumble along in our difficulties and human complexibilities, so messed up by sin and by proud independence from God. We have all had our own journey of trials and tests under God’s watch, yet He still loves us and will do all to help us, even to live one days in His Heavenly Presence. Wow.
We won’t need to know how to sort out all our difficulties, such as in whom we are wedded to in the afterlife, because we will all belong to God through Jesus. That succinct answer was to appease the Sadducees question. Who will the woman be “married to” in the afterlife? To The Lord, of course!! (Not husband 1, 2, 3, or etcetera)
Jesus welcomed questions about marriage. Jesus knew that married life and love could save persons along into God’s Kingdom. Of good love in marriage, elsewhere in the Word of God, He says that love doesn’t end, but it is changed ahead. Love never fails, it endures, Love saves.
God gives us prophetic words of tenderness about His care for us: “I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you, and you are mine…” is a nice verse of God’s Heart.
Jesus shows that marriage in His Name can make a real difference. Marriage is valuable, as Jesus teaches in this time, for it has a great connection to how one DOES get there to Heaven. Marriage can act like a rocket booster that lifts us up to the Heavens. Marriage on earth can help generate the love and life needed to lift our hearts to the beauty and grace that is wedded life to the Lord Himself. Wedded love on earth prepares for the Wedding to the Lamb, with the end of the Bible so wonderfully tells about.
One can say that the love one has lived and shared on earth, such as in marriage, is transfigured when we move on for Heaven. It reveals the unlimited potential in us for love with God and all who is in His Kingdom and all what is in His Kingdom. Think of Jesus’ own transfiguration, which gave Peter and James and John more than a peak into the Glory of Jesus, and then go apply the idea to marriage. Marriage can unveil the kingdom of God taking place right within us or among us.
Marriage isn’t the only means to get to Heaven, but it is one the Lord instituted from the start, because He did not want Adam to be alone. Think of Eve not only as the partner for Adam, but of God’s saying that Adam would have a way out of any loneliness, as God would give him a horizontal experience of human love(Eve) to provide for Him help to a vertical experience of being loved (by God).
It is good that we would not be alone, so God gave us love and relationships with others, so that it would lead us to Him forever.
Back to talking on marriage investments to eternal rewards, if both partners have indeed helped one another into heaven, the joy of their shared lives will reach a high that must be unbelievable. If people have learned love and trust, and more, in marriage, than it all gets applied to being loving and trusting with God forever. Could it be your spouse on earth got you to the point of readiness for eternal bliss and ecstacy with God? That it the ideal of the Wedded Sacrament of Love.
Marriage can be a garden where we cultivate love, which starts here on earth, but comes forth like the fruits of the earth, to be ours for an everlasting love with God and perfect love to all others in His creation.
This same God of love will help us all gather into His love. Jesus described it as that we are the bride to heaven, marrying Him. A wedding supper of the Lamb awaits in the New Jerusalem! We also will love one another fully in the eternal life. That’s the picture, albeit a fuzzy one, that Jesus paints for us about what is to come.
That explanation by Him seemed to quiet the Sadducees who had come to pick an argument with the Man from Galilee. He taught and settled the matter, just saying how there were no issues in Heaven about the woman who had the 7 husbands on earth, and the wonder of whose wife would she be in Heaven… Yet Jesus was concerned with this religious group, for they did not want to consider Heaven and eternal life as a possibility at all. How sad! (Well, they were called Sad-ducees!) Jesus says that when we love, it can be the kind to last forever. We must believe that. We are made to love, both on earth and in the afterlife to come.
Since we are on the topic of marriage in the Homily Blog, and because I happened to be a clergy-witness at a Catholic Wedding/Nuptial Mass yesterday for a couple, let’s talk a bit more about marriage and weddings. It will be on the follow-up blog to this one.
Here are the blogs since late August.
Starvin’ in Cleveland
(H) Exalted or Humble
To Jesus through Mary
Church of Mercy Quotes
Persistence in Prayer
(H) Persist, Why Don’tcha
Year of Mercy Logo
Nice School Guidelines
Brian Pusateri coming
(H) Turn the Corner with Faith
Blue Cool School
Guess the Palindrome
(H) Things to Be Shared; Ourselves
(H) Funeral Homily for a Friend, Alex
(H) God sees what’s going on
MLB rounding third
Back in the school halls
Now for something completely different
St. Teresa of Calcutta prayers
(H) Skyscraper building
Mother Teresa Canonization
(H) St. Augustine and Love
Essential Points in Marriage 1 & 2
What’s in a name
Do you identify mostly as being an “exalted” person or being as a “humbled” person? These two types are pointed out in Jesus’ account in Luke 18. As Jesus’ story goes, most arrogant types of people don’t ever see that as their problem, since clearly they feel superior, or feel justified in their lifestyle. While, in with most humble people, they will not say they are humble, but their actions will speak it. Humble is what humble does.
Maybe you or I would admit that we are more of the blend, of trying to be humble, but knowing we are selfish sometimes too. We hope that, with the Lord’s help, we are leaning much stronger to the humbler side!
In the context of this national election, just 28 days from now, haven’t you grown tired of the two major candidates acting so arrogantly, as like the fellow in the gospel today? ‘I am entitled to this high position…and I am glad I am not as awful as that other person over there, or their sort… and I am really the model person, even giving my money away to where I think it ought to go, and so you should be admiring my goodness. And, by the way, I am the self-made person, having not really not needing anybody’s help. I am my own success.’ The two candidates have sounded like that, much like the one whom Jesus pointed out who was too selfish and self-entitled.
It’s an interesting coicidence.
As we have grown tired and uncomfortable with such political bravado in this season, the Gospel says that then we can relate to God as He notes all of man’s proud antics. Yet, see how pleased Jesus was to see and hear an honest, humble plea of the tax collector, who communicated “Lord, have mercy on me.”
As the Word says today in Sirach 35, God does not begin in partiality to anyone. All types of people have the same consideration before Him, but as we fall into our selfishness and brokenness, like the Psalm prays, God gets less ‘access’ with the proud, while rather, He is able to draw near with the broken persons. Why so? Because they turn to Him for healing, and thus, He can save them. It is true simply for their openness.
In a witness story from Paul’s epistle to Timothy, God delights in the way that Saul the proud man was changed to become Paul the humble apostle. Paul writes how he himself feels very good rounding life’s turn to the finish line, knowing that he has learned humility and met the Lord and lived rightly. That ties in to the Gospel lesson…
We hear in Luke that the Son of God did clearly see the difference in the Temple area between one exalted man there in the front, and the humble man in the back. Jesus speaks about what He sees. To this day, Jesus sees where everyman stands before the Divine, which is the standard. The question or point is: Do we think that God sees us as proud and hard to work with, OR, as humble and ever wanting His mercy and love, desiring to keep growing in faith?
The arrogant man in Jesus’ account feels proud that he is a great person and so much better than most everyone else, and as deserving of that front row of favor. Yet Jesus sees it otherwise. Meanwhile, the man praying “Lord, have mercy” in the back turns out to be the one whom God can help and with whom He will honor.
Jesus taught that the exalted of the day, as in the self-important, the self-absorbed, the self-righteous, and the self-ish— could be facing later an eventual downfall, a dive, to the place of least consideration. As a proverb had famously said: “Pride goes ahead of the fall.” Arrogant pride isn’t a good thing to have, whether it be a smug religious-type like in the Gospel, or of the worldly kind. So Jesus encourages us to invite humiity by s free choice. Thus, to all His disciples, He instructed: “Humble yourself, take up your cross, and follow Me.”
Luke’s Gospel did explain early on, as it led off in Mary’s Magnificat prayer, how in Jesus, God would “cast down the mighty from their thrones, but lift up the lowly.”. In Luke 18 it is fulfills what Mary foresaw in Luke 1.
In a totally reverse view from fallen humanity’s take on matters, Jesus teaches how the humble will be the eventual ones in the favored, high, honored places in the end. Period. In His own human journey lived out, as for an example to us, Jesus is the most humble of men, even while possessing in Himself the greatest mind and talent and power ever held in a person.
Philippians 2 in Paul’s epistle sums Jesus up: ” While he held equality with God in His grasp, in His very nature, Jesus did not use it as something to His own advantage, rather, He humbled himself, in service, even accepting death on a Cross, so to save the many.” Paul concludes to the Philippians, that now Jesus, once Servant, is The Lord of all, forever, exalted at God’s right hand, so that “every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess, before Him, that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God.” That is what life in Jesus Christ offers, the most humble One is now the exalted One, and others who imitate Him will find the same final outcome: In HIm they’ll be glorified.
Jesus has a plan for us to happily living the humbled life. Are you in it?
Sometimes a simple means of knowing how to live in that plan is to follow a hunger for God. The humble person in the back of the Temple still hungered for God, praying “Lord, have mercy on me,” while the arrogant man in the front seemed content in his own self-righteousness, using his mouth to carry on about how much better he was than others. The problem with that is how he shows no room for letting God keep working, and in using others, for new opportunities. He won’t have any of that. Meanwhile, the man in the back seems open for more growth of faith.
I hope that openness to grow in faith is ours, at St. Edward’ parish, and I continue to present to you guest speakers to cover various areas of our Catholic Faith. As your pastor, I keep bringing in new people, because I think we need to keep growing in faith and keep receiving from others who have ministries of blessing in the Church. We have flown people in here to uplift us, like we did two Monday nights ago, in Brian Pusateri from South Carolina, and we have local Catholic experts driving here on this Monday (one is coming down from Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary tomorrow) to present the program you see in your bulletin today (and who’ve we’ve promoted for 4 weeks). And on Saturday we have a priest who comes down from Germantown to share Mercy stories and lessons he has heard via 12-Step groups.
In the past, St. Edward’s has had other great persons come in to present us talks in Apologetics (Tim Staples), Gospel Living (Frank Runyeo), Catholic Values (Chris Stefanick), and Prayer (an internationally known religious Sister–but I can’t remember her name). Yet we haven’t normally had have big crowds for them here– to my disappointment a bit.
Yet I do believe the Holy Spirit has been arranging all these guests for us for the good of the parish, and I do hope you can come to one or both talks THIS week, even for us all to finish well in this Jubillee Year, as we call out to Jesus: “Lord, have mercy. Help us to grow.” Amen.
Guess the palindrome–a word that is the same in letters backwards and forwards.
Answer: EYE. That was an easy one; and I gave you a big visual hint. Most of the other ones in the quiz below are harder.
If you guess 15 of them correctly in your tries, then go and get a soluble marker and write “smart” on your forehead. (Because you are smart in knowing your palindromes!)
Ready to play? Answers will be at the end. No peaking until you are done!
A. “To have faked someone out, as if you faked going one way, and you ran by the other way and scored.”
B. “Pertaining to cities, it is a kind of duty one offers.”
C. “The sprinkler system did its job overnight, and the lawn is artificially ____, rather than all dry.”
D. “It is a watercraft somewhat slimmer than a canoe, but you cannot heat it, and have it too– as goes the joke.”
E. “It is a tool often used in putting up buildings, so that they are straight up/down and sideways.”
F. “In an old-fashioned way, it is a word used in a way addressing a woman.”
G. “It is a little musical note.”
H. “With this device/technology, meteorologists can see and relate on to us what kind of weather is coming our way.”
I. “It is a word that means to attribute to.”
J. “It is a rotating machine part.”
K. “It is a series of compelling, long stories, as in Carl Sagan stories about the cosmos.”
L. “There are two of them in the human species, as differentiated scientifically by chromosome study.”
M. “In professional baseball, there are those who love to see all the recorded numerical minutia, called _____.”
N. “In the stadium-led singing of the National Anthem, it is usually sung by one performer, as in a ____.”
O. “It is a principle or a special point among a group, as in those of our Apostles Creed.”
P. “It is an order in court to keep someone from speaking/testifying.”
Q. “To ever-briefly sound your horn, as to politely beep.”
R. “This should be put onto any small child for when they eat spaghetti-os.”
S. “What might we call such a child?”
T. “What sound does Jiffy Pop popcorn make when it pops?”
Before we present the answers, and oh boy did we give you a second easy one with Quiz question T, we fill in this space with a photo. These palidromes were mainly supplied by an anonymous reader of the blog.
Ok, let’s see if you got 15 (or more) solved. If so, then you are a real PIP!
Answers. EYE was the example. (You got it, right?!) Here are the rest.
A. DEKED. B. CIVIC. C. DEWED D. KAYAK E. LEVEL F. MADAM
G. MINIM H. RADAR I. REFER J. ROTO K. SAGAS L. SEXES M. STATS N. SOLO O. TENET. P. GAG. Q. TOOT R. BIB S. TOT. T. POP
(if you missed T, then you are automatically disqualified from winning, and may not mark “smart” on your forehead).
Bonus: A figure in the above photo, which has a palindrome vocation.
Answer: NUN of the above (pic)
As we have done throughout this Lent, let us talk of another Work of Mercy: Instruct the Ignorant. We had a pointed lesson from Jesus of it in this past Sunday’s Gospel of the Woman Caught in Adultery.
Yet first of all, in a general sense, this Work of Instructing the Ignorant is about the call for spiritual persons to pass on their good insights learned about God, for others’ benefit, in the pursuit of the Common Good. It is about sharing the how to’s for new life awakenings to spread to more souls, because we all need to know God better.
The word “ignorant” may be a turn-off word in this Work of Mercy, so let’s define the work as instructing people spiritually who are uninstructed or under-instructed, or uninformed or under-informed. This IS the task of parents, priests, teachers, catechists, wise friends and many more persons of the faithful. It is a work of mercy not just for the wise or the advanced or the older folk to give– it can be given and shared by anyone with a blessing of knowing God and His truth, of something of God which might benefit another who has a need to grow in their mind and heart and soul in some area.
A proverb states: The people perish for lack of knowledge.
We Catholics measure a revelation by something’s true accord with the Catechism, the Bible, properly-informed points of conscience, and of course, the teaching Magisterium of the Church via bishops and the pope in Christ’ Body through the ages. We have a rich deposit of faith in our Church to draw on, yet orthodox and faith-filled teachers are needed to assist Catholics in knowing it.
Instructing the Uninformed or Un-enlightened (a nicer term than ignorant?!) can be done by a third-grade girl helping to teach pre-schoolers at a vacation Bible school. It can be done by an older teen sibling teaching a younger teen sibling the simple meaning and value of Catholic chastity for their life ahead. It can be done by a parent teaching their children to pray. It can be done by a pre-marriage counseling-couples team giving a retreat for engaged persons. It can be done by a single adult explaining some nuts and bolts of Catholicism to a curious non-believer over lunch out at work. It can be done by a senior teaching a catechism class. It can be done by an advocate of pro-life ministry helping to awaken an abortion rights person of the real lives being lost in the womb over their practice.
Now let’s look at the Gospel from last Sunday which tells us that ignorance can very ugly in its state, and it’s the Temptor who often would like so lost or confused over important knowledge. It is a matter of life and death in which Jesus judges in John 8. “Instruct the Ignorant” can be a Work of Mercy into a dire situation, and to offer what proposes salvation over damnation.
The scene in John 8 is a mob gathered to stone a woman. Jesus is confronted by the angry men, ignorant (or at least numb) of the depths of their own hatred and darkness of heart, and ignorant, as well, of Divine Mercy, which their own Judaic background espoused. These men have brought to the famed rabbi, of whom they dislike and sorely want to discredit, a woman caught (by them) in the very act of adultery.
They want to stone her to death, but only first with the rabbi Jesus’ thumbs-up to the deed. If he doesn’t go along with the judgment, then they have him in some seeming contradiction to Moses and Mosaic law, so they have figured–in this reputation-breaking trap they’ve set for Jesus.
Jesus will need to instruct these ignorant men, and teach us all, as well, a memorable lesson. He will live up to the most supreme of titles as “rabbi” (teacher).
What does Jesus know about this situation? He sees judgment, ignorance, immaturity and very little love inside His accusers. Jesus knows that the opposite of hateful ignorance is known instruction into wisdom and love. All Wisdom Incarnate is in Him, God’s Only Son. All love is in and through Him. He is the Knowledge of God walking the earth, the planet of which He Himself has made. He is God as man. The revelation and insight He gives will always be true and right and good for human and earthly living (and our further destiny).
But before Him now stands some ignorant men. Jesus is being challenged in His use of Mosaic law. What these wicked accusers don’t realize is that The One God Who talked originally to Moses and Who was present before them, HE is right there in the flesh with them as they attack Him on Mosaic law. It is the height of ignorance! But Jesus will instruct the ignorant.
As they dare Him, they stand in self- righteous ‘airs’ in supposition that they knew much more than He! Imagine that dark pride of theirs. Think of how Jesus felt inside about it: Here mankind goes again– thinking that they know better than God does. These men even want to twist My Father’s laws and decrees, to justify their killing a sister Jew, with whom they scorn with disgust. Yet where first is their disgust with their own infidelity to God? And Jesus will point it out to them by His writing all their own drastic, dark, mortal, cry-out-to-Heaven sins on the ground for them.
Jesus knows how these men are really aware of their own hatred and darkness. It’s buried in their conscience and it’s fairly ignored in their heart feelings. It’s a chosen blind eye to justice; it’s a type of ignorance. Jesus will instruct and show them what IS true, and seek to enlighten them. He instructs these ignorant men that God sees all what they deny. The Judge can act now, but are they ready for God’s Light of Truth?! If they are–”then He who is without sin may throw the first stone.”. Jesus questions them: If Moses’ teaching is to round up serious evil-doers to be punished unto death, like for this adulterous woman, shouldn’t worse offenders (like them) be accused first and dealt with?! It’s here that the men drop their stones and go.
The woman terrifyingly had been awaiting her fate. Jesus tells her “noone is left to condemn you and neither do I condemn you… Go and do not sin in this way any longer.”
The conclusion here is that God wishes to inform us all about our guilt of sin and so bring us each to repentance. We cannot afford to remain in darkness and avoid deal with our sinful ways. Jesus’ teachings are meant to convict us to humble ourselves and to bow to the Divine Mercy. God desires to instruct and enlighten us towards knowing Him and the goodness of His love.
Judgment before The Almighty awaits each sinner, but “the ignorant” (you and I) have the Lord’s Revelation and instructions to come out of the dark and to embrace the Light. God desires us to be saved, not condemned. God is a God of life and opportunity, not One of death and dismissal of others.
In modern application of this Work of Mercy in high drama, I think of those leading the fight in the Church versus abortion in the land as one of the examples equal to the kind of situation in the Woman at the Well story, don’t you too? There is much need of this Work of Mercy there, and it’s life and death and heaven or hell at stake.