The Quiet Corner
Father John A. Kiley
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The four Gospel accounts from Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were written perhaps thirty, forty, even fifty years after the events which they relate actually occurred. These four accounts were written possibly in Jerusalem, maybe in Syria, perhaps in Rome or elsewhere. One or two of these narratives were destined for Jewish readership; the other two were destined for Greek, Roman and Gentile circulation. more
Father Joseph Egan was a long-time dogmatic theology professor at St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester, New York. It was always his contention that St. Luke wrote Acts of the Apostles in order to justify the missionary activity to the Gentiles by St. Paul in light of the prior if somewhat limited outreach to the Gentile world by St. Peter. By the time St. Luke was writing Acts, St. Peter’s stature within the Christian community was acknowledged and respected enough that any precedent St. Peter had initiated could justifiably be cited as reason for other followers of Christ, like St. Paul and St. Barnabas, to venture out into similar even if more extensive challenges and apostolates. Accordingly, St. Luke devotes an entire chapter of Acts to the conversion by St. Peter of the Gentile but God-fearing centurion Cornelius and his household. more
Believers are certainly not surprised to hear Jesus’ words proclaiming love as a principal pillar upon which the Christian life rests. Nor is the believer surprised to read the words of the sacred authors of the Gospels and epistles joining Jesus in his demand that love be central to all Christian activity. St. James writes, “However, if you fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.” St. Paul joins him while writing to the Galatians, “For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” And again the Apostle confirms this belief in writing powerfully to the Romans: “…whatever other commandments there may be, are summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.” The Gospel accounts of Saints Matthew, Mark and Luke are unanimous and unequivocal in placing love at the heart of the Christian message. St. Mark writes for all three when he records: “Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” And for the Christian love is to be understood in its broadest sense: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you” more
In the front vestibule of St. Joseph Church in Pascoag there is a small stained glass window depicting a bishop in liturgical attire, staff in hand, attended by servers. Perhaps unique in stained glass artistry, his Excellency is wearing eye-glasses. The episcopal motto featured below his likeness reveals the historical accuracy of the bespeckled prelate’s unusual portrait. more
Every Sunday Catholics through the world along with a number of other Christians solemnly professes the venerable words of the Nicene Creed: “For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” more
Perhaps no sacrament has evolved (or maybe the word should be devolved) over the centuries like the sacrament of Penance. And canonically it still is the sacrament of “Penance.” The official publication of the Catholic Church for the instruction of ministers confecting the sacrament is entitled “Ordo Paenitentiae,” i.e., the Order of Penance. The modern term “Reconciliation” is a mid-twentieth century application that ordinarily connotes equality between offending parties. more
As good and faithful Jews, Jesus and his closest disciples made careful preparations for the celebration of the Paschal meal – which, of course, would sadly be Jesus’ last supper. Joining St. Matthew and St. Mark, St. Luke carefully observes, “He sent out Peter and John, instructing them, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.” A man they would meet would show them “a large upper room that is furnished.” They should make the preparations there. “Then they went off and found everything exactly as he had told them, and there they prepared the Passover.” When the four Gospel accounts of this Last Passover are read, along with St. Paul’s recollections, all of the traditional elements that even today comprise the Paschal Meal are mentioned. more
Recent articles have described St. Mark’s version of the Gospel as “a Passion account with an extended introduction.” One reference came from Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the papal household and the other came from the lectors’ workbook published by Chicago’s Liturgy Training Program. With such diverse observers sharing the same perspective on St. Mark’s brief Gospel account, a closer look at the Passion of Christ according to St. Mark, which forms this coming Palm Sunday’s lengthy Gospel reading, is clearly in order. more
The prophet David was the first king to rule over all twelve tribes of Israel centered around the city of Jerusalem. But the unity enforced by King David did not endure very long. After the death of David’s son Solomon, David’s grandson Rehoboam enforced a very severe regime. Eventually, ten of the northern Israelite tribes separated from this tyrannical king and chose for themselves Jeroboam, from the tribe of Ephraim, as their king, establishing a new kingdom which they called Israel. The other two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, remained with the dictatorial Rehoboam and formed the Judean kingdom. more
The Jews endured seventy years of exile in Babylon about five hundred years before the birth of Christ. The first reading at Mass this Sunday celebrates the release of these Jews from this exile by the noble king Cyrus. A number of Scripture scholars have understood that this alien existence of the Jewish people actually led to the origin of the synagogue system and to the formulation of the Bible. Since the Jews had no temple in which to worship, it makes sense that they would gather in their alien neighborhoods to pray, reflect and sing the praises of God. Such neighborhood gatherings would have led to the synagogue system known today throughout the world. Also while in exile, it is plausible that the Jews might choose to write down the prophecies and note the prodigies that had marked their history. These reminiscences of course would be the beginning of the Bible. Certainly these events could have all happened. more
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