Posted by: fvbcdm | February 27, 2013

Feast of Saint Paula of Saint Joseph of Calasanz (26 Feb 2013)

Those who are familiar with the famous Negro Spirituals will recognize the names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Those were the Babylonian forms of the Hebrew names of the three young men, Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael, who were condemned to be burned alive for their refusal to renounce their Jewish faith and participate in pagan worship.  In the reading from the Book of Daniel which will be read next week, they are praying inside the furnace, miraculously preserved from any harm. In their prayer, they point out to God how pitiable their condition is. “We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader; no burnt offering, sacrifice, oblation or incense, no place to offer first fruits, to find favor with you.”Those words are partially true of many outside the Church. No prince, prophet, or leader in the religious sense. And our Jewish brothers and sisters have no burnt offering, sacrifice, or incense, no place to offer first fruits, since the temple has been destroyed and the Jewish priesthood no long operates.

With those words in mind, let us reflect upon our own position as Catholics in the Church which Our Divine Lord has established and to which he has called us. We certainly have a religious priest, prophet, and leader. In heaven, we have Christ. Here on earth we have the Vicar of Christ, the Bishop of Rome, the Supreme Pontiff, the Pope. The present occupant of the Chair of Peter is Benedict XVI; he is the 264th successor of Saint Peter, our first Pope. And he will be succeeded by other Popes until the end of time. So we certainly have both a heavenly and an earthly prince, prophet, and leader. And as for offering, sacrifice, oblation, and incense, we have THE priest and victim to which all the offerings and sacrifices of the Old Testament pointed: Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. Every day at Mass we offer Him to His Father, and by doing so, we offer that which is infinitely pleasing to God in the perfect sacrifice of the Mass. It is very sad that right now, many Catholics have fallen away from the reception of the Sacraments, without which they cannot call themselves practicing Catholics. But that does not diminish the holiness and power of the Sacraments, especially of the Holy Eucharist. If someone is sick and won’t eat, that doesn’t make the food any less nutritious and tasty for those who are well. Let us be keenly aware of the tremendous privileges that come to us because of our membership in the Church of our Divine Lord. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown., O.P.

Note:  Father Brown composed this message some years ago.

 

 

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