Keep Mass in Christmas!

While we're quick to remind others to 
"Keep Christ in Christmas," 

Do not forget to 
keep Mass in Christmas!  

It is the Christ Mass!

Fourth Sunday of Advent

This is the Fourth Sunday in Advent - and this year it is also the LAST DAY of Advent!  Tomorrow is the Christ Mass!  Joy to the world! Peace unto men of goodwill (not the mistranslation of "goodwill, peace to men").

Today marks the closing of the shortest possible Advent Season, and tomorrow starts the Christmas Season. The "Twelve Days of Christmas" start on December 25th, Christmas Day, and go through January 5th. January 6th begins Epiphany (which is also a Christmas Season). Christmas can actually be celebrated all the way to February 2nd which is Candlemas - and in the lectionary Candlemas is the last time for the liturgical year that the Nativity of our Lord is mentioned in the readings. So, don't be in too much of a hurry to take down your Christmas decorations!

Don't forget!  While every Sunday is a holy day of obligation, so is tomorrow!  The Christ Mass is one of the highest of all the feast days - second only to Easter Sunday. The way we explained this to our children when this happens is "You don't HAVE to go to Mass two days in a row, you GET to!"

The Third and FINAL Week of Advent

"What?"  You say?  "Advent has FOUR weeks, not THREE!"

Well, yes - but not THIS year, nor several more to follow. This Sunday is the Fourth Sunday in Advent - but Monday is Christmas!  This means that the "Fourth Week of Advent" is really just a single day! Monday begins the Season of Christmas! I say several more years to follow because the Fourth Week of Advent will only gain a day per year (excluding Leap Year) eventually getting us to a full week after the Fourth Sunday of Advent - which, of course, will put Christmas on a Sunday and that won't happen again until 2022.

Many of you may be scratching your heads over the statement that Monday begins the Season of Christmas. Many think the Christmas Season begins when Santa Claus rides in on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and lasts until Christmas Day.  Well - they are wrong!  The current season, which begins four Sundays before the Christ Mass, is Advent. The Season of Christmas begins on Christmas Day and lasts through at least Epiphany (January 6th). The older tradition is that Christmas lasts through Candlemas - in which the Nativity is read about for the last time in the liturgical year. Candlemas is on February 2nd and is the 40th day of the Christmas/Epiphany Season.

Naked Man Nativity Scene

Well, that's what many are calling the Vatican Nativity Scene shown below:
Click on for larger view
At first glance this scene does not even appear to be a Nativity Scene. If you look a bit more closely though, you can find the Baby Jesus, Joseph, Mary, the Three Wisemen, the Angel and the Star - but what of all the other "noise" around the scene? I have to agree with Patrick Madrid in his Tweet:
Who's in charge of designing/approving Vatican manger scenes? This year's naked-guy rendition is just bizarre. Jarring, discordant & chaotic, it's not even Baby Jesus-centered. Yes, the extra bits are meant to depict works of mercy, but why? They don't belong in a Nativity scene. 

Certainly the Season of Advent is a good time to practice Corporal Works of Mercy and we should incorporate these into our Advent penance - but the Nativity Scene should be centered on the Incarnation, the Baby Jesus. Traditionally, all the figures in the Nativity Scene - even the animals, are looking at the Baby Jesus -  in the Vatican Nativity Scene can you find ANY of the figures looking at the Baby Jesus? Not the Angel, not Joseph, not even the Blessed Virgin are looking upon the newborn Christ-child. See a traditional example below:

For those reading who may not know, or know all the Corporal Works of Mercy, here's a list:

So yes, there is a time and place for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) and the Corporal Works of Mercy are good to meditate upon, or more importantly DO, but to clutter up the Nativity scene with these other figures detracts from the Nativity. I can certainly see where it can be argued that one of the reasons Jesus came into the world was to not only preach, but DO Corporal Works of Mercy, but again there is a time and place for everything. What are your thoughts? Please share them below this article. Should the Nativity Scene be used to promote the Corporal Works of Mercy?


This is a great little video putting the Palestinian, Jewish, Arab conflict over a small patch of land in the Middle East which several religions refer to as "The Holy Land."

Second Week of Advent

The Second Sunday of Advent - and our theme for this week is FAITH.  The Traditional Lectionary has for today's Gospel Matthew 11:2-10 - where St. John the Baptist, from prison through some of his disciples, asks Jesus if He is the Messiah - or are we waiting for another.  Strangely, in my opinion, Jesus does not give a direct answer to St. John's disciples. He merely states: 
"Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen. The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in me." 
Then after they leave, He turns and confirms He is the One in whom they have been waiting when He says: 
"What went you out into the desert to see? a reed shaken with the wind? But what went you out to see? a man clothed in soft garments? Behold they that are clothed in soft garments, are in the houses of kings. But what went you out to see? A prophet? Yea I tell you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: 'Behold I send my angel before my face, who shall prepare thy way before thee.' " (Giglio, 2017)
So, St. John the Baptist was the one who prepared the way for the Messiah. Blessed are those who are not scandalized by the truth of our Faith in Jesus Christ as the Messiah.

I hope you're having a wonderful Advent Season and if one of your traditions is an "O Tree" (for the O Antiphons, see below), then don't forget to get your tree out this week!  The traditional remembrance of the O Antiphons (and the verses in the Advent Hymn, "O Come, O Come Emmanuel") begins next Sunday, December 17th.


Giglio, Deacon John. Second Sunday of Advent. Retrieved            on December 10, 2017 from:  

O Antiphons:

Lead Us Not Into Tempation

Pope Francis Asking For A Change to the Our Father?

Pope Francis has stated that the words we say, "...lead us not into temptation," is a poor translation. He favors what the French, Spanish and Italians have already begun changing to, "Do not let us fall into temptation" (Spanish), "Do not abandon us to temptation" (Italian), "Do not let us enter into temptation" (French).

The key word here in the Greek is "eisenènkes" - which literally translates to "do not take us inside." So, while what Pope Francis is proposing may be theologically desirable - it would not be quite accurate to say "lead us not into temptation" is a poor translation - literally speaking, "lead us not into temptation" is the more literal translation. (Kington, 2017).

Found on, (n.d.) we find these translations:

The Lord's Prayer 











Pater hêmôn ho en toes ouranoes;
hagiasthêtô to onoma sou; 
elthetô hê basileia sou; 
genêthêtô to thelêma sou,
hôs en ouranô, kae epi tês gês. 
ton arton hêmôn ton epiousion dos hêmin sêmeron; 
kae aphes hêmin ta opheilêmata hêmôn, 
hôs kae hêmeis aphiemen toes opheiletaes hêmôn;
kae mê eisenenkês hêmas eis peirasmon, 
alla rhysae hêmas apo tou ponerou. 
hoti sou estin hê basileia kae hê dynamis kae hê doxa eis tous aeônas; 

While we can speculate on what an original Aramaic, primary source, may look like - the fact is, we do not have any Aramaic autographs available to us. Eusebius does quote there was such a version in the Early Church, we just have no copies of an original Aramaic version.

From Catholic Answers we find these quotes:

Around 180 Irenaeus of Lyons wrote that
Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching in Rome and laying the foundation of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon his breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia. (Against Heresies 3:1:1)
Fifty years earlier Papias, bishop of Hieropolis in Asia Minor, wrote, 
"Matthew compiled the sayings [of the Lord] in the Aramaic language, and everyone translated them as well as he could" (Explanation of the Sayings of the Lord [cited by Eusebius in History of the Church 3:39]).
Sometime after 244 the Scripture scholar Origen wrote,
"Among the four Gospels, which are the only indisputable ones in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned by tradition that the first was written by Matthew, who was once a publican, but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was prepared for the converts from Judaism and published in the Hebrew language" (Commentaries on Matthew [cited by Eusebius in History of the Church 6:25]).
Eusebius himself declared that
"Matthew had begun by preaching to the Hebrews, and when he made up his mind to go to others too, he committed his own Gospel to writing in his native tongue [Aramaic], so that for those with whom he was no longer present the gap left by his departure was filled by what he wrote" (History of the Church 3:24 [inter 300-325]).
The bottom line here, while the existence of an Aramaic original for the Book of Matthew is quite likely, the oldest extant versions of Matthew we have are in Greek. Speculation on what an Aramaic original might say is purely that - speculation.  According to the Greek, the more literal translation, where St. Jerome translated the Latin "Pater Noster" and the word in Latin is  “inducere,” which means “bring in.” It is from here that we get the English translation we're most familiar with:
Matthew 6:9-13Douay-Rheims Thus therefore shall you pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.11 Give us this day our (daily) bread.12 And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.13 And lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil. Amen.  (BibleGateway, n.d.)
The Douay-Rheims was first published in 1582 and the popular King James Version (KJV) came out 29 years later in 1611. The two versions are virtually identical, except the KJV adds "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever" which was actually a copyist/scribe addition, not found in the Greek (modern and more accurate versions leave this part out).

Taking this all into consideration - one of the reasons stated, "in a TV interview this week, Pope Francis said that the line asking God to “Lead us not into temptation,” or in Italian, “non indurci in tentazione,” should be changed because it has been translated badly" (Kington, 2017). This is not really a good justification for the translation we're all accustomed to is quite literal and accurate.

Another reason Pope Francis gives is the theological meaning. "It is Satan who leads us into temptation - that's his department" (Kington, 2017). I can handle that sort of rationalization, but why? Why would we change the wording which is so widely accepted throughout Christendom (Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant)? 

Can the Pope Unilaterally Change the Mass?

Does the pope have the right/authority to change the wording used in the Mass?  Certainly he does. Wording has been changed many times throughout history, most recently under Pope Benedict XVI where the wording of the Consecration and the Credo were changed (back) to the more literal, accurate and traditional translations (The Consecration went back to "for many" instead of "for all" in the Consecration of the Blood of Christ; the Credo went back to "I believe..." instead of "We believe..."). There were other changes too under Pope Benedict XVI. Even the Novus Ordo Missae itself was not a product of the Second Vatican Council, rather it was a product of Pope Paul VI, several years after the council had concluded. There are several debating points here which I will not get into at this time - the point is, the pope does have the authority to make changes to the liturgy. That being said, local bishops still have authority within their respective jurisdictions to determine which form of the Mass has their licit permission to be said. 

My concluding thought here...  

Even though the pope does indeed have this authority, should he invoke it here on the widely accepted form of the Our Father?

And from a fellow apologist, Jimmy Akin, he has a few choice words on this subject too...  that the media has blown this all out of proportion and that Pope Francis is not calling for a change to the Our Father - it was simply a comment he made in a television interview (in Italian, and he has it linked on his site). Jimmy's point is that we don't need to be all worked up about this. It is largely (false) media hype. (Akin, 2017). I will add though, while Pope Francis may not have made a call to change the Our Father, he has stated his approval for such a change and, as it has been pointed out, the Italian, French and Spanish have already implemented the change he approves of.


Akin, Jimmy. (December, 2017). No, Pope Francis is Not
        Changing the Lord's Prayer. Retrieved December 10, 
        2017 from 

BibleGateway. (n.d.). Retrieved December 9, 2017, from

Catholic Answers, (August 4, 2011). Was Matthew's Gospel 
         First Written in Aramaic or Hebrew? Retrieved on 
         December 9, 2017 from                     

Kington, Tom. Pope Francis suggests rewording the Lord's
         Prayer. The problem? 'Lead us not into temptation'. 
         LA Times, December 8, 2017. Retrieved on December 
         9, 2017 from, n.d.. The Lord's Prayer. Retrieved 
         on December 9, 2017 from 

Cheeseburger Friday

This Friday, December 8, 2017, is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Since this day is a solemnity, the required Friday penance is waved - for there is no penance on a solemn feast day.

It's a Cheeseburger Friday!

Wait, you say? There is no longer a requirement for abstaining from meat on Fridays, right? Well, yes and no. ALL Catholics are still bound by Canon Law to observe penance on ALL Fridays throughout the year, but it doesn't HAVE to be meat anymore. IF you're not going to abstain from meat, then you MUST give up something else equivalent -OR- do a corporal act of mercy, in accordance to what your local ecclesial authority has set forth for your jurisdiction. 

On my pulpit again...  While it doesn't HAVE to be meat that we abstain from on ALL Fridays, it still HAS to be something equivalent. For some cultures fish is more of a staple than other forms of meat, so to give up meat for them is no real penance - and while fish is an acceptable alternative, for such a culture - there is no penance at all in eating fish over beef (or pork, or chicken, etc.). Now, while our penance does not HAVE to be from meat anymore, I say WHY NOT MEAT?! Meatless Fridays have LONG been a badge of honor for Catholics - and pretty much something only Catholics did or do, so unless you have a good reason to abstain from something else, then it should still be abstinence from meat that we observe - EVERY FRIDAY... well again, not THIS Friday, due to the solemnity.

1983 Code of Canon Law (currently in force)

Can 1250 The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.
Can 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Can 1252 The law of abstinence binds those who have completed their fourteenth year. The law of fasting binds those who have attained their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.
Is It a Mortal Sin to NOT Do Penance on ALL Fridays (except when there is a solemnity on Friday)?

The answer here is quite simple - YES!  It is a mortal sin!  Now before you read this article you might be able to claim ignorance, and for it to be a mortal sin you have to first KNOW it is a sin and second, do it anyway. To knowingly and willfully reject a precept of Canon Law IS a mortal sin. Well, now you have read the article - there's no way around this - so for the sake of your own soul, if you have not been observing the Friday penance EVERY Friday, it's not too late to start - and start with meat - but again, not THIS Friday.  Enjoy a cheeseburger, or steak, or pork chops, etc. this week, but NEXT week, be sure to observe that which is REQUIRED of ALL Catholics (those over 14 and under 60).

Happy New Year!

Yes!  It is the First Sunday of Advent - and the first day of the liturgical year!  So, Happy New Year!

This is the the season we prepare for Christmas which was the First Coming of the Messiah... the readings for Mass prepare us for the Second Coming of Christ.

Advent is not Lent, but it is still a time of penance and offering up and mortification. As we make little sacrifices we draw our minds to Christ and can meditate on both the First and Second Coming.

Feast of the Assumption

 The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - another example of "not-so-ordinary" days! These are COUNTING days - and...