Friday, March 25, 2022

Why is Christmas on December 25th?

 Many non-Catholics, even some Catholics, have posited that the reason December 25th is the date of Christmas is due to the Catholic Church wishing to celebrate a Christian feast during the time the pagans celebrate the Winter solstice. They are wrong!

The REAL reason is in ancient times it was believed that one's death date is the same date as one's conception date. March 25, 29 AD was one early date they believe was the date of Jesus' crucifixion. Do the math, 9 months later is December 25th. 

The date of Christmas is based upon the DEATH of Christ - not due to Catholics wanting to "compete" with pagans for a Winter solstice holiday!  Besides, the Winter solstice is December 21st, not the 25th! If they were truly trying to replace the pagan holiday, Christmas would be on December 21st!

Friday, March 25th we celebrate(d) the Solemnity of the Annunciation - when the angel of the Lord announced to Mary that she would be the Mother of God. Again, THIS is why Christmas is on December 25th.

References to some sites who get this wrong:

https://www.southernliving.com/holidays-occasions/christmas/real-history-christmas-day-december-25 

https://billygraham.org/answer/why-do-we-celebrate-christmas-on-december-25-when-the-bible-doesnt-mention-the-date-of-christs-birth/ 

https://www.historytoday.com/archive/did-romans-invent-christmas (In fairness, while this one makes arguments for pagan origins, it closes with reference to the Annunciation on March 25th, based on concepts from Judaism which links the death of prophets to their conception).

https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/magazines/2021/december/uncle-george-and-christmas

https://chefin.com.au/blog/these-6-christmas-traditions-are-actually-pagan-customs

https://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/topical.show/rtd/cgg/id/1143/christmas-pagan-origins-of.htm 

Of course there are many more, but one thing I will say - in doing this search I found many sites which do acknowledge the Annunciation on March 25th as the reason for celebrating the Christ Mass on December 25th. It is encouraging to see some of the ignorance of years past being overcome by objective reporters.


 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Thursday, March 24, 2022

Meat on Friday?


 As a reminder - we are to abstain from meat (or some other food as determined by the local episcopal conference - except during Lent when it HAS to be meat which one abstains from, Canon 1251) on ALL Fridays - but Friday March 25, 2022 is the Solemnity of the Annunciation and on a solemnity there is no penance or abstinence.



Laetare Sunday - Scripture of the Week

 

Scripture of the Week – Week 4 of Lent

This Sunday is Laetare Sunday and is the second (and final) day of the liturgical year in which the color of the vestments is rose (not “pink”). One of the ways a priest told me how to remember this is “Jesus didn’t pink from the dead on Easter Sunday, He rose from the dead.”

Scripture this week from my professor:

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." - Romans 15:13

When I first read this it made me think of the Introibo (in - tro - eebo) in the Latin Mass:

Introibo ad altare Dei – which translated is “I will go in to the altar of God.”

And more precisely the next line:

Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meum – which translated is “To God, which maketh my youth joyful.”

And how appropriate! Lautare Sunday is “Joyful Sunday” – as you can see by the similarities in “laetare” and “laetificat” – both with the root meaning of “joyful.”

Joyful or Laetare Sunday is a time during the season of Lent to meditate upon the joyfulness of the coming Easter. Rejoice (be joyful) in the Lord! This is similar to the other day in the liturgical year which utilizes rose vestments – which is Gaudate Sunday and also, in Latin, has the meaning of “Joyful Sunday” during the season of Advent.

As an aside, we often see Advent as the end of the year because it comes toward the end of the calendar year – but in the liturgical year, Advent is the first season, the First Sunday of Advent being the first day of the liturgical year.

Anyway, this Sunday wear something rose-colored!

AMDG,

Scott<<<

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart - Friday

This Friday, March 25th, on the Solemnity of the Annunciation, Pope Francis has asked the world to unite with him at 6:30pm, Rome time,  in praying for the consecration of Russia along with Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The time to pray: 

6:30 p.m. Rome

5:30 p.m. — GMT (London)

1:30 p.m. — Eastern Time (New York, Washington, Miami)

12:30 p.m. — Central Time (Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas)

11:30 a.m. — Mountain Time (Denver, Salt Lake City)

10:30 a.m. — Pacific Time (Arizona - MST, Los Angeles, Seattle)

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/250786/what-time-is-the-consecration-of-russia-and-ukraine-find-out-here 

Now is not the time to debate whether or not this is the fulfillment of what Sr. Lucia said the Blessed Mother at Fatima had requested. Some believe it has already happened while other say it never did. We can discuss all this later. For now - pray for peace in Ukraine and pray that Russia is consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. 

The text of the prayers:

O Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, in this time of trial we turn to you. As our Mother, you love us and know us: no concern of our hearts is hidden from you. Mother of mercy, how often we have experienced your watchful care and your peaceful presence! You never cease to guide us to Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

Yet we have strayed from that path of peace. We have forgotten the lesson learned from the tragedies of the last century, the sacrifice of the millions who fell in two world wars. We have disregarded the commitments we made as a community of nations. We have betrayed peoples’ dreams of peace and the hopes of the young. We grew sick with greed, we thought only of our own nations and their interests, we grew indifferent and caught up in our selfish needs and concerns. We chose to ignore God, to be satisfied with our illusions, to grow arrogant and aggressive, to suppress innocent lives and to stockpile weapons. We stopped being our neighbour’s keepers and stewards of our common home. We have ravaged the garden of the earth with war and by our sins we have broken the heart of our heavenly Father, who desires us to be brothers and sisters. We grew indifferent to everyone and everything except ourselves. Now with shame we cry out: Forgive us, Lord!

Holy Mother, amid the misery of our sinfulness, amid our struggles and weaknesses, amid the mystery of iniquity that is evil and war, you remind us that God never abandons us, but continues to look upon us with love, ever ready to forgive us and raise us up to new life. He has given you to us and made your Immaculate Heart a refuge for the Church and for all humanity. By God’s gracious will, you are ever with us; even in the most troubled moments of our history, you are there to guide us with tender love.

We now turn to you and knock at the door of your heart. We are your beloved children. In every age you make yourself known to us, calling us to conversion. At this dark hour, help us and grant us your comfort. Say to us once more: “Am I not here, I who am your Mother?” You are able to untie the knots of our hearts and of our times. In you we place our trust. We are confident that, especially in moments of trial, you will not be deaf to our supplication and will come to our aid.

That is what you did at Cana in Galilee, when you interceded with Jesus and he worked the first of his signs. To preserve the joy of the wedding feast, you said to him: “They have no wine” (Jn 2:3). Now, O Mother, repeat those words and that prayer, for in our own day we have run out of the wine of hope, joy has fled, fraternity has faded. We have forgotten our humanity and squandered the gift of peace. We opened our hearts to violence and destructiveness. How greatly we need your maternal help!

Therefore, O Mother, hear our prayer.

Star of the Sea, do not let us be shipwrecked in the tempest of war.

Ark of the New Covenant, inspire projects and paths of reconciliation.

Queen of Heaven, restore God’s peace to the world.

Eliminate hatred and the thirst for revenge, and teach us forgiveness.

Free us from war, protect our world from the menace of nuclear weapons.

Queen of the Rosary, make us realize our need to pray and to love.

Queen of the Human Family, show people the path of fraternity.

Queen of Peace, obtain peace for our world.

O Mother, may your sorrowful plea stir our hardened hearts. May the tears you shed for us make this valley parched by our hatred blossom anew. Amid the thunder of weapons, may your prayer turn our thoughts to peace. May your maternal touch soothe those who suffer and flee from the rain of bombs. May your motherly embrace comfort those forced to leave their homes and their native land. May your Sorrowful Heart move us to compassion and inspire us to open our doors and to care for our brothers and sisters who are injured and cast aside.

Holy Mother of God, as you stood beneath the cross, Jesus, seeing the disciple at your side, said: “Behold your son” (Jn 19:26.) In this way he entrusted each of us to you. To the disciple, and to each of us, he said: “Behold, your Mother” (v. 27). Mother Mary, we now desire to welcome you into our lives and our history. At this hour, a weary and distraught humanity stands with you beneath the cross, needing to entrust itself to you and, through you, to consecrate itself to Christ. The people of Ukraine and Russia, who venerate you with great love, now turn to you, even as your heart beats with compassion for them and for all those peoples decimated by war, hunger, injustice and poverty.

Therefore, Mother of God and our Mother, to your Immaculate Heart we solemnly entrust and consecrate ourselves, the Church and all humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine. Accept this act that we carry out with confidence and love. Grant that war may end and peace spread throughout the world. The “Fiat” that arose from your heart opened the doors of history to the Prince of Peace. We trust that, through your heart, peace will dawn once more. To you we consecrate the future of the whole human family, the needs and expectations of every people, the anxieties and hopes of the world.

Through your intercession, may God’s mercy be poured out on the earth and the gentle rhythm of peace return to mark our days. Our Lady of the “Fiat," on whom the Holy Spirit descended, restore among us the harmony that comes from God. May you, our “living fountain of hope,” water the dryness of our hearts. In your womb Jesus took flesh; help us to foster the growth of communion. You once trod the streets of our world; lead us now on the paths of peace. 

Amen.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Third Sunday of Lent - Scripture of the Week


For the Third Week of Lent:

The Epistle this Sunday (Extraordinary Rite) is taken from Ephesians 5:1-9 wherein we are reminded to be followers of God and to not stray into sins of fornication. covetousness. obscenity, foolish talking and all uncleaness for those who do will not inherit Heaven. You were in darkness but are now in the Light of the Lord.

The Gospel this Sunday (Extraordinary Rite) is from Luke 11:14-28 - In this passage, Jesus casts out a devil from a person who was dumb - and immediately the person began to speak. Some who witnessed this claimed he cast out demons by Beelzebub, the Prince of Devils. Jesus responds that a kingdom divided against itself shall be desolated. He also warned that when a demon is cast out and wanders around looking for a new home, if finding none it returns to the host in which it once resided. Seeing the former host is now clean and inviting, it goes out and brings back seven other spirits to inhabit - making the later state is worse than the first. This is a warning to be on one's guard against evil spirits who will want to come into those who have been delivered to the Lord. It is also evidence against those who preach OSAS (once saved, always saved) for clearly one who was delivered from evil has been "saved" but there is danger of not only falling away, but to be in an even worse situation than their previous state.

From my professor this week:

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." - Hebrews 10:23

I respond: Not only does this fit well with this Sunday's Epistle (Extraordinary Rite) to remain faithful and also with the Gospel to be diligent after being delivered to Christ, but also reminds me of our motto as apologists from 1 Peter 3:15 - to always (unswervingly) be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within us!

Here's to persevering in Lenten devotion and penance.


AMDG,

Scott<<<


Sunday, March 13, 2022

Second Sunday of Lent - Scripture of the Week

 From my professor this week:

"But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me." - Micah 7:7

This verse reminds me of Joshua 24:15:

But if it seem evil to you to serve the Lord, you have your choice: choose this day that which pleaseth you, whom you would rather serve, whether the gods which your fathers served in Mesopotamia, or the gods of the Amorrhites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.

This reminds me of when Moses came down from Sinai with the Ten Commandments to find the people singing and dancing around a golden calf - Exodus 32:26 - 

So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” And all the Levites rallied to him.

Of course shortly after that, Moses had the Levites smite the idolators - and over 3000 were killed that day.

Today's sermon included a story of Jewish (though non-religious) musician, Hermann Cohen, who as a child prodigy, his father got him involved in piano and at a very young age he was performing concerts for nobility. As he grew up in the material world, he sought happiness in what the world had to offer. He never found it. He became a drunk and a gambler, and finding himself out of work and out of money, he took a job as choir director for a Catholic church of St. Valère in May of 1847 in Paris. One day, at benediction, the Holy Ghost hit him - and he saw the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the monstrance at benediction. In his words, "like the prodigal son facing himself." He was baptized on August 28th of that year, the feast of St. Augustine. In 1849 he joined the Carmelite Order and took the name of Fr. Augustine Mary of the Blessed Sacrament. The happiness he had sought in the world, he found in the Eucharist and serving Jesus Christ as a Carmelite missionary.

The Second Sunday of Lent 

This Sunday's Gospel (Extraordinary Rite) is Matthew 17:1-9 - which is the telling of the Transfiguration of our Lord. Truly a sign of hope in the resurrection as Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus before Peter, James, and John.

Seeing Jesus with Moses and Elijah, Peter desired for this moment of happiness to continue and offered to build three tents in order to prolong their stay - but this happiness was not for this world at that time. The three Apostles, however, got a taste of the glory of Heaven - and they were the three closest to Jesus as He went through His Passion and death.
 
Seek happiness in and through Heaven - this world cannot provide it for you.
 
AMDG,
Scott<<<


Saturday, March 05, 2022

Scripture of the Week


We did not get a Scripture of the Week last week from my professor, but we did this week! Here is the passage he quoted for me this week:

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time." 1 Peter 5:6

Such a great passage for the first week of Lent! A time of penance and offering up something in unity with the Sacrifice of our Lord. Doing penance is a humbling act, even doing a corporal act of mercy can be a humble act if done in the right frame of mind. We do penance, not for show - not to impress others, but to help convert ourselves into saints so that one day He may lift us up to be with Him in eternity.



Thursday, March 03, 2022

Eastern Rite Baptism of Our Lord - Ukraine Miracle

 On the Eastern Rite (and Orthodox) Feast of the Baptism of our Lord, January 19, 2022 - this little miracle happened:


Even as Russian troops were amassing on the borders of Ukraine, a glimmer of hope appears.

Pray for peace in Ukraine.



Wednesday, March 02, 2022

Ash Wednesday

 

Genesis 3:19

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return to the earth, out of which thou wast taken: for dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return.