Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Catholic Church Readings for Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Here are readings for Catholic Church Masses for Tuesday March 31 2020. I will offer my commentary on the Gospel at the end if anyone is interested. Also, I encourage comments on this blog post. So please feel free to share what you think below.

Reading 1, Numbers 21:4-9
4 They left Mount Hor by the road to the Sea of Suph, to skirt round Edom. On the way the people lost patience.

5 They spoke against God and against Moses, 'Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in the desert? For there is neither food nor water here; we are sick of this meagre diet.'

6 At this, God sent fiery serpents among the people; their bite brought death to many in Israel.

7 The people came and said to Moses, 'We have sinned by speaking against Yahweh and against you. Intercede for us with Yahweh to save us from these serpents.' Moses interceded for the people,

8 and Yahweh replied, 'Make a fiery serpent and raise it as a standard. Anyone who is bitten and looks at it will survive.'

9 Moses then made a serpent out of bronze and raised it as a standard, and anyone who was bitten by a serpent and looked at the bronze serpent survived.

Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 102:2-3, 16-18, 19-21
2 Do not turn away your face from me when I am in trouble; bend down and listen to me, when I call, be quick to answer me!

3 For my days are vanishing like smoke, my bones burning like an oven;

16 when Yahweh builds Zion anew, he will be seen in his glory;

17 he will turn to hear the prayer of the destitute, and will not treat their prayer with scorn.

18 This shall be put on record for a future generation, and a people yet to be born shall praise God:

19 Yahweh has leaned down from the heights of his sanctuary, has looked down from heaven to earth,

20 to listen to the sighing of the captive, and set free those condemned to death,

21 to proclaim the name of Yahweh in Zion, his praise in Jerusalem;

Gospel, John 8:21-30
21 Again he said to them: I am going away; you will look for me and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.

22 So the Jews said to one another, 'Is he going to kill himself, that he says, "Where I am going, you cannot come?" '

23 Jesus went on: You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.

24 I have told you already: You will die in your sins. Yes, if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.

25 So they said to him, 'Who are you?' Jesus answered: What I have told you from the outset.

26 About you I have much to say and much to judge; but the one who sent me is true, and what I declare to the world I have learnt from him.

27 They did not recognise that he was talking to them about the Father.

28 So Jesus said: When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am He and that I do nothing of my own accord. What I say is what the Father has taught me;

29 he who sent me is with me, and has not left me to myself, for I always do what pleases him.

30 As he was saying this, many came to believe in him.

My Commentary on these verses of the Gospel:
I am not a theologian or highly trained in the Bible. So I will offer what I can and hopefully you find some value in it.

The Jews who were followers of Christ were not quite catching on to what he has to say here. He makes several references to the fact that he comes from God and that he and God as united. He mentions that he does nothing on his own, and that he only does what is in accord with God the Father in heaven.

That's not much like us. We sometimes do God's will and some people at some point in their lives may do most things that God wills. But Jesus goes much further here when describing himself and indicates that he ALWAYS does the will of the Father. He can never be separated from the father and that their wills correspond perfectly.

This is yet another example of the Trinity in the Gospel. Jesus is clearly saying that he and God are equal.

The Jews in this passage do come across as rather clueless. "Is he going to commit suicide?" they ask. It always strikes me how clueless they in fact do seem. You would think after all Christ has done and revealed they would not believe her would just simply kill himself. Many don't even seem to know who he is. Jesus has a great deal of patience to persistently explain who is he over and over.

Jesus is very stark in this passage. He does not mince words or beat around the bush. He is very clear that those who do not follow him will perish. In parts of the Gospel Jesus is even more explicit in stating that those who do not follow him will go to Gehenna, a place of hellfire and torment. Gehenna in fact was a place in Jerusalem. There, garbage was continuously burnt. This gave a clear and vivid picture of the place Jesus was describing.

As we all struggle through this difficult time with coronavirus, aka Covid19, it is good to keep in mind that Jesus loves us more than we love ourselves and that he wills our ultimate good.

Thursday, March 05, 2020

Can you eat SEAL during Lent?

We all know some of the strange rules with eating certain animals during Lent. In general, every Catholic is obliged to abstain from "flesh meat" during Fridays of Lent. However, they can eat fish of almost any kind.
But did you know there are some animals that are not fish that can be eaten during Lent in certain areas? Dispensations were given in some parts of the world to alloy people to eat non-fish animals on Fridays of Lent.
For example, in Quebec, beaver was permitted in the 1700s. In Venezuela, Capybara is allowed to be eaten. And in Newfoundland, at least in previous centuries, seal meat was an allowable food to be eaten during Lent and even Fridays of Lent.
One of the reasons for this was that our modern-day taxonomy did not exist prior to Carl Linnaeus who lived between 1707 and 1778. He started the classification of the animal kingdom into various groups such as Mammals, Birds, Fish, etc.
So animals were classified in different ways. One way was by their predominant behavior. All of the animals listed above which are exceptions to the rule of only eating fish spend most of their time in the water. In an older classification system, these animals could be considered types of fish.
When you think about a seal, it, in many ways, acts and behaves as a fish, even though it is a mammal and spends much of its time on land (or ice).
In any event, seals are permitted to some people. To be honest, I am not sure if seal meat is currently permissible to be eaten during Lent in Newfoundland as it once was.
As a side note, if you are interested, I sell seal oil capsules which contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. You can check out my website at www.TerraNovaSealOil.com
Thanks for stopping by and reading. I will try to update this blog frequently!

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Fasting During Lent: Are you doing enough?

Have you ever gone through Lent and ended up in Easter and thought to yourself, "Man that wasn't hard. In fact, it wasn't hard enough."?

It has happened to me many times. I give up some very minor things during Lent and when it's all over, I barely even notice. Examples of not giving up much include:

  • No chocolate between 7pm and 8pm on Wednesdays and Fridays
  • Having one less Coffee on the first day of the month.
  • Going to Mass on Ash Wednesday instead of staying home

These are somewhat exaggerated to make a point. In reality, I once heard of a person who had given up one particular type of chocolate bar during Lent. That's it. Remember, they didn't give up snacking, or sweets, or even chocolate in general, they had given up one particular chocolate bar. They permitted themselves to eat ANY OTHER type of chocolate bar, but not this one particular kind. And I'm not saying milk chocolate, e.g. I mean something like Kit-Kat bars or Mars bars.

Now, once Lent is all said and done do you think this person can better relate to Jesus Christ and feel as though they accompanied him in the desert for 40 days? I somehow doubt it.

On the other hand, this person may have already been holy and sanctified that they didn't really need to give anything up and perhaps they were focusing more on doing more almsgiving or acts of charity, as opposed to "giving things up".

One thing that can get us through Lent is the prospect and thought of Easter. The hardships we are going through will be turned to joy and glory at Easter. Isn't that the point? Imagine doing something much greater this Lent than usual. Maybe not eating until after 3pm every day, maybe eating just one meal a day, maybe forgoing all snacks, or not eating meat on most days, etc.

Although I sometimes personally focus on the fasting aspect of Lent, there is also almsgiving and prayer which are equally important. And in all three it's important to know the reason we are doing these things. They are all meant to be done for love of Christ. If they are done primarily for reasons other than love of God, they are being done for the wrong reasons.

Once your trial is over and the glories of Easter are upon us, you will feel like a new creation!
Please provide your comments and feedback!