Monday, September 30, 2013

Lazarus and the Rich Man

On Sunday Fr Carmona made the insightful comment that the Lazarus' in our lives are usually much closer to us than we want to deal with; we'd rather do 'works of charity' at a distance, rather than live live the charity which God has prudentially given us opportunity to exercise; usually in the form of family and aquaintances.  It is here that we are called most clearly to share the abundance of our table, more often spiritually than carnally. What is that abundance? duh, Jesus in the Eucharist!

OK, I will have to say that in 17 years of being a Catholic, I have never heard a homily on this reading that echos St Augustin's explanation.  Before Jesus fed the 5000 with 5 loaves, he said "they are like sheep without a shepherd."  So the "rich man" is the Hebrew priesthood and educated caste, who posess evertything essential for salvation because they are the guardians of the Word of God. Lazarus represents the sheep without a shepherd, those who don't know God and are mired in their sins because they have not heard what they need to hear for their salvation.

And pastors today? We have this reading immediately following the long series in the Divine Office from St Augustin's Sermon on Pastors where he excoriates those pastors who feed on their sheep instead of shepherding their flock.

And we who are laymen; we are also members of the Royal Priesthood; our [priestly] sacrifice is a broken heart, a contrite spirit, but we are also surrounded by sheep without shepherds, Lazarus who is seeking God's assistance but starved for even a scrap, a drop of cold water.  Remember those springs of living water that are supposed to well up in us?

Oh yeah, dogs licking Lazarus' sores.  To a first century Hebrew, this final insult by an unclean animal would not be comforting, as it is easy for today's pet-saturated culture to imagine; rather this insult would probably be like you having an open wound and watching flies land on it and not being able to to anything about it; shudder! We may not have an appreciation of ancient Hebrew ritual cleanliness, but we understand that sort of physical uncleanliness!

Being a Dominican, it is hard to resist the temptation to assign to the dog the identity of bad or heretical preachers; their 'ministrations' to Lazarus are not only of no assistance, they drive him further from being saved.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Thoughts on Pope Francis' Big Interview

"We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time." - Pope Francis, Sept 30, interview in America Magazine with Antonio Spadaro SJ (Link)

Many of us have wondered where this church is that is so insistent only on these issues. We'd like to go there. Seriously, how many priests, parishes, how many statements of the USCCB or any other bishop’s conference, can be accused of this with a straight face? Yes, a few no doubt, but to color the entire Church by that? It strains credulity. So, what is Pope Francis telling us?

Perhaps the answer lies in not linking this paragraph to the one above, but rather, reading "we" in a different light than we are wont to.

Given this pope's persona of "humility" it is unlikely that he has used the term in the royal sense, as have so many popes in the past. No, we naturally jump to a reading where "we" becomes associated with the body of Christ, the Church. Passing beyond the "We believe" in the previous translation of the Credo to the current "I believe" for the collective voice of The Church, I propose that the context of "we" in this paragraph is the Holy Father and the members of the Media.

Where else, but the main stream media, can you look to find a shrill and insistent voice speaking endlessly about abortion, gay marriage, and contraception? This is the (un)holy trinity of the secular culture, and their evangelists, the members of the media, are mercilessly ramming it down our throats.

So when the Holy Father complains that this subject needs to be spoken of in context, what does the media immediately do, but quote (and misquote) him out of context!

So perhaps this strains your credulity as a way of reading this in the context of the interview. Yet, as successor of Peter, I think it not unreasonable to read his comments in this light.

Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing, nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish." He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God. (John 11:49-52 )

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Br Peter's retreat talks now online

Last July the Chapter held the 9th annual Mary Magdalen Retreat with Br Peter Hannah OP as Retreat Master. His talks were recorded and are now available online at the following links:

Talk 1
Talk 2
Talk 3
Talk 4
Talk 5


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fr Rui Lopes is the New Promoter for the Laity

The following is a reprint from

Fr Rui Lopes is the New Promoter for the Laity

The Master of the Order, fr Bruno Cadoré has appointed fr Rui Carlos Antunes e Almeida Lopes as the new General Promoter of the Laity. He is from the Province of Portugal. His appointment is for 6 years.

Fr Rui who was born at Harare, Zimbabwe made his first religious profession in the Order in 1981 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1985. He has a PhD in the Science of Documentation and Archives.

Before his appointment, he has been the Archivist and the Promoter of the Dominican Laity in his province. He was also a Military Chaplain, chaplain of the Sovereign Order of Malta and the Secular Institute of Caritas Christi.

Fr Rui succeeds fr David Kammaler, who after serving in the office for 6 years, will be returning to his home Province of Teutonia. He is going to continue to serve as the Assistant Promoter of the Dominican Family in his province.

 On behalf of the Master of the Order, fr Bruno Cadoré and the entire General Curia, we wish fr David the best in his future endeavour. (09 September 2013)

- See more at

Friday, September 06, 2013

New Cross for Homedale

Here's a CAD rendering of the new cross which is proposed to replace the wooden one which blew down the night of the Succor Creek fire (see post below). The cross that blew down has been getting shorter and shorter, each time it got blown down and re-planted! and it is not even the original, it replaced another Cross (series of crosses?)

The proposed cross will be made of structural steel in order to withstand the occasional stiff winds (65mph+) that periodically snap off our wooden crosses like match-sticks! Just for grins, here's the original from way back...