Thoughts from the Second Floor Front
VI Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 16, 2020
We continue our Liturgical journey through Matthew’s account of the Gospel this year. Within his account Matthew has seven sections; the Infancy Narrative, Five Discourses each with its own theme and then the Passion Narrative. Chapter 5 contains the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount or, as it is also called, the Great Sermon and is in the first of the discourses. The section we hear this weekend is traditionally referred to as the Great Anti-Theses. Jesus, in a classic teaching style announces what was taught and then offers a new teaching.
In this passage there are six examples of conduct demanded of those who claim to be a disciple of Christ. Each one deals with a commandment from the law that Jesus recognizes then follows Jesus’ teaching on the topic. You have heard that … but I say to this; hence the title “The Antitheses.” In Jesus’ teaching He accepts three from Mosaic law and extends or deepens its meaning. These He rejects as a standard of conduct for His disciples.
At his trial later in the gospel, Jesus is accused of preaching against the Temple and the Law. In chapter 5 He states that He has not come to …abolish the law or the prophets…. but to fulfill. While Jesus’ teaching is antithetical to the Mosaic Law in many instances, He also has a way of leading His followers into a deeper and more profound understanding of the meaning of the Law and His new commands. A Catholic Scripture scholar named Fr. Benedict Viviano, O.P. has offered a more nuanced approach to this teaching in chapter five of Matthew’s gospel. Rather than refer to the statements as Anti-Theses, Viviano calls on us to recognize them more as Hyper-Theses. Not against but beyond.
The Law of Moses states You shall not kill. Jesus’ assertion is that getting angry is the more pressing issue. Think about it for a minute. The likelihood that anyone of us is going to commit murder before the day is out is remote at best. The probability of anger and the accompanying actions, words and the concomitant bad feelings that remain in the relationship afterwards are a real danger; whether it is with your brother, your sister, your parent or your spouse. The threat of Gehenna is not hell. It is a real place on the south side of Jerusalem where idolatrous Jews would sacrifice their own children to the pagan god Molech. It was considered cursed and eventually turned into the town dump where there was a continual fire burning refuse from the city. It became a symbol for everlasting punishment. All that for getting angry.
The command against adultery again is taken to a new level. In this hyper-thesis Jesus is not endorsing self-mutilation. However, nothing should be held onto if it blocks the Kingdom of God arriving in and through us. The call is to treat each other with the dignity we all deserve simply because we are children of God. To view others as objects to be used for our satisfaction or gratification diminishes who they are and diminishes us. Think of the licentious nature of our contemporary culture. Whether it is in the entertainment industry or commercial advertisements there is a level of reductionism that objectifies the other. Our focus is not to be on that person as an object but see the other in relationship; recognize and celebrate that person for who they are and not for what they can do for you.
Because divorce is so common anymore a real sensitivity is needed to address this issue. Sadly, sometimes marriage does not work out, for a variety of reasons. But divorce, as a satisfactory solution to marital difficulty, is more than regrettable. I see it in the priesthood as well. A young man, after several years of prayer, study and discernment gets himself ordained and then in even less time walks away from it. Commitment is an important aspect of discipleship that is lamentably lacking in the world and understanding in the hearts and minds of so many.
The final admonition addresses one of my favorite things – language and its use. Aside from the coarse sound foul language has by its very nature, it is truly a reflection of the speaker. I think people use foul language because they are not smart enough to come up with much of anything else. Was it not Dr. Henry Kissinger who said that the art of true diplomacy was telling someone to go to hell in such a way that they actually begin to look forward to the trip? Take care in your use of language; it reveals more about you than you may realize.
Adults desiring the Sacraments of Initiation should begin the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). Whether you are seeking Confirmation or require all of the Sacraments of Initiation, contact the Parish Life Center office for more information.
Sessions will be on Tuesdays from 7pm to 815pm every week until Easter.
Children prepare for their First Penance, First Holy Communion, and Confirmation through instruction at St. Cornelius School or the Parish Religious Education Program (PREP).
First Penance and First Holy Communion usually take place during 2nd grade.
Confirmation now takes place during the spring of 7th grade.
The next meeting of "Bagels with Bishop Barron" will meet Saturday, March 7th after the 8:00 Mass.
This group meets monthly to learn from the Church history video series by Bishop Robert Barron.
Catholic Relief Services has been in existence for over 75 years. In 2018, CRS celebrated its 75th anniversary. Born out of the refugee crisis following World War II, today the CRS staff, partners, supporters and beneficiaries serve in more than 100 countries around the world, responding to disaster, strengthen- ing communities and so much more.
Recently, along with a number of parishioners, I met with the leadership of CRS in the Mid- Atlantic Region to begin to explore the possibility of forming a CRS Chapter in our parish to make the work of CRS an integral part of St. Cornelius.
I am going to contact pastors of neighboring parishes to see if they are interested in joining us. This CRS ministry may not be the answer to conversion of faith for the entire parish, but it could be the opportunity many are looking for in order to articulate and live their faith.
The focus at this time is multi-dimensional:
? Education. To raise awareness of what CRS does.
? Advocacy. Communicate with our government agencies to advocate for and help maintain 1% of the federal budget to overseas support. This involves communicating with Congress and other elected officials.
? Community fundraising efforts. The chapter will be a conduit for CRS fundraising efforts, education and communications to let people know what happens with the donations.
? CRS will supply an ongoing level of support via monthly national conference calls. From this we may receive specific assignments for our chapter.
This effort on behalf of CRS is still very new and will continue to grow and develop over time.
I introduce this topic today as a way of asking you to give prayerful consideration to participate in this unique opportunity to live your discipleship and work to bring the goodness of the Kingdom of God to those most in need.
I invite you to explore this opportunity further by coming to a meeting in the Fr. Simon Room in the PLC on Thursday, January 30th at 7:00PM.
JANUARY 30, 2020
At a lower level of the hierarchy are deacons, upon whom hands are imposed "not unto the priesthood, but unto a ministry of service." For strengthened by sacramental grace, in communion with the bishop and his group of priests they serve in the diaconate of the liturgy, of the word, and of charity to the people of God. (Lumen Gentium, 29).
The diaconate has its origins in apostolic times and flourished during the first four centuries of the Church’s history. Later, for very complex reasons, the diaconate went into decline until it became little more than a step on the way to the priesthood in the Western Church.
When the Second Vatican Council restored the diaconate as a permanent ministry in the Church, it did so for three primary reasons:
• first, a desire to restore to the Church the full complement of active apostolic ministries,
• second, the desire to integrate and strengthen those who were, in fact, already exercising diaconal functions
• third, to more fully serve the needs of the people.
WHAT THE DEACON DOES
A permanent deacon exercising diaconal ministry in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and in good standing:
Minister of the Word
• Proclaim the Gospel
• May preach everywhere in virtue of Canon 764, unless it has been restricted or taken away by the competent ordinary. This faculty is to be exercised with at least the presumed consent of the pastor of the parish. [Preaching to religious in their churches or oratories requires the permission of the competent superior (Canon 765)]
• Teach the Catholic faith
• Evangelize believers and non-believers
Minister of the Altar
• Assists bishops and priests at the Liturgy
• Ordinary minister of the Eucharist
• Bring Holy Communion to the sick.
• Be the minister of exposition and benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament
• Administer the sacrament of baptism
• Officiate at marriages outside of Mass with delegation from the pastor of the parish where the marriage is to be celebrated
• Preside at wake services and the rites of burial
• Impart those blessings which are expressly permitted to him by law (Cf. Book of Blessings)
• Preside over devotional services
Minister of Charity
• Perform charitable, administrative and social welfare duties
• Visit the sick and feed the hungry and minister to the dying and the bereaved
The St. Cornelius Literary Society is a group of Parishioners interested in deepening their faith through reading.
All are welcome to join this group. The next meeting will be Sunday, March 8th at 3:00 in the Parish Life Center. To prepare, read two short books by C.S. Lewis:
The Screwtape Letters
Thursday, February 6th is the first meeting of the Men's Gospel Reflection Group. Men are invited to meet in the rectory at 6:30 am for reading, prayer, and reflection. The session will finish in time for 7:30 am Mass.
Msgr. Diamond instructs a weekly Bible Study Thursday mornings from 10:00-11:30 in the Parish Life Center. All women and men are welcome to attend. Just bring your Bible!
The goal of this Scripture study is to broaden our knowledge of Scripture and our church's teaching regarding the Scriptures, and it will enhance our understanding and personal faith life.
At the 9:00 am Sunday Mass, children ages 3-8 who have not yet had their First Holy Communion are invited to the side Chapel during the Liturgy of the Word to learn about the Gospel on their own level of understanding.
Bring your little ones to meet the volunteers in the Chapel before Mass!
The Parish Religious Education Program (PREP) helps parents teach the Catholic faith to their children. The program enrolls children in grades 1-7 who attend a non-Catholic school. Registered members of St. Cornelius parish may enroll their children in PREP and choose Sunday mornings, Wednesday evenings, or a Summer program. We also support homeschooling during non-sacrament years.
To register for the 2020-2021 school year, registered parishioners may download the registration form on this page.
First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion usually take place during 2nd grade.
Confirmation takes place in the spring of 7th grade.