May 22, 2020

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A curious detail about Matthew’s Ascension gospel

Ascension

The Ascension is entirely absent in Matthew’s gospel. All of the details of the other accounts (Mk 16:19; Lk 24:51; Acts 1:9) receive no mention. There is no cloud, no lifting up, no vanishing from their sight, and no enthronement of Jesus at God’s right hand. This oddity is no oversight. It is not an error or a mistake.

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May 15, 2020

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St. John I, pope and martyr

Pope John I

St. John I was born in Tuscany, Italy. His memorial is celebrated on the anniversary of his death, May 18, but in some localities he is commemorated on May 27. He became an archdeacon and a member of the Roman clergy. He was elected Pope on August 13, 523, despite his advanced age and poor health, and he served as Pope for three years (523-526).

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May 15, 2020

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The Paraclete, our sure defense

Holy Spirit

Pentecost will be here in two weeks, the celebration of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles. In this week’s gospel Jesus promised the coming of the Holy Spirit. He said that he would ask his Father to send the Advocate (Jn 14:16) and added that the Father would send it in his name (Jn 14:26). Jesus would also send the Holy Spirit himself (Jn 15:26; 16:7).

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May 8, 2020

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The First Deacons

“The Call of St. Stephen. Deacon.”

Peter and the other apostles, eventually regarded as bishops, needed helpers or assistants, eventually known as deacons. With the tremendous growth and expansion of the early Church (see Acts 2:41 and 4:4), the apostles’ workload had become excessive.

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May 1, 2020

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St. Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

St. Athanasius

St. Athanasius was born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 295. He had a strong Christian upbringing, was educated in theology and Scripture, was ordained a deacon in 318, and became secretary to Bishop Alexander, the bishop of Alexandria.

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April 24, 2020

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Forgiveness on the road to Emmaus

Road to Emmaus

It was late Easter Sunday afternoon. The sun was dipping in the western sky. The day was largely spent. It was time to call it quits and settle in for the evening.

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April 24, 2020

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St. Peter Mary Chanel, Priest and Martyr

St. Peter Mary Chanel

St. Peter Chanel was born into a peasant family in Cuet, France, in 1803. His faith and virtue were noticed by his pastor who recommended that he study for the priesthood. He was ordained in 1827 for the Diocese of Belley, and he spent the next four years in parish ministry, the first as an associate pastor, the next three as a pastor of the parish at Crozet near Geneva.

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April 17, 2020

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Three skip out, ten do zip

There is a disturbing and similar detail in this week’s and next week’s gospels. Both are accounts of Easter Sunday, the first from John, the second from Luke. The gospel for the Second Sunday of Easter tells how Thomas was missing, and the gospel for the Third Sunday of Easter tells how Cleopas and the other disciple were also missing. All three were absent, off by themselves, not with the other disciples in Jerusalem.

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April 9, 2020

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Do not be afraid!

“Do not be afraid” is one of the central messages of Easter. When the angel of the Lord spoke to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, the angel’s first words were, “Do not be afraid!” (Mt 28:5). When Jesus appeared to the women, after he greeted them, he said, “Do not be afraid” (Mt 28:10). The Resurrection of Jesus is reason to do away with fear.

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