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Showing posts with label Saint Paul. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Saint Paul. Show all posts

Monday, June 29, 2020

The Feast of Saint’s Peter and Paul, Founders of the Church

Not all Christians celebrate the lives of the Saints, but many do, and today is the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, who after Jesus were the principle founders of the Church.

We celebrate their feast on the day of their ascension, which is most often the day of their death, in the case of Peter and Paul it is the date they were martyred, the day they were killed as enemies of the Roman State.

Their influence on Christian doctrine was greater than Jesus’, more enduring. Paul, through his letters wrote the core pieces of Christian Doctrine, and Peter was the first pope, the Bishop of Rome, and Patriarch of the Latin Church.

Peter and Paul did not always see eye to eye, though Peter bore the title of chief among the disciples, Paul was the greater teacher and more closely approximated the way of Christ.

As I mentioned, Peter is given credit for founding the church of Rome, the lore of the Church tells us that he was its first bishop, this is a myth however, that title was not even in use during Peter’s day.

It is accepted as true that both men were put to death in Rome, martyred there on account of their commitment to the Church and its mission, they were mot put to death so much for the content of their beliefs, but for leading the kind of secretive society that was feared by the emperors of Rome. Christians were perceived as a threat that has to be curtailed.

Paul was a Roman citizen, he travelled broadly throughout the empire and for from his home of Tarsus. He founded many churches in the eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor, his letters are the earliest known Christian writings, and though not all of those ascribed to him were written by him, Paul’s actual influence is imeasureable.

A casual observer of history may find this odd because Paul he never met Jesus, and prior to his conversion he was the type of man who would punish other members of his community if they were not properly observing the traditions of his synagogue, Christians were his chief target.

After Paul’s conversion to Christianity he led the mission to the gentiles, opening the teachings of the church to the masses, he made it so that a person did not need to become Jewish first in order to become a Christian.

Peter initially opposed him in this but once their dispute was settled at a meeting in Jerusalem officiated by Jesus’ own brother Saint James, the matter was settled and the gentiles were allowed the full franchise of membership in the community of the blessed.

Given First 06.29.2020

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Trains - Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion


I took the Am Track yesterday.

Jennifer and I rode it to Chicago; the Empire Builder, they call it. It was a pleasant ride.

We sat in coach on the lower level of the train, it was an hour late, and we were not able to make up any time, but we were not delayed any further. We left the Twin Cities at 9:15 am, and arrived in Chicago at 5:00 pm. I could have driven there faster, but then I would have had to drive, which I will on the way home because the train schedule for the round trip is not conducive to a weekend getaway. So we will rent a car and take the interstate back.

The Empire Builder is a testimony to the fact that the American Empire is in deep decline. The train was dirty…not filthy, but dirty; un-swept, un-vacuumed, un-washed. There was a griminess to it that made me want a shower as soon as I got into the hotel room.

The bathrooms were not much better than what you can find on an airplane, and once inside I did not want to touch anything. Even the faucet of the sink looked dubious. And before you get the idea that I might just have a problem in public spaces, I don’t. I’m just telling it like it is.

The terminal was nice, Union Depot in Saint Paul. It was elegant, stately, it had the charm that so many public buildings have that were built in the early 20th Century, from the period when the Empire Builder was an aspirational appellation and the railroad was invested in living up to the name.

Despite these complaints it was a pleasant experience. I enjoyed sitting in a comfortable chair, roomy, with Jennifer at my side reading. I spent the day writing, each of occasionally taking time to look out the dingy-filmy-hazy window, to take in the country side. We rolled along the Mississippi, down past the bluffs by Lake Peppin, crossed over at La Crosse and went through the Wisconsin country side to Milwaukee, before turn south to Chicago.

I told my friend John that I was taking the trip by train, he said “trains are such a civilized way to travel.” He is right about that, it is for the civilized proletariat. It was inexpensive, economical, catering to the working class, to people not in a hurry.

Jennifer noted how much the whole system operates on trust. There were no magnetometers, no showing ID before boarding, people just took their seats, in couch it is open seating. Unchecked luggage was stowed in open compartments, the people on the train simply trusted that their belongings would not be disturbed.

I am sure that people occasionally get burned, but not enough so that the system of openness has had to be changed.

That was nice.

I would take the trip again.

My experience has me asking the question again, one that has puzzled me for decades. Why don’t we have a better more reliable rail system in America, fast new high speed trains? If we did, I would take them all the time.

Trains facilitate travel, tourism, commerce. Our railways are the saddest in the modern world.

The new America.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

A Homily – The Gospel of Luke 14:25 - 33 ©

A Homily – The Gospel of Luke 14:25 - 33 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2016.09.04

Take Up Your Cross…

Great crowds accompanied Jesus on his way and he turned and spoke to them. ‘If any man comes to me without hating his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes and his own life too, he cannot be my disciple. Anyone who does not carry his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

  ‘And indeed, which of you here, intending to build a tower, would not first sit down and work out the cost to see if he had enough to complete it? Otherwise, if he laid the foundation and then found himself unable to finish the work, the onlookers would all start making fun of him and saying, “Here is a man who started to build and was unable to finish.” Or again, what king marching to war against another king would not first sit down and consider whether with ten thousand men he could stand up to the other who advanced against him with twenty thousand? If not, then while the other king was still a long way off, he would send envoys to sue for peace. So in the same way, none of you can be my disciple unless he gives up all his possessions.’


The Way of Service is Not an All or Nothing Gambit

There are places in the scriptures where the words that are attributed to Jesus by the authors of the text are out of keeping with the character the reader has come to know about him.

This is one of those places.

It is jarring to hear the voice of Jesus speaking to us about the necessity of hate, of hating your father, your mother, your wife, your children, your sibling and even yourself. It is jarring because Jesus is the man who; more than any other prophet speaks to us of love.

Love God, the creator of the universe; Love God with all your strength, and all your heart and all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself, this is the whole of the law. It is love and not hate that Jesus calls us to.

We are created in love, and called by the loving voice of God. We are called to be merciful, to be advocates, to be compassionate. As Saint Paul said; if we speak in tongues of angels, and are not loving, then our voices are clanging cymbals, dissonant and incoherent. And in consideration of these virtues: trust, hope, and love, the greatest of them is love, because it is the root of the other two.

It is out of keeping with the teaching of Jesus to dissuade us from a course of action simply because we will be publicly ridiculed if we fail. It is out of step with the wisdom of Jesus to compare the work of his disciples to that of kings with their armies, to make the work of the church one of conquest rather than conversion.

This passage represents the thoughts and the fears of the church in the second or third generation. Of the church in a time of persecution, and also in a time of building. They are the feelings of a community trying to establish itself, and looking to remove the weak and the ill prepared from their congregation.

This is the wisdom of human being, of men.

The advice is not bad advice. It is a call for total commitment. It says to the church, be ready to complete what you have started, and be ready to give everything you have, including your life for the work you believe in. But it is missing the final thought: if you fail you will still be loved by God.

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Canonization of Mother Theresa of Calcutta, Patron Saint of Doubters