Dec 142017
 

At first I wasn’t much interested in Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s new book Mystery of the Magi: The Quest to Identify the Three Wise Men. I thought I already pretty well knew the subject. I knew about the mythic accumulations that have built up on the story.

Still after seeing some reviews I was intrigued. So I made this one of my Audible picks this month.

While again I knew some of the basic outline regarding what we didn’t know about these men of indeterminate number, I didn’t realize how much we could know about them. In many ways this book is almost like a detective novel. Shifting the facts to see our way forward.

I liked just about everything regarding the presentation of this information. For one it is totally engaging and it takes a deep dive into the information we have from the Gospel of Matthew and uses the tools of history to give us a fuller context. I liked that he allows for multiple interpretations of the information. That while he lays a solid case for where these Magi came from, he is presenting a case and wants to know more himself. This book really lets you see the Magi in a new light and to have a much better historical context.

There was also some coverage regarding various theories regarding the Star of Bethlehem and it does a good job of covering in summary form some of these theories. The only weakness I found in this was a dependence of Herod the Great dying in 4 BC which has been commonly held. This dating is important in regards to various theories based on astronomy. Jimmy Akin has a good article regarding this dating which puts he death a couple years later.

Thoroughly enjoyable read.

Dec 132017
 

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This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 26 November 2017 to 13 December 2017.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s blog.

Angelus

General Audiences

Messages

Speeches

Papal Tweets

  • “May the Virgin Mary always be our refuge, our consolation, and the way that leads to Christ.” @Pontifex 8 December 2017
  • “We must fight corruption with determination. It is an evil based on the worship of money and it offends human dignity.” @Pontifex 9 December 2017
  • “Political activity must truly be conducted at the service of the human person, with respect for creation and for the common good.” @Pontifex 10 December 2017
  • “We ask for the grace to make our faith more and more operative through acts of charity.” @Pontifex 11 December 2017
  • “Thank you for following @Pontifex which turns five years old today. May social media always be spaces that are rich in humanity!” @Pontifex 12 December 2017
  • “Christians are called to work concretely in the realities of this world, illuminating them with the light that comes from God.” @Pontifex 13 December 2017

Papal Instagram

Dec 112017
 

Over the last several days there has been a certain level of media coverage alleging that the Pope is ordering a specific change in translation of the Our Father.

I find it interesting that even though I realize just how bad media coverage regarding the Pope from secular and even Catholic sources is how easy it is to respond to a headline. My first thought was “Wait didn’t he recently give local bishops more responsibility regarding translations (“Magnum Principium”
) and here he is suggesting his own”. Like most hot takes my first thought was wrong.

As Jimmy Akin explains today No, Pope Francis Is Not Changing the Lord’s Prayer. Beyond showing how this false story got advanced, I also enjoyed his approach in looking at the translation and what it would mean if it was changed. As usual his balanced approach brings out some interesting points.

Msgr. Charles Pope recently wrote Why I Oppose Changing the English Translation of the Our Father where he acknowledges that reports regarding this are incorrect. I basically agree with the subtitle of his article “we should teach, explain and root ourselves more deeply in it.” Still I think Jimmy Akin answers some of his points better.

There are no perfect translations and there will always be some ambiguity and confusion. There are well known translations that often get asked about on Catholic radio such as the line “he descended into hell.” in the Nicene Creed. It would probably be better to translate this using the Hebrew word sheol for the place of the dead. But that wouldn’t end the confusion regarding this. It is not really negative that we have to ask questions about what we don’t understand or that we have to study more to understand something.

Dec 062017
 

A new activist group has appeared and starting to protest across the country known as Antifa-la-la. This movement is a conglomeration of autonomous, self-styled, anti-divinity denying groups.

This activist group protests the rising number of people who deny the divinity of Christ from Jehovah Witnesses to the Nones. While protesting they dress anonymously as St. Nick. They choose St. Nicholas the Bishop of Myra during the time of the Council of Nicea. Members have been known to pass along the meme “Punch a Heretic”, an allusion to St. Nicholas punching Arius at the Council of Nicea. While this story is a total myth, they use it to justify violent confrontations with anti-divinity elements.

The name Antifa-la-la was taken as a reaction to the secularization of Christmas and the “Reason for the Season”. John Kook, a member of the Portland Antifa-la-la, said “We will come at you with solid apologetics or a fist. Listen to the trilemma or we will put you in a coma.”

References: “Steven D. Greydanus on the ahistorical legend regarding punching Arius”

Dec 062017
 

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This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 7 November 2017 to 6 December 2017.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s blog.

Angelus

General Audiences

Homilies

Messages

Speeches

Papal Tweets

  • “The most holy name of God can never be invoked to justify hatred and violence against other human beings.” @Pontifex 30 November 2017
  • “How much openness is needed to welcome people who feel alone and confused as they search for a meaning in life!” @Pontifex 1 December 2017
  • “May the wisdom of God help us to know how to welcome and accept those who think and act differently from us.” @Pontifex 2 December 2017
  • “Dear friends in Myanmar and Bangladesh, thank you for your welcome! Upon you I invoke divine blessings of harmony and peace.” @Pontifex 2 December 2017
  • “Every person is unique and unrepeatable. Let us ensure the disabled are always welcomed by the communities in which they live.” @Pontifex 3 December 2017
  • “Faith becomes tangible when it finds its expression in love and, especially, in the service of our brothers and sisters in difficulty.” @Pontifex 4 December 2017
  • “We are all beggars before the love of God, a love that gives meaning to our existence and that offers us eternal life.” @Pontifex 5 December 2017
  • “No child of God can be discarded in His eyes. He entrusts a mission to each one of us.” @Pontifex 6 December 2017

Papal Instagram

Dec 042017
 

When a patient is suffering a life-threatening condition and is rushed to the hospital, doctors are supposed to do everything in their power to save a life. That’s how it works most of the time anyway, but when an unconscious elderly man showed up in the emergency room with “Do Not Resuscitate” tattooed across his chest, medical staff were left struggling to decide what to do.

The case, which is detailed in a recent installment of the New England Journal of Medicine, centers around an unresponsive diabetic patient who arrived at a Florida hospital with an elevated blood-alcohol level. University of Miami doctors began working to save his life immediately, but were taken aback by the words they saw written below the man’s collarbone.

In many states, including Florida, any individual of sound mind can choose to meet their maker and forego medical treatment in the event of a life-threatening accident, illness, or ailment. Individuals choose that route for a variety of reasons, including religious beliefs, the desire to avoid being dependent on machine-aided life support, and even due to the potential burden of surviving the ordeal and being left with a mountain of medical debt. Unfortunately, a tattoo isn’t exactly a legal document, and doctors were left with an ethical conundrum.

Was the tattoo just a joke? Or perhaps a decision he had made in his youth which he had since changed his mind about? The staff had no way of knowing, and the unresponsive patient obviously couldn’t clear things up for them. At least one prior case of a “Do Not Resuscitate” tattoo, the man’s life was saved when the doctors ignored the message, and the patient later explained that the tattoo was merely a joke that he didn’t think anyone would take seriously.

Source

This got me thinking about what I would want as a tattoo that provided doctors information about treatment. Especially as I had a bit of a scare recently when a dog ran out in front of my bicycle and I was thrown head first. Lost consciousness and somehow managed walking my bike home with no memory of this. Spent less than a day in the hospital, and although being rather banged up with some internal bleeding initially, I am fine now.

My inclination would not be for “Do Not Resuscitate”, but more of a worry towards being denied proper care. In this age it seems to me that we need to worry more about lack of proper care as the whole Terri Shiavo episode is indelibly etched in my memory. So if I was going to get a tattoo it would be along the lines of not denying me food an water.

Something along this line.

Sure there are distinctions to be made concerning ordinary and extraordinary care. Still getting a tattoo is unlikely for me. After all I have been to Hong Kong four times in various states of inebriation without getting a tattoo, so I am pretty sure I am immune.

Nov 292017
 

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This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 13 November 2017 to 29 November 2017.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s blog.

Homilies

Messages

Speeches

Papal Tweets

  • “At the end of time, when the Lord comes to meet us, our joy will be immense. We live in anticipation of this encounter!” @Pontifex 23 November 2017
  • “As I prepare to visit Myanmar and Bangladesh, I wish to send a message of greeting and friendship to everyone. I can’t wait to meet you!” @Pontifex 25 November 2017
  • “Let us look to Jesus today and say to Him in our hearts: ”Remember me, Lord, now that you are in your Kingdom!”” @Pontifex 26 November 2017
  • “I want my visit to embrace all the people of Myanmar and to encourage the building of an inclusive society.” @Pontifex 28 November 2017
  • “The love of Christ is like a “spiritual GPS” that guides us unerringly towards God and towards the heart of our neighbor.” @Pontifex 29 November 2017

Papal Instagram

Nov 222017
 

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This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 7 November 2017 to 22 November 2017.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s blog.

Angelus

General Audiences

Homilies

Messages

Papal Tweets

  • “We need to encounter the poor and learn how to share so that it becomes a way of life.” @Pontifex 17 November 2017
  • “Without the support of the prayers of the faithful, the Successor of Peter cannot fulfill his mission in the world. I am counting on you to” @Pontifex 18 November 2017
  • “On this day, I invite the entire Church to keep its gaze fixed on those who hold out their hands asking for our solidarity.” @Pontifex 19 November 2017
  • “Let us work together to ensure that children continue to smile: their faces serene, filled with joy and hope. #WorldChildrensDay” @Pontifex 20 November 2017
  • “May Mary’s pure and simple smile be a source of joy for each one of us as we face life’s difficulties.” @Pontifex 21 November 2017
  • “When we encounter others, do we bring them the warmth of charity or do we stay closed up and warm only ourselves before our fireplace?” @Pontifex 22 November 2017

Papal Instagram

Nov 162017
 

pope-francis2-300x187

This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 14 September 2017 to 16 November 2017.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s blog.

Angelus

General Audiences

Homilies

Prayers

Speeches

Papal Tweets

  • “May a culture of encounter always be promoted that is able to bring down the walls which still divide the world.” @Pontifex 9 November 2017
  • “Science expresses its full dignity when it serves the integral development of the person and the human family.” @Pontifex 10 November 2017
  • “Let us remember in our prayers all those who, with dedication and spirit of sacrifice, care for those who are ill.” @Pontifex 11 November 2017
  • “We cannot change the world alone, but together we can spread the joy of the Gospel by staying close to those most in need.” @Pontifex 12 November 2017
  • “A Christian can never be a pessimist!” @Pontifex 13 November 2017
  • “Nothing and nobody can block the light that Christ puts in our hearts and on the face of His friends.” @Pontifex 14 November 2017
  • “Faith is a great life companion, allowing us to feel the presence of a Father who never leaves His creatures alone.” @Pontifex 15 November 2017
  • “Poverty is not an accident. It has causes that must be recognized and removed for the good of so many of our brothers and sisters.” @Pontifex 16 November 2017

Papal Instagram

Nov 082017
 

pope-francis2-300x187

This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 28 October 2017 to 8 November 2017.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s blog.

Homilies

Speeches

Papal Tweets

  • “We are all small and defenceless before the mystery of death, but what a grace if at that moment we keep in our heart the flame of f” @Pontifex 2 November 2017
  • “When we pray, we need to have the courage of faith. Have trust that the Lord hears us!” @Pontifex 3 November 2017
  • “The Church needs faithful people who proclaim the Gospel with enthusiasm and wisdom, instilling hope and faith.” @Pontifex 4 November 2017
  • “Christ was victorious over death. He is our resurrection and our life. Be witnesses to this message of hope.” @Pontifex 5 November 2017
  • “War always causes serious damage to the environment. We must not mistreat our common home, but take care of it for future generations.” @Pontifex 6 November 2017
  • “Jesus of Nazareth walks at our side and introduces us, by his words and the signs he performs, to the great mystery of the Father’s love.” @Pontifex 7 November 2017
  • “Only faith can transform the end of our earthly life into the beginning of eternal life.” @Pontifex 8 November 2017

Papal Instagram