Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Bonus! Songs o' This Perilous Day!

MU330, "Stagnant Water" from MU330 (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: There is no running water at my house. In a way, we're now at a more primitive level than our forebears in pioneer days, because even if they didn't have hot & cold running water they could always access a hand-powered pump, & we don't even have that. We're supposed to be back in business, utilizing the latest in mid-twentieth-century technology by tomorrow—Wednesday–afternoon, but I am not looking forward to the morning scramble to get up, get ready, & get out the door in a house with neither working faucets nor flushing toilets.

"Weird Al" Yankovic, "First World Problems" from Mandatory Fun (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: "Weird Al" helps keep these things in the proper perspective.

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop & Martyr (circa 35-107), martyred in the reign of the emperor Trajan: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Letters.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
He was an early Christian writer & bishop of Antioch. En route to Rome, where he met his martyrdom, Ignatius wrote a series of letters. This correspondence now forms a central part of the later collection known as the Apostolic Fathers. His letters also serve as an example of early Christian theology. He was the first to use the phrase "catholic church" in writing, which is still in use to this day.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
Ignatius was a convert to Christianity. When he was named the second bishop of Antioch, Syria, Ignatius became a successor of Saint Peter [22 February, 29 June]. in 107, Emperor Trajan tried to force Christians to renounced their religion. Ignatius allowed soldiers to bind him in a rickety cart & lead him to Rome for martyrdom. As his cart rolled into town, local bishops & Christians came to meet & encourage gim. On the journey, Ignatius wrote seven letters to the churches he left behind. The letters give insight into the growth of theology. He asked his people to gather around the Eucharist & to care for "the widow, the orphan, the oppressed, as well as those in prison, the hungry, & the thirsty" (Letter to the Church at Smyrna, 6:2). Ignatius was devoured by wild beasts in the Roman amphitheater.
'Tis also the festival of Saint John the Dwarf, Priest & Abbot (circa 339-405, A.K.A. John Kolobus): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Richard Gwyn, Martyr (circa 1537-1584, Anglicized as Richard White), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I, one of the Forty Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Martyrs-link XL & Wikipedia-link XL.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Letter to the Romans, chapter one, verses sixteen thru twenty-five;
Psalm Nineteen, verses two & three & four & five;
The Gospel according to Luke chapter eleven, verses thirty-seven thru forty-one.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, Jesus concludes today's Gospel by prescribing giving alms as a key to holiness. I've quoted to you before some of the breathtaking remarks of saints and popes about almsgiving: Leo XIII says, "Once the demands of necessity and propriety have been met, the rest of your money belongs to the poor." John Chrysostom says, "The man who has two shirts in his closet, one belongs to him; the other belongs to the man who has no shirt."

The deepest root of all of this is in the prophets, who continually rail against those who are indifferent to the poor. The prophets teach us that compassion is key to biblical ethics, feeling the pain of others in our own hearts. We're not dealing with an abstract Aristotelian moral philosophy, but rather with something more visceral.

This is precisely why the two great commandments are so tightly linked: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart…and love your neighbor as yourself." In loving God you feel the feelings of God, and God is compassionate to the poor and oppressed. That's all the argument that a biblical person needs.
Video reflection by Father Paul D. Seil: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Ignatius of Antioch
The Letter to the Philippians, chapter three, verse seventeen thru chapter four, verse one;
Psalm Thirty-four, verse five;
The Gospel according to John, chapter twelve, verses twenty-four, twenty-five, & twenty-six.



Bible Study
The Book of Habakkuk, chapter one (of three; verses one thru seventeen);
The Book of Habakkuk, chapter two (verses one thru twenty);
The Book of Habakkuk, chapter three (of three; verses one thru nineteen);
Psalm Fifty-one (verses one thru twenty-one);
Psalm One Hundred Thirty-eight (verses one thru eight).

Commentary: The Prophet's Complaint & Its Answer (Habakkuk, 1:2-2:20) & Canticle (3:1-19); the Miserere: Prayer of Repentance (Psalm 51) & Hymn of a Grateful Heart (Psalm 138).

Bible Study—Proverbs in a Month
The Book of Proverbs, chapter seventeen (verses one thru twenty-eight).

Commentary: II: First Collection of the Wisdom of Solomon (cont'd, 17:1-28).

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day


Flogging Molly, "Salty Dog" from Swagger (The Last Angry Man)

Monday, October 16, 2017

Bonus! Song o' the Day


The Wombats, "Girls/Fast Cars" from The Wombats Proudly Present: This Modern Glitch (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: In the foreground, a girl, World Endurance Championship pit-lane reporter Louise Beckett, & in the background, a fast car, the Caterham 7.
"I'm a man of simple tastes,
No whiskey or caviar,
And what I feel is what I say,
I'm not trying to be smart.

"I like girls, girls and fast cars!
You too will feel this shallow
When one melts your little heart,
They melt, they melt, they melt your little heart!…

"I'm a man of simple taste,
No chewing on fat cigars,
And what I feel is what I say,
I'm not trying to be smart.

"I like girls, girls and fast cars!
It's cheap and its pathetic,
But you can't hate me just because
I like girls, girls and fast cars!…"

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

"Weird Al" Yankovic, "Stop Draggin' My Car Around" from "Weird Al" Yankovic (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: This morning, apropos of nothing, the muses sang "Stop Draggin' My Car Around."

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Hedwig, Religious, O.Cist. (1174-1243, of Silesia, of Andechs, A.K.A. Jadwiga): Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Hedwig always helped the poor, the widow, the orphans, founded several hospitals for the sick & the lepers, & donated all her fortune to the Church. She allowed no one to leave her uncomforted, & one time she spent ten weeks teaching the Our Father to a poor woman.
Aunt of St. Elizabeth of Hungary [17 November] & mother of Servant of God Henry II the Pious.


'Tis also the Optional Memorial of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin, V.H.M. (1647-1690), the "Disciple of the Sacred Heart:" Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link; Sacred Heart-link & Wikipedia-link Sacred Heart.

Commentary: Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Margaret Mary was a French Roman catholic nun & mystic, who promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in its modern form.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Gerard Majella, Religious, C.Ss.R. (1726-1755): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Letter to the Romans, chapter one, verses one thru seven;
Psalm Ninety-eight, verses one(b,c,d,e), two & three(a,b), & three (c,d) & four;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter eleven, verses twenty-nine thru thirty-two.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus tells the crowds who seek a sign that they will only receive the sign of Jonah: "Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation."

Jonah is called by God to preach to Nineveh, which is described as an enormously large city. It takes, they say, three days to walk through it. I can't help but think of Nineveh as one of our large, modern cities, a center of all sorts of worldly activity and preoccupation.

What would its conversion look like? A turning back to God as the only enduring good. After hearing the word of Jonah, the Ninevites proclaim a fast, and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth. What is the purpose of these ascetic practices? To wean people away from an attachment to worldly pleasures.

Go beyond the mind that you have. Repent. Live as though nothing in this world finally matters. And you will be living in the kingdom of God!
Video reflection by Monsignor James Vlaun (Telecare T.V.): U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Hedwig
The Book of Sirach, chapter twenty-six, verses one thru four & thirteen thru sixteen;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-eight, verse one;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter three, verses thirty-one thru thirty-five.

Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
The Letter to the Ephesians, chapter three, verses fourteen thru nineteen;
Psalm Twenty-three, verse one;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eleven, verses twenty-five thru thirty.



Bible Study—The Bible Timeline, Session 18: Messianic Fulfillment, Part 1 of 3
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter six (verses one thru forty-nine);
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter seven, verses one thru ten;

Commentary: IV. The Ministry in Galilee (4:14-9:50): Debates about the Sabbath (6:1-11), the Mission of the Twelve (6:12-16), Ministering to a Great Multitude (6:17-19), Sermon on the Plain (6:20-26), Love of Enemies (6:27-36), Judging Others (6:37-42), A Tree Known by Its Fruit (6:43-45), the Two Foundations (6:46-49), & the Healing of a Centurion's Slave (7:1-10).

Bible Study—Proverbs in a Month
The Book of Proverbs, chapter sixteen (verses one thru thirty-three).

Commentary: II: First Collection of the Wisdom of Solomon (cont'd, 16:1-33).

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLXXIII

Operation AXIOM: The World War
15 October 1917: Mata Hari, the Malay stage name of Dutch exotic dancer & courtesan Margaretha Geertruida MacLeod (née Zelle, 1876-1917), was executed in France as a spy for Germany, after a trial in which her lawyer was not allowed to cross-examine prosecution witnesses; she did work for France's Deuxième Bureau, but there is no direct evidence she was a double agent for Germany.





Lest we forget.

Bonus! Song o' the Day
The Atomic Fireballs, "Mata Hari" from Torch This Place (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: "Mata Hari" could be denounced as sensationalism that bears little resemblance to the life & death of Margaretha Zelle, who for whatever her sins almost certainly did not merit execution as a German spy, or it could be prized as an entirely appropriate supplement to this episode of "The Explorers' Club," a token of Mata Hari's enduring place in popular culture, a century after her demise.

Project BLACK MAMBA: XXVIII Sun. in Ordinary Time

'Tis the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Week
Mass Readings—Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Book of Isaiah, chapter twenty-five, verses six thru ten(a);
Psalm Twenty-three, verses one, two, & three(a); three(b) & four; five; & six;
The Letter to the Philippians, chapter four, verses twelve, thirteen, fourteen, nineteen, & twenty;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-two, verses one thru fourteen
(or, the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-two, verses one thru ten).

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today's Gospel likens the kingdom of heaven to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. Notice that the father (God the Father) is giving a banquet for his son (God the Son), whose bride is the Church. Jesus is the marriage of divinity and humanity—and we his followers are invited to join in the joy of this union.

The joyful intimacy of the Father and Son is now offered to us to be shared. Listen to Isaiah to learn the details of this banquet: "On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines."

Now there is an edge to all of this. For it is the king who is doing the inviting and it is a wedding banquet for his son. We can see how terribly important it is to respond to the invitation of the King of kings.

We have heard the invitation of God to enter into intimacy with him, to make him the center of our lives, to be married to him in Christ—and often we find the most pathetic excuses not to respond.
Video reflection by Father Greg Friedman, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Video reflection by Jeff Cavins: Encountering the Word.

Audio reflection by Scott Hahn, Ph.D.: Breaking the Bread.


Bible Study—Proverbs in a Month
The Book of Proverbs, chapter fifteen (verses one thru thirty-three).

Commentary: II: First Collection of the Wisdom of Solomon (cont'd, 15:1-33).

Mass Journal: Week 42
Reflection by Matthew Kelly, founder of the Dynamic Catholic Institute:
Repent is a powerful word. But what does it mean for you & me, here & now, more than two thousand years later? It means the same as it did to the people walking around the dusty pathways in their sandals, trying to inch closer to Jesus as He passed through their town or village. Repent means "to turn back to God." I find myself needing to turn back to God many times a day, in ways small & large. It is not a matter of guilt & it is not a shameful thing. It is simply tht at His side I am a better person—a better son, husband, father, brother, friend, employer, & citizen. Over time, I have also come to realize, quite painfully, that when I turn away from God I am also turning my back on my true self. Do you need to turn back to God today? Do you need to repent?

Otherwise, 15 October would be the festival of Saint Aurelia of Strasbourg, Virgin (floruit fourth century): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Severus of Trier, Bishop (died circa 455): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Teresa of Jesus, Virgin & Doctor of the Church, O.C.D. (1515-1582, A.K.A. of Ávila), co-foundress of the Discalced Carmelites, formally the Order of the Discalced Carmelites of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel: Doctor-link ūna, Doctor-link duae, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link O.C.D.

Commentary: Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
St. Teresa of Ávila was the founder of the Discalced Carmelites, which was a reform movement within the Carmelite Order. In her work of reform, she worked very closely with St. John of the Cross [14 December]. She wrote several important works, including her autobiography, Life of Teresa of Ávila, & her most influential work, The Interior Castle, in which she talks about the mystical life in terms of seven mansions. These mansions who the growth in intimacy between the believer & God. St. Teresa was the first woman ever to be declared a Doctor of the Church (1970).

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Lord's Day

Melanie Rea, "Take My Life and Let It Be" from It Is Well (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Melanie Rea is a local singer-songwriter who has often performed at Holy Redeemer & at diocesan events. Her voice is truly a gift from the Lord to all who hear it glorify His Name.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Bonus! Song o' the End o' the World

Pennywise, "30-Seconds Till the End of the World" from Short Music for Short People (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: The title "30-Seconds Till the End of the World" makes little to no sense. What is the point of the hyphen? A hyphen would be appropriate in the phrase, " a thirty-second song"—which this is, as are all the one hundred one tracks on Short Music for Short People—but the title of the song should be "Thirty Seconds Till the End of the World." Heck, even "30 Seconds Till the End of the World" would be relatively unobjectionable.

Bonus! Song o' the Objection
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "Word Crimes" from Mandatory Fun (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary.
"You should never write words using numbers,
Unless you're seven, or your name is Prince…"

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day: Go Blue!


The University of Michigan Marching Band, "Grieg Medley" from Hurrah for the Yellow and Blue (The Last Angry Wolverine)

Commentary: Last week was painful & embarrassing, but even on that dark day, this exasperating day, & every day for the last two centuries & every day going forward 'til kingdom come, it's great to be a Michigan Wolverine. Go Blue!

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Callistus I, Pope & Martyr (died circa 223, also spelt Callixtus), sixteenth Bishop of Rome, martyred in the reign of the emperor Severus Alexander: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
In 217, when Callixtus followd Zephyrinus as Bishop of Rome, he started to admit into the Church converts from sects of schisms who had not done penance. He fought with success the heretics, & established the practice of absolution of all sins, including adultery & murder. [St.] Hippolytus [13 August] found Callixtus's policy of extending forgiveness of sins to cover sexual transgressions shockingly lax & denounced him for allowing believers to regularize liaisons with their own slaves by recognizing them as valid marriages. As a consequence also of doctrinal differences, Hippolytus was elected as a rival bishop of Rome, the first antipope.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
As Pope, Callistus I tried to make wise rules for the Church. He felt there should be mercy for those who had fallen away during persecution but who later repented. Callistus said the Church had the authority to forgive all sins. Callistus I remained steady in his desire to bring peace to the Church. He was martyred in a riot.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Donatian of Rheims, Bishop (died 389, also spelt Donat): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Richard Creagh, Bishop & Martyr (1523-1586), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Roman Lysko, Priest & Martyr (1914-1949), martyred in the reign of the general secretary Joseph Stalin: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Joel, chapter four, verses twelve thru twenty-one;
Psalm Ninety-seven, verses one & two, five & six, & eleven & twelve;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter eleven, verses twenty-seven & twenty-eight.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, our Gospel blesses those who hear the word of God and observe it. In this regard, I would like to speak about the response of the Polish people to the word proclaimed by St. John Paul II. The power of the Polish Communist state, and behind that the power of the Soviet Union, is what John Paul faced at the beginning of the 1980s. But he was practiced in the art of facing down oppressive political forces, having grown up under Nazism and Communism.

He spoke of God, of human rights, of the dignity of the individual—frightening at every turn, his handlers worried about diplomatic repercussions. As he spoke, the crowds got bigger and more enthusiastic. This went beyond mere Polish nationalism. At one gathering, the millions of people began to chant "We want God! We want God!" over and over for fifteen minutes.

There was no controlling this power, born of the confidence that God's love is more powerful than any of the weapons of the empires of the world, from crosses to nuclear bombs. This is, of course, why Communist officialdom tried vehemently to stop John Paul II. But there is no chaining the Word of God!
Video reflection by Jacob Williamson: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Callistus I
The First Letter of Peter, chapter five, verses one thru four;
Psalm Forty, verses eight(a) & nine(a);
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-two, verses twenty-four thru thirty.



Bible Study—The Bible Timeline, Session 18: Messianic Fulfillment, Part 1 of 3
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter four, verses fourteen thru forty-four;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter five (verses one thru thirty-nine).

Commentary: IV. The Ministry in Galilee (4:14-9:50): The Beginning of the Galilean Ministry (4:14-15), the Rejection at Nazareth (4:16-30), the Cure of a Demoniac (4:31-37), the Cure of Simon's Mother-in-Law (4:38-39), Other Healings (4:40-42), Jesus Leaves Capernaum (4:42-44), the Call of Simon the Fisherman (5:1-11), the Cleansing of a Leper (5:12-16), the Healing of a Paralytic (4:17-26), the Call of Levi (5:27-32), & the Question about Fasting (5:33-39).

Bible Study—Proverbs in a Month
The Book of Proverbs, chapter fourteen (verses one thru thirty-five).

Commentary: II: First Collection of the Wisdom of Solomon (cont'd, 14:1-35).

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLXXII

Operation AXIOM: The World War
13 October 1917: The Miracle of the Sun—A crowd estimated at seventy thousand in Fátima, Portugal witnessed an array of unusual visual phenomena; the crowd had gathered, some to debunk, others to venerate, a series of Marian apparitions reported by three illiterate shepherd children who prophesied that the world war would soon end & that Russia would need to be re-Christianized.





Lest we forget.

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the End o' the World

MxPx, "Waiting for the World to End" from Panic (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: As MxPx have always said, they aren't a Christian band, they're a band that happens to be made up of Christians. "Waiting for the World to End" had mild echatological overtones, being less nihilistic than this week's other entries.
"Drawing closer, end of days, with much still left undone.
Even as I turn this phrase, the end has now begun.
History is history, tomorrow never comes,
Today's the only day we have, and now that day is done.

"Waiting for the world to end,
Searching for the signs, devastation right on time,
Waiting for the world to end,
Ignoring what's been said, blind to rivers running red,
The doc did what he could, but we've lost too much blood…

"All Creation will collide and then begin again."

Project BLACK MAMBA: Super Late Edition

'Tis the festival of Saint Theophilus of Antioch, Bishop (died circa 184): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Benedict of Cupra, Martyr (died circa 304), martyred in the reign of the emperors Diocletian & Maximian: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Great Persecution.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Edward the Confessor (circa 1003-1066, A.K.A. King Edward of England*): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: *St. Edward was the third Anglo-Saxon king—first of Wessex, then of England—named Edward, but the regnal numbering started over from scratch after the Norman Conquest in 1066, which was itself precipitated by the Confessor's death. The first post-Conquest king Edward, Edward I (reigned 1272-1307), was the "Longshanks" so unfairly vilified in the otherwise excellent motion picture Braveheart (1995).

'Tis also the centenary, the one hundredth anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun, the final & crowning apparition of Our Lady of Fátima (apparitions 13 May-13 October 1917): Madonna-link, Wikipedia-link Fátima, & Wikipedia-link Sun.

Commentary: Reflection by Monsignor Jerry Vincke, quoted in the Holy Family bulletin:
Sun shook: One hundred years ago on October 13, 1917, God provided one of the greatest manifestations of His power in the history of the Catholic Church. Rain had been coming down for more than a day in Fatima, Portugal. Everyone was drenched. Mud was all over. Our Lady appeared to [St.] Jacinta, [St.] Francesco [both 20 February], & [Servant of God] Lucia. They were surrounded by an estimated crowd of 50,000 [fifty thousand] people. Our Blessed Mother told the children she was "the Lady of the Rosary." She also told them that the war would end soon (W.W.I ended on November 1918 [sort of, but not fully]), pleaded to the children (& all) "not to offend the Lord our God anymore, because He is already so much offended," as well as to build a chapel there. What happened next was truly a miracle. The sun literally danced (only God can control the sun). The ground immediately became dry as did the people's clothes. In summary, what does the message of Our Lady of Fatima mean for us? In the midst of evil, there is the merciful love of God under the watchful care of the Mother of Jesus & of the Church. As one author of Fatima wrote, "The action of God, the Lord of history, & the co-responsibility of man in the drama of his creative freedom, are the two pillars upon which human history is built. Our Lady, who appeared at Fatima, recalls these forgotten values. She reminds us that man's future is in God & that we are active & responsible partners in creating that future."
We produced not one, but two episodes about the one hundredth anniversary of Our Lady of Fátima & the Miracle of the Sun for
The Popish Plot, the YouTube channel I host in conjunction with Brother & Mrs. Nacho, our wee, wacky, whimsical contribution to the New Evangelization (as are these Project BLACK MAMBA posts):

The Popish Plot—Taco Tuesday: 100th Anniversary of Fátima, Part 1

The Popish Plot—Fermentation Friday: 100th Anniversary of Fátima, Part 2.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Joel, chapter one, verses thirteen, fourteen, & fifteen & chapter two, verses one & two;
Psalm Nine, verses two & three, six & sixteen, & eight & nine;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter eleven, verses fifteen thru twenty-six.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today's Gospel we learn of a person possessed by a demon. Jesus meets the man and drives out the demon, but then is immediately accused of being in league with Satan. Some of the witnesses said, "By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons."

Jesus' response is wonderful in its logic and laconicism: "Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house. And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?"

The demonic power is always one of scattering. It breaks up communion. But Jesus, as always, is the voice of
communio, of one bringing things back together.

Think back to Jesus' feeding of the five thousand. Facing a large, hungry crowd, his disciples beg him to "dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves." But Jesus answers, "There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves."

Whatever drives the Church apart is an echo of this "dismiss the crowds" impulse, and a reminder of the demonic tendency to divide. In times of trial and threat, this is a very common instinct. We blame, attack, break up, and disperse. But Jesus is right: "There is no need for them to go away."

And today he says, "Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."
Video reflection by Laura Brill: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Bible Study—The Bible Timeline, Session 18: Messianic Fulfillment, Part 1 of 3
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter three (verses one thru thirty-eight);
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter four, verses one thru thirteen.

Commentary: III. The Preparation for the Public Ministry (3:1-4:13): The Preaching of John the Baptist (3:1-20), the Baptism of Jesus (3:21-22), the Genealogy of Jesus (3:23-38), & the Temptation of Jesus (4:1-13).

Bible Study—Proverbs in a Month
The Book of Proverbs, chapter thirteen (verses one thru twenty-five).

Commentary: II. First Collection of the Proverbs of Solomon (cont'd, 13:1-25).

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the End o' the World

Great Big Sea, "The End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)" from Play (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Finally, a cover of a song about the end of the world without a romantic subplot!
"A tournament, a tournament, a tournament of lies!
You offer me solutions and offer me alternatives, and I decline…"
There is a playfulness in Great Big Sea's cover that is lacking in R.E.M.'s original. Fitting, I suppose, given that the album is titled
Play.

Project BLACK MAMBA: The Long Road Back, Part IV

Monday, 9 October was the Optional Memorial of Saint Denis, Bishop, & Companions, Martyrs (died circa 257), martyred in the reign of the emperor Valerian, in his persecution; a cephalophore; & one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers: Martyr-link Delta ūnus, Martyr-link Delta duo, & Wikipedia-link; Martyr-link Echo & Martyr-link Romeo; & Wikipedia-link Head, Wikipedia-link Persecution, & Wikipedia-link XIV.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Denis was bishop of Paris in the third century &, together with his companions Rusticus & Eleutherius, was martyred for his faith by decapitation.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
Research indicates that the title Saint Denis has been given to three people. The Denis the Church commemorates this day was martyred in Parish alongside his companions Rusticus & Eleutherius in the middle of the third century. St. Denis is the patron saint of Paris.
'Twas also the festival of Optional Memorial of Saint John Leonardi, Priest, O.M.D. (1541-1609), founder of the Clerics Regular of the Mother of God: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link O.M.D.

Commentary: Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
John Leonardi first dedicated himself to the Christian formation of adolescents in his local Lucca parish. He assumed the name of "Giovanni of the Mother of God" as his religious name.
'Twas also the festival of Saint Luis Beltrán, Priest, O.P. (1526-1581, Anglicized as Louis Bertrand), the "Apostle to the Americas:" Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twas also the festival of Blessed John Henry Newman, Cardinal, C.O. (1801-1890), founder of the London Oratory & the Birmingham Oratory: Blessed-link ūnus, Blessed-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link London & Wikipedia-link Birmingham.

Scripture of That Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Jonah, chapter one, verse one thru chapter two, verse two & eleven;
The Book of Jonah, chapter two, verses three, four, five, & eight;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter ten, verses twenty-five thru thirty-seven.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, our Gospel today is one of the best-known of Jesus' parables, the story of the Good Samaritan. Every story, parable, illustration, exhortation is, at the end of the day, a picture of the Lord.

In one of the great windows of Chartres Cathedral there is an intertwining of two stories, the account of the Fall of Mankind and the parable of the Good Samaritan. This reflects a connection that was made by the church fathers. The Good Samaritan is a symbol of Jesus, himself, in his role as savior of the world.

Now our task is to be other Christs. "Which of these three was neighbor to the man who fell in with the robbers? The one who treated him with compassion". Jesus says to him, "Go and do the same."

We spend our lives now looking for those people stranded by the road, victimized by sin. We don't walk by, indifferent to them, but rather we do what Jesus did. Even those who are our natural enemies, even those who frighten us. And we bring the Church's power to bear, pouring in the oil and wine of compassion, communicating the power of Christ's cross.
Video reflection by Monsignor James Vlaun (Telecare T.V.): U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Denis & Companions
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter six, verses four thru ten;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-six, verse five;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter five, verses thirteen thru sixteen.

Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. John Leonardi
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter four, verses one, two, five, six, & seven;
Psalm Ninety-six, verse three;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter five, verses one thru eleven.

Project BLACK MAMBA: The Long Road Back, Interlude

'Tis the festival of Saint Edwin of Northumbria, Martyr (circa 585-633, A.K.A. King Edwin, Æduinus), martyred in battle against the pagan king Penda of Mercia: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Wilfrid I of York, Bishop, O.S.B. (circa 633-709, also spelt Wilfrith; A.K.A. of Ripon), founder of the abbey around which arose the city of Ripon: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Ripon.

Commentary: There is also a St. Wilfrid II [29 April], also Bishop of York.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Serafino of Montegranaro, Religious, O.F.M. Cap. (1540-1604, Anglicized as Seraphin): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Thomas Bullaker, Priest & Martyr, O.F.M. (1604-1642, A.K.A. John Baptist), martyred in the reign of the king Charles I, one of the Eighty-five Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link LXXXV.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Malachi, chapter three, verses thirteen thru twenty(b);
Psalm One, verses one & two, three, & four & six;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter eleven, verses five thru thirteen.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, our Gospel today is about prayer and the power of prayer. This excerpt from Luke is filled with wisdom in regard to the proper attitude of prayer. What is prayer, and how should we pray? Prayer is intimate communion and conversation with God. Judging from Jesus’ own life, prayer is something that we ought to do often, especially at key moments of our lives.

Well, how should we pray? What does it look like? You have to pray with faith. Have you noticed how Jesus, time and again, says to people before working a miracle, “Do you believe I can do this?” Can you hear the simple faith in this astonishing line of Jesus: “I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours.”

And today he says, “Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."
Video reflection by Father Don Miller, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Psalm One consists of only six verses, yet whenever it is used in the liturgy, verse five is excluded. I'm not challenging the wisdom of the duly appointed liturgical authorities, but I do wonder why, as it does not seem objectionable:
5 Therefore the wicked will not survive judgment,
nor will sinners in the assembly of the just.
Bible Study—The Bible Timeline, Session 18: Messianic Fulfillment, Part 1 of 3
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter one (verses one thru eighty);
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter two (verses one thru fifty-two).

Commentary: I. The Prologue (1:1-4) & II. The Infancy Narrative (1:5-2:52): Announcement of the Birth of John (1:5-25), Announcement of the Birth of Jesus (1:26-38), Mary Visits Elizabeth (1:39-45), the Canticle of Mary (1:46-56), the Birth of John (1:57-66), the Canticle of Zechariah (1:67-80), the Birth of Jesus (2:1-14), the Visit of the Shepherds (2:15-20), the Circumcision & Naming of Jesus (2:21), the Presentation in the Temple (2:22-38), the Return to Nazareth (2:39-40), & the Boy Jesus in the Temple (2:41-52).

Bible Study—Proverbs in a Month
The Book of Proverbs, chapter eleven (verses one thru thirty-one);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter twelve (verses one thru twenty-eight).

Commentary: II: First Collection of the Proverbs of Solomon (cont'd, 11:1-12:28).

Project BLACK MAMBA: XXVII Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Long Road Back, Part III

Sunday, 8 October was the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time: Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of This Week
Mass Readings—Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Book of Isaiah, chapter five, verses one thru seven;
Psalm Eighty, verses nine, twelve, thirteen & fourteen, fifteen & sixteen, & nineteen & twenty;
The Letter to the Philippians, chapter four, verses six thru nine;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-one, verses thirty-three thru forty-three.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, just before his passion and death, Jesus tells the striking story that is our Gospel for today. The fertile vineyard stands for Israel, his chosen people. But it could be broadened out to include the world. What do we learn from this beautiful image? That God has made for his people a place where they can find rest, enjoyment, good work.

We—Israel, the Church, the world—are not the owners of this vineyard; we are tenants. One of the most fundamental spiritual mistakes we can make is to think that we own the world. We are tenants, entrusted with the responsibility of caring for it, but everything that we have and are is on loan. Our lives are not about us.

Christ is God's judgment. We are all under his judgment. In the measure that we kill him, refuse to listen to him, we place our tenancy in jeopardy. And so the great question that arises from this reading: "how am I using the gifts that God gave me for God's purposes? My money? My time? My talents? My creativity? My relationships?" All is for God, and thus all is under God's judgment.
Video reflection by Father Greg Friedman, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Video reflection by Jeff Cavins: Encountering the Word.

Audio reflection by Scott Hahn, Ph.D.: Breaking the Bread.


Mass Journal: Week 41
Reflection by Matthew Kelly, founder of the Dynamic Catholic Institute:
This process of identifying strengths & weaknesses & transforming weaknesses into strengths is classic catholic spirituality. For two thousand years, the champions of Christianity, the men & women we call saints, have been going into the classroom of silence, taking a humble & honest look at themselves, & assessing their own strengths 7 weaknesses. Then, armed with this knowledge, they have bravely set forth to transform their weaknesses into strengths, their vices into virtues.

Otherwise, 8 October would have been the festival of Saint Reparata, Virgin & Martyr (died circa 250), martyred in the reign of the emperor Decius, a victim of his empire-wide persecution: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Decian Persecution.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Twould have been the festival of Saint Felix of Como, Bishop (died circa 391): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twould have been the festival of Saint Pelagia the Penitent, Hermitess (floruit fifth century, of Antioch; A.K.A. the Harlot): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: There are other Ss. Pelagia, including another St. Pelagia of Antioch [9 June], a martyr, honored & distinguished as Pelagia the Virgin.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the End o' the World

R.E.M., "The End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)" from Document (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Finally, a song about the end of the world without a romantic subplot!
"A tournament, a tournament, a tournament of lies!
Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives, and I decline…"

Project BLACK MAMBA: The Long Road Back, Part II

Saturday, 7 October was the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary: Madonna-link ūna, Madonna-link duae, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Rosary & Wikipedia-link Lepanto.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Knowing that the Christian forces were at a distinct materiel disadvantage, the holy pontiff Pope [St.] Pius V [30 April], called for all of Europe to pray the Rosary for victory, & led a rosary procession in Rome. The feast of the rosary was offered "in memory & in perpetual gratitude of the miraculous victory that the Lord gave to his Christian people that day against the Turkish armada."
'Twas also the festival of Saint Mark, Pope (died 336), thirty-fourth Bishop of Rome: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twas also the festival of Saint Osyth, Abbess & Martyr (died circa 700, A.K.A. Osgyth, etc.), martyred by pagan Anglo-Saxons (a cephalophore), foundress of the convent at Chich, now the village of St. Osyth: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Cephalophore & Wikipedia-link Convent.

Scripture of That Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Baruch, chapter four, verses five thru twelve, twenty-seven, twenty-eight, & twenty-nine;
Psalm Sixty-nine, verses thirty-three, thirty-four, & thirty-five; & thirty-six & thirty-seven;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter ten, verses seventeen thru twenty-four.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus calls his disciples and us "childlike": "Although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike". How so? Children don't know how to dissemble, how to be one way and act another. "Kids say the darndest things," because they don't know how to hide the truth of their reactions.

In this, they are like stars or flowers or animals, things that are what they are, unambiguously. The challenge of the spiritual life is to realize what God wants us to be and thereby come to the same simplicity and directness in our existence. To find out what is in line with the deepest grain of our being.

Let me put this another way: children haven't yet learned how to look at themselves. Why can a child immerse himself so eagerly and thoroughly in what he is doing? Because he can lose himself; because he is not looking at himself, conscious of the reactions, expectations, and approval of those around him. The best moments in life occur when we lose the ego, lose ourselves in the world and just are as God wants us to be.
Video reflection by Ellen Mady: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary
The Acts of the Apostles, chapter one, verses twelve, thirteen, & fourteen;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter one, verses forty-nine;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter one, verses twenty-six thru thirty-eight.

Project BLACK MAMBA: The Long Road Back, Interlude

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint John XXIII, Pope (1881-1963), "Good Pope John," two hundred sixty-first Bishop of Rome, who convened the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), formally the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Vatican II.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Pope Francis [bypassed] the traditionally required second miracle [&] declared John XXIII a saint, after unanimous agreement by a consistory, or meeting, of the College of Cardinals, based on the fact that he was considered to have lived a virtuous, model lifestyle, & because of the good for the Church which had come from his having opened the Second Vatican Council. He was canonized alongside Pope Saint John Paul II [22 October].
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
John XXIII was pope for only a short time (1959 to 1963), but had an amazing impact on the Church & the entire world. Largely remembered for convening the Second Vatican Council, Pope John XXIII (born Angelo Roncalli in 1881) wanted the Church to be a strong voice proclaiming that love in modern times to modern people. He looked to the past, present, & future in making his decision to lead the Church in that direction.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Philip the Evangelist, Deacon (died circa 58): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: One of the first seven deacons (ordained in Acts, 6:1-7), not to be confused with St. Philip the Apostle [3 May]. Philip was a missionary in Samaria & baptized the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts, 8) & hosted St. Paul [25 January, 29 June] at his home in Caesarea (Acts, 21).

'Tis also the festival of Saint Bruno the Great, Bishop (925-965, of Cologne; A.K.A. Duke Bruno I of Lotharingia), founder of the abbey at St. Pantaleon's Church: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Abbey.

Commentary: Confusingly, the bishop St. Bruno (born 925) was from Cologne, as was the religious St. Bruno (born circa 1030), founder of the Carthusians, whose feast is on 6 October.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Jonah, chapter four, verses one thru eleven;
Psalm Eighty-six, verses three & four, five & six, & nine & ten;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter eleven, verses one thru four.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, our Gospel for today gives us an opportunity to reflect on the great prayer that Jesus taught us. Think how this prayer links us to all of the great figures in Christian history, from Peter and Paul to Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Francis of Assisi, John Henry Newman, G.K. Chesterton, John Paul II, right up to the present day.

A desire to pray is planted deep within us. This just means the desire to speak to God and to listen to him. Keep in mind that prayer is not designed to change God's mind or to tell God something he doesn't know. God isn't like a big city boss or a reluctant pasha whom we have to persuade. He is rather the one who wants nothing other than to give us good things—though they might not always be what we want.

Can you see how this prayer rightly orders us? We must put God's holy name first; we must strive to do his will in all things and at all times; we must be strengthened by spiritual food or we will fall; we must be agents of forgiveness; we must be able to withstand the dark powers.
Video reflection by Jem Sullivan, Ph.D.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. John XXIII
The Book of Ezekiel, chapter thirty-four, verses eleven thru sixteen;
Psalm Eighty-nine, verse two;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter sixteen, verses thirteen thru nineteen.



Bible Study—Proverbs in a Month
The Book of Proverbs, chapter nine (verses one thru eighteen);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter ten (verses one thru thirty-two).

Commentary: The Two Banquets (9:1-18) & II: First Collection of the Proverbs of Solomon (10:1-32).

Operation ÖSTERREICH

Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in
Last weigh-in: 347.0 lbs
This weigh-in: 343.8 lbs.
Difference: -3.2 lbs.

One step forward, two steps back: my weight is back to where it was three weeks hence, three & one-fifth pounds (3 1/5 lbs.) less than last week, but still three-fifths of a pound (3/5 lbs.) more than two weeks hence. Nevertheless, progress has been made over the past week. Onward!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the End o' the World

Herman's Hermits, "End of the World" from Herman's Hermits Retrospective (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: O, to be an emotionally overwrought teenager again!
"Why does the sun go on shining?
Why does the sea rush to shore?
Don't they know it's the end of the world
When you don't love me anymore?…

"Why do the bird go on singing?
Why do the stars shine above?
Don't they know it's the end of the world?
It ended when I lost your love.

"Don't they know it's the end of the world?
It ended when you said good-bye."

Project BLACK MAMBA: The Long Road Back, Part I

Friday, 6 October was the Optional Memorial of Saint Bruno, Priest, O.Cart. (circa 1030-1101, of Cologne), founder of the Carthusian Order, A.K.A. the Order of Saint Bruno: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link O.Cart.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Bruno of Cologne was the founder of the Carthusian Order; he personally founded the order's first two communities. He was a celebrated teacher at Reims & a close advisor to his former pupil, Pope [Bl.] Urban II [29 July].
'Twas also the Optional Memorial of Blessed Marie-Rose Durocher, Virgin, S.N.J.M. (1811-1849), foundress of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus & Mary: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link S.N.J.M.

Commentary: Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
The Blessed Marie-Rose Durocher, S.N.J.M., was a Canadian Roman Catholic religious sister, who founded the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus & Mary.
'Twas also the festival of Saint Fides, Virgin & Martyr (died circa 287, of Agen, of Conques; Anglicized as Faith), martyred in the reign of the emperors Diocletian & Maximian: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twas also the festival of Saint Epiphania, Religious (died circa 800, of Pavia): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of That Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Baruch, chapter one, verses fifteen thru twenty-two;
Psalm Seventy-nine, verses one(b) & two; three, four, & five; eight; & nine;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter ten, verses thirteen thru sixteen.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus passes judgment on towns who have failed to believe in him and his signs: "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes." And this Gospel contains a word for us.

What is the first thing that the minister should do upon entering a city? "Cure the sick there." Christ is
Soter, healer of both body and spirit. So many of the saints were healers; so many of the apparitions of the Blessed Mother lead to healing.

Another great task of the church is to proclaim, "The reign of God is at hand". The Church is an announcing, proclaiming, evangelizing organism. What we proclaim is that, in Jesus Christ, a whole new way of ordering things has appeared, that God, in Christ, is drawing all things to himself. The great ordering principles of the world—money, fame, power, sex, pleasure—are overthrown. A new king has come, a new way of organizing life. Love, inclusion, compassion, nonviolence, forgiveness, especially of enemies—this is now the way sanctioned by God.
Video reflection by Deacon Clinton Couch: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Bruno
The Letter to the Philippians, chapter three, verses eight thru fourteen;
Psalm Forty, verse five(a);
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter nine, verses fifty-seven thru sixty-two.

Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of Bl. Marie-Rose Durocher
The First Book of Kings, chapter nineteen, verses four thru nine(a) & eleven thru fifteen(a);
Confer Psalm Sixteen, verse five(a);
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter nineteen, verses twenty-seven, twenty-eight, & twenty-nine.



Bible Study—The Bible Timeline, Session 17: Maccabean Revolt
The First Book of Maccabees, chapter five, verses nine thru sixty-eight;
The First Book of Maccabees, chapter six (verses one thru sixty-three);
The Second Book of Maccabees, chapter six, verses eighteen thru thirty-one;
The Second Book of Maccabees, chapter seven (verses one thru forty-two);
The Second Book of Maccabees, chapter twelve, verses thirty-eight thru forty-six;
The Book of Sirach, chapter two (verses one thru eighteen).

Commentary: Liberation of Galilean Jews (1 Maccabees, 5:9-23), Rescue in Gilead (5:24-54), Joseph & Azariah Defeated (5:55-68), Defeat & Death of Antiochus IV (6:1-18), the Citadel Besieged (6:17-27), Campaign against Judas (6:28-54), & Peace Treaty (6:55-63); Martyrdom of Eleazar (2 Maccabees, 6:18-31), Martyrdom of a Mother & Her Sons (7:1-42), & Expiation for the Dead (12:38-46); & Duties toward God (Sirach, 2:1-18).

Bible Study—Proverbs in a Month
The Book of Proverbs, chapter six (verses one thru thirty-five).

Commentary: Miscellaneous Proverbs (6:1-19) & Warning against Adultery (6:20-35).

Project BLACK MAMBA: The Long Road Back, Prelude

'Tis the festival of Saint Paulinus of York, Bishop (circa 584-644): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Daniel & Companions, Martyrs, O.F.M. (died 1227, A.K.A. the Martyrs of Ceuta), martyred in the reign of the caliph Yahya al-Mu'tasim: Martyrs-link ūnus, Martyrs-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Martyr-link Alpha, Martyr-link D-A-N, Martyr-link D-O-N, Martyr-link Hotel, Martyr-link Lima, Martyr-link November, & Martyr-link Sierra.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Francis Borgia, Priest, S.J. (1510-1572, the Duke of Gandía), third Superior General of the Society of Jesus, the "Second Founder" of the Jesuits: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Black Pope.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Daniele Combini, Bishop, M.C.C.I. (1831-1881), founder of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus & the Comboni Missionary Sisters: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link M.C.C.I. & Wikipedia-link S.M.C.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Jonah, chapter three, verses one thru ten;
Psalm One Hundred Thirty, verses one(b) & two, three & four(a,b), & seven & eight;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter ten, verses thirty-eight thru forty-two.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today's Gospel inspires protests more than almost any other that I've preached on. "Hey Bishop, I think Martha gets a bum rap." And for centuries the story has been read that Martha represents the "active" life and Mary the "contemplative" life. I would like to stress that the "active/contemplative" reading of the Martha and Mary story is not that helpful. We have to dig a little deeper.

What does he upbraid Martha for? "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and upset about many things." It is the frantic, divided, un-focused quality of her life that Jesus is drawing attention to. And what is Mary being praised for? Not precisely that she is "contemplative," but that she has chosen the unum necessarium (the one necessary thing). She sits quietly at the feet of the Lord, not so much eschewing work, as gathering herself, learning what she is essentially about.

There is a cacophony of voices calling out to you; there are a thousand influences pulling you this way and that. What's the one necessary thing? It is to listen to the voice of Jesus as he tells you of his love and as he tells you who you are.
Video reflection by Father Pat O'Keefe: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Bible Study—Proverbs in a Month
The Book of Proverbs, chapter seven (verses one thru twenty-seven);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter eight (verses one thru thirty-six).

Commentary: Warning against Adultery (cont'd, 7:1-27) & the Discourse of Wisdom (8:1-36).

Bonus! Song o' the Day

Less Than Jake, "Whatever the Weather" from the Sound the Alarm E.P. (The Last Angry Man)

Skammentary:
"Can we hold on here and can we float?
Can we keep from sinking like a stone?

"It's out of my hands, these too heavy times,
Whatever the weather, I'll never waiver…"

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the End o' the World

Lenka, "The End of the World" from Two (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: I used to think songs like "The End of the World" were deeply romantic, & perhaps they really are, which would explain why I've become not just cynical but actively hostile to the idea of romantic love. Look at the words. How narrow,s elfish a perspective does one have to have to not care that the world is ending as long as one can be with the object of one's affection, the apple of one's eye? That is a deeply stunted, twisted view of love—mixed with nihilism—that the lives of strangers are inconsequential as long as one can be with one's lover. I'm sure there are other perspectives to consider, perhaps even takes that might recast "The End of the World" in a positive light, but for the nonce I think the selfish love/nihilism perspective, disquieting as it is, is worth your contemplation.
"At the end of the world,
I will be there with you,
And we'll throw a party to celebrate
The things we used to do,
Like living life, breathing air,
Running your fingers through my hair,
Oh, this isn't fair!

"At the end of the world,
I will hold you so close,
So we won't notice the destruction
Of all we used to know.
We will close our eyes as the waters rise
We'll float away and you will say,
'Oh, isn't this nice?'

"At the end of the world,
We'll be together, be together,
If I can spend it with you
Then the end of the world don't matter…"

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLXXI

Operation AXIOM: The World War—The Battle of Passchendaele (Third Ypres), Part V
12 October 1917: The First Battle of Passchendaele—After a series of successful British & A.N.Z.A.C. advances that had severely demoralized the defending German Fourth Army, the Germans repulsed an Entente attack & held the high ground of the Passchendaele Ridge; the attack had been ordered in part due to a misunderstanding of the tactical situation caused by poor communications.





Lest we forget.

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' Yesterday: Go Blue!


Samstag, 8. Oktober
The University of Michigan Marching Band, "Let's Go Blue" from A Saturday Tradition (The Last Angry Wolverine)

Commentary: After yesterday's debacle, which was as embarrassing a shambles as anything in the Rich Rodriguez or Brady Hoke eras, the answer to the question, "Who's got it better than us?" is, "Pretty much everybody."

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Lord's Day

Alan Powell, "Chasing after the Wind" from The Song Album: Music from the Motion Picture (The Last Angry Man)

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

Less Than Jake, "Weekends All Year Long" from See the Light (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: This weekend is going to be even more punishingly hectic than my usual weekends. If all goes to plan, which is not to say I'm particularly fond of the plan or particularly confident in the quality of the plan, I'll be in the adoration chapel from 3:00-4:30 A.M., then home for a quick nap, then be back up & on the go from 8:00 A.M. Saturday through 2:00 A.M. Sunday, then be back at church for a meeting at 9:00 A.M. Sunday.
"Saturday's been a train wreck state of mind,
Like every night,
It kinda feels like a weekend all year long,
But in disguise,
Lock us up and I'm counting on the haze
To get me through,
The party never ends when you've been up for days,
And stay confused.

"I've spent a year stuck in this groove,
Another year of standing in these shoes,
Living like time's all that's left to lose…

"And I never seem to know myself
Or how to keep control…"

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, "One Way Punk" from Ska Me Forever (The Last Angry Man)

Skammentary: Much like Potshot, those "Skapara" songs that have English lyrics are often sung in heavily-accented, difficult-to-decipher "Engrish." That's not meant as a criticism, merely an accurate description; I'm sure my pronunciation of Japanese would be quite poor even were I given a phonetic pronunciation guide & then asked to sing. Such is the case with "One Way Punk," though that doesn't make the song any less fun.
"Won't you take a chance with me?…"

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, Priest, C.Ss.R. (1819-1867): Blessed-link ūnus, Blessed-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Francis Xavier Seelos, C.Ss.R., was a German Redemptorist who worked as a missionary in the United States frontier. Seelos was ordained a priest in the Redemptorist Church of St. James in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1854, he was appointed simultaneously Pastor of St. Alphonsus Parish in Baltimore; Pastor & Prefect of Students [at Ss. Peter & Paul Church in Cumberland, Maryland, in 1857; and Pastor & Prefect of Students at St. Mary's Parish in Annapolis, in 1862.]
'Tis also the festival of Blesseds William Hartley, Priest; John Hewitt, Priest; & Robert Sutton*; Martyrs (died 1588), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I: Martyr-link Whiskey Hotel & Wikipedia-link Whiskey Hotel, Martyr-link Juliett Hotel & Wikipedia-link Juliett Hotel, & Martyr-link Romeo Sierra.

Commentary: *The layman & martyr Bl. Robert Sutton (died 1588) is not to be confused with the priest & martyr Bl. Robert Sutton (died 1587), one of the Eighty-five Martyrs of England & Wales: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Maria Faustyna of the Blessed Sacrament, Virgin, O.L.M. (1905-1938, A.K.A. Faustina Kowalska), the "Apostle of Divine Mercy:" Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Divine Mercy, Wikipedia-link Image, & Wikipedia-link Chaplet.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Nehemiah, chapter eight, verses one thru four(a), five, six, & seven(b) thru twelve;
Psalm Nineteen, verses eight, nine, ten, & eleven;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter ten, verses one thru twelve.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, our Gospel, taken from the magnificent 10th chapter of Luke's Gospel, is a portrait of the Church. It shows us what Jesus wants his followers to be doing and how to do it. Listen to how the passage begins: "The Lord appointed a further seventy-two and sent them in pairs before him to every town and place he intended to visit".

We are a missionary church. We are sent by the Lord to spread his word and do his work. The Christian Gospel is just not something that we are meant to cling to for our own benefit. Rather, it is like seed that we are meant to give away.

He sends them two by two. We do this work together, with others, in community. Ministers need people to support them, pray for them, talk to them, challenge them. [St.] Francis [4 October] has an experience of God and then, within months, gathers people around him; [St.] Dominic [8 August], from the beginning, has brothers in his work. [St.] Mother Teresa [5 September] attracts a number of her former students to join her in her mission. We don't go it alone.
Video reflection by Father Don Miller, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of Bl. Francis Xavier Seelos
The Book of Isaiah, chapter fifty-two, verses seven thru ten;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter sixteen, verse fifteen;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-eight, verses sixteen thru twenty.



Bible Study—The Bible Timeline, Session 17: Maccabean Revolt
The First Book of Maccabees, chapter one, verses forty-one thru sixty-three;
The First Book of Maccabees, chapter two (verses one thru seventy);
The First Book of Maccabees, chapter three (verses one thru fifty-nine);
The First Book of Maccabees, chapter four (verses one thru sixty-one);
The First Book of Maccabees, chapter five, verses one thru eight.

Commentary: Prohibitions against Religion (1:41-63), Mattathias & His Sons (2:1-14), Pagan Worship Refused (2:15-48), Death of Mattathias (2:49-70), III. Leadership of Judas Maccabeus: Defeat of Apollonius & Seron (3:1-26), Regency of Lysias (3:27-37), the Victories of Judas (3:38-4:25), Victory over Lysias (4:26-35), Purification of the Temple (4:36-61), & Punishment of Hostile Acts (5:1-8).

Bible Study—Proverbs in a Month
The Book of Proverbs, chapter five (verses one thru twenty-three).

Commentary: Warning against Adultery (5:1-23).

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLXX

Operation AXIOM: The World War—The Battle of Passchendaele (Third Ypres), Part IV
4 October 1917: The Battle of Broodseinde—A British & A.N.Z.A.C. attack benefited from three years' hard-won combined-arms expertise: infantry aimed for limited, achievable objectives, supported by suppressing fire from artillery & machine guns & accompanied by tanks; the Entente's best day of Passchendaele demoralized the Germans, who began preparations for a strategic withdrawal.






Lest we forget.

Commentary: It is a source of considerable irritation to your humble narrator that this study of the Great War of 1914-1918 can be nothing more than a partial survey, even with the effective abandonment of the policy of devoting one episode of "The Explorers' Club" per month to a subject other than the Weltkrieg. Even if three new episodes was devoted to the war every week, we'd still only be scratching the surface of what was truly a worldwide & total war. There was so much happening as the war entered its final year, unbeknownst to its belligerents, that we just cannot cover the Battle of Passchendaele in the detail we might like, & yet even in covering Passchendaele in the scant detail we are there remain other happenings that we simply have neither the time nor the resources to address in adequate detail—elsewhere on the Western Front, the Russian Revolution, the war on the high seas, the cat-&-mouse game of intelligence & counterintelligence, the Arab Revolt, the Salonika Front, massive social changes being wrought at home due to the upheaval of the war, & so much more! The whole world was at war, & we're barely scratching the surface. We once ran an "Explorers' Club Special" to highlight some kitschy images found relating to Bulgaria's late entrance into the war as the fourth member of the Central Powers, making it the Vierbund (Wayback Machine). Inspired by that special episode & fueled by the aforementioned irritation, we've decided, circumstances demanding & time permitting, to publish more than one episode per week.

Project BLACK MAMBA: Late Edition

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi, Deacon, O.F.M. (circa 1181-1226), founder of the Franciscans, composed of the Order of Friars Minor (formerly Observant), the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, & the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin; the Poor Clares, formally the Order of Saint Clare; the Secular Franciscan Order, historically the Third Order of Saint Francis; & the Custody of the Holy Land; there are even, improbably & hypocritically, Protestant Franciscans: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link O.F.M., Wikipedia-link O.F.M. Conv., & Wikipedia-link O.F.M. Cap.; Wikipedia-link O.S.C.; Wikipedia-link O.F.S. & Wikipedia-link T.O.S.F.; Wikipedia-link Custody; & Wikipedia-link Protestants.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
St. Francis of Assisi abandoned a life of luxury for a life devoted to Christianity after reportedly hearing the voice of God, who commanded him to rebuild the Christian church & live in poverty. He is the patron saint of animals & the environment.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Hierotheos, Bishop (floruit first century, A.K.A. the Thesmothete): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Domnina, Berenice, & Prosdoce, Martyrs (died circa 303), martyred in the reign of the emperors Diocletian & Maximian: Martyr-link Delta, Martyr-link Bravo, Martyr-link Papa, & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Ammon, Hermit (circa 286-348, A.K.A. the Great; also spelt Amun), founder of the monasteries at Kellia, Nitria, & Scetis: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Kellia, Wikipedia-link Nitria, & Wikipedia-link Scetis.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Nehemiah, chapter two, verses one thru eight;
Psalm One Hundred Thirty-seven, verses one & two, three, four & five, & six;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter nine, verses fifty-seven thru sixty-two.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, our Gospel for today is an especially good exemplification of the principle of detachment. When Jesus is the unambiguous center of your life, then everything else finds its place around him, in relation to him. And anything that would assert itself and take his position must be resisted wholeheartedly as an idol and a temptation.

We watch as Jesus clarifies for his disciples how a number of worldly goods fall away, once he is recognized as Lord. I want to look closely at one of these. As Jesus makes his way to Jerusalem, a man approaches him and says, "I will follow you wherever you go". And Jesus makes the laconic remark, "Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head". One of the things, quite naturally, that we savor is home, a place to stay, a nest, a man-cave. There is just something uniquely awful about being displaced, about starting all over. We all want a place to lay our heads.

But if Jesus is first in our lives, then we cannot absolutize this good thing. We have to be willing to follow him wherever he wants us to go.
Video reflection by Jem Sullivan, Ph.D.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi
The Letter to the Galatians, chapter six, verses fourteen thru eighteen;
Psalm Sixteen, verse five(a);
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eleven, verses twenty-five thru thirty.



Bible Study—Proverbs in a Month
The Book of Proverbs, chapter four (verses one thru twenty-seven).

Commentary: Wisdom: the Supreme Guide of Men (4:1-9) & The Good & the Evil Way (4:10-27).