Happy St. Francis’ Day!

EWTN’s Mass today is particularly beautiful. Of course, St. Francis is the patron of all the main orders working in Irondale, so that’s not surprising. Apparently they will also have a Eucharistic procession through the network’s work areas today. What a beautiful thing to do, and what a blessing!

Also the ultimate “Look busy! The Boss is coming!” (Heh!)

The homily says that the reason St. Francis could bear Jesus’ wounds in the stigmata was because he also had Jesus’ love for the world. Suffering is carried by love. Love strengthens us, because lovers overcome obstacles with joy.

I don’t think I can testify to that, because my love is small. But it is true that seeing a friend, or delighting in some fun person, can take away tiredness and pain for a while.

I’ve been listening on Audible to a very interesting book that came out in 2019. It’s a translation and commentary on the Gospel of Mark, called The Memoirs of St. Peter. (Because that’s what tradition and the Fathers say about Mark’s Gospel — that he wrote it based on what St. Peter had told him, possibly even including dictation from him.)

The translator/commentator is Michael Pakaluk. I don’t know much about him, but he keeps bringing up new things that make a lot of sense, or things that were there all along. He also brings a Catholic perspective which is very helpful, as he points out stuff implicit in the Greek that supports Catholic teachings and practices. The translation is also quietly droll, because he translates the Greek filler words as American English filler words. “Well, then such and such…” (The Audible narrator/actor seems to enjoy this too.)

Apparently Pakaluk is an ethics professor at Catholic University of America, but not the cruddy kind. (And not the kind who is trying to kill all your disabled friends.) He and his professor wife have eight kids, which argues a lot of management and time skills! He’s an Aristotle guy, and he wrote a book on accounting ethics. So that’s pretty cool, and I want to meet him someday.

One “new” thing he pointed out was that St. Matthew wasn’t just a tax collector, but a tax collector for the same area where Peter, Andrew, James, and John all lived. Fishermen had to pay tax often, from their market profits. This guy was a constant irritant in their work life, a symbol of Roman oppression and corruption… but when Jesus called him, the guys had to take him in.

Now, bear in mind that St. Matthew was authorized and encouraged by Rome to make his livelihood by charging additional tax, and keeping what was beyond the Roman tax amounts in his quota. They didn’t pay him a salary, because he was expected to pay himself as much as he could get away with. (Not enough to cause a revolt.) But he was also expected to send a little extra to the Roman governor, because taking a little extra was also how the governors were paid.

He was also the guy who caught and talked about Judas stealing, because he was used to thinking about money. (Not that Jesus was ever ignorant about what Judas was up to.)

Also, Mark’s Gospel tends to mention more that Jesus had His own house. A bachelor house, away from his home village. It’s something that gets mentioned a bit, but not really talked about in devotional stuff. So it cracked me up to realize that it’s also the house that got its roof temporarily taken apart, to lower the guy on the pallet into reach of Jesus! (This is what happens when You’re a Guy in the construction trades, I guess….)

Pakaluk points out that the text doesn’t say that the paralyzed man’s faith saved him — rather, Jesus says it was the faith of his friends! He’s not admonishing the guy; rather, he’s establishing one of the basic Catholic, Christian principles. We can have faith for our friends, or for babies getting baptized. We can bring the troubles of our friends, or family, or random strangers, before Jesus, and He will be glad to hear us as well as heal and forgive them. (Even if we have to resort to taking the roof apart.) We are all in this together.

Pakaluk also points out a lot of important Jewish concepts and references, as well as a lot of the points when Jesus is revealing or insisting upon His Divinity, or showing His Humanity. So it’s great at making you think and feel more about what is going on.

I think I need to get a paper copy of this book, too. I think it would make a good gift, also.

1 Comment

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One response to “Happy St. Francis’ Day!

  1. K, that is a hoot.

    “We want your help. Uh….we’ll put the roof back, later, promise?”

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