•On Monday, May 1, at 6:30 PM, in the abbey church, Bishop Kevin Vann will administer the sacrament of Confirmation to the students of St. Michael’s Preparatory who desire it. Parents of interested students should contact Fr. Victor ASAP. Preparation classes will take place here in school. More information to come.
•Photos needed! Parents who have taken photos at sporting events or the Rome trip are asked to share them with Mrs. Christian. Adding your photos to our photo program helps us with bulletin boards, memory books and newsletters.
•As you all know, our Accreditation Visitation will take place next week, from Sunday, January 22, through Wednesday, January 25. Please pray for its success. Thank you to all who have been and will be involved in this important event!
•The next basketball games are: Tuesday, January 17, at 7:00 PM, at Fairmont [2200 Sequoia Ave. Anaheim, CA 92801] and Thursday, January 19, at 3:00 PM, at Ladera Sports Center [2 Terrace Rd, Ladera Ranch, CA 92694].
•The next soccer games are: Thursday, January 19, at 3:30 PM, at St. Michael’s; and Friday, January 20, at 3:30 PM, at St. Michael’s.
We've got a thing in the psalm we just heard that we need to look at. This is a small part of Psalm 78 we just prayed: …what our fathers have declared to us, we will declare to the generation to come…. That they too may rise and declare to their sons….
All right, so there's a something that being passed on from generation to generation. Our fathers told us, and we tell our sons, and they should tell their sons. But what's the next verse say is part of the lesson? It’s to not be like their fathers….
Okay, you get that? It says to not be like their fathers. So, putting it together, it means that our fathers told us not to be like them. And we should tell our sons not to be like us. And we should tell them to tell their sons not to be like them or us or their great-grandfathers.
Got it? Now, this can be a little dangerous territory. The progressives (boo, hiss), who teach in the public schools and who create the shows and games aimed at youth, are always telling kids to not be like their parents. They foster disobedience and… badness. We, on the other hand, want to teach obedience and respect for fathers. True manliness honors parents. So the psalm can’t be teaching ongoing, more and more extreme revolution. After all, the lesson from generation to generation is the same.
So what point, then, is Asaph making? That they… not forget the deeds of God but keep his commands. Do not forget...! What we have heard and know… we will declare.
So, the true faith, the glorious deeds of the Lord and his strength, are passed down unchanging. But something else does need to change. And not be like their fathers, a generation wayward and rebellious.
The author of the Letter to the Hebrews, what's his name… St. Paul. says, For in fact we have received the Good News just as our ancestors did.
The ancient Israelites had true faith in the true God. There are a couple of things we know that they didn’t. But basically, it's the same faith. They received the same Good News, in prophecy.
So our faith must remain that of our fathers, but something is different. The Jews of old weren't saints. Well, a few of them were, but a lot of them weren't. As I swore in my wrath, “They shall not enter into my rest.”
Well, the answer is in the Gospel. Go figure. I mean, really, it's a figure. There's a paralytic. He can't get near to God. He has no ability in himself to move closer to Jesus. But he does get there. How? Through the roof. Which roof? It became known that he was at home. This is Jesus' house, his home base at Capernaum. How do we get into Jesus' house? Though the sacraments. The door is in the roof because the sacraments are lofty mysteries. But the roofing tiles are made of earth, because sacraments have material… matter. Jesus lifts them up high, and this becomes the way we, paralytics, can approach him. Before Jesus, the old sacraments of the Law of Moses didn't have this power. They were gateways, sure, but they were down low, and so most of the ancient Israelites were Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd.
But now we are carried to Jesus by his new, powerful sacraments. If you doubt that this is the meaning, see that he goes on in this scene to show that he's talking about the sacramental order by forgiving the dude's sins. Your sins are forgiven. And then proving that he has authority to make earthly matter do what he wants by making the guy walk. And he does all this not through his divinity, but through his sacred humanity. The Son of Man has authority on Earth. The nature which he took from earthly matter. Just to drive the point home.
Moses had a sacrament of confession, a sacrament of penance. But he didn't have a sacrament of absolution, and therefore not of reconciliation. That’s why the Jews say, We have never seen anything like this.
Now, sometimes we don't feel like using the sacraments. Going to confession seems too hard. It's like, Rise, pick up your mat.
But carrying my mat around seems like work. Well, yeah, sacraments are a kind of work. But we need works. Remember, our fathers had faith, but They shall not enter into my rest.
The new sacramental work that Jesus give us is not just pick up your mat, but also, and go home.
This is humbling. Water and oil and food and words: These things are beneath us. Our pride wants another way. Like Gnostics, we want to be saved by how smart we are. I know all the right stuff. Like Pelagians, we want to be saved by how good we are. I do all the right things. As though we could ever be smart enough for Divine Wisdom or good enough for Divine Purity.
But Jesus humbled himself to a lower order: ours. Because of that, to reach God, you don't need brains or brawn. What you need is a friend and a bucket of water.
It's only through the sacraments, through not just confessing, but also being absolved, that we get to heaven. That's why St Paul ends with, Therefore, let us strive to enter into that rest.
Strive for rest. Work to rest. Afflict yourself to get peace. Submit to the sacraments, bare earthly signs, and so rise on high, to forever reign with God who is enthroned above the cherubim.
Bow beneath the waters and be raised above the stars.
•For the repose of Karen Solomon, mother of Fr. Benedict Solomon.
•For the repose of John Cavanaugh, John Esser’s great-grandfather.
•For the success of our upcoming Accreditation Visit.
•For all the benefactors of St. Michael’s Preparatory School, living and deceased.
•For all the students and families of St. Michael’s Preparatory School.
•For all faculty and staff of St. Michael’s Preparatory School.