February 24, 2017

Announcement

•Returning students are required to make a $3,500 non-refundable tuition deposit in order to secure a position for the 2017-2018 school year. All deposits must be made by March 20th.
•Sunday, February 26, at 7:00 PM, is the Winter Sports Awards Ceremony, in the Perpetual Help Room.  All students who played soccer or basketball must be present.  All others are most welcome to attend.  A reception follows.

Athletics

•Our first baseball game is this Tuesday, February 28, at 3:00 PM, at St. Michael’s.
•We have another baseball game on Friday, March 3, at 3:30 PM, at Southlands Christian [18550 Farjardo St, Rowland Heights, CA 91748]

 

Sermon by a Norbertine Priest

And the word was hidden from them, and they did not understand what was being said…and the blind man cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.”

If you look closely at today’s Gospel passage you will see in it a subtle contrast, a touch of irony, between its two halves: in the first half Jesus’ own Apostles failed to see how His Life, His Passion Death and Resurrection were all unfolding according to the many prophecies of the Old Testament; in the second half a blind man recognized in Jesus the Messiah, and because of his perfect faith Christ restored for him his physical sight.  A blind man saw what our Lord’s own Apostles could not.  

Now as we know, the Apostles would eventually see with supreme clarity how the Old Testament foretold with perfect accuracy all that Christ would undergo.  In fact the Church has always taught that the Apostles received at Pentecost perfect, infused knowledge of all the truths of the Faith—a knowledge that no one else would ever have (except our Blessed Mother of course).  But at this moment in the Gospel they still could not see perfectly.  And they were not alone in their ignorance.  Many, even far more ignorant, did not recognize in Christ at all the Messiah foretold in the Scriptures; and this is because it takes the light of faith to shine on the mind of the reader before he can see clearly all that is written of Christ.  The blind man had this faith, and so he saw far more than the others. 

All Scripture is but one book, said the great medieval theologian, Hugh of St. Victor, and that one book is Christ, because all divine Scripture speaks of Christ, and all divine Scripture is fulfilled in Christ.  The entire Old Testament foreshadows, points to, prepares the way for Christ.  Whether it’s in historical persons like Adam or Noah, Abraham or King David, or in the messages of the Prophets, or in the Psalms, whatever the case may be, one can learn more and more about this Savior Who is to come with every book of the Bible.  On every page something else is revealed:  that He will crush the serpent’s head; that He will be born of the Jewish race; that He will come from the Tribe of Judah and the line of David, and yet be a priest, not of the hereditary Levitic priesthood, but the priesthood of Melchizedek; that He will be born in Bethlehem; that He will be born of a Virgin, that He will be “God is with us”, Emmanuel, that He will be rejected by many, betrayed by one of those closest to Him, suffer at the hands of His own people, and crucified, that He will rise after three days; that a perfect sacrifice will be offered in His Name throughout the world even among the Gentiles; that His kingdom shall last forever.  As St. Augustine once said:  “The New Testament lies hidden in the Old, and the Old is made known in the New” (Novum Testamentum in Vetere latet, et Vetus in Novo patet). 

How many of the Scribes and Pharisees, how many of the ancient priests and Sadducees, how many had studied the Scriptures daily, could quote them backwards and forwards at the drop of a hat, and yet when the Messiah finally came, did not see the prophecies being fulfilled! Because many of them had shut up their hearts and minds to God’s grace and faith.  You see, the prophecies work a little like the parables which our Lord so often used in His teaching.  To the unbeliever the parables are at best just nice stories.  For both, the prophecies and Christ’s parables one needs a key in order to see what’s inside them, so to speak; and that key is faith.  On the other hand, those who approach with cold, faithless hearts will see nothing but bare words.  This is why our Lord said that the reason why He teaches in parables is so that “hearing they might not hear and seeing they might not see…”  It’s not that He wanted people to be confused; rather, it was His way of saying that, if you want to understand My teaching, you have to first believe in Me.  And it is similar with the prophecies. 

Now as we said, once Christ died and rose, the Apostles and the rest of His followers saw more clearly, by the grace of God, the meaning of all the prophecies.  As is written in the last chapter of the Gospel of Luke:  And He opened their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures.  And again, in the Acts of the Apostles, on that first Pentecost, we see St. Peter citing passage after passage from the Old Testament, explaining to the people how this all refers to Christ.  St. Thomas Aquinas said:  Sacred Scripture makes known the heart of Christ, which was closed before the Passion, as the Scriptures were obscure.  But the Scriptures have been opened since the Passion; since those who from then on have understood it, consider it and discern in what way the prophecies must be interpreted [Exp. in Ps. 21].  You might say that the Bible is the only book which makes more sense when read backwards! That is, once one believes in Christ, then the whole of the Bible begins to open up and make sense.  But remember, a belief in and love for the God Who wrote the Scriptures is necessary first.  So we too, even though Christ has already fulfilled the prophecies, we too need faith, or else we will be as blind as the Pharisees were.  And the closer we get to the Heart of Christ, the stronger our faith hope and love, the more the Sacred Scriptures will open up to us.  As the Catechism says:  If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, open our minds to understand the Scriptures.  So often one hears, “But the Bible is so hard to understand, so obscure and confusing.”  Certainly it is not always easy to understand.  But it is all the harder with one’s eyes close; and only by God’s grace, which will come to us through prayer and the sacraments—only God’s grace will open our eyes to the unfathomable treasure of Sacred Scripture.  

Lent begins this Wednesday.  Consider as part of your Lenten plan the reading of Sacred Scripture every day—especially the Old Testament Prophets.  Reading them slowly and prayerfully, asking Christ, the Light of the World, to open your eyes that you might see Him in the Scriptures; for He is there on every page. Lord, that I may see.  And Jesus said to him:  Receive thy sight:  thy faith hath saved thee.

Prayer Requests

•Teresa Johnston, sister of senior Timothy Johnston, who suffered a tragic accident in the recent storms.  Please pray to Blessed James Kern (Norbertine saint) for her recovery.
•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.