And on Earth, as in Heaven
By Michael Pirri
“Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands, a mere copy of the true one, but he entered in to heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf…” (Hebrews 9.24-28) The modern concept of a church building is a development of the Jewish tradition of the synagogue and the temple. The synagogue is traditionally understood as a place for verbal prayer and reverent reading and discussion of Sacred Scripture. The temple, was a place to encounter the presence of God in a restricted, and limited way. Modern churches combine the two, they are a place to encounter God through the scriptures, and in the sacrifice of the Eucharist. The Sacred Liturgy is where we “take part in a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, a minister of the holies and true tabernacle” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 8). Our church buildings serve as a place for us to “see” the full community of liturgy: angels, saints, and the Trinity. In some ancient churches in Rome, inscribed above the doors, you’ll see PORTA CŒLI, Latin for Heaven’s Gate. The importance of the rituals and sacraments that take place in a church cannot be understated. Here heaven dips down to earth and we reach upward, and, for a moment, we see God face to face.
- 1 Kings 17.10-16
- Psalm 146
- Hebrews 9.24-28
- Mark 12.38-44
For those interested in how human understanding of the Liturgy helps shape church architecture, there’s a great publication entitled Catholic Church Architecture and the Spirit of the Liturgy by Denis R. McNamara.
Serving the Poor and the Call to Holiness
By Michael Pirri
Following the canonization of 7 new saints last week, Pope Francis remarked “The world needs saints, and all of us, without exception, are called to holiness. We are not afraid!” It’s easy for us to distinguish ourselves from the traditional saints, most often far removed from our contemporary life; we can have a hard time imagining the circumstances these holy men and women found themselves in. Their lives undoubtably provide us with inspiration for our own personal calls to holiness, but it can be difficult to translate their work into a modern context. Among the new saints of the Church is St. Oscar Romero, a Latin American Archbishop who was murdered while celebrating Mass in the spring of 1980. He frequently spoke out against poverty, human rights injustices, assassinations, and torture in his home country of El Salvador. From 1977-1989, 12 religious and one lay missionary were assassinated during the civil war for their work against the oppressive government. These events are part of society’s collective memory. He is a modern saint, providing modern examples of works of charity. These men and women were committed to Christ’s call to love and serve our neighbours. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are[…]” Hebrews 4.15 St. Oscar Romero’s work with and for the poor are directly related to today’s Gospel reading. “whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10.43-45) May we pray for the discernment to respond to the call to serve the poor among us.
- Isaiah 53.10-11
- Psalm 33
- Hebrews 4.14-16
- Mark 10.35-45
Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick
A note from Fr. Norm, Associate Pastor
Today we take a break from our usual reflection on the Sunday readings to reflect on the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick which will be celebrated at a Mass on Saturday, 27 October at 11:00am. Throughout his public ministry the sick came to Jesus to be healed. People brought their loved ones to him so that he could touch them and give them comfort and hope. Sometimes that healing was physical, at other times the sick were restored to their family and community where they could receive the love, acceptance, and care they needed. St. James tells us (James 5:14-15) , “Is anyone among you sick? They should summon the priests of the church, and they should pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord and the prayer of faith will save those who are sick, and the Lord will raise them up…”. When we celebrate the Sacrament of Anointing, we come asking Jesus for mercy and help. Through the ministry of the Church He is present and by His touch and the anointing of the Holy Spirit he offers us what we need. We may come seeking a cure, but Jesus may offer us peace of mind, and inner calm. We may come seeking relief from the stress or anxiety or depression caused by the pressure of our lives and the Holy Spirit gives us strength to fight against the darkness. We may come because our illness or state of mind separates us from others and we are given a welcoming community that tells us that we are loved and not alone. We invite all who would like the healing and comfort of this Sacrament. A light lunch will be served following the Mass. All are welcome and please invite those you think may need to experience the loving touch of Jesus.