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Sunday, October 28, 2018

Twenty-Third Sunday After Pentecost

Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine's
The Church's Year


REMARK If from Pentecost until Advent there be only twenty-three Sundays, the following one is omitted, and the Mass of the twenty-fourth is said.

The Introit of the Mass consoles and incites us to confidence in God who is so benevolent towards us, and will not let us pine away in tribulation. The Lord saith: I think thoughts of peace, and not of affliction: you shall call upon me, and I will hear you: and I will bring back your captivity from all places. (Fer. XXIX. 11. 12. 14.) Lord, thou hast blessed thy land: thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob. (Ps. LXXXIV.) Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
COLLECT Absolve, we beseech Thee, 0 Lord, Thy people from their offences: that through Thy bountiful goodness we may be freed from the bonds of those sins which through our frailty we have contracted. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the Unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end, Amen.
EPISTLE (Philipp. III 17-21.: IV, 1-3.) Brethren, Be followers of me, and observe them who walk so as you have our model. For many walk, of whom I have told you often (and now tell you weeping), that they are enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. But our conversation is in heaven: from whence also we look for the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, who will reform the body of our lowness, made like to the body of his glory, according to the operation whereby also he is able to subdue all things unto himself. Therefore, my dearly beloved brethren, and most desired, my joy and my crown: so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. I beg of Evodia, and I beseech Syntyche, to be of one mind in the Lord. And I entreat thee also, my sincere companion, help those women who have labored with me in the gospel with Clement and the rest of my fellow-laborers, whose names are in the book of life.
EXPLANATION There are unhappily many Christians, who, as St. Paul complains, are, declared enemies of Christ's cross, who do not wish to mortify their senses, who only think of gratifying their lusts, and, as it were, find their only pleasure, even seek their honor, in despising the followers of Jesus and His saints on the narrow path of the cross, of mortification and humiliation. What will be the end of these people? Eternal perdition! For he who does not crucify the flesh, does not belong to Christ. (Gal. V. 24.) He who does not bear the-marks of the mortification of Jesus in his body, in him the life of Christ shall not be manifested. (II Cor. IV. 10.) He who does not walk in heaven during his, life-time, that is, who does not direct his thoughts and desires heavenward, and despise the world and its vanities, will not find admission there after his death.
ASPIRATION Would to God , I could say with St. Paul: The world is crucified to me, and I to the world. (Gal. VI. 14.)
Nineth Sunday After PentecostGOSPEL (Matt. IX. 18-26.) At that time, As Jesus was speaking to the multitudes, behold, a certain ruler came up, and adored him, saying: Lord , my daughter is even now dead: but come, lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. And Jesus, rising up, followed him, with his disciples. And behold, a woman, who was troubled with an 'issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment. For she said within herself: If I shall touch only his garment, I shall be healed. But Jesus turning and seeing her, said: Be of good heart, daughter: thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. And when Jesus was come into the house of the ruler, and saw the. minstrels and the multitude making a tumult, he said: Give place: for the girl is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. And when the multitude was put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand. And the maid arose. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that country.
INSTRUCTIONS I. Filial was the faith, unbounded the confidence, profound the humility of this woman, and therefore, she received health also. Learn from this, how pleasing to the Lord is faith, confidence and humility; let your prayer always be penetrated by these three virtues, and you will receive whatever you ask.
II. The devout Louis de Ponte compares the conduct of this woman to our conduct at holy Communion, and says: Christ wished to remain with us in the most holy Eucharist, clothed with the garment of the sacramental species of bread, that he who receives His sacred flesh and blood,  may be freed from evil concupiscence. If you wish to obtain the health of your soul, as did this woman the health of the body, imitate her. Receive the flesh and blood of Jesus with the most profound humility, with the firmest confidence in His power and goodness, and like this woman you too will be made whole.
III. Jesus called three dead persons to life, the twelve year old daughter of Jairus, ruler of the synagogue, of whom there is mention made in this gospel, the young man at Naim, (Luke VII. 14.) and Lazarus. (John. XI- 43.) By these three dead persons three classes of sinners may be understood: the maiden signifies those who sin in their youth through weakness and frailty, but touched by the grace of God, perceive their fall and easily rise again through penance; by the young man at Naim those are to be understood who sin repeatedly and in public, these require greater grace, more labor and severer penance; by Lazarus, the public and obdurate habitual sinners are to be understood who can be raised to spiritual life only by extraordinary graces and severe public penance.
IV. Christ did not raise the maiden, until the minstrels and noisy multitude were removed, by which He wished to teach us that the conversion of a soul cannot be accomplished in the midst of the noise and turmoil of temporal cares, idle pleasures and associations.
INSTRUCTION CONCERNING RIDICULE AND DERISION
And they laughed him to scorn. (Matt IX. 24.)
When Jesus told the minstrels and the crowd that the girl was not dead, but sleeping, they laughed at Him, because they understood not the meaning of His words. Sensual-minded men generally act in the same manner towards the priests and ministers of God, who by their word and example admonish them to despise honors, riches and pleasures, and to embrace the love of poverty, humility and mortification. This is, an unintelligible and hateful language to them which they ridicule and mock just as they do when they hear that death is a sleep, from which we shall one day awake and be obliged to appear before the judgment-seat of God. Woe to such scoffers by whose ridicule so many souls are led from the path "of virtue! What the devil formerly, accomplished by tyrants in estranging men from God and a lively faith in Him and His Church, he seems to wish to accomplish in our days by the mockery, scoffs, and blasphemies of wicked men; for at no period have piety and virtue, holy simplicity and childlike faith, adherence to the holy Roman Church and her laws, reverence for her head, her ministers and priests, been more mocked, derided and blasphemed. Unhappily many permit themselves to be induced by mockery to abandon piety, to omit the public practice of their faith, to conceal their Catholic conviction, and to lead a lukewarm, careless, indeed, sinful life. Woe to the scoffers! they are an abomination to the Lord (Prov. III. 32.) who will one day require from their hands all the souls perverted by them. Do not permit yourself to be led astray by those who ridicule your faith and zeal for virtue; remember the words of Jesus: He that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven. (Matt. X. 33.) Let Jesus be your consolation, He was scoffed and blasphemed for your sake, and often say within yourself:
I know, my most amiable Jesus, that the servant cannot be more than his master. Since Thou wert so often sneered at, mocked and blasphemed, why should I wonder if I am derided for my faith in Thee and Thy Church, and for the practice of virtue!

It's Almost Dark


By Anna Von Reitz

It's almost dark.  Just a faint orange strip of sunset sky remains,  with a dark purple band of clouds and and a slash of dazzling stars far above. It's cold, but not uncomfortable as I work, harvesting the last of the Swiss Chard, chives, and herbs.  

This has been a beautiful fall this year in Alaska, all amber and gold and warm lingering days, but at last all the leaves are on the ground and the weatherman says it will snow for the first time tomorrow.  

It won't stay long. We will have a few days yet to dump out flower pots and pile up leaves.  There will be a few more days, maybe a couple weeks-- before the real snows of winter arrive.  I know I should be thinking about burning a certain brush pile, but a family of rabbits moved in a couple weeks ago and I'll just leave it until spring.

Coming home tonight in the dusk the road was empty, just a dull silver ribbon making a straight line among the fading colors of the day. I came to the familiar turn off and paused.  There's a rough wooden cross at the corner there, in memory of Garrett Seurat.  I never knew him.  I knew his Father, Jay. 

I briefly remember the summer day, maybe fifteen years ago, when I heard tires squealing wildly in the very early morning, and later, the sight of his shiny black sports car hanging nearly upside down and halfway up a stand of birch and spruce trees, like an airplane that didn't make take off.  He was dead on the scene. 

Shortly thereafter the wooden cross appeared, and it has been there ever since.  This late summer I saw a woman and a girl there putting new silk flowers around the cross arms.  I suppose the girl was his daughter, too young at the time of the accident to ever remember her father or know his face. 

I've marked the passage of the years and noted the days when old flowers have been taken away and new flowers come to take their place, and nodded to his loved ones who have kept their faithful tending of his memorial as I went upon my way.

Tonight I stopped, the cross was awry, knocked about by wind and rain perhaps, or some careless accident of passing moose or motor bike.  I parked and set it straight again, piling up the stones around the base of wood and replaced the silk flowers that love left there a couple months ago. 

Not a soul passed by and hardly a leaf stirred in the fading light. I thought about this young man that I never knew.  I thought about how loved he was, and is, even now.  It seemed like setting his cross straight in time for the winter was the least I could do, if only to comfort those who remain and who will come again and look for it at Christmas and again in the spring.  

Then I hurried on home and put dinner in the oven and tended to the last of my green garden tasks, quickly heeling in the potted perennials, cutting the Swiss Chard and herbs, taking in a couple wine-colored petunias that will live on for a couple months and bloom in a glass of water long after the rest of this year's garden is gone or sleeping. 

Chives and spearmint, bee balm and oregano, sweet verbena and lemon balm, hyssop and cone flower; I have already and long-since potted up the lemon balm and parsley for the indoor garden. These are just the straggle ends that will go into a salad or top a baked potato or make a cup of tea.  My teapot is sitting on the table, center stage, a cast-iron pot on a cast-iron tea candle-powered base, guaranteed to keep the tea warm for an hour or two while I work deep into the night.  

I have more sympathy for autumn now, that like the year, I am older, too.  Life oddly seems more precious and love more miraculous now, when nothing is guaranteed and beauty is gone past remembering and every day that dawns appears in its true colors as a blessing. 

The great struggles of kings and queens and countries and empires shrink down to the embers of the fire on my hearth and the wind blowing around the chimney.  All day long v's of Canada Geese have been passing over, their mournful honking like a friend calling good-bye over their shoulder, and now, at this time of night, the bats, too, are taking to the sky in search of what scant insect dinners may be left. The resident bunnies are snuggled in their brush pile beds after a hard day of munching sweet autumn clover.  

I hope that all those who are reading this will take Nature's message to heart and re-connect to the times and where we are. Make the effort now to shore up your world, and to do what you can to prepare for dark, cold days ahead, to be ready for yourself and your family and your friends, and to be able to assist others who are less fortunate.   

We especially want to thank the many people all over this country who have eased our days and budgets by sharing the good produce of the land and the things they have made.  Cheese curds and mustard from Wisconsin.  Vanilla beans from Hawaii.  Cucumbers and squash and tomatoes from Washington.  Herbs and honey from Oregon.  Mushrooms from Pennsylvania.  Lobster from Maine.  Vidalia onions from Georgia.  Buffalo jerky from the Great Plains. Pistachios from California.  Apples from Eastern Washington.  Cheddar from Iowa. Ham from Virginia.  And so much more. These gifts of the land and the people mean so much to us and to other members of The Living Law Firm who get their share of this bounty, too.  

It helps a lot in many ways and we want you to know that we are grateful and we have shared and we give deep thanks in our hearts for all of you and for this abundant land we share. 

As winter closes in our days grow rapidly colder and darker.  By mid-December we will be down to about four hours of daylight per day.  It becomes increasingly difficult for mail and deliveries of packages to get to us in Big Lake.  Anything but First Class Letters and packages of dry goods get problematic this time of year, so please be aware that you shouldn't send anything that can freeze or break in transit, and if you send meat or other frozen perishables, the best way to send it is to the office in Anchorage:  The Living Law Firm, 1336 Staubbach Circle, Anchorage, Alaska 99508.  

We are deeply truly grateful for all of you and everything you send, whether it is cash or radishes.  It all gets put to good purpose and good use by good people for a good cause.  God bless and keep you all.  


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