St. Joseph Catholic Church

106 N. Meramec Avenue, Clayton, MO 63105…Parish Office (314) 726-1221


Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – February 19, 2017

Hello,

Trivia night – a fun and enjoyable evening, some questions you can really impress yourself that you know these things – others you don’t have a clue, but then someone else does know it – how do they know that? Whether you or the other person knew it though, just remember what we were talking about, trivia.It isn’t  really that important. So what isn’t trivia? What do we need to know that we would be appropriately embarrassed by if we got wrong? How many hearts does an octopus have? [I got this one wrong, they have three.]

How about this, what is the 4th commandment? Well of course we know that it is “Honor your father and mother.” But does it really matter whether it is the 4th commandment or say if it was the 5th commandment? Well, actually, you might have been correct if you stated “Keep holy the Sabbath.” Did you know that different Christian faiths have different 10 commandments? The ones I am familiar with, and I would imagine you are also, are referred to as the Catholic 10 commandments (Lutherans also use them). Whereas the second set I referenced are often referred to as the Protestant 10 commandments. Some will
state that the different lists come from two different Bible passages, Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21. But if you look the 10 Commandments up in the Catechism of the Catholic Church it cites both of these passages in listing each of the 10. Reading through these passages you will realize you could list out 14 or 15 commandments if you wanted to, and it is just how you break it down that
varies how you divide them into 10.

The Catholic version breaks down the Protestant 10th commandment, “You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor,” into our 9th “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife,” and our 10th “You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods,” Whereas the Protestant version breaks down the Catholic 1st commandment “I am the Lord your God, you shall not have other gods besides me,” with a similar 1st commandment “You shall have no other gods but me,” and also their 2nd “You shall not make unto you any graven images.”

Actually this is what I consider to be good trivia. On the surface it isn’t really critical if we knew the specific answer or not, but it gets us to look further into the topic. This told us things like what Bible passages they come from, that you could break them up into even more commandments. And hopefully it also gets us to continue asking more, like why they may have broken them down the way they did, was it an intentional difference? Is there a theological difference? Why didn’t I know this before? And also it can help us communicate, so next time you may say you broke a certain commandment you know why the other person may react a little differently than you expected.

Peace,
Fr. Nick


Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – February 12, 2017

Hello,

This coming Tuesday I would imagine a few of you know that we celebrate the feast of St. Valentine, but we really don’t know too much about him. This Tuesday we also celebrate the feast day of two brothers, St. Cyril and St. Methodius, who we do know quite a bit about and who I have always been impressed by.

The first reason to be impressed, beyond the saint thing of course, is the Cyrillic alphabet. Cyril and Methodius both grew up speaking Slavonic and thus were natural choices to be missionaries to Moravia in the mid-ninth century when the land had just been going back and forth between numerous different forces in Europe. They didn’t have a problem translating the Bible and liturgical texts into Slavonic but there was a problem in writing it, as up to that point it was only a spoken language. So in order to write the language they created an alphabet based on the Greek alphabet that we have since known as the Cyrillic alphabet, pretty impressive.

But this wasn’t their only challenge. They also had the fortune, or misfortune, to be sent on this mission from Constantinople, the center of the Eastern Church, which at this time was becoming more and more in conflict with the Western Church. One specific difference was that coming from the Eastern Church Cyril and Methodius didn’t even think about whether they should or shouldn’t translate the Bible and liturgies into Slavonic, while in the Western Church the only languages considered suitable for the liturgy were Latin, Greek and Hebrew. After spending some time in Moravia they had some difficulty in that they did not have a bishop and thus could not ordain priests, and the closest bishops were Western, from Bavaria, and were not immune to some of the rivalries at the time between the East and the West. So Cyril and Methodius went to Rome to seek approval of the Slavonic liturgy and of their mission.

Cyril would die while in Rome but Methodius would return to the Moravian missions with the Pope’s blessings. Later he would return to Rome and the pope would consecrate him as a bishop. Unfortunately Methodius would have to continue to face conflicts in the Church and when the current pope died his successor would rescind the permission for the Slavonic liturgy. Methodius would later return to Rome to obtain permission again for the Slavonic liturgy and only a few years later travel back to Constantinople to be received by the emperor and the patriarch. I think a few more reasons to be impressed.

Not only did the brothers bridge differences between the East and the West in their times, but they have also been recognized as saints by both the East and the West and still are a means of unity, especially in Europe, today. Butler’s Lives of the Saints gives much more detail about these and other saints, hopefully they can inspire us to bridge divisions in our world today.

Peace,
Fr. Nick


Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – February 5, 2017

Hello,

Last week in RCIA we were discussing the Eucharist. A variety of topics were addressed but I was also interested in seeing that in the ‘leader’s notes’ they listed a few canon laws that might also be discussed. Being a canon lawyer of course I couldn’t pass up that opportunity so I thought I would even continue it here. The canons mentioned were Can. 916, Can. 919, and Can 920.

Can. 916 “A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or to receive the Body of the Lord without prior sacramental confession unless a grave reason is present …” This is important because it reminds us to be conscious of grave sin that may be in our lives, that is keeping us from God. Hopefully it helps to recognize the necessity for sacramental confession for such sin so that we can be open to that relationship with God, to let it grow, and to receive Christ in the Eucharist. Hopefully it helps to realize we cannot be united to Christ and His Church through the Eucharist if we have the serious division from grave sin still between us.

Can. 919 §1 “One who is to receive the Most Holy Eucharist is to abstain from any food or drink, with the exception only of water and medicine, for at least the period of one hour before Holy Communion.” For most of us, on a Sunday especially, this isn’t much of a concern. The one hour is not to the beginning of Mass but rather to when you receive Communion, so from the time you leave home, if you get to church before Mass starts, you just about have an hour already (depending on where you live and how long I preach). But we also need to consider why do we do this? What type of preparation do we give ourselves to receive this sacrament? If you are “of advanced age” or sick §3 covers that, but otherwise why can’t we give at least this hour? If we don’t remember our parents or others will tell us of when the rule was stricter and didn’t have the exception for water, and it wasn’t one hour but three hours, or from the previous day. What recognition do we give this incredible gift Christ gives us?

Can. 920 §1 “All the faithful, after they have been initiated into the Most Holy Eucharist, are bound by the obligation of receiving Communion at least once a year.” This sounds kind of strange when we know that we are obliged to attend Mass every Sunday, why even bother with this law? We need to recognize that people did not always receive the Eucharist as frequently and freely as we do. As I mentioned the longer fasts that were in place, the greater awareness or concern with sin (they had longer lines at confessionals on Saturday), the greater respect and reverence of the Eucharist that kept many more distant from the sacrament considering they were not worthy over our need for Christ in the sacrament.

I am not bringing these up to discourage anyone from receiving the Eucharist, but rather to consider how we may better prepare for and more fully receive the Eucharist.

Peace,
Fr. Nick


Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – January 29, 2017

Hello,

Thinking about a topic for the week I often look at the coming week to see what feasts or memorials we might be celebrating. This coming week gives us the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, the memorial of St. John Bosco and St. Blaise, but what caught my attention was a little less liturgical or even religious, we also have Groundhog Day. Some of you might recall the movie titled “Groundhog Day” where Bill Murray relives the same day over and over again and he eventually decides what he needs to do is to get the day just right, then he will get out of this continuous repeating of the same day over and over and over again.

I know some people who state that if they had their lives to live over again they wouldn’t change a thing, since it would change who they are. I guess that is a nice sentiment in some ways, but I hope most of us can think of a way they might be better. When we go to the sacrament of Reconciliation we confess and are sorry for our sins, hopefully that means that if we had the opportunity to relive those moments we would choose not to do them again. But since most of us are not living over the same life, or even just the same day again we realize that isn’t very realistic. So what can we do? We can try not to do the same thing again. But I would suggest another thing that we would hopefully do differently if we had the opportunity to redo, but we might not think of it as often, that is to forgive.

We might not think of this because if we had it to do over why even do the thing that needs forgiving in the first place? But we don’t always have control of that. Even if we are reliving the same day we can’t change someone else’s actions, but we can chose to forgive where we hadn’t before. As I said, I think we can overlook forgiveness as something we do, or we can do, all too often because it doesn’t seem to be the main part of the action. But think of the times when we have been forgiven, by God of course, but also by someone else we know we hurt, the type of forgiveness that we know we can do. Just like the opportunity God gives us when He forgives us, we can start building that relationship again without the constant reminder and barrier of our sin, hopefully making it even stronger than it was before.

The best part about forgiveness is that we don’t have to relive our lives, or even relive a day, we can chose to forgive now. If there was something that happened yesterday, or weeks, or years ago, that we recognize we should have forgiven but didn’t, we still have the opportunity to do so. It may not be exactly the same as if we had forgiven right away (we can do that next time), but we can still do it. So if you are thinking of what you would do if you could live the day over again, why not choose something you can do now and forgive someone we need to in our life.

Peace,
Fr. Nick