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Father Fay’s Section Archive

Amazing Grace

I’ve told you this story before, but it’s one that bears repeating.

Amazing Grace is perhaps the most beloved hymn of all time. It appears in every denomination’s hymnal. Amazing Grace has been recorded more than any other song in history.

Many of us believe that Amazing Grace originated as an African-American hymn. Perhaps because it has always been so well beloved by African-American people. But it is neither African nor American. It was actually written by a white man from Great Britain. And this particular white man was not a very nice guy. In fact, he was deeply involved in one of the cruelest occupations in history. He forcefully captured and transported by ship natives from West Africa to be sold into slavery.

But God works in mysterious ways. One day, while going about his regular duties, John Newton’s ship got caught in a terrible storm. Fierce lightning, mighty winds, and crashing waves were tearing his ship apart. John Newton feared for his life. Hidden away in a remote section of the ship, he was struck by some books that fell off a nearby bookshelf. One was The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis. John Newton began reading the book. He learned about God and about Jesus Christ. Perhaps for the first time in his life, John Newton prayed. He had realized his great sins and he cried out to God for forgiveness. He vowed to change his life.

John Newton survived what should have been a fatal shipwreck. He decided then and there to dramatically turn his life around. He eventually became an ordained minister of the Anglican Church. He set out to preach against slavery, and became one of the greatest orators in England’s history. It was then that he penned these now famous words:

Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me;
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

By what sins are we blinded? Have we allowed ourselves to get caught up in racial prejudice basing our own worth on the color of our skin or forming opinions about others because of the color of their skin? Black or white, how do we react when we encounter someone from the Middle East? Do we prejudge them because of terrorism? What about those of other faiths? Or of the opposite sex?

Before we can turn our lives around, we must first acknowledge our own sinfulness, and then ask God for forgiveness. Do it now, before your ship wrecks.
Jesus will cure your blindness too! You’ll see!

Gene M. Ostenkamp, Music Director

Father Fay’s Blog

The text of the Scriptures can be found on this homepage at left under Today’s Readings

COMMENTARIES

1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a
The Church’s traditions for Lent are in full force here. Last Sunday God spoke to us through the incident of the Samaritan woman at the well, today he speaks to us in the Gospel of the miraculous healing by Jesus of the man born blind. Next Sunday he opens our hearts to the raising of Lazarus. These are to lead us into a renewal of faith as we witness the new members of the body of Christ through the Easter Sacraments.
It may seem a bit strange then for us to return to the selection by God of David to be king a 1000 years before the birth of Christ in Bethlehem. What catches our attention is that the anointing of David as king happens also in Bethlehem and this helps us to understand how the Jewish scribes (experts in God’s word of old) would report to Herod at the time of the magi that the Messiah would be found in Bethlehem, the place of the origin of King David. The chosen shepherd of Israel would be associated with Bethlehem in the land of Judah (Matthew 2). Jesus the Christ would be anointed with the Holy Spirit. He also would be chosen by the heavenly Father and, though an unlikely choice by human standards, would exhibit the wisdom and love and power of the Father above. This is the Jewish faith, tightly held in the hearts of God’s people for centuries. Our Christmas scriptures attest to this. Jesus is all of these and today’s Gospel of the healing of the man born blind will reveal all this and call us to renew ourselves along with all of God’s people in the covenant of old between God and his people. Today we make this tradition ours once again.

 

Psalm 23: 1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6

  1. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

 

How appropriate then is this magnificent psalm. We sing/read/listen with King David in mind as well as Jesus Christ who not only called himself the Good Shepherd but also acted that way (see the Gospel). We heard from the first reading that God is the one who makes the choice of his king on the earth to represent him. He has chosen his beloved Son. The divine power will be evident as he shepherds God’s people. One nuance of this psalm is God’s shepherding is ongoing. As presented to us in our translation it may come across as static whereas it actually is dynamic. So do not think of our Lord the Shepherd as a picture of God as an oil painting handing on the wall. Rather it gives us a picture of our God as actively engaged in pasturing his people. He has done so in the past but more importantly he is doing it NOW. (By the way we have the whole psalm here — a rarity for our responsorial which generally has just selected verses.) So every line of this psalm is telling us that the LORD Yahweh is actively engaged in our salvation this very day, this very time as we walk through the dark valley.

 

Ephesians 5:8-14

There is something very familiar about this reading. What is it? We find phrases here which we hear and use in our liturgies of Easter: children of light coming out of the darkness, now pleasing to the Lord, awake from sleep and arise from the dead Christ will give you light. The connection with today’s Gospel cannot be missed. Saint Paul makes it clear how we can say that we have been raised from the dead. This is because Christ the Light is within us. We no longer sleep. We awake to the sunshine. Sinfulness (opposition and rebellion to the Covenant) — are former way of life is replaced with a life harmonious to God’s plan for us. We are children of the light which uses the image of being born again — the image of our baptism. We recommit ourselves to live then our baptism, our reawakening to the light of Christ, our being raised from the dead. We are about to celebrate and live the resurrection.

 

Verse Before The Gospel 

I am the light of the world, says the Lord;

whoever follows me will have the light of life John 8:12.

 

John 9:1-41

The baptism reference reappears here in description of the man’s plight as an affliction from birth. Do not overlook the instructions given him by Christ is to go and wash in the waters of Siloam. This, too, recalls baptism. Then there is the joining of washing and seeing. Then there is the clay made into a salve used for the anointing of the man’s eyes. This brings to mind the creation of Adam and the recreation which Christ has made in us through a power that only the Creator has.

Perhaps we need to take notice of the disbelief of some of his contemporaries and the repeated efforts to draw an explanation from the cured man. God in his mercy has not forgotten them even in their refusal to accept what he is doing in our midst. God is merciful beyond compare. The cured man said to them: Do you want to become his disciples, too? The believers thus become a constant sign to the world of God’s saving presence among us of the Anointed of God. We have been baptized into the faith not just for ourselves but as living signs of God is among us with his healing and saving power. It is a continuing responsibility we have today. His gift of faith is to be shared. Take some of the final words of the Gospel to heart: I do believe, Lord and he worshiped him.

SOME MASS PRAYERS FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT

These prayers from the Altar Missal are good guides for the spiritual life.

Collect/Gathering Prayer

O God, who through your Word
reconcile the human race to yourself in a wonderful way,
grant, we pray,
that with prompt devotion and eager faith
the Christian people may hasten
toward the solemn celebrations to come.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Commentary
This opening prayer at Mass sets the stage for our continuing Lenten journey and the renewal of faith. Keep in mind God’s anointing of his Son as King — unusual by human standards — and the display of his power in giving the man born blind his heavenly light to believe in Jesus the Messiah. This light is not just for one man but for all mankind to produce the reconciliation of humanity with the covenant of old between God and the whole human race. The Church prays then that a revisiting of this Gospel miracle will open us to the present gifts of the Holy Spirit, i.e. inspire us, so that we receive full benefit from the celebration of the Easter Season which will culminate in the Feast of Pentecost.

Alternate version of the Collect/Gathering Prayer
Lord our God, we stand in awe of you for your wonderful plan of salvation of all of mankind brought about by your Son, the Word made flesh. In the light of this we pray begging you to see to it that your Christian people experience an increase of a more lively faith which will bring forth your inspired love within us taking us more quickly to the upcoming Easter Season with its great festivities.

Prayer over the Offerings
We place before you with joy these offerings,
which bring eternal remedy, O Lord,
praying that we may both faithfully revere them
and present them to you, as is fitting,
for the salvation of all the world.
Through Christ our Lord.

Prayer after Communion
O God, who enlighten everyone who comes into this world,
illuminate our hearts, we pray,
with the splendor of your grace,
that we may always ponder
what is worthy and pleasing to your majesty
and love you in all sincerity.
Through Christ our Lord.

Prayer over the People/ Lenten Blessing
Look upon those who call to you, O Lord,
and sustain the weak;
give life by your unfailing light
to those who walk in the shadow of death,
and bring those rescued by your mercy from every evil
to reach the highest good.
Through Christ our Lord.

FAMILIAR PRAYERS MADE MORE FAMILIAR

With our way of life so radically changed
it is good to return to familiar prayers from our worship
and spend some time absorbing the deep faith
the composer of this prayer/hymn expressed here.
Take it line by line
pause as the end of each line or phrase
and let God reveal the beauty of each phrase.
The next time we say or sing this in the full assembly
we will make the meaning come more readily from our hearts
as God wants.
It is a faith gift of these unusual days.

Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to people of good will.
We praise you,
we bless you,
we adore you,
we glorify you,
we give you thanks for your great glory,
Lord God, heavenly King,
O God, almighty Father.
Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son,
Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,
you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us;
you take away the sins of the world,
receive our prayer;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father,
have mercy on us.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.
Amen.

SOME LENTEN THOUGHTS

 

From the Book of Jeremiah the Prophet (7:22-24) we read:

In speaking to your ancestors on the day I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I gave them no command concerning burnt offering or sacrifice. This rather is what I commanded them: Listen to my voice; then I will be your God and you shall be my people. Walk exactly in the way I command you, so that you may prosper. But they did not listen to me, nor did they pay attention. They walked in the stubbornness of their evil hearts and turned their backs, not their faces, to me.

 

Once again the Lord tells us that the worship he is really seeking from his people together and from each of us individually within his people (the Church) is righteous living, i.e. day by day putting his commandments into practice. In this passage there is an added note about turning their faces to God, i.e. looking at the Lord eye to eye, total honesty from the heart that loves him. Our Lenten goal has been to contemplate the face of Christ.

Prayer of the three men in the fiery furnace — Very appropriate to our time — Sacrifice pleasing to the Lord

Azariah stood up in the fire and prayed aloud:

“For your name’s sake, O Lord, do not deliver us up forever,
or make void your covenant.
Do not take away your mercy from us,
for the sake of Abraham, your beloved,
Isaac your servant, and Israel your holy one,
To whom you promised to multiply their offspring
like the stars of heaven,
or the sand on the shore of the sea.
For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation,
brought low everywhere in the world this day
because of our sins.
We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader,
no burnt offering, sacrifice, oblation, or incense,
no place to offer first fruits, to find favor with you.
But with contrite heart and humble spirit
let us be received;
As though it were burnt offerings of rams and bullocks,
or thousands of fat lambs,
So let our sacrifice be in your presence today
as we follow you unreservedly;
for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame.
And now we follow you with our whole heart,
we fear you and we pray to you.
Do not let us be put to shame,
but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy.
Deliver us by your wonders,
and bring glory to your name, O Lord.”

Daniel 3:25, 34-43
(From Tuesday of Third Week of Lent)

Is the Lord true to his name?

Does the Lord have concern for his people?

 

In those days, in their thirst for water,
the people grumbled against Moses,
saying, “Why did you ever make us leave Egypt?
Was it just to have us die here of thirst
with our children and our livestock?”
So Moses cried out to the LORD,
“What shall I do with this people?
a little more and they will stone me!”
The LORD answered Moses,
“Go over there in front of the people,
along with some of the elders of Israel,
holding in your hand, as you go,
the staff with which you struck the river.
I will be standing there in front of you on the rock in Horeb.
Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it
for the people to drink.”
This Moses did, in the presence of the elders of Israel.
The place was called Massah and Meribah,
because the Israelites quarreled there
and tested the LORD, saying,
“Is the LORD in our midst or not?”

Exodus 17:3-7
(First Reading from last Sunday)

GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST

Glory to God in the Highest

Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to people of good will.
We praise you,
we bless you,
we adore you,
we glorify you,
we give you thanks for your great glory,
Lord God, heavenly King,
O God, almighty Father.

Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son,
Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,
you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us;
you take away the sins of the world,
receive our prayer;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father,
have mercy on us.

For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.
Amen.

LITANY OF SAINTS

 

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
 
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of heaven, 
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, 
God the Holy Spirit, 
Holy Trinity, one God,
 
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, 
Holy Mother of God, 
Holy Virgin of virgins,
St. Michael, 
St. Gabriel, 
St. Raphael, 
All you Holy Angels and Archangels, 
St. John the Baptist, 
St. Joseph, 
All you Holy Patriarchs and Prophets,
 
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
St. Peter, 
St. Paul, 
St. Andrew, 
St. James, 
St. John, 
St. Thomas, 
St. James,
St. Philip, 
St. Bartholomew, 
St. Matthew, 
St. Simon, 
St. Jude, 
St. Matthias,
St. Barnabas, 
St. Luke, 
St. Mark, 
All you holy Apostles and Evangelists, 
All you holy Disciples of the Lord, 
All you holy Innocents,
 
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
St. Stephen, 
St. Lawrence, 
St. Vincent, 
Sts. Fabian and Sebastian, 
Sts. John and Paul, 
Sts. Cosmas and Damian, 
All you holy Martyrs,
 
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
St. Sylvester, 
St. Gregory, 
St. Ambrose, 
St. Augustine, 
St. Jerome, 
St. Martin, 
St. Nicholas, 
All you holy Bishops and Confessors,
All you holy Doctors,
 
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
St. Anthony, 
St. Benedict, 
St. Bernard, 
St. Dominic,  
St. Francis, 
All you holy Priests and Levites, 
All you holy Monks and Hermits,
 
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
St. Mary Magdalene, 
St. Agatha, 
St. Lucy, 
St. Agnes, 
St. Cecilia, 
St. Anastasia,
St. Catherine, 
St. Clare,
All you holy Virgins and Widows,
All you holy Saints of God, 
 
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
Lord, be merciful, 
From all evil, 
From all sin, 
From your wrath, 
From a sudden and unprovided death, 
From the snares of the devil, 
From anger, hatred, and all ill-will, 
From the spirit of uncleanness, 
From lightning and tempest, 
From the scourge of earthquake, 
From plague, famine, and war, 
From everlasting death, 
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
By the mystery of your holy Incarnation,
By your Coming, 
By your Birth, 
By your Baptism and holy fasting, 
By your Cross and Passion, 
By your Death and Burial, 
By your holy Resurrection, 
By your wonderful Ascension, 
By the coming of the Holy Spirit,
On the day of judgment, 
 
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Be merciful to us sinners, Lord, hear our prayer.
That you will spare us, 
That you will pardon us, 
That it may please you to bring us to true
     penance, 
Guide and protect your holy Church, 
Preserve in holy religion the Pope, and all
     those in holy Orders, 
Humble the enemies of holy Church, 
Give peace and unity to the whole Christian
     people,  
Bring back to the unity of the Church all
     those who are straying, and bring all
     unbelievers to the light of the Gospel, 
Strengthen and preserve us in your holy
     service,
Raise our minds to desire the things of
     heaven, 
Reward all our benefactors with eternal 
     blessings, 
Deliver our souls from eternal damnation,
     and the souls of our brethren, relatives,
     and benefactors,
Give and preserve the fruits of the earth, 
Grant eternal rest to all the faithful departed,
That it may please You to hear and heed 
     us, Jesus, Son of the Living God,
 
Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of
     the world,
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of
     the world,
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of
     the world,
Spare us, O Lord!

Graciously hear us, O Lord!

Have mercy on us.

 

Christ, hear us,
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, graciously hear us
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

Columbus Day 2018

Columbus Day is a U.S. holiday that commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the Americas in 1492, and Columbus Day 2018 occurs on Monday, October 8. It was unofficially celebrated in a number of cities and states as early as the 18th century, but did not become a federal holiday until 1937. For many, the holiday is a way of both honoring Columbus’ achievements and celebrating Italian-American heritage. But throughout its history, Columbus Day and the man who inspired it have generated controversy, and many alternatives to the holiday have proposed since the 1970s.

Christopher Columbus was an Italian-born explorer who set sail in August 1492, bound for Asia with backing from the Spanish monarchs King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.

Columbus intended to chart a western sea route to China, India and the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia. Instead, on October 12, he landed in the Bahamas, becoming the first European to explore the Americas since the Vikings established colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland during the 10th century.

Others were here first?    https://www.history.com/topics/exploration/columbus-day