From Father Matthew's Desk
The Roots of Moral Law
In our First Reading, we see God speaking through the Holy Spirit to resolve an important question: whether new non-Jewish Christians needed to hold to the full Mosaic Law—things including Circumcision, ritual purity, and dietary laws. These things posed a stumbling block to new Gentile Christians, and the debate was harming the unity of the Church. It was determined that they would not need to keep those parts of the Law. Likewise, no Christian needed to maintain the Jewish worship laws (making sacrifices at the Temple), because Jesus' death was the perfect Sacrifice, made once for all, superseding all others.
However, there were other parts of the Law that were retained, namely, the moral law. Among these, we find the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:1-17), especially as amplified by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew, Ch. 5-7). It is the part of the Law that not a "jot or tittle" would pass away. These principles also overlap what is called "Natural Law", what St. Paul described as the law written "on the heart" (Rom 2:15); these are things that can be known by reason alone—nearly all cultures, Christian or not, have prohibitions on things like lying, stealing, and murder.
Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Church continues to apply all of these principles—both from Scripture and Natural Law— to new questions and challenges that arise in our culture. This is why the Church has much to say about issues that are sometimes dismissed as "political issues"—questions of poverty, rights of workers, just war, the nature of marriage, prohibitions on abortion and artificial birth control, the death penalty and euthanasia, just to name a few. The Church speaks of these things to all people—Christian or not—as a way of perfecting our conscience being able to listen both to God's Word and the Law written on our hearts.
Christ implores us that if we love Him, we will keep His Commandments—let us ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten our hearts and minds so that we can show that love!
Mass Schedule tweaks
Due to a prior commitment that I have this Tuesday, there will be no morning Mass.
Please remember that this Thursday is Ascension Thursday, a Holy Day of Obligation; Masses will be Wednesday at 7:00 pm (Vigil) and Thursday at 9:00 am. The Parish Office will be closed for Ascension Thursday.
Next Monday is Memorial Day; Morning Mass will be at 9:00 am; there will be no evening Holy Hour or Mass. The Parish Office will be closed for Memorial Day.
Adult Bible Study: "Parts of the Mass"
The Mass is an experience where we step into God's time, to allow God to give us a share in being present at the Last Supper, foot of the Cross, and the empty Tomb, as well as to share in a foretaste of the heavenly banquet that we have been hearing about in our Sunday Readings from the Book of Revelation.
Beginning this Monday, May 23, our adult Bible Study will examine the parts of the Mass in detail—there will be lots of opportunity for questions and discussion. If you wonder why we do things the way that we do at Mass, this is a perfect time to examine these questions. Please consider joining us! We will continue this series for 2-3 weeks (depending on how much discussion takes place for each part of the Mass—watch the bulletin for details).