The Weekly Francis – 11 November 2020

This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 1 November 2020 to 11 November 2020.

Angelus

General Audiences

Homilies

Motu Proprio

Papal Tweets

  • “Prayer for the deceased, raised in the trust that they dwell with God, extends its benefits to us too: it educates us in a true vision of life; it opens us up to true freedom, disposing us to the continuous search for eternal goods. Homily@Pontifex 5 November 2020
  • “Video on Robotics and AI YouTube@Pontifex 5 November 2020
  • “War is the negation of all rights and a dramatic assault on the environment. If we want true integral human development for all, we must work tirelessly to avoid war. #EnvironmentConflictDay #FratelliTutti” @Pontifex 6 November 2020
  • “All of us are able to give without expecting anything in return, to do good to others without demanding that they treat us well in return. As Jesus told his disciples: “Without cost you have received, without cost you are to give” (Mt 10:8). #FratelliTutti” @Pontifex 7 November 2020
  • ““Faith working through love” (Gal 5:6) is the shining lamp with which we can pass through the night beyond death and reach the great feast of life. #GospelOfTheDay (Mt 25:1–13)” @Pontifex 8 November 2020
  • “I am following with concern the news arriving from Ethiopia. While I urge that the temptation of an armed conflict be rejected, I invite everyone to prayer and to fraternal respect, to dialogue and to a peaceful end to the disagreements.” @Pontifex 8 November 2020
  • “Let us pray for the populations of Central America who were hit by a violent hurricane. May the Lord welcome the deceased, comfort their families and sustain those most in need, as well as all those who are doing all they can to help them.” @Pontifex 8 November 2020
  • “Today, on the Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St John Lateran, we recall that the Lord desires to dwell in every heart. Even if we should distance ourselves from Him, the Lord needs only three days to reconstruct His temple within us” (See Jn 2:19)” @Pontifex 9 November 2020
  • “Society is enriched by the dialogue between science and faith, which opens up new horizons for thought. The light of faith needs to enlighten scientific advances so that they respect the centrality of the human person. #WorldScienceDay” @Pontifex 10 November 2020
  • “Today we celebrate the liturgical memorial of #SaintMartin, Bishop of Tours, a great Pastor in the Church who distinguished himself with evangelical charity toward the poor and marginalized. May his example teach us to be ever more courageous in the faith and generous in charity.” @Pontifex 11 November 2020
  • “Yesterday, the Report on the sad case of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was published. I renew my closeness to the victims of sexual abuse and the Church’s commitment to eradicate this evil. McCarrick Report PDF@Pontifex 11 November 2020
  • “The one who prays is never alone. In fact, Jesus welcomes us in His prayer so that we might pray in Him and through Him. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. The Gospel invites us to pray to the Father in Jesus’s name. #Prayer #GeneralAudience” @Pontifex 11 November 2020

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The Pandorica Opens – The Secrets of Doctor Who

The first season of the 11th Doctor wraps up the “crack in the universe” arc. Jimmy, Dom, and Fr. Cory discuss the universal stakes of the story, the array of the Doctor’s enemies together, and a certain Roman centurion whose appearance here cements him as a fan favorite.

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Forget Me Not (DIS) – The Secrets of Star Trek

Everybody is stressed in the latest episode of Discovery! Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli, and Fr. Cory Sticha talk about the stressed out state of the Discovery crew; the rogue AI that no one seems concerned about; Adira, the impossible girl; and a return to Trill.

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Curses! – Jimmy Akin’s Mysterious World

Throughout history, people have been fascinated by curses, suspected others have been cursed, have wanted to curse their enemies, and wanted curses removed. Jimmy Akin and Dom Bettinelli ask what are curses, how they work, and how worried about them should we be.

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Mysterious Headlines

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Jimmy Akin’s Mysterious World is brought to you in part through the generous support of Aaron Vurgason Electric and Automation at AaronV.com. Making Connections for Life for your automation and smart home needs in north and central Florida.

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The Weekly Francis – 04 November 2020

This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 29 October 2020 to 4 November 2020.

Angelus

General Audiences

Letters

Papal Tweets

  • “I am close to the Catholic community of #Nice, mourning the attack that sowed death in a place of prayer and consolation. I pray for the victims, for their families and for the beloved French people, that they may respond to evil with good.” @Pontifex 29 October 2020
  • “Jesus challenges us to put aside all differences and, in the face of suffering, to draw near to others with no questions asked. #FratelliTutti” @Pontifex 30 October 2020
  • “We need to look at our cities with a contemplative gaze, a gaze of faith which sees God dwelling in homes, on the streets and squares. This presence must be found, discovered. God does not hide himself from those who seek him with a sincere heart. #WorldCitiesDay” @Pontifex 31 October 2020
  • “Every saint is a message which the Holy Spirit takes from the riches of Jesus Christ and gives to his people. #GaudeteEtExsultate #AllSaintsDay Image@Pontifex 1 November 2020
  • “Choosing purity, meekness and mercy; choosing to entrust oneself to the Lord in poverty of spirit and in affliction; dedicating oneself to justice and peace – this means going against the current. This evangelical path was trodden by #AllTheSaints and Blesseds. #GospelOfTheDay” @Pontifex 1 November 2020
  • “Today we pray for all the #FaithfulDeparted and especially for the victims of the #Coronavirus: for those who have died alone, without the caress of their loved ones; and for those who have given their lives serving the sick.” @Pontifex 2 November 2020
  • “I express my sorrow and dismay for the terrorist attack in #Vienna, and I pray for the victims and their families. Enough violence! Let us together strengthen peace and fraternity. Only love can silence hate.” @Pontifex 3 November 2020
  • “Let us attend the school of Jesus Christ, teacher of #Prayer. May we learn from Him that prayer is primarily listening and encountering God, an art to be practiced with insistence, the place where we perceive that everything comes from God and returns to Him. #GeneralAudience” @Pontifex 4 November 2020

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The Faceless Ones – The Secrets of Doctor Who

The 2nd Doctor catches a flight! Jimmy, Dom, and Fr. Cory discuss another lost Doctor Who story that’s been recovered through animation, this time set at London’s Gatwick Airport in the 1960s. It’s a cross between Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Airport 1970.

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People of Earth (DIS) – The Secrets of Star Trek

Discovery returns to find a very different Earth than it left. Jimmy, Dom, and Fr. Cory talk about the distinct changes in Burnham’s character, the tropes that crop up in this story, and the introduction of a new member to the crew.

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Resurrection on Mars? (And More Weird Questions!) – Jimmy Akin’s Mysterious World

On this fifth Friday of the month, Jimmy Akin answers more weird questions, including whether at the end times people will be resurrected on Mars; could we touch a rediscovered Ark of the Covenant; what was Jesus’ religion; did God create aliens; why is capybara licit in Lent; and more!

Help us continue to offer Jimmy Akin’s Mysterious World. Won’t you make a pledge at SQPN.com/give today?

Questions Covered (Time in the episode):

  • 02:39 – If the Ark of the Covenant were found today, would the Old Testament rule that you cannot touch it still apply?
  • 06:47 – If people move to Mars, die, and are buried there, when the end times come and they are in their glorified body, Will they be living on Mars, back on Earth with the rest of us on someplace else?
  • 10:47 – Is there anything recorded about Jesus doing any personal care of himself, like we wash, comb our hair or brush our teeth etc.
  • 13:37 – Did the two men who were crucified alongside Jesus also carry their crosses to Cavalry? Was Jesus the only one to do this?
  • 16:12 – What religion was Jesus?
  • 17:51 – Was Jesus Buddhist?
  • 21:33 – Aliens scare me. If they exist, is there a God? Did He also create them?
  • 26:50 – Is our God is part of a race of gods, like the Gnostics?
  • 28:32 – Is method acting in an evil character role generally seen as dangerous and possibly immoral, perhaps along similar lines as participating in hypnosis?
  • 31:55 – Why does capybara not count as meat during Lent?
  • 35:48 – If we’re not alone in the universe, where is everybody else?
  • 39:09 – Would Luke Skywalker have to denounce his Jedi religion in order to become Catholic?
  • 42:50 – If researchers were to identify a medical cause for hyperfertility, and a treatment could be found which could reduce fertility to “normal levels” (not eliminating fertility altogether) and make it possible for these women to successfully use NFP to avoid pregnancy, would that be a licit treatment?
  • 45:27 – Is it true that Jesus is against self-defense and that Christians are not allowed to defend themselves?

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This Episode is Brought to You By:
Jimmy Akin’s Mysterious World is brought to you in part through the generous support of Aaron Vurgason Electric and Automation at AaronV.com. Making Connections for Life for your automation and smart home needs in north and central Florida.

And by RosaryArmy.com. Have more peace. Visit RosaryArmy.com and get a free all-twine knotted rosary, downloadable audio Rosaries, and more. Make Them. Pray Them. Give Them Away at RosaryArmy.com.

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Support StarQuest’s mission to explore the intersection of faith and pop culture by becoming a named sponsor of the show of your choice on the StarQuest network. Click to get started or find out more.

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“Changing the Sabbath” and the Antichrist

Recently I was contacted by someone who seems quite openminded and who asked me some questions about why we worship on Sunday rather than the Sabbath.

In particular, this person was wondering why that should be the case if the only person in the Bible who seeks to change the Sabbath is the Antichrist.

I responded as follows . . .

When you refer to the Antichrist changing the Sabbath, I assume that you’re referring to Daniel 7:25, where a coming king will “think to change times and seasons.”

Concerning this prophecy specifically, I’d make several points:

1) It does not specifically mention the Sabbath, but this is almost certainly included in the meaning of changing times and seasons, for reasons we will see below.

2) Prophecy can refer to more than one thing (i.e., have more than one fulfillment). Thus in Revelation the Beast from the Sea’s seven heads are both seven mountains and seven kings (Rev. 17:9-10).

We see the same thing in other prophecies, which can have more than one fulfillment. For example, Isaiah’s prophecy of Emmanuel had a near-term fulfillment in the birth of a child in the time of King Ahaz–something that is obvious because the sign was given to him as a sign that the alliance of kings against him would not succeed in toppling him from his throne (see Isaiah 7:1-16).

For Ahaz, the child Emmanuel would be a sign that God was with his people against this alliance of kings. But the prophecy also has a later fulfillment in Jesus Christ, who was God with us in an even more literal sense.

3) Because prophecies can have more than one fulfillment in history, it is important to identify the original historical fulfillment before exploring possible later fulfillments.

4) In the case of Daniel 7, scholars of multiple persuasions (Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, other) hold that the most likely original fulfillment of this vision is to be found in the kingdoms leading up to the triumph of Alexander the Great in the 300s B.C. (who is also clearly in focus in chapter 8 of the book) and the kingdoms that came about in the wake of his empire. This does not mean that it does not also have one or more later fulfillments, but this is what the original fulfillment involves.

5) In particular, Daniel 7:25–and other passages in Daniel–appear to be referring originally to the post-Alexander king Antiochus IV (i.e., Antiochus Epiphanes). He was king of the Seleucid Empire, which was one of the kingdoms that grew out of Alexander the Great’s conquests, and he persecuted the Jewish people in the 160s B.C.

Specifically, Antiochus tried to compel them to give up the Jewish faith and adopt the Hellenistic (Greek) religion. This meant compelling them to give up celebrating Jewish feasts, including the Sabbath, and this is what Daniel 7:25 apparently is referring to when it says this king will “think to change times and seasons.”

The “think” is important, because Antiochus did not succeed. The Jewish people resisted him, won their freedom, and retained their ancestral faith and its practices–as chronicled in the books 1 and 2 Maccabees.

6) It is possible that a future dictator may also try to compel the Jewish people to give up their faith–including its holy days–and this future dictator may be the same as the final Antichrist, but we must be careful about such speculation as the prophecy is not repeated in the New Testament and not every prophecy has a later fulfillment.

At least, I couldn’t prove that they all will have a fulfillment at the end of the world, so I have to leave this proposal as a possible speculation but only a speculation.

So, you may well be right that the final Antichrist will attempt to force the Jewish people to drop the Sabbath, but I can’t say this for certain, myself.

However, this is an independent issue of what liturgical calendar Christians, and especially Gentile Christians, should follow.

The Sabbath–along with the monthly New Moons and the annual feasts (e.g., Passover, Tabernacles)–was part of the liturgical calendar that God gave to the Jewish people before the time of Christ.

It was never binding and was never meant to be binding on Gentiles, as Jewish scholars have always held. (In fact, Gentiles were even positively prohibited by Jewish law from being able to do things like keep Passover, as circumcision was required for eating the Passover lamb.)

The uniqueness of the Sabbath to the Jewish people is due to the fact there is nothing in natural law/human nature that demands that one day in seven (as opposed to one day in five or one day in ten) be set aside for rest and worship or that it must be the seventh day in particular (rather than the first or the third). Since God did not build this into human nature/natural law, such a law could only come from a divine mandate, and God only mandated this for the Jewish people, not for all peoples.

When the early Church began making significant numbers of Gentile converts, one of the questions that arose was whether they needed to be circumcised and become Jews in order to be saved (cf. Acts 10-11, 15, Gal. 1-2). The answer was that they did not.

The Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) ruled on this question, and even though it involved a few points to help Jewish and Gentile Christians live together (Acts 15:29), you’ll note that keeping the Sabbath was not one of these. The Jerusalem Council thus recognized that Gentile Christians did not need to be circumcised and adopt Jewish practices. Though a few points were asked of Gentiles for the sake of harmony with Jewish Christians, observing the Jewish ceremonial calendar was not among them.

St. Paul sheds even more light on the subject, indicating in his letters that–even though he is a Jew–he is not bound by the Jewish Law (1 Cor. 9:19-23), because Christ has fulfilled the Jewish Law and so put an end to it. He indicates this in various passages, such as Romans 14:1-6, where he writes:

As for the man who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not for disputes over opinions. One believes he may eat anything, while the weak man eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains pass judgment on him who eats; for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Master is able to make him stand. One man esteems one day as better than another, while another man esteems all days alike. Let every one be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. He also who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; while he who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.

Here Paul takes up two examples of practices that could affect different groups of Christians: keeping kosher laws (not eating unclean foods) and observing the Jewish calendar (honoring certain days). He characterizes some–who believe that they cannot eat certain things and must observe certain days–as “weak in faith,” and others–who recognize they are not bound by these laws–as strong in faith, by implication (for they recognize Christ has eliminated the need for such things by his fulfillment of the Jewish Law).

Rather than trying to get people to abandon their positions, Paul urges peace among Christians by letting everyone do what their conscience says they need to do to honor God.

Paul could not argue in this way if the “weak in faith” position was correct and it was mandated that Christians keep kosher and observe Jewish holy days. It is only because we are not bound by these things that he can allow those who are “weak in faith”–i.e., who have scrupulous fears that Jesus might not have freed us from these things–to continue to practice them rather than violate their consciences.

If everybody was bound to avoid certain foods and keep certain days as a matter of divine law, Paul would have said so–as he does with other things that are matters of divine law.?Thus, in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, he warns that people who practice a variety of sins will not inherit the kingdom.?He doesn’t say, “You get to do these sins if your conscience tells you it’s okay.” He says “This is a sin; don’t do it!”

Therefore, in Romans 14 the allowance of both positions–eating and not eating certain foods, observing and not observing certain days–is because neither is a violation of divine law. We have the liberty of eating all foods and treating every day alike because God has not mandated that we do otherwise.

Paul is even more explicit in Colossians 2:14-17, where he writes that God has “canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in him. Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath. These are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.”

He thus indicates that the various regulations of the Mosaic Law concerning food and liturgical days (the annual feasts, monthly New Moons, and weekly Sabbaths being the three kinds of days on the Jewish liturgical calendar) were shadows that pointed forward to Christ, but now that Christ has come and fulfilled the Jewish Law, “nailing it to the Cross,” even Jewish Christians–such as himself–are no longer bound by these, for God has “cancelled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands.”

Consequently, he says “let no one pass judgment on you . . . with regard to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath.”

The Sabbath thus is not binding, even on Jewish Christians, because of what Christ did on the cross.

In the first century and for a time thereafter, many Jewish Christians did continue to observe the Sabbath, as Paul indicated was possible for them in Romans 14. However, this was not the day that Christians held their religious gatherings on.

Instead, they observed the first day of the week, because it was the day on which the Lord Jesus rose. Thus, we see Paul recommending that collections be taken up in the church of Corinth on this day:

Now concerning the contribution for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that contributions need not be made when I come (1 Cor. 16:1-2).

This day soon came to be known as “the Lord’s Day,” because it was the day on which the Lord Jesus rose. Thus, we see St. John writing:

I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet (Rev. 1:10).

And from the first century forward we see the early Christians continuing to celebrate the first day of the week–the Lord’s Day–rather than the Sabbath, as illustrated by the quotations from early Church documents listed here:

https://www.catholic.com/tract/sabbath-or-sunday

In time, the Church used the power of the keys that Christ had given to Peter to “bind and loose” (Matt. 16:18) to institute a new Christian liturgical calendar, built around the weekly observance of the Lord’s Day.

It is this exercise of the keys that is the reasons Christians today are bound to observe the Lord’s Day–not because one day intrinsically requires observance compared to other days.

However, the Church did not “change” the Sabbath. The Sabbath is when it always was: the seventh day of the week. It’s just that Christians are not required to observe it, as it was something that pertained to the Jewish people prior to the time of Christ. Instead of celebrating the Sabbath, Christians celebrate the first day of the week in honor of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.

For more on the Church’s official teaching, see here:

https://www.ncregister.com/blog/did-the-catholic-church-change-the-sabbath

I hope this helps, and God bless you!

The Weekly Francis – 28 October 2020

This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 22 October 2020 to 28 October 2020.

Angelus

General Audiences

Letters

Messages

Papal Tweets

  • “So often today man does not know what is within him, in the depths of his mind and heart…. Therefore, let Christ speak to man. He alone has words of life, of eternal life. #StJohnPaulII” @Pontifex 22 October 2020
  • “St #JohnPaulII and his passion for life and fascination with the mystery of God, of the world and of humankind was an extraordinary gift of God to the Church. Let us remember his faith: may it be an example to lives as witnesses today.” @Pontifex 22 October 2020
  • “Life without fraternal gratuitousness becomes a form of frenetic commerce, constantly weighing what we give and what we get back. God, instead, gives freely, helping even those who are unfaithful; he “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good” (Mt 5:45). #FratelliTutti” @Pontifex 23 October 2020
  • “If we want true integral human development for all, war must be avoided, ensuring the rule of law and tireless recourse to negotiation and arbitration. The United Nation ’s Charter applies transparently and sincerely, and is an reference point of justice and a peace. #UNDay” @Pontifex 24 October 2020
  • “What is not expressed in love of neighbour is not true love of God; and, likewise, what is not drawn from one’s relationship with God is not true love of neighbour. #GospelOfTheDay (Mt 22:34–40)” @Pontifex 25 October 2020
  • “Let us pray to the Lord for Nigeria, so that every form of violence might always be avoided, in the constant search of social harmony through the promotion of justice and the common good.” @Pontifex 25 October 2020
  • “Kindness frees us from the cruelty that at times infects human relationships, from the anxiety that prevents us from thinking of others, from the frantic flurry of activity that forgets that others also have a right to be happy. #FratelliTutti” @Pontifex 26 October 2020
  • “Those who love may be sure that none of their acts of love will be lost, nor any of their acts of sincere concern for others, nor any single act of love for God, nor any generous effort, nor any painful endurance. All of these enfold our world like a vital force. #FratelliTutti” @Pontifex 27 October 2020
  • ““You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (Lk 3:22). This simple phrase enables us to intuit something of the mystery of Jesus and of His heart, always turned to the Father. Jesus gave us His own #Prayer, which is His loving dialogue with the Father. #GeneralAudience” @Pontifex 28 October 2020
  • “I unite myself to the pain of the families of the students barbarically killed in #Kumba, #Cameroon. May God enlighten hearts, so that similar acts may never be repeated! I send my affection to the families and all Cameroon, and I invoke the comfort that only God can give.” @Pontifex 28 October 2020

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