Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for March 6, 2016

This week’s bulletin for Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, Newton:
Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for the week of March 6, 2016Bulletin: MaryImmaculate-2016-03-06.pdf

FRONT COVER: The nave of Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Church. (Photo by Tatiana Blanco.)

Today, the Fourth Sunday in Lent, is traditionally known as “Laetare Sunday”, an anticipation of the Easter joy to come. We are at Mid-Lent Sunday: two weeks away from Palm Sunday and three from Easter.

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Please visit the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes parish website, the boston pilot website, and the Mary Immaculate facebook page for more information.

Mary Immaculate bulletins are available at miol.cx and at thebostonpilot.com. (complete list of local archives) The official Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish website is at maryimmaculateoflourdes.org

The Public Life of Jesus: From Jordan’s Bank to Jerusalem

Conference II

(Pastor’s Note from the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish Bulletin for February 28, 2016)

This is Part Two of this year’s Parish Lenten Mission, THE PUBLIC LIFE OF JESUS: FROM JORDAN’S BANK TO JERUSALEMClick here to read Part One.

How did people look upon this Man, Jesus of Nazareth? It is very evident that people considered His place of origin, Nazareth, as reason alone to reject Him? “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Nathanael (Bartholomew), one of the future Twelve Apostles asks disparagingly when he first hears of “Jesus the son of Joseph of Nazareth?” (John 1:45-46). And even in His place of origin Nazareth itself, the people of that obscure, impoverished village look down on Jesus the son of Joseph the carpenter as “beneath” them, or at least as no-one they could ever take seriously as a miracle-working rabbi, unless, maybe, He were to start performing wonders right there in front of them.

Several months after Jesus has inaugurated His Public Life, when He comes back to the synagogue at Nazareth, He is violently rejected. People are murmuring: “How came this man by this wisdom and miracles? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary?…” (Matthew 13:54b-55a) Why—He had not passed through the training of any Rabbinic school under a learned Master! “How doth this man know letters, having never learned?”

The “Carpenter’s Son”. In context this is a term used to describe the general work of a man who has to earn his daily bread by the strength of his own arms and whatever skill he may possess with his tools. St. Justin Martyr is the ancient source for stating that Jesus specially made “ploughs and yokes” (Contra Tryphon 88). Then, as ever, people make the most superficial judgments based on a man’s social standing and material good fortune. The lowliness of Jesus’ origins was a stumbling block to many, and played no small part in inciting the organized hatred of His enemies later on.

His ordinariness—which we who have the Christian faith gaze at in wonder: God’s condescension to us and His compassion—deflated the popular imagination of what the Great Messiah was going to be like. “We know this man, whence he cometh: but when the Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is.” (John 8:27) It was, of course, not known at the time, all that had transpired around Jesus’ Birth. This was Mary’s secret, only to be revealed later in the time of the Church: “But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)

John the Baptist, who had begun his preaching mission a few months before Jesus, at least had the aura of an other-worldly Man-of-God. No-one knew of John’s origins: he had suddenly appeared out of the desert, an utterly strange man. “John was in the desert, baptizing and preaching the baptism of penance, unto the remission of sins. And there went out to him all the country of Judea and all they of Jerusalem and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins, and he ate locusts and wild honey.” (Mark 3:6) His appearance co-incided with the time of Daniel’s Prophecy as to when the Messiah should at last appear, so the people were in great expectation. Many held John to be the Messiah, although John denied that he was anything more than his herald who had come to prepare the way.

So great was people’s attachment to John the Baptist that his mission only gradually decreased in favor of Jesus of Nazareth. For much of the first year of Jesus’ Public Life, John the Baptist’s Mission is still going on concurrently. Four times John gives explicit testimony in favor of Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ and not himself. It is John who sends Jesus his first disciples from out of his own group, one of these being Andrew, the future Apostle and the brother of Simon Peter. Even after John’s murder at the order of Herod’s son Herod Antipas, and even after the preaching of the Gospel by the Apostles after Pentecost, a core group of John the Baptist’s followers tenaciously remained together, revering John and not transferring their allegiance to Jesus as the Christ.

The religious attachment to John the Baptist apart from Christianity has survived twenty centuries to our own day in the country of Iraq, among a sect called the Mandeans. Driven from their homeland by the recent strife a number of Mandean refugees have re-located in, all of places, Worcester, Massachusetts.

Whereas John was other-worldly and mysterious, Jesus was, to all appearances, an ordinary man, embedded in their everyday, ordinary world. He was so much a Jewish man of the Galilee. And while John lived a life of extreme deprivation, Jesus’ example was one of ordered enjoyment of life when He was in public.

Take, for example, the Wedding Feast at Cana. “And the third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. And Jesus also was invited, and His disciples to the marriage.” (John 2:1-2) Jesus was a guest at a large wedding feast. We cannot even imagine John the Baptist being there.

We also see here Jesus’ attachment to His kinfolk. In this time and place, a wedding feast is the gathering of the whole clan. It is no wonder that the bridal couple ran out of wine, given the demand that this event must have made on their hospitality. And it is here, as we know, that Jesus performs His first public miracle, at the behest of Mary, His mother.

“And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to Him: they have no wine.” (John 2:3) He changes the gallons of ordinary water which had been poured into the large stone pots reserved for the Jewish ritual purifications into the finest of wines. “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee and manifested His glory. And His disciples believed in Him.” (John 2:11)

This first Public Miracle of Christ is also the ruling metaphor for what the whole Redemption of Christ is going to accomplish in the souls of those who will come to have faith in Him. He will take that “water” of ordinary, broken, and unredeemed human nature, and by His grace He will transform it and make it capable of sharing in the very life of God.

Fr. Higgins
(Fr. Higgins)

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for February 28, 2016

This week’s bulletin for Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, Newton:
Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for the week of February 28, 2016Bulletin: MaryImmaculate-2016-02-28.pdf

Pastor’s Note: THE PUBLIC LIFE OF JESUS: FROM JORDAN’S BANK TO JERUSALEM   Conference II

FRONT COVER: The nave of Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Church with a view of the organ and choir loft. This picture was among those taken at the time of the church’s dedication in 1910. Note all of the decorative painting on the solid organ wall, giving the illusion of alcoves and Windows: also, the decorative railing. (PHOTO of the Archive Photo by Tatiana Blanco.)

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Please visit the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes old website, interim website, and facebook page for more information. New parish website is in progress and will be online soon.

Mary Immaculate bulletins are available at miol.cx and at thebostonpilot.com. (complete list of local archives)

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for February 21, 2016

This week’s bulletin for Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, Newton:
Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for the week of February 21, 2016Bulletin: MaryImmaculate-2016-02-21.pdf

Pastor’s Note: THE PUBLIC LIFE OF JESUS: FROM JORDAN’S BANK TO JERUSALEM   Conference I

Click here to subscribe to bulletins via email.


Please visit the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes old website, interim website, and facebook page for more information. New parish website is in progress and will be online soon.

Mary Immaculate bulletins are available at miol.cx and at thebostonpilot.com. (complete list of local archives)

The Public Life of Jesus: From Jordan’s Bank to Jerusalem

Conference I

(Pastor’s Note from the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish Bulletin for February 21, 2016)

Our Theme for our Parish Lenten Mission this year is: THE PUBLIC LIFE OF JESUS: FROM JORDAN’S BANK TO JERUSALEM. The visible Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ may be divided among five distinct phases: 1) The Sacred Infancy, 2) The Hidden Life, 3) The Public Life, 4) The Sorrowful Passion, and 5) The Glorified Life, or “The Great Forty Days” (from Easter Sunday to Ascension Thursday). It is this Third Phase, the Public Life of Our Lord Jesus, which we will make the focus of these Friday Lenten Conferences.

The Four Gospel Books of Inspired Scripture—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—give us many details of Jesus’ Public Life, but they are distinctive narratives in their own right. It is only natural, however, that Christians should want to organize the material of the Four Gospel Books into one comprehensive linear narrative, a “great story” which we can remember and keep close to us as we hear the various readings of the Gospel proclaimed in church from year to year. One such comprehensive narrative is an article from the 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia entitled “Jesus Christ” by Jesuit scholar A.J. Maas. This is the source I will use to re-trace the course of Jesus’ Public Life.

How long was this “Public Life” of Jesus of Nazareth? Fr. Maas presents the case that it endured for three years and some months based on the evidence from St. John’s Gospel that there were four distinct Passovers observed during Jesus’ Public Life.

The first occurred shortly after Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan River by St. John the Baptist, when Christ cleansed the Temple in Jerusalem for the first time: “And the Passover of the Jews was at hand.” (John 2:13) The second is mentioned in John 4:45: “And when [Jesus] was come into Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things He had done at Jerusalem on the festival day: for they also went to the festival day.” (Fr. Maas argues that this unnamed festival is most likely Passover.) The third is the reference point for the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes in John, Chapter 6: “Now the Passover, the festival day of the Jews was near at hand.” (John 6:4) The fourth and last Passover is Holy Week: “Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany, where Lazarus had been dead whom Jesus raised to life.” (John 12:1)

These three-and-a-half years (roughly) of the Public Life of Jesus may be fit into the Roman chronology between December A.U.C. 778 and March A.U.C. 782. The Romans counted their years from the mythical founding of their City of Rome. (A.U.C. stands for ab urbe condita, “from-the-founding-of-the-City”.) Comparing the evidence from the Gospels to the record of historical events at this time, we know that Jesus of Nazareth was born in the last year’s of the reign of King Herod and that He began His Public Life “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea… And Jesus Himself was beginning about the age of thirty years: being (as it was supposed) the son of Joseph.” (Luke 3:1. 23.)   If Herod’s date of death in Roman chronology was A.U.C. 750, then Christ could have been born between A.U.C. 747-749. Tiberius Caesar began his associate reign with Augustus in A.U.C. 764.  Fifteen years later was A.U.C. 778.  Depending upon His actual year of birth, Our Lord could have been 29-32 years at the beginning of His Public Life and 32-34 years at His Crucifixion.  (Because the Christian chronology of A.D., “Anno Domini”, in-the-Year-of-the-Lord was invented centuries after these events and projected back in time, the Year A.D. 1 is off by about 4 years. That is, it is four years late. The Birth of Christ would had to have been between the years 3-1 B.C. in actual history, making the years of the Public Life A.D. 25-29.)

Christ’s Public Life has a discernible pattern of distinct missionary journeys. There are nine of them. The first six took place in the region of Galilee, while Jesus used the city of Capharnaum as the center of His ministry.  The final three missionary journeys took Our Lord south into the Jewish heartland of Judea.  So, in the course of Our Lord’s Public Life, the people of His own Jewish nation living in Galilee and Judea would have had the knowledge of acquaintance of Him. They had unparalleled opportunity to hear Jesus’ voice, to behold His Sacred Face, to feel the warmth of His human sympathy for them. What would we not give to have a day of it! An hour of it! They had three-and-a-half years!  And still… many of them would not have Him.  Theirs was a positive rejection.  As Christ says, as He weeps over Jerusalem on Palm Sunday: “Thou hast not known the time of thy visitation.” (Luke 19:44)

Over the next Five Conferences we will follow Our Lord Jesus on His missionary journeys: we will trace His paths together, taking note of the major markers along the way. And then, we will follow Him into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, and we will watch Him as He goes before us to the Cross in order to accomplish our Redemption.

Fr. Higgins
(Fr. Higgins)

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for February 14, 2016

This week’s bulletin for Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, Newton:
Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for the week of February 14, 2016Bulletin: MaryImmaculate-2016-02-14.pdf

Click here to subscribe to bulletins via email.


Please visit the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes old website, interim website, and facebook page for more information. New parish website is in progress and will be online soon.

Mary Immaculate bulletins are available at miol.cx and at thebostonpilot.com. (complete list of local archives)

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for February 7, 2016

This week’s bulletin for Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, Newton:
Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for the week of February 7, 2016Bulletin: MaryImmaculate-2016-02-07.pdf

Click here to subscribe to bulletins via email.


Please visit the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes old website, interim website, and facebook page for more information. New parish website is in progress and will be online soon.

Mary Immaculate bulletins are available at miol.cx and at thebostonpilot.com. (complete list of local archives)

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for January 31, 2016

This week’s bulletin for Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, Newton:
Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for the week of January 31, 2016Bulletin: MaryImmaculate-2016-01-31.pdf

Front Cover:
The front parlor of the rectory, our Parish House, decorated for Christmas, the day of our Open House on January 10th, 2016, the Sunday after Epiphany. At the Open House Fr. Higgins renewed the house blessing for the New Year, signing the entrance to the rectory with the blessed Epiphany chalk. O God, make the door of this house wide enough to receive all who need human love and companionship, narrow enough to shut out all envy, pride, and strife. Make its threshold smooth enough to be no stumbling block to children, nor to straying feet, but rugged and strong enough to turn back the Tempter’s power. O God, make the door of this house the gateway to Thy eternal Kingdom. We ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Thy Son. Amen. (This and other PHOTOs from the Open House by PAUL ELDRIDGE.)

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Please visit the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes parish website and facebook page for more information.

Mary Immaculate bulletins are available at miol.cx and at thebostonpilot.com. (complete list of local archives)

unofficial bulletin archives