Our Reno Cathedral mural helps us understand our Eucharistic Heritage pt 2


In our mural in Reno Nevada, we see St. Joseph the worker, whose feast is May 1, of each year, Labor Day in most of the world. Above the statue, again, is a depiction of the Holy Family. St. Joseph is central. This is the moment of his death. Jesus and Our Blessed Virgin hover next to him, symbolizing how the Lamb of God and Holy Mother Church are with us from our birth to the moment of our death. “Pray for us, Holy Mother of God, now and at the moment of our deaths.”

Isabel Piczek
Isabel Piczek
Our mural in Reno Nevada
Our mural in Reno Nevada
Lambs of God
Lambs of God

Our Lady Seder plate small Our Cathedral in Panarama

Shalom means much more than Peace.
Shalom means much more than Peace.
Great scholars like St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and John Locke have discussed Justice, giving us an idea of what "Holy," might mean.
Great scholars like St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and John Locke have discussed Justice, giving us an idea of what “Holy,” might mean.

Over the past 32 years many of us have ceased being manual laborers, and no longer identify as workers. As bankers, lawyers, salespersons, and yes, even retired or unemployed, we are still workers. “White collar, unemployed and retired” are still just adjectives modifying, “Worker.”

In English, we have two key words, “Vocation,” and “Profession.” “Vocation” is but a fancy Latin word meaning our calling, as in our calling from God. “Profession,” comes from the root meaning to profess, whether we like it or know it, or not. We profess our faith, and fulfill our vocation, our calling from God, through what we do as professional bankers, lawyers, and salesmen. This statue of St. Joseph constantly serves to remind us that we are all one community, a community of workers in service to God.

Our mural in Reno Nevada is the opus of renowned artists, Edith and Isabel Piczek. Edith died this past year. She referred often to her lifetime vocation of “visualizing God’s Word and His creation. It takes constant studying of Scripture and theology to find the images, shapes, and forms to translate God’s beauty.”

The artist is creating visual representation … to see the sacred in each of us, to show the love of God through art for the Church.” Edith told The Tidings in 2000. “We came to bring God closer to people and people closer to God, through the work we do. We are not rich, but we have more happiness, more fulfillment, more satisfaction, through the kind of work we do, serving God, and through God serving his people.”

Edith and Isabel named our mural, “The Adoration of the Lamb of God, our Lord in the Blessed Eucharist.” A work of art, it has incredible balance, with exactly 16 people representing each the Torah, and the New Testament. For each person representing Torah, there is a corresponding person representing the New Testament, and vice versa.

As we look at our mural, we first notice that this is a Thomistic mural. We see Franciscans in the mural and St. Augustine, no Thomas Aquinas. Still, the mural is full of Thomistic images if we know where to find them. The Agnus Dei, the Lamb of God at the top of the mural. We also notice to the bottom left of the mural, Abel, whose name means “Mist,” holding a lamb. To the right, we again notice, the Lamb of God, in Aramaic, the Omer Elohim, in the person of the infant Jesus. The Aramaic word for lamb, “Omer” also means “Word.” St. John tells us:

In the beginning was the Omer/Word/Lamb. The Omer/Word/Lamb was with God; the Omer/Word/Lamb was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him, nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Soon afterward St. John tells us, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, “Behold, the Omer/Word/Lamb of God, who takes away the failure of the cosmos. He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.”

We notice the triangle, the lamb which Abel holds, the lamb which Our Blessed Virgin holds, and the lamb atop the mural. The characters in our mural form a triangle, with the Lamb of God atop the mural. The three points of the triangle represent the theological virtues, Amen, Hatikva, and Ahabbah.

Amen is faith. Hatikva is hope, and is Israel’s national anthem, the hope for the coming of God. Ahabbah comes from Haba, the one who is to come, the Paraclete, the Lamb of God, and the Father, Abba. We notice the four rivers of life atop the mural.

This house stands by four corners for this reason, the firm fabric of our mind is upheld by Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude, Justice. This house is grounded on four corners. The whole structure of good practice is raised in these four virtues. Four rivers of Paradise water the earth. Sometimes self-love invades the mind, makes it swerve by a secret declension from the straight line of justice: and in the degree that it refuses to refer itself wholly to its Maker, it goes contrary to the claims of justice.

‘A strong wind strikes the four corners of the house,’ in that strong temptation, by hidden impulses, shakes the four virtues; and the corners are struck, the house is uprooted, when the virtues are beaten, the conscience is brought to trouble. Gregory the Great, Moralia, Book 2

We notice seven groupings of people in our mural. On the right and the left, each represents what had been the focus of Catholic moral teaching until some thirty years ago. On the right Abel, we clothe the naked; Melchizadek, we give the thirsty something to drink: Moses, We ransom the captive; the manna we feed the hungry; Ruth, We harbor the harbor-less; John the Baptist, we visit the sick; Abraham, we bury the dead.

On the right are also seven groupings: Our Holy family comforts the afflicted; St. Augustine instructs the ignorant; St. Clair counsel the doubtful; St. Tarsicius bears wrongs patiently; Jesus, forgives offences willingly; St. Charles Borromeo, admonishes sinners; Pope Pious X prays for the living and the dead.

The lamb Abel/Mist holds, foreshadows the lamb our Blessed Virgin holds on the right side of our mural. Both of these lambs point to the lamb at the head of our mural, the Lamb of God who stands over the four rivers of life.

Cain represents those who raise themselves above their brothers, thinking they are owed more, because, and then give a reason. Abel stands alone with his lamb, symbolizing how short and brutish life is when we face the wrath of Cain, without the help of our neighbor. Cain asks God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” All the angels in heaven respond, “Now that you mention it…” In the original Hebrew God tells Cain, “My blood of your brother calls to me from Adam.” “My blood,” for God this is personal. God’s blood calls from Adam, the first man. We are all related.

The lamb to the right of the altar symbolizes the Divine family and the benefits of the grander community. Our Blessed Virgin is the mother of us all. As Eve and Cain bring death into the world, Jesus and Our Blessed Virgin bring life into the world, and not just life, but as St. John tells us in John 10:10, life lived to its fullest, for all people. This bringing of life into our world is the hallmark of our faith.

On the other side of our mural stands Moses. The mural tempts us to believe that the natural pair for Moses is St. Augustine who appears opposite Moses in the mural. This is not correct. Moses does not appear in the traditional pose, holding the Ten Commandments.

It is no accident that Moses holds the bronze serpents. If we look to the right, we see St. Joseph in an interesting pose as he places his robe, the same color as the bronze serpents, around our Blessed Virgin, and by extension, Jesus. The robe causes us to look up to our New Moses and to Jesus’ death.

This is part 2 of the series. For part 1 please click here.

We define what separates Catholics from Protestants part 5 Concluding remarks part 1


Bishop Berkeley asked, “If a tree falls in the woods, and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” He answered, “Yes! God hears.” If people suffer from poverty and injustice and nobody is around to hear, liberal or conservative, do they make a sound?”

Yes! God hears, and he will take action upon those who choose not to hear. Psalm 34:7. Ezekiel 33 tells of the watchman. We have the message. We must speak out. God holds us accountable if we do not remind the Russia, those who think themselves first, of their folly. God will punish them, but he will hold us accountable.

Deuteronomy 28:13 relates, “The Personal Name will make you the head not the tail. You will not turn aside from any of the words, to the right hand, or to the left.” When we point to the other guy as our excuse for not promoting life as Holy Mother Church defines the term, we become the tail. God calls us to better. Declaration of Independence states the purpose of government.”

Catholics define “Life,” as life lived. We treat our neighbor the same way we would treat God, who is in our neighbor. The conservative style of government results in budget deficits, high unemployment, poverty and the culture of death.

Pope Pious X’s emphasis on Catholic Action is therefore the wise choice. Tide has a commercial for their spot remover. A job applicant interviews for a job, but he has a spot on his shirt. A voice dub over plays loudly. All the interviewer hears is the voice dub over. So it is with the 47% of the population, the poor, the outcast, the marginalized, seeing the bumper stickers at conservative rallies. They see people at the rally, then the spots, the bumper stickers promoting a culture of death. They remember the double binds and the false choices with nothing but bad alternatives.

They believe in Baal, whose alternative names include Hermes, Mercury/god of merchants and thieves, and who took a more mechanical name as, “The Market.” They believe the invisible hand of the market always moves faster and better than the heavy hand of government. This invisible hand is in reference to Adam Smith who wrote, “He is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.”

This speaking of leadership presupposes leading, which presupposes thought by something greater than oneself, a deity, Baal, Hermes, Mercury, the Market, idolatry. As Catholics, we believe in only one God. This market god allows for no other provider but itself, and our God allows for no other provider but the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the God who died on the cross for us. All the poor hear is the culture of death and this idolatry. They neither know nor care about what the people are protesting. All they see and hear is the culture of death. With this in mind, we ask:

Two thousand people died in New Orleans because the conservatives opposed infrastructure spending. The US currently spends 2% of GDP on infrastructure while China spends 10%. If you oppose government spending on infrastructure, are you prepared to tell the bereaved relatives, of those who died in New Orleans, “Sorry, your loved one had the bad fortune of being born. You are not entitled to adequate roads and levies?”

45,000 lose their lives each year from a lack of affordable health care. If you oppose government involvement in healthcare, are you prepared to tell the bereaved relatives, “Sorry, your loved one had the bad fortune of being born? You are not entitled to government protection?”

Around 50 million people live a living death of living in food-insecure households, including 17 million children. Of these individuals, 12.2 million adults lived in households with very low food security. If you oppose government efforts to end poverty, are you prepared to tell us who suffer the living death of poverty, “Sorry, you had the bad fortune of being born? You are not entitled to a redress from your suffering?”

At the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire,” 146 people died. The Hamlet Chicken Processing Plant Fire, in 1991 in Hamlet North Carolina, saw locked doors, blocking workers escape. People died. If you oppose government efforts to end this problem, are you prepared to tell us, “Sorry, you had the bad fortune of being born? You are not entitled to redress?”

Two years ago, we had the Deepwater Horizon Disaster. Faulty construction contributed to the disaster. The conservatives apologized to BP for the resulting increase in government regulation. If you oppose government efforts to end this problem, are you prepared to tell us, “Sorry, you had the bad fortune of being born? You are not entitled to redress?”

The conservative’s desire to under-regulate industry resulted in the Monongah Mine disaster. 362 men lost their lives. The Sago Mine disaster was a coalmine explosion in 2006. Twelve people died. The Jim Walter Resources Mine Disaster in Alabama was in, 2001. Thirteen miners died. If you oppose government efforts to end this problem, are you prepared to tell us, “Sorry, you had the bad fortune of being born? You are not entitled to redress?”

This is part 5. Please click here for part 1

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Please click here for part 6

A Wisconsin congressman left the stage after being asked about tax cuts


We have lots of laws that aren’t being properly enforced. We need to make sure we enforce these laws. But the best thing to help prevent violent crime in the inner cities is to bring opportunity in the inner cities, is to help people get out of poverty in the inner cities, is to help teach people good discipline, good character. That is civil society. That’s what charities, and civic groups, and churches do to help one another make sure that they can realize the value in one another.”

This is what a certain Wisconsin congressman told a reporter just before walking off the stage after being confronted about his tax cuts. This is what the reporter should have asked, “The US already has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of its prison population. We are enforcing the laws. Question number one, are these people in prison biologically inferior, or is there something wrong with our society. Question two, this congressman stated churches should pick up the tab for training these people in “Good Discipline.” Which church does he have in mind? Here are some figures:

Charitable giving by denomination and income group:

Assemblies of God 5.5%
Baptist 4.6%
Low income population 4.5%
wealthy 3.0%
Presbyterian 2.6%
middle class 2.5%
Lutheran 2.4%
Catholic 1.9%

Does this congressman believe this refers to the Assemblies of God and the Baptists who live in the inner cities, or does this refer to all of us religious? If the former, they are already giving twice what his religious denomination gives. If the latter, there is the story of Legion. We must ask why a crazy person in Galilee would name himself Legion. The Hebrew and Aramaic for “Many” is, “Arbah.” In Greek, it is “Hoi Polloi.”

The Latin word for a multitude is “Multitude.” Legion only refers to the Roman Legions. As the story continues, Legion runs into a herd of pigs that then run down a creek bank and drown. Pigs are not kosher. St. Mark tells the story to remind us that to get rid of Legion, we must first get rid of our pigs. The denomination of this congressman must cease giving the least, and start giving the most.

This congressman believes the responsible church is the inner city church, the church already giving the most. Those giving the least yell at those already giving the most to give more? Religious” people, those attending their houses of worship at least once per week are only 33% of the population. How is it fair to tax 33% of the population to pay for people who are not members of their congregations, or is this congressman saying people should be forced to go to church so we can tax them?

The above chart does reflect that about a third of charitable giving to religious denominations goes to “Sacraments,” church administration, what the members donate to themselves as the upkeep of their meeting place.

His church is obligated in his mind to give nothing. He is telling the poor to find a way to set up your own society in the inner city, or die. This makes us not one nation but two, those in the suburbs, and those in the cities. He presumably is asking them to set up their own businesses and be their own employers. This congressman’s community is obliged to buy none of what they produce. “We are getting ours; if you are not, die,” is what he seems to be saying. He then goes on to say, “By the way, we are pro-life.” My last question, “Why do those in the inner city not take our pro-life claim seriously?

You’re entitled to your own house, but not to your own facts


Who, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so. He will put him in charge of all his property. If that Russia (He who puts himself first) servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with drunkards, the servant’s master will come on an unexpected day at and will punish him severely. He will assign him a place with the actors, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.

During the presidential debate of the past evening, the conservative candidate made two comments, “Mr. President, Mr. President, you’re entitled as the president to your own airplane and to your own house, but not to your own facts. All right, I’m not going to cut education funding. I don’t have any plan to cut education funding.” He had said earlier in the debate, “I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too. But I’m not going to — I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for. That’s number one.”

Big Bird and Sesame Street are education programs. He is cutting education and then he calls the president out for having his own facts, which includes his cutting of spending for education. In the Presidential Debate the liberal could have mentioned these figures as related by the Department of the Census:

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As we can see from looking at the enclosed chart, every time the conservatives have been in power, unemployment has been higher then when liberals have been in power. Before 1980, the percentage of income the poorest 50% of the population received remained constant between 24% and 27%. After 1980 that changed. It has dropped every year since, and is now a very low 19%. Since 1981, forty-two years, the liberals have had control of both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue a grand total of four years.

During the remainder of the time, conservatives have used obstruction and the President’s bully pulpit to dictate economic policy. The result has been the drop in the percentage the poorest 50% of the population received, from 27%, to the present 19%. The result has been these figures:

Two thousand people died in New Orleans because the conservatives opposed infrastructure spending. The US currently spends 2% of GDP on infrastructure while China spends 10%. If you oppose government spending on infrastructure, are you prepared to tell the bereaved relatives, “Sorry, your loved one had the bad fortune of being born. We are not entitled to adequate roads and levies?”

45,000 lives lost each year from a lack of affordable health care. If you oppose government involvement in healthcare, are you prepared to tell the bereaved relatives, “Sorry, your loved one had the bad fortune of being born. We are not entitled to government protection?”

5% of U.S. patients account for 50% of health care costs according to Zakaria from CNN. He also relates how poverty contributes to that disparity. If you oppose government involvement in healthcare, are you prepared to tell us, “Sorry, you had the bad fortune of being born. You are not entitled to reasonable access to healthcare?”

Around 50 million people live the living death of living in food-insecure households, including 17 million children. Of these individuals, 12.2 million adults and 5.4 million children lived in households with very low food security. If you oppose government efforts to end poverty, are you prepared to tell us who suffer the living death of poverty, “Sorry, you had the bad fortune of being born. You are not entitled to a redress from your suffering?”

At the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire,” 146 people died. The Hamlet Chicken Processing Plant Fire, September 3, 1991 in Hamlet North Carolina, saw locked doors, blocking workers escape. People died. If you oppose government efforts to end this problem, are you prepared to tell us, “Sorry, you had the bad fortune of being born. You are not entitled to redress?”

Two years ago, we had the Deepwater Horizon Disaster. Faulty construction contributed to the disaster. The conservatives apologized to BP for the resulting increase in government regulation. If you oppose government efforts to end this problem, are you prepared to tell us, “Sorry, you had the bad fortune of being born. You are not entitled to redress?”

The conservative’s desire to not adequately regulate industry also resulted in the Monongah Mine disaster. 362 men lost their lives in the underground explosion. The Sago Mine disaster was a coalmine explosion on January 2, 2006. Twelve people died. The Jim Walter Resources Mine Disaster in Alabama was on September 23, 2001. Thirteen miners died.

If you oppose government efforts to end this problem, are you prepared to tell us, “Sorry, you had the bad fortune of being born. You are not entitled to redress?” Our Declaration of Independence gives the purpose for government.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

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As Catholics, we believe that life is more than bare subsistence. Life is life lived in the image and likeness of God. How we treat our neighbor, is how we treat God, who is in our neighbor. Matthew 25:31-26:1 is the Address to the Nations. Matthew 26:1 begins Jesus’ Passion. As we do to the least of our neighbors we participate in Jesus’ Passion. For God and his son, this is very personal. We fail to act at our own peril. In the Presidential debate, the liberal could have mentioned this, as well.

American decides between King Saul and King David part 2


Mr. Breuggemann is correct in pointing out how the times were changing and Israel would have to change with them if they were to survive. In addition, the early ‘60s were a time of great change. Because of World War II and its aftermath, America found itself in the role of major world power in geo-politics. The world was watching as the students said in Chicago in ’68.

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To this date, American is deciding between King Saul and King David. Breuggemann relates how King Saul was a war chief who represents the Articles of Confederation and the old Confederacy. His idea of government was as a warrior chief and no more. We have a political party who views government the same way. It is to defend America from foreign invaders and not much more. They call it minimalist government.

Psalm 72 and Psalm 82 show God and King David had a far bigger role in mind for government. Psalm 72 begins, “לִשְׁלֹמֹה,” “To Solomon.” It ends, “The end of the psalms of David, son of Jesse.” The context is clearly King David telling King Solomon what the proper role of government is. It includes, “Judging/Dan God’s people with צֶדֶק/charity, and his poor with correct judicial precedent. It includes giving correct judicial precedent for the poor of the people, and saving the children of the needy, and crushes the oppressor.” King David mentions this several times.

Psalm 82 is the famous Psalm which has God talking with other Elohim. As the Psalm continues, who the other Elohim are becomes clear. I declare: “Gods though you be, offspring of the Most High all of you, As any mortal you shall die; like any prince you shall fall.” Deuteronomy 5 makes clear when it says, “Moses summoned all Israel and told them, Hear, Israel, the customs and correct judicial precedents which I proclaim in your hearing, this day, that you may learn them and guard to do them.”

Customs and correct judicial precedents by definition take time to develop. The word for “Correct judicial precedent,” “מִּשְׁפָּטִ,” comes from a root, which means “lip.” We are to view all the customs and correct judicial precedents as if they came from the lip of God himself. The Elohim of Psalm 82 are the people giving the customs and correct judicial precedents.

They stand as Elohim/gods, standing in the place of God. They are the princes, offspring of God, and Psalm 82 chastises them for not doing their job, playing the role of King Saul instead, and allowing the rich, the Russia, those who think themselves first, to exploit the poor. Supporting minimalist government, they support King Saul’s style of rule. They are the ones who interpret the Second Amendment as supporting their right to a militia. This is Articles of Confederation and Confederacy way of thinking. The proponents of Psalm 82 support King David’s style of rule.

As in America in the ‘60s, America was changing from a rural backwater and entering the world stage as a modern power. Those old enough still remember watching Tennessee Ernie Ford as he gawked at Lucile Ball as she pointed to a bathroom with indoor plumbing. In the skit, he could not get used to the idea. America has always been about the debate between King Saul and King David. The Civil War was also a major time of change. The Confederacy wanted limited government and the right to oppress the poor. The Civil War saw the first national draft and the first national currency. During the Civil War, military units were divided by states. Afterward, they were divided by function.

Before the war, rifles were smooth bored and breech loaded. The war saw the creation of bored rifles and bullets, hand grenades, aerial warfare/balloons, and the start of the industrial age with the railroad and the telegraph. Just like the Bronze Age turned into the Iron Age, and with it its own industrial revolution, the supporters of King Solomon did not understand the ramifications of what was coming. Some things never change. We still debate what the computer age means to the way governments must operate to defend their citizens against the rich and powerful.

This is part 2. Please click here for part 1

American decides between King Saul and King David part 1


Walter Breuggemann begins his chapter in “A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament,” on the “Rise of the Monarchy,” by discussing the story of Gideon. In our American History, our ancestors compared themselves to the ancient Hebrews.

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There are interesting corollaries and the story of Gideon is one of them. There are also clear distinctions. The Canaanites were the economically superior culture, although in the Hebrew telling, morally inferior. Our Native Americans were still hunter-gatherers, inferior in Western thinking, but in all so many ways, truly morally superior. This writer is Scotch-Irish/German.

Gideon plays the role of George Washington and plays it well. Gideon tells God, “Please, Kyrie, how can I save Israel? My family is the poorest in Manasseh, and I am the most insignificant in my father’s house.” Judges 6:25 mentions the altar of Gideon’s father and the asherah beside it. Implied is that it is his father’s asherah.

Judges 6:27 tells us how Gideon has ten servants. This is the first clue that Gideon and his family were not the poorest people in Manasseh. They had at least ten servants, presumably poorer than they were.

Gideon had 70 sons, and many wives. This can make one poor, but it also presupposes he had the financial ability to take care of this extended family. Judges 7:1 and Judges 8:29 and verse 35 also tell us how Gideon’s real name was Jerubbaal. That is, “Warrior of Baal.” “Hannibal,” from Carthage who wages war with the Romans is John/Graciousness of Baal.” This tells us something of the religion of Gideon’s father as well. “Gideon” also means warrior. After his transformational experience, Gideon translates his name to remove “Baal.”

Gideon chops down the proverbial cherry tree. This gives another clue as to his family finances. His father does not complain about the loss of the tree. The neighbors do. This must have been one huge oak tree. Its loss disgruntled the whole neighborhood. Terebinth is a type of oak tree. It also takes ten men to cut the stupid thing down. The story has striking corollaries to Abraham and the angels in Genesis 18. He is by his oak tree, a fatted calf is sacrificed, and Gideon displays considerable negotiation skills for a member of the poorest family in Manasseh.

This brings us to another example of how Gideon is so much like George Washington. George Washington did not want to be commander in chief of the American Army, but went to the continental congress everyday with his uniform on. Gideon does not want to be king, but names his son “Abimelech,” “My Dad is king,” two short verses later.

This brings us to another place where Israel at the time of King Saul and King David were so much like our own. Walter Breuggemann in his chapter on the “Rise of the Monarchy,” in “A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament,” mentions how times were changing during the time of King Saul and King David.

On page 229 of the text, Walter Breuggemann gives us a chart with some very interesting dates, 1961 and 1993. The first date is the date John F. Kennedy was sworn in as President. The second date is the date Bill Clinton became President. Like each of these two presidents, King David had a great domestic policy, and a not so good home life. JFK and King David also had great foreign policies.

Mr. Breuggemann does not discuss these dates. He discusses the reigns David becomes king/ melech at Hebron and over all Israel. King David takes the reins of power at the end of the late Bronze Age. He dies in the beginning of the Iron Age. Mr. Breuggemann relates how during the reins of Gideon and King/Molech Saul, the main enemies were city-states. King David must wage war with nation states. Nation states did exist before King Saul. We need look no further than Egypt and the Hittites.

Mr. Breuggemann is correct in pointing out how the times were changing and Israel would have to change with them if they were to survive. In addition, the early ‘60s were a time of great change. Because of World War II and its aftermath, America found itself in the role of major world power in geo-politics. The world was watching as the students said in Chicago in ’68.

The deaf man is not the deaf man says the lady in the harbor


The readings for the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time read loud and clear, to those who understand that there are no unnecessary words in the dedicated writings. The Gospel reading is the healing of the deaf man, exactly one chapter before the healing of the blind man. In both stories Jesus uses the same technique for healing. He spits.

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The reason for this becomes clear when we realize that the Hebrew and Aramaic word for spit, רִירוalso means to be moist, saturated, refreshing, delightful, and intoxicated. What is present in these stories is an allusion to the Eucharist, the blood of Christ.

There are also some fine points of doctrine Jesus tries to teach us with the use of this technique. First, it is the important of being moist, soft, kind, caring. Second, is the importance of noticing how the presenting problem is that he is both deaf and mute. Most people who are deaf are also mute. If they cannot hear, how can they learn to speak properly? If people are not able to hear, how can they hear their own voice to moderate timber, pitch, and volume? Most important, if people cannot hear, how can they learn the words, the language of other people? How can people have meaningful dialogue with another if they do not hear other people?

In our first reading we see the same thing. Isaiah relates how people see first, then their ears open, and only then are they able to speak. It is not the deaf man who is deaf, and it is not the blind man who is blind. The sighted people and those who hear, but do not listen are blind and deaf. We see this in chapter 8, with the story of the blind man. In this story, the healing is intentionally a two step process. The first time the blind man complains the people he now sees look like walking trees. The Hebrew word for tree is עֵץand the Hebrew word for a counselor, an old stodgy person who gave up his humanity to be a professional עֵץ is. The first time Jesus heals the blind man he only sees the outside of the person. They look like counselors. He only sees their exterior. The second time, he sees them as real people with hopes and fears, as people made in the image of God, yet having original sin.

In the healing of the deaf mute, Jesus only heals his deafness. His deformity of speech disappears when he learns to listen, listening with the heart to those around him. When we as a society learn to do the same as the blind and the deaf man, we will all leap like a stag, we will all sing like the deaf. We will all see streams as they burst out into the desert sand, and rivers in the steppe. We will all see the burning sands as they transform into pools, and the thirsty ground as it springs life giving water.

Of course, with St. James, we will no longer see the gold rings and fine clothes as they enter into our humble assembly. We will no longer see the shabby clothes as they hang on the poor man. We will see the poor man, and then as a man, created in the image of God.

God, through us will secure justice for the oppressed, give bread to the hungry and set prisoners free; God, through us, will give sight to the blind, raise up those who are bowed and loves the charitable. God, through us will protect the resident alien, Hispanic, Arabic, Jewish, Oriental, and European. God through us, will come to the aid of the orphan and widow. God, through us, will thwart the way of the Russia/those who think themselves first. God, through us will say:

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp! Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

We need to define what life is to follow our Declaration of Independence Part 5


As individuals, Faithful Discipleship means looking for candidates who support all of Catholic moral teaching, and voting for them on Election Day. Are lawyers reading this article? If you support all of Catholic moral tradition, you have my vote. I ask my opponents in this debate, have you considered running for public office. If you support all of Catholic moral tradition, you have my vote.

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Our Encyclical Humanae Vitae tells us in section 14, “Sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good. It is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it. It is unlawful to do evil in the hope good may come from it.”

It may be acceptable to stay home on Election Day and tolerate a non-pro-life elected official. It is never lawful to elect a politician who supports the culture of death. Those opposed Catholic Action, as a nation, those who oppose helping the poor, as a nation, support a Culture of death.

The underlying principle of these new opinions is that, in order to more easily attract those who differ from her, (Americanism) the Church should shape her teachings more in accord with the spirit of the age and relax some of her ancient severity and make some concessions to new opinions. Papal Encyclical

We are leaves blowing in the wind. New opinions are new opinions, regardless of whether they come out of the mounts of Modernist Conservatives, or Liberals. Humanae Vitae came in 1968. We celebrate the 44th anniversary. Catholics were 22% of the U.S. adult population in 1948. We reached our high point in the late 1970s, when the U.S. population was nearly 30% Catholic. In the last several years, the Catholic percentage has been around 23%.”

After 40 years of engaging in talking points, the five non-negotiable points are still with us. All we have done is dropped 10% of the population from being Catholic. Insanity is repeating the same things, and expecting different results. I can hear the conservatives joining the cause now.

We as liberals are the ones calling for the changes. So argues the conservatives. We say, what changed is not Humanae Vitae, or Vatican II. They were in the ‘60s. Still something changed. It was no change in the content of our faith. That has not changed in four millennia. We were getting results in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and without changing our teaching. We do not have to look far to see what changed in the ‘80s.

The Pope wrote his Encyclical to modernist, wealthy Catholics in the 1880s who did not want to follow the Encyclicals leading up to Rerum Novarum, which came two years later. The name of the above Encyclical is Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae, written in 1889. Conservatives want to use Five Non-negotiable teaching to abandon Rerum Novarum and related teachings and only follow Five Points. This is Americanism and it is a heresy.

We understand the appeal of this heresy. As men who are not doctors or researchers, there is no danger of us engaging in any of the sins of Five Points. All we have to do is not research our political candidates as they relate to pro-life issues, and vote for whomever we want. Because we have exchanged all of Creed, Sacrament, Ten Commandments, and Prayer with these Five Points, we are going to heaven. As Liberal Catholics, we say it is not that simple.

As liberal Catholics, we want results. We must decide, do we want to end abortion, and solve the other four non-negotiable points, or do we want to engage in an idle boxing match with the other side for another forty years.

There is the logical fallacy called false dilemma. We have 250 Catholic colleges and universities and 26 law schools, combined, graduating 70,000 students each year. There may well be lawyers watching this debate. Why do they not run for public office, supporting all of Catholic moral teaching? We cannot find 535 willing to run for Congress and for President?

We cannot find one? Are our universities failing that badly? Where are the Catholic/Christian candidates? “Faithful Discipleship as presented in the tradition of Catholic social teaching” means finding students in our colleges and universities, developing them into candidates, helping those candidates find the funding, and helping them into public office.

As individuals, Faithful Discipleship means looking for these candidates and voting for them on Election Day. Lawyers present? If you support all of Catholic moral tradition, you have my vote. I ask my opponent in this debate, have you considered running for public office. If you support all of Catholic moral tradition, you have my vote.

This is part 5. Please click here for part 4

Please click here for part 1.

We need to define what life is to follow our Declaration of Independence Part 4


“Faithful Discipleship as presented in tradition of authoritative Catholic social teaching,” is all about creating this concordium, in English concord. A Hebrew word for God, is Abba, Father. Jesus is the Lamb of God. The Aramaic word for Lamb is “Omer.” The Aramaic word for “Word” is Omer. Lambs of course say, “Bah.” Bah is Hebrew for to come or the one who is to come. Ah Ha bah is the Hebrew word for Love.

It is welcoming each other into our communities with all of our faults and all of our failures. St. John tells us in 1 John 4:7, “Love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.”

In Mark 12:29 Jesus discusses the great commandment, “Hear Israel, God is Almighty; God is One. You will have loved God with all your hearts, with all of your animate being, and with all of your measure.) The Hebrew word, “Hearts,” is plural. It is addressed to the entire community, not individuals. We have we each have many hearts, inclinations, some of which are good and some of which are not. God calls us to love him with all of our inclinations. God calls us to love him with all of our measure. If we measure ourselves with our patriotism, God calls us to love him with that.

How do we love God? What do we give someone who literally has everything? We love him by taking care of and respecting his property, his garden. We especially love him by taking care of what he made in his image and in his likeness, each other. Jesus also tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. That means our neighbor has an obligation to love and respect us.

We need to see ourselves, or the ground within us as part of God’s garden. We must be people other people will find easy to love and respect. This is faithful discipleship. The Greek version of Genesis calls the Garden of Eden by its Persian name, Paradise. When Jesus dies, he tells another prisoner, “Today, you will be with me in Paradise.”

The command to guard and keep the garden never changes. If God cannot trust us to take care of his garden and the animate beings, including each other on this planet, how can he reasonably expect us to take care of the next one. Faithful discipleship means taking care of this garden, in particular each other. It includes using patriotism, the way we vote.

Jesus relates in Matthew 25:31 through 26:1, “As you do to the least of these my brothers, you do it to me.” Then the Passion comes. As we take care of those who hunger, thirst, are naked, in hospitals, and are in prison, we participate in the Passion.

We are all in the game of life. All bring to the game our resources, knowledge and skills. We all come to the game to get something out of it. Some requests are reasonable; some are not. Demanding that the poorest 50% live on 19% of all income so that the richest 20% can live on 80% of all income is not reasonable. The job of St. Augustine’s conductor is to make sure the tuba does not drown out the flute. St. Augustine’s conductor is our leadership, in private enterprise and in government. As Deuteronomy, 17:14 tells us, the conductor is not some mythical entity. He is one of us. He must know how many homes and cars he owns, how much a gallon of milk, a dozen eggs, gasoline, and the like costs.

Our Lamb, our faith is all about promoting life; life lived to its fullest. That is what “Life” means. We look to St. Joseph, a carpenter. A retired worker is still a worker, just a retired one. When we say we are no longer working people, we cut ourselves off from community. The Ten Commandments no longer apply to us, but neither does the reward, eternal life.

As we look to our Liturgy of the Hours, we will meditate upon the Magnificat and just how The Mighty One has done great things for our Blessed Virgin? “He dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with nobility and the rich he sent away empty.” Those were revolutionary words then and they are revolutionary words now.

“Mystery” is church language for Sacrament. The sacrament is the great mystery handed on to us through the Ten Commandments, prayer and the creed. It is about Christ who comes to us through his Physical Presence in the body and the blood of the Eucharist.

This is part 4; Please click here for part 3

We need to define what life is to follow our Declaration of Independence Part 3


Conservatives believe some men, corporate CEOs, and business owners are by nature good and do not need regulation. Liberals believe the writings of John Locke who noted that no man is a fair judge in his own case. That includes the corporate CEO, our religious leaders, the union chiefs, and our political leaders.

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St. Augustine whose mural is on our altar gave us our vocabulary, “original sin.” We are all imperfect human beings trying to get from conception to the grave in one piece. God made us all in his image, as our Catholic doctrine has always taught. This brings us to the third definition of “Life.” It relates how God made us in his image and likeness. How we treat our neighbor, is how we treat God who is in our neighbor. Genesis 4:10. This definition takes up where the prior definition leaves off. Deuteronomy 30:

This Mitzvah I give you today is not too wondrous or remote for you… It is something very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart… Choose life, that you and your descendants may live.”

This is one of the famous 613 Mitzvah of Jewish traditions. How is this Mitzvah? All life is life in potentiality. Exodus 20:26 tells us, ‘You will not ascend to my altar by steps.’ Either we are going up or we are going down. Either we increase life in all of its potentiality or we decrease it. We will use this definition of life throughout the remainder of the debate.

God made us all in his image and likeness, liberal and conservative. Catholic Catechism, section 1701. “Social justice can be obtained only in respecting the transcendent dignity of man.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, section 1929.

When we stand before the Eucharistic altar, we see how this works. Little Flower parish makes the scene a little clearer. We descend from the back of the church until we reach the steps to the altar. At our Cathedral, we again see steps. This reminds us of our trip to Mt. Sinai, and our trip up to the transfiguration. We walk up and down hills and valleys until we arrive at the promised mountain. Mt. Sinai is a volcano, and we represent this with incense. We stand at Sinai, again, for the first time, each time we attend Mass.

We all like to say the Pledge of Allegiance. I pledge allegiance to the flag, of the United States of America, and to the republic, for which it stands. Catholics need to define just what we mean by a republic. St. Augustine gives Catholics our definition of a republic:

As among the different sounds, which proceed from lyres, flutes, and the human voice, a conductor maintains a certain harmony, which a cultivated ear cannot endure to hear disturbed. He elicits this in full, absolute concordiam by the modulation of voices unlike one another. Where we allow reason to modulate the diverse elements of the state, we obtain perfect concord from the upper, lower, and middle classes as from various sounds. What musicians call harmony, is concord in matters of state, the strictest bond and best security of any republic, and which by no ingenuity can be retained where justice is extinct.

“Faithful Discipleship as presented in tradition of authoritative Catholic social teaching,” is all about creating this concordium, in English concord. A Hebrew word for God, is Abba, Father. Jesus is the Lamb of God. The Aramaic word for Lamb is “Omer.” The Aramaic word for “Word” is Omer. Lambs of course say, “Bah.” Bah is Hebrew for to come or the one who is to come. Ah Ha bah is the Hebrew word for Love.

It is welcoming each other into our communities with all of our faults and all of our failures. St. John tells us in 1 John 4:7, “Love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.”

This is part 3 of a series. Please click here for part 2

Please click here for part 1