Monday, July 1, 2013

Sunday, June 30, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog: Solace, Psalms 16:1-11, First Kings 19:16-21, Luke 9:51-62 , Pope Francis Daily Homily - Jesus always invites us He does not impose., First Martyrs of the Church of Rome, Apostolic Age, Catholic Catechism Part Three: Life In Christ Section 2 The Human Communion Article 1:2 Conversion and Society and In Brief

Sunday,  June 30, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog:

Solace, Psalms 16:1-11, First Kings 19:16-21, Luke 9:51-62 , Pope Francis Daily Homily - Jesus always invites us He does not impose.First Martyrs of the Church of Rome, Apostolic Age, Catholic Catechism Part Three: Life In Christ Section 2 The Human Communion Article 1:2 Conversion and Society and In Brief

Year of Faith - October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

The world begins and ends everyday for someone.  We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift of knowledge, reason and free will, make the most of these gifts. Life on earth is a stepping stone to our eternal home in Heaven. The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, wonder and awe (fear of the Lord) , counsel, knowledge, fortitude, and piety (reverence) and shun the seven Deadly sins: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony...Its your choice whether to embrace the Gifts of the Holy Spirit rising towards eternal light or succumb to the Seven deadly sins and lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to the Darkness, Purgatory or Heaven is our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...~ Zarya Parx 2013

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


Prayers for Today: Sunday in Ordinary Time

Rosary - Glorious Mysteries


 Papam Franciscus
(Pope Francis)

Pope Francis June 30 General Audience Address :

  Jesus always invites us. He does not impose.

(2013-06-30 Vatican Radio)
Dear brothers and sisters,

This Sunday's Gospel (Lk 9:51-62) shows a very important step in the life of Christ: the moment in which, as St Luke writes, "[Jesus] steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem. (9:51 )” Jerusalem is the final destination, where Jesus, in his last Passover, must die and rise again, and so to fulfill His mission of salvation.

From that time, forth, after the steadfast decision, Jesus aims straight for the finish line, and even to the people he meets and who ask to [be allowed to] follow Him, He says clearly what are the conditions: not having a permanent abode; knowing how to detach oneself from familiar affections; not succumbing to nostalgia for the past.

Jesus also said to his disciples, charged with preceding Him on the way to Jerusalem to announce His coming, not to impose anything: if they do not find willing welcome, they are [simply] to proceed further, to move on. Jesus never imposes. Jesus is humble. Jesus extends invitations: “If you want, come.” The humility of Jesus is like this: He always invites us. He does not impose.

All this makes us think. It tells us, for example, the importance, even for Jesus, of conscience: listening in his heart to the Father's voice, and following it. Jesus, in his earthly life, was not, so to speak, “remote-controlled”: He was the Word made flesh, the Son of God made man, and at one point he made a firm decision to go up to Jerusalem for the last time - a decision taken in His conscience, but not on His own: ​​with the Father, in full union with Him! He decided in obedience to the Father, in profound intimate attunement to the Father’s will. For this reason, then, was the decision was steadfast: because it was taken together with the Father. In the Father, then, Jesus found the strength and the light for His journey. Jesus was free. His decision was a free one. Jesus wants us Christians to be free as he is: with that liberty, which comes from this dialogue with the Father, this dialogue with God. Jesus wants neither selfish Christians, who follow their egos and do not speak with God, nor weak Christians, without will: “remote-controlled” Christians, incapable of creativity, who seek ever to connect with the will of another, and are not free. Jesus wants us free, and this freedom – where is it found? It is to be found in the inner dialogue with God in conscience. If a Christian does not know how to talk with God, does not know how to listen to God, in his own conscience, then he is not free – he is not free.

So we also must learn to listen more to our conscience. Be careful, however: this does not mean we ought to follow our ego, do whatever interests us, whatever suits us, whatever pleases us. That is not conscience. Conscience is the interior space in which we can listen to and hear the truth, the good, the voice of God. It is the inner place of our relationship with Him, who speaks to our heart and helps us to discern, to understand the path we ought to take, and once the decision is made, to move forward, to remain faithful.

Pope Benedict XVI has given us a great example in this sense. When the Lord had made it clear, in prayer, what was the step he had to take, he followed, with a great sense of discernment and courage, his conscience, that is, the will of God that spoke to his heart – and this example of our father does much good to all of us, as an example to follow.

Our Lady, with great simplicity, listened to and meditated deep within herself upon the Word of God and what was happening to Jesus. She followed her Son with deep conviction, with steadfast hope. May Mary help us to become more and more men and women of conscience – free in our conscience, because it is in conscience that the dialogue with God is given – men and women able to hear the voice of God and follow it with decision.

I wish you all a good Sunday!


Liturgical Celebrations to be presided over by Pope: Summer

Vatican City, Summer2013 (VIS)
Following is the calendar of celebrations scheduled to be presided over by the Holy Father for the Summer of 2013:

The Prefecture of the Papal Household has released Pope Francis' agenda for the summer period, from July through to the end of August. Briefing journalists, Holy See Press Office director, Fr. Federico Lombardi confirmed that the Pope will remain 'based ' at the Casa Santa Marta residence in Vatican City State for the duration of the summer.

As per tradition, all private and special audiences are suspended for the duration of the summer. The Holy Father's private Masses with employees will end July 7 and resume in September. The Wednesday general audiences are suspended for the month of July to resume August 7 at the Vatican.

7 July, 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time: 9:30am, Mass with seminarians and novices in the Vatican Basilica.

14 July Sunday , Pope Francis will lead the Angelus prayer from the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo.

Pope Francis will travel to Brazil for the 28th World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro from Monday July 22 to Monday July 29.  


  • Vatican News. From the Pope. © Copyright 2013 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Accessed 06/30/2013.


June 25, 2013 Our Lady of Medjugorje Message to the World on the 32nd Anniversary of the apparitions: “Dear children! With joy in the heart I love you all and call you to draw closer to my Immaculate Heart so I can draw you still closer to my Son Jesus, and that He can give you His peace and love, which are nourishment for each one of you. Open yourselves, little children, to prayer – open yourselves to my love. I am your mother and cannot leave you alone in wandering and sin. You are called, little children, to be my children, my beloved children, so I can present you all to my Son. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

June 2, 2013 Our Lady of Medjugorje Message to the World: "Dear children, in this restless time, anew I am calling you to set out after my Son - to follow Him. I know of the pain, suffering and difficulties, but in my Son you will find rest; in Him you will find peace and salvation. My children, do not forget that my Son redeemed you by His Cross and enabled you, anew, to be children of God; to be able to, anew, call the Heavenly Father, "Father". To be worthy of the Father, love and forgive, because your Father is love and forgiveness. Pray and fast, because that is the way to your purification, it is the way of coming to know and becoming cognizant of the Heavenly Father. When you become cognizant of the Father, you will comprehend that He is all you need. I, as a mother, desire my children to be in a community of one single people where the Word of God is listened to and carried out.* Therefore, my children, set out after my Son. Be one with Him. Be God's children. Love your shepherds as my Son loved them when He called them to serve you. Thank you." *Our Lady said this resolutely and with emphasis.

May 25, 2013 Our Lady of Medjugorje Message to the World:“Dear children! Today I call you to be strong and resolute in faith and prayer, until your prayers are so strong so as to open the Heart of my beloved Son Jesus. Pray little children, pray without ceasing until your heart opens to God’s love. I am with you and I intercede for all of you and I pray for your conversion. Thank you for having responded to my call.”


Today's Word:  solace  so·lace [sol-is]  

Origin:  1250–1300; Middle English solas  < Old French  < Latin sōlācium,  equivalent to sōl ( ārī ) to comfort + -āc-  adj. suffix + -ium -ium 

1. comfort in sorrow, misfortune, or trouble; alleviation of distress or discomfort.
2. something that gives comfort, consolation, or relief: The minister's visit was the dying man's only solace.
verb (used with object)
3. to comfort, console, or cheer (a person, oneself, the heart, etc.).
4. to alleviate or relieve (sorrow, distress, etc.).


Today's Old Testament Reading - Psalms 16:1-11

1 [In a quiet voice Of David] Protect me, O God, in you is my refuge.
2 To Yahweh I say, 'You are my Lord, my happiness is in none
5 My birthright, my cup is Yahweh; you, you alone, hold my lot secure.
7 I bless Yahweh who is my counsellor, even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I keep Yahweh before me always, for with him at my right hand, nothing can shake me.
9 So my heart rejoices, my soul delights, my body too will rest secure,
10 for you will not abandon me to Sheol, you cannot allow your faithful servant to see the abyss.
11 You will teach me the path of life, unbounded joy in your presence, at your right hand delight for ever.


Today's Epistle -  First Kings 19:16-21

16 You must anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat, of Abel-Meholah, as prophet to succeed you.
17 Anyone who escapes the sword of Hazael will be put to death by Jehu; and anyone who escapes the sword of Jehu will be put to death by Elisha.
18 But I shall spare seven thousand in Israel; all the knees that have not bent before Baal, all the mouths that have not kissed him.'
19 Leaving there, he came on Elisha son of Shaphat as he was ploughing behind twelve yoke of oxen, he himself being with the twelfth. Elijah passed near to him and threw his cloak over him.
20 Elisha left his oxen and ran after Elijah. 'Let me kiss my father and mother, then I will follow you,' he said. Elijah answered, 'Go, go back; for have I done anything to you?'
21 Elisha turned away, took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He used the oxen's tackle for cooking the meat, which he gave the people to eat. He then rose and, following Elijah, became his servant.


Today's Gospel Reading -  Luke 9:51-62

The difficult process of forming the disciples.
How to be born again.
Luke 9:51-62

1. Opening prayer

Lord Jesus, send your Spirit to help us to read the Scriptures with the same mind that you read them to the disciples on the way to Emmaus. In the light of the Word, written in the Bible, you helped them to discover the presence of God in the disturbing events of your sentence and death. Thus, the cross that seemed to be the end of all hope became for them the source of life and of resurrection.

Create in us silence so that we may listen to your voice in Creation and in the Scriptures, in events and in people, above all in the poor and suffering. May your word guide us so that we too, like the two disciples from Emmaus, may experience the force of your resurrection and witness to others that you are alive in our midst as source of fraternity, justice and peace. We ask this of you, Jesus, son of Mary, who revealed to us the Father and sent us your Spirit. Amen.

2. Reading
a) A key to the reading: The literary context
In the context of Luke’s Gospel, the text for this Sunday is at the beginning of the new phase of Jesus’ activity. The frequent conflicts with the people and the religious authorities (Lk 4:28; 5:21.30; 6:2.7; 7:19.23.33-34.39) confirmed Jesus as being the Servant Messiah as foreseen in Isaiah (Is 50: 4-9; 53:12) and as assumed by Jesus himself from the beginning of his apostolic activities (Lk 4:18). From now on, Jesus begins to proclaim his passion and death (Lk 9:22.43-44) and decides to go the Jerusalem (Lk 9:51). This change in the course of events created a crisis among the disciples (Mk 8:31-33). They cannot understand and are afraid (Lk 9:45), because they still hold on to the old way of thinking of a glorious Messiah. Luke describes various episodes touching on the old mentality of the disciples: the desire to be the greatest (Lk 9:46-48); the will to control the use of the name of Jesus (Lk 9:49-50); the violent reaction of James and John at the refusal of the Samaritans to welcome Jesus (Lk 9:51-55). Luke also points out how hard Jesus tries to get his disciples to understand the new concept concerning his mission. This Sunday’s text (Lk 9: 51-62) gives some examples of the way Jesus tried to form his disciples.

b) A division of the text to help with the reading:
Luke 9:51-52: Jesus decides to go to Jerusalem
Luke 9:52b53: A village in Samaria does not welcome him
Luke 9:54: The reaction of John and James at the Samaritans’ refusal
Luke 9:55-56: Jesus’ reaction to the violence of James and John
Luke 9:57-58: Jesus’ first condition for following him
Luke 9:59-60: Jesus’ second condition for following him
Luke 9:61-62: Jesus’ third condition for following him

c) The text:
51 When the days drew near for him to be received up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him; 53 but the people would not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54 And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, "Lord, do you want us to bid fire come down from heaven and consume them?" 55 But he turned and rebuked them. 56 And they went on to another village.

57 As they were going along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." 58 And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head." 59 To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." 60 But he said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." 61 Another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home." 62 Jesus said to him, "No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."

3. A moment of prayerful silence
so that the Word of God may penetrate and enlighten our life.

4. Some questions
to help us in our personal reflection.
a) Which part of the text pleased you most and which touched you most?
b) What defects and limitations of the disciples can we discover in the text?
c) What teaching method does Jesus use to correct these defects?
d) What facts from the Old Testament are recalled in this text?
e) With which of these three vocations (vv. 57-62) do you identify yourself? Why?
f) Which of the defects of Jesus’ disciples is most prevalent in us, his disciples of today?

5. A key to the reading that may help us to go deeper into the theme.

a) The historical context of our text:
The historical context of Luke’s Gospel always contains the following two aspects; the context of the time of Jesus in the 30’s in Palestine, and the context of the Christian communities of the 80’s in Greece for whom Luke is writing his Gospel.

At the time of Jesus in Palestine. It was not easy for Jesus to form his disciples. It is not simply the fact of following Jesus and living in community that makes a person holy and perfect. The greatest difficulty comes from “the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod” (Mk 8:15), that is, from the time’s dominant ideology, promoted by the official religion (the Pharisees) and by the government (the Herodians). Fighting against the leaven was part of the formation he gave his disciples; especially that the manner of thinking of the great had taken deep root and always raised its head again in the minds of the little ones, the disciples. The text of our meditation this Sunday gives us an insight into the way Jesus faced this problem.

In Luke’s time, within the Greek communities. For Luke, it was important to help the Christians and not leave them prey to the “leaven” of the Roman empire and pagan religion. The same applies today. The “leaven” of the neo-liberal system, spread by the media, propagates a consumeristic mentality, contrary to Gospel values. It is not easy for people to realise that they are being duped: “What I have in my hand is nothing but a lie!” (Is 44:20).

b) A commentary on the text:
Luke 9:51-52a: Jesus decides to go to Jerusalem
“Now as the time drew near for him to be taken up to heaven”. This statement shows that Luke reads Jesus’ life in the light of the prophets. He wants to make it quite clear to his readers that Jesus is the Messiah in whom is accomplished that which the prophets foretold. The same manner of speaking is in John’s Gospel: “Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to pass form this world to the Father, ...” (Jn 13,1). Jesus is obedient to the Father, “he decisively set out towards Jerusalem”.

Luke 9:52b53: A village in Samaria does not welcome him
Hospitality was one of the pillars of community life. It was difficult for anyone to let someone spend the night outside without welcoming him (Jn 18:1-5; 19:1-3; Gs 19;,15-21). But in Jesus’ time, the rivalry between Jews and Samaritans urged the people of Samaria not to welcome Jews who were on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and this led the Jews from Galilee not to pass through Samaria when they went to Jerusalem. They preferred to go through the valley of the Jordan. Jesus is contrary to this discrimination and, therefore, goes through Samaria. Consequently he suffers discrimination and is not made welcome.

Luke 9:54: The violent reaction of John and James at the refusal of the Samaritans
Inspired by the example of the prophet Elijah, James and John want to call down fire from heaven to exterminate that village! (2 Kings 1:10.12; 1Kings 18:38). They think that by the simple fact that they are with Jesus, everyone should welcome them. They still cling to the old mentality, that of privileged persons. They think that they can keep God on their side to defend them.

Luke 9:55-56: Jesus’ reaction to the violence of James and John
“Jesus turned and rebuked them”. Some versions of the Bible, basing their translation on some old manuscripts wrote: “You know not what spirit dwells in you. The son of man did not come to take the life of men, but to save it”. The fact that someone is with Jesus does not give that person the right to think that he or she is superior to others or that others owe them honour. The “Spirit” of Jesus demands the opposite: to forgive seventy times seven (Mt 18:22). Jesus chose to forgive the criminal who prayed to him on the cross (Lk 23:43).

Luke 9:57-58: The first condition for following Jesus
One says: “I will follow you wherever you go”. Jesus’ reply is very clear and without any hidden meaning. He leaves no room for doubt: the disciple who wishes to follow Jesus must impress this on his or her mind and heart: Jesus has nothing, not even a stone to lay his head on. The foxes and the birds are better off because they at least have holes and nests.

Luke 9:59-60: The second condition for following Jesus
Jesus says to one: “Follow me!” These were the words addressed to the first disciples: “Follow me” (Mk 1:17.20; 2:14). The reaction of the one called is positive. The person is ready to follow Jesus. He only asks that he may be allowed to bury his father. Jesus’ reply is hard: “Leave the dead to bury their dead; your duty is to go and spread the news of the kingdom of God”. This is probably a popular proverb used for saying that one has to be radical in one’s decision making. The one who is ready to follow Jesus must leave everything behind. It is as though one were dead to all one’s possessions resurrected to another life.

Luca 9,61-62: The third condition for following Jesus
A third one says: “I will follow you, but first let me go and say good-bye to my people at home”. Again the reply of Jesus is hard and radical: “Once the hand is laid on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God”. Jesus is more demanding than the prophet Elijah when Elijah called Elisha to be his disciple (1 Kings 19:19-21). The New Testament is greater than the Old Testament in its demands on the practice of love.

c) A further deepening: Jesus the formator
The process of the formation of the disciples is demanding, slow and painful, because it is not easy to give birth to a new experience of God in them, a new vision of life and of the neighbour. It is like being born again! (Jn 3:5-9). The old mindset keeps creeping back in the life of people, of families and communities. Jesus spares no effort in forming his disciples. He gave much time to this, not always successfully. Judas betrayed him, Peter denied him and, in the moment of trial, all abandoned him. Only the women and John stayed close to him, near the cross. But the Holy Spirit whom Jesus sent to us after his resurrection, completed the work Jesus began (Jn 14:26; 16,13). Apart from what we have said concerning the text of this Sunday (Lk 9:51-62), Luke speaks of many other examples to show how Jesus went about forming his disciples and helping them to overcome the misleading mentality of the time:

In Luke 9:46-48 the disciples argue among themselves as to who is the greatest among them. The competitive mindset here is that of fighting for power, characteristic of the society of the Roman Empire, and it had already infiltrated the just-beginning and small community of Jesus! Jesus tells them to hold to the opposite way of thinking. He takes a child to his side and identifies himself with the child: “Anyone who welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me!” The disciples were arguing as to who was the greatest, and Jesus tells them to look at and welcome the smallest! This is the point most stressed by Jesus and the one to which he witnessed: “[I] did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mk 10:45).

In Luke 9:49-50, someone who was not part of the group of the disciples was using the name of Jesus to drive out devils. John saw him and stopped him: “Let us stop him because we do not know him”. In the name of the community, John stops a good action! He thought he owned Jesus and wanted to stop anyone from using the name of Jesus to do good. He wanted a closed community. This was the old mentality of the “Chosen people, a separate people!” Jesus replies: “Do not forbid him, because anyone who is not against you is for you”. The aim of formation cannot lead to a feeling of privilege and ownership, but must lead to an attitude of service. What is important for Jesus is not whether someone is part of the group or not, but whether the person is doing the good that should be done by the community.

Here are some more examples of the way Jesus educated his disciples. It was a way of giving human form to the experience he had of God the Father. You can complete the list:

* he involves them in his mission and on their return he goes over what happened with them (Mk 6:7; Lk 9:1-2; 10:1-12, 17-20)
* he corrects them when they go wrong (Lk 9:46-48; Mk 10:13-15)
* he helps them discern (Mk 9:28-29)
* he questions them when they are slow (Mk 4:13; 8:14-21)
* he prepares them for the conflict (Mt 10:17ff)
* he reflects with them concerning present problems (Lk 13:1-5)
* he sends them to look at reality (Mk 8:27-29; Jn 4:35; Mt 16:1-3)
* he confronts them with the needs of the people (Jn 6:5)
* he teaches them that the needs of the people are above ritual prescriptions (Mt 12,7.12)
* he defends them when they are criticised by their adversaries (Mk 2:19; 7:5-13)
* he thinks of their rest and nourishment (Mk 6:31; Jn 21:9)
* he spends time alone with them to teach them (Mk 4:34; 7:17; 9:30-31; 10:10; 13,3)
* he insists on vigilance and teaches them to pray (Lk 11:1-13; Mt 6:5-15).

6. Psalm 19 (18), 8-14
The law of God source of formation
The precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever;
the ordinances of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover by them is thy servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
But who can discern his errors?
Clear thou me from hidden faults.
Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord,
my rock and my redeemer.

7. Final Prayer
Lord Jesus, we thank for the word that has enabled us to understand better the will of the Father. May your Spirit enlighten our actions and grant us the strength to practice that which your Word has revealed to us. May we, like Mary, your mother, not only listen to but also practise the Word. You who live and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  First Martyrs of the Church of Rome

Feast DayJune 30

Patron Saint:  n/a
Attributes: n/a

The First Martyrs of the Church of Rome were Christians martyred in the city of Rome during Nero's persecution in 64. The event is recorded by both Tacitus and Pope Clement I, among others. They are celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church as an optional memorial on 30 June.

This feast first came into the General Roman Calendar in the 1969 calendar reforms. The intention of the feast is to give a general celebration of early Roman martyrs. Prior to the calendar reforms, there were dozens of relatively minor Roman martyrs celebrated or commemorated in the calendar. Several of these had scant historical evidence, but did benefit from immemorial tradition. This feast is a replacement for the many Roman martyr feasts, whose absence allowed for a less cluttered and more "dies natale" based sanctoral calendar of more major saints. It also permitted the greater celebration of ferias, partially enacting the Second Vatican Council's call for the Proper of Time to take a greater precedence. All of the early Roman martyrs retain their place in the Martyrology and can be celebrated in local calendars or privately unless impeded by a greater observance.

The placement of the feast is directly after the Solemnity of SS Peter and Paul, who are the principal patron saints of Rome. The subsequent martyrs are associated with this patronage. The feast day was formerly occupied with a Commemoration of St. Paul, and fell in the Octave of SS Peter and Paul.


    • Clarke, W. K. Lowther, ed. (1937). The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians. London: Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge.
    • Grant, Robert M., ed. (1964). The Apostolic Fathers. New York: Nelson.
    • Loomis, Louise Ropes (1916). The Book of Popes (Liber Pontificalis). Merchantville, NJ: Evolution Publishing. ISBN 1-889758-86-8.
    • Lightfoot, J.B. (1890). The Apostolic Fathers. London: Macmillan.
    • Meeks, Wayne A. (1993). The origins of Christian morality : the first two centuries. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press. ISBN 0-300-05640-0.
    • Richardson, Cyril Charles (1943). Early Christian Fathers. The Library of Christian Classics. Philadelphia: Westminster Press.
    • Staniforth, Maxwell (1968). Early Christian writings. Baltimore: Penguin.

    Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane


    Today's Snippet I:   Apostolic Age

    A depiction of Jesus appearing to his Apostles after his resurrection.
    The Apostolic Age of the history of Christianity is traditionally the period of the Twelve Apostles, dating from the Great Commission of the Apostles by the resurrected Jesus in Jerusalem c. 33 until the death of the last Apostle, believed to be John the Apostle in Anatolia c. 100. Traditionally, the Apostles are believed to have dispersed from Jerusalem,[1] founding the Apostolic Sees. It holds special significance in Christian tradition as the age of the direct apostles of Jesus Christ. The major primary source for the "Apostolic Age" is the Acts of the Apostles, but its historical accuracy is questioned by some.

    According to most scholars, the followers of Jesus were composed principally from apocalyptic Jewish sects during the late Second Temple period of the 1st century. Some Early Christian groups were strictly Jewish, such as the Ebionites and the early-church leaders in Jerusalem, collectively called Jewish Christians. During this period, they were led by James the Just. Paul of Tarsus, commonly known as Saint Paul, persecuted the early Jewish Christians, such as Saint Stephen, then converted and adopted the title of "Apostle to the Gentiles" and started proselytizing among the Gentiles. He persuaded the leaders of the Jerusalem Church to allow Gentile converts exemption from most Jewish commandments at the Council of Jerusalem, which may parallel Noahide Law in Rabbinic Judaism.

    According to the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Paul's influence on Christian thinking is more significant than any other New Testament author,[2] however the relationship of Paul of Tarsus and Judaism is still disputed today (see the link for details). After the Destruction of the Second Temple in AD 70, or at the latest following the Bar Kokhba revolt of 132, Jerusalem ceased to be the center of the Christian church, its bishops became "suffragans" (subordinates) of the Metropolitan bishop of Caesarea.[3] In the 2nd century, Christianity established itself as a predominantly Gentile religion that spanned the Roman Empire and beyond.


    The Cenacle on Mount Zion, claimed to be the location of the Last Supper and Pentecost.
    The apostolic period between the years 30 and 100 produced writings attributed to the direct followers of Jesus Christ. The period is traditionally associated with the apostles, hence the tags "apostolic times" and "apostolic writings".

    The New Testament books were connected by the early church to the apostles, though modern liberal scholarship has cast doubt on the authorship of most New Testament books. In the traditional history of the Christian church, the Apostolic Age was the foundation upon which the entire church's history is founded.[5]

    The Apostolic Age is particularly significant to Restorationism which claims that it represents a purer form of Christianity that should be restored to the church as it exists today.

    The unique character of the New Testament writings, and their period of origin, is highlighted by the paucity of the literary form in later writing.

    Once the canon of the New Testament began to take shape, the style ceased to be used on a regular basis. Non-canonical writings persisted, but died out within a historically short period of time. Early patristic literature is dominated by apologetics and makes use of other literary forms borrowed from non-Christian sources.[6]

    Early leaders

    St. Peter, by Rubens
    The relatives of Jesus lived in Nazareth since the 1st century. Some of them were prominent early Christians. Among those named in the New Testament are his mother and four of his cousins: James, Simeon, Joseph and Jude. According to the Gospels, some of the family opposed the mission and religion of Jesus. The relatives of Jesus were accorded a special position within the early church, as displayed by the leadership of James in Jerusalem.[7]

    According to 19th-century German theologian F. C. Baur early Christianity was dominated by the conflict between Peter who was law-observant, and Paul who advocated partial or even complete freedom from the law. Later findings contradicted this theory. The allegedly continuous conflict was not supported by the available evidence. However, theological conflict between Paul and Peter is recorded in the New Testament and was widely discussed in the early church. Marcion and his followers stated that the polemic against false apostles in Galatians was aimed at Peter, James and John, the "Pillars of the Church", as well as the "false" gospels circulating through the churches at the time. Irenaeus and Tertullian argued against Marcionism's elevation of Paul and stated that Peter and Paul were equals among the apostles. Passages from Galatians were used to show that Paul respected Peter's office and acknowledged a shared faith.[8][9]

    Scholar James D. G. Dunn has proposed that Peter was the "bridge-man" between the two other prominent leaders: Paul and James the Just. Paul and James were both heavily identified with their own "brands" of Christianity. Peter showed a desire to hold onto his Jewish identity, in contrast with Paul. He simultaneously showed a flexibility towards the desires of the broader Christian community, in contrast to James. (This balance is illustrated in the Antioch episode related in Galatians 2.) Thus, Peter became a unifying force in the church.[10]

    Jewish background

    According to most scholars, Early Christianity was a Jewish eschatological faith. The Book of Acts reports that the early followers continued daily Temple attendance and traditional Jewish home prayer. Other passages in the New Testament gospels reflect a similar observance of traditional Jewish piety such as fasting, reverence for the Torah (commonly translated as "the Law" in English translations of the Bible) and observance of Jewish holy days. The earliest form of Jesus' religion is best understood in this context. However, there was great diversity in local variations, as each succeeded or failed in different ways. Regardless, Jesus was a pious Jew, worshipping the Jewish God, preaching interpretations of Jewish law and accepted as the Jewish Messiah by his disciples. Nearly all scholars agree that regardless of how one interprets the mission of Jesus, that he must be understood in context as a 1st-century Palestinian Jew.[11][12]

    Religious climate

    The religious climate of 1st century Judea was quite diverse with numerous variations of Judaic doctrine, many attempts to establish an ideal holy community and divergent ideas about Israel's future hopes. Modern scholars place normative Rabbinic Judaism after the time of Jesus, see also School of Jamnia. The Pharisees were but one sect and did not have the overwhelming influence in 1st century Judea traditionally attributed to them. The ancient historian Josephus noted four prominent groups in the Judaism of the time: Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes and Zealots. Jesus dealt with a variety of sects, most prominently discussing the Law with Pharisees and debating about bodily resurrection with the Sadducees. Jesus also directly associated with John the Baptist, who is often associated with the Essenes.[13]

    Relationship with the Essenes

    Scholars such as James Tabor state that Essenes and early Christians had a number of similar beliefs. The Essenes practised baptism, believed in a New Covenant, were messianic and believed themselves a remnant of the faithful preparing the way for the reign of God's glory. They called their group by names that would later be used by Christians, such as The Way and the Saints. Jesus preached a number of doctrines similar to Essene Halacha. They followed a charismatic leader who was opposed and possibly killed at the instigation of the Pharisees. John the Baptist seems to have risen out of this context.[14]

    Some scholars, such as Carsten Peter Thiede, dispute this presentation. Early Christian leaders did not have to visit Qumran to have heard of Essene beliefs and read their texts. The various Jewish groups, including Christians and Essenes, were interconnected and simultaneously adopted some practices and beliefs while rejecting others. While some similarities exist, there are many differences and similar parallels can be also drawn between the early Christians and Pharisees, and other Jewish sects. Many features of Christian faith have no parallels in the texts from Qumran, and some that do are fundamentally distinct from Essene practices and beliefs. Notably, John's act of penitent baptism bears little resemblance to the daily baptismal ritual of the Essenes.[15]

    First Gentile converts

    Peter Baptizing the Centurion Cornelius by Francesco Trevisani
    The Roman centurion Cornelius of Caesarea Maritima is traditionally considered the first Gentile convert. His conversion, as documented in Acts 10, carries great significance. Cornelius was referenced by both Peter and James in arguing for the inclusion of Gentiles in the Council of Jerusalem. His conversion is broadly considered to have been the beginning of a broader mission to the Gentiles, who would come to eclipse the Jews among Christians.[16]

    The story of Cornelius' conversion is thematically connected with, and parallels, the conversion stories of the Samaritans, Paul of Tarsus and an Ethiopian eunuch in Luke-Acts. The Ethiopian was an outsider and castrated, whose presence in worship assembly would have been prohibited under the Mosaic law (Deut 23:1). This is consistent with the theme of Luke, advocating a "universal" faith and mission. Ethiopia was considered in antiquity to be the southernmost end of the world. Thus, the Ethiopian's conversion can also be interpreted as a partial fulfillment of the mission presented in Acts 1 to bring the Gospel to the "ends of the earth". Some scholars assert that the Ethiopian eunuch was the first Gentile convert, stating that those resisting this conclusion are doing so to preserve the traditional interpretation of Cornelius as the first convert. Regardless of the primacy of either convert, this episode relates Luke's view of how (through Phillip) the Gospel reached the "ends of the earth" and the mission to the Gentiles was initiated.[17]

    Circumcision controversy

    Saint Paul, by El Greco
    Disputes over the Mosaic law generated intense controversy in early Christianity. This is particularly notable in the mid-1st century, when the circumcision controversy came to the fore. Alister McGrath stated that many of the Jewish Christians were fully faithful religious Jews, only differing in their acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah. As such, they believed that circumcision and other requirements of the Mosaic law were required for salvation. The increasing number of Gentile converts came under pressure from Jewish Christians to be circumcised in accordance with Abrahamic tradition. The issue was addressed at the Council of Jerusalem where Saint Paul made an argument that circumcision was not a necessary practice, vocally supported by Peter, as documented in Acts 15. This position received widespread support and was summarized in a letter circulated in Antioch.[18]

    While the issue was theoretically resolved, it continued to be a recurring issue among Christians. Four years after the Council of Jerusalem, Paul wrote to the Galatians about the issue, which had become a serious controversy in their region. There was a burgeoning movement of Judaizers in the area that advocated adherence to traditional Mosaic laws, including circumcision. According to McGrath, Paul identified James the Just as the motivating force behind the movement. Paul considered it a great threat to his doctrine of salvation through faith and addressed the issue with great detail in Galatians 3.[19]

    Apostolic Church in Jerusalem

    In 66, the Jews revolted against Rome.[20] Rome besieged Jerusalem for four years, and the city fell in 70.[20] The city was destroyed, including the massive Temple, and the population was mostly killed or removed.[20] Though, according to Epiphanius of Salamis,[21] the Cenacle survived at least to Hadrian's visit in 130. A scattered population survived.[20] Traditionally it is believed the Jerusalem Christians waited out the Jewish–Roman wars in Pella in the Decapolis. The Sanhedrin (of Judaism) reformed in Jamnia.[22] Prophecies of the Second Temple's destruction are found in the synoptics,[23] and are part of the argument for Supersessionism. After the Bar Kokhba revolt, Hadrian barred all Jews from Jerusalem which was renamed Aelia Capitolina, hence the subsequent Jerusalem bishops were Gentiles.

    Jerusalem received special recognition in Canon VII of Nicaea in 325, without yet becoming a metropolitan see,[24] and was later named as one of the Pentarchy, but the later was never accepted by the Church of Rome.[25]

    Saint Thomas Christians

    Christianity arrived along the southern Indian Malabar Coast via Thomas the Apostle in 52[26] and from this came Thomasine Christianity. These Syrian Malabar Nasranis kept a unique Christian identity until the arrival of the Portuguese in the 17th century.


    1. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia: Dispersion of the Apostles: "The object of the feast (so Godescalcus) is to commemorate the departure (dispersion) of the Apostles from Jerusalem for the various parts of the world, some fourteen years after the Ascension of Christ."
    2. ^ Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church ed. F.L. Lucas (Oxford) entry on Paul
    3. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia: Jerusalem (A.D. 71-1099): "As the rank..."
    4. ^ Bargil Pixner, The Church of the Apostles found on Mount Zion, Biblical Archaeology Review 16.3 May/June 1990
    5. ^ Brown (1993). p. 10.
    6. ^ Brown (1993). pp. 10–11.
    7. ^ Taylor (1993). Pg 224.
    8. ^ Keck (1988).
    9. ^ Pelikan (1975). Pg. 113.
    10. ^ Dunn (2006). Pg 385.
    11. ^ White (2004). Pp 127–128.
    12. ^ Ehrman (2005). Pg 187.
    13. ^ Wylen (1995). Pg 133, 136.
    14. ^ Tabor (1998).
    15. ^ Thiede (2003). Pp 189–192.
    16. ^ Freedman (2000). Pg 285.
    17. ^ Mills(1997) Pg. 22–23.
    18. ^ McGrath (2006). Pg 174.
    19. ^ McGrath (2006). Pp 174–175.
    20. "Jerusalem." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
    21. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia: Jerusalem (A.D. 71-1099): "Epiphanius (d. 403) says that when the Emperor Hadrian came to Jerusalem in 130 he found the Temple and the whole city destroyed save for a few houses, among them the one where the Apostles had received the Holy Ghost. This house, says Epiphanius, is "in that part of Sion which was spared when the city
    22. was destroyed" — therefore in the "upper part ("De mens. et pond.", cap. xiv). From the time of Cyril of Jerusalem, who speaks of "the upper Church of the Apostles, where the Holy Ghost came down upon them" (Catech., ii, 6; P.G., XXXIII), there are abundant witnesses of the place. A great basilica was built over the spot in the fourth century; the crusaders built another church when the older one had been destroyed by Hakim in 1010. It is the famous Coenaculum or Cenacle — now a Moslem shrine — near the Gate of David, and supposed to be David's tomb (Nebi Daud)."; Epiphanius' Weights and Measures at "For this Hadrian..."
    23. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia: Academies in Palestine
    24. ^ Harris, Stephen L. Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985.
    25. ^ Schaff's Seven Ecumenical Councils: First Nicaea: Canon VII: "Since custom and ancient tradition have prevailed that the Bishop of Aelia [i.e., Jerusalem] should be honoured, let him, saving its due dignity to the Metropolis, have the next place of honour."; "It is very hard to determine just what was the "precedence" granted to the Bishop of Aelia, nor is it clear which is the metropolis referred to in the last clause. Most writers, including Hefele, Balsamon, Aristenus and Beveridge consider it to be Cæsarea; while Zonaras thinks Jerusalem to be intended, a view recently adopted and defended by Fuchs; others again suppose it is Antioch that is referred to."
    26. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica "Quinisext Council". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved February 14, 2010. "The Western Church and the Pope were not represented at the council. Justinian, however, wanted the Pope as well as the Eastern bishops to sign the canons. Pope Sergius I (687–701) refused to sign, and the canons were never fully accepted by the Western Church".
    27. ^ A. E. Medlycott, India and The Apostle Thomas, pp.1–71, 213–97; M. R. James, Apocryphal New Testament, pp.364–436; Eusebius, History, chapter 4:30; J. N. Farquhar, The Apostle Thomas in North India, chapter 4:30; V. A. Smith, Early History of India, p.235; L. W. Brown, The Indian Christians of St. Thomas, p.49-59.


    • Brown, Schuyler. The Origins of Christianity: A Historical Introduction to the New Testament. Oxford University Press (1993). ISBN 0-19-826207-8.
    • Dunn, James D.G. Unity and Diversity in the New Testament: An Inquiry into the Character of Earliest Christianity. SCM Press (2006). ISBN 0-334-02998-8.
    • Ehrman, Bart D. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. HarperCollins (2005). ISBN 0-06-073817-0.
    • Keck, Leander E. Paul and His Letters. Fortress Press (1988). ISBN 0-8006-2340-1.
    • McGrath, Alister E. Christianity: An Introduction. Blackwell Publishing (2006). ISBN 1-4051-0899-1.
    • Pelikan, Jaroslav Jan. The Christian Tradition: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100–600). University of Chicago Press (1975). ISBN 0-226-65371-4.
    • Tabor, James D. "Ancient Judaism: Nazarenes and Ebionites", The Jewish Roman World of Jesus. Department of Religious Studies; University of North Carolina at Charlotte (1998).
    • Taylor, Joan E. Christians and the Holy Places: The Myth of Jewish-Christian Origins. Oxford University Press (1993). ISBN 0-19-814785-6.
    • Thiede, Carsten Peter. The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Jewish Origins of Christianity. Palgrabe Macmillan (2003). ISBN 1-4039-6143-3.
    • Volp, Ulrich. Idealisierung der Urkirche (ecclesia primitiva). European History Online (2011), retrieved: 1st of March, 2013.
    • White, L. Michael. From Jesus to Christianity. HarperCollins (2004). ISBN 0-06-052655-6.
    • Wylen, Stephen M. The Jews in the Time of Jesus: An Introduction. Paulist Press (1995). ISBN 0-8091-3610-4. 


     Catechism of the Catholic Church

    Part Three: Life in Christ

    Section One: Man's Vocation Life in The Spirit


    Article 1:2   The Person and Society - Conversion and Society

    1699 Life in the Holy Spirit fulfills the vocation of man (chapter one). This life is made up of divine charity and human solidarity (chapter two). It is graciously offered as salvation (chapter three).

    1877 The vocation of humanity is to show forth the image of God and to be transformed into the image of the Father's only Son. This vocation takes a personal form since each of us is called to enter into the divine beatitude; it also concerns the human community as a whole.

    Article 1

    II. Conversion and Society
    1886 Society is essential to the fulfillment of the human vocation. To attain this aim, respect must be accorded to the just hierarchy of values, which "subordinates physical and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones:"CA 36 # 2
    Human society must primarily be considered something pertaining to the spiritual. Through it, in the bright light of truth, men should share their knowledge, be able to exercise their rights and fulfill their obligations, be inspired to seek spiritual values; mutually derive genuine pleasure from the beautiful, of whatever order it be; always be readily disposed to pass on to others the best of their own cultural heritage; and eagerly strive to make their own the spiritual achievements of others. These benefits not only influence, but at the same time give aim and scope to all that has bearing on cultural expressions, economic, and social institutions, political movements and forms, laws, and all other structures by which society is outwardly established and constantly developed.John XXIII, PT 36
    1887 The inversion of means and ends,CA 41 which results in giving the value of ultimate end to what is only a means for attaining it, or in viewing persons as mere means to that end, engenders unjust structures which "make Christian conduct in keeping with the commandments of the divine Law-giver difficult and almost impossible."Pius XII, Address at Pentecost, June 1, 1941
    1888 It is necessary, then, to appeal to the spiritual and moral capacities of the human person and to the permanent need for his inner conversion, so as to obtain social changes that will really serve him. the acknowledged priority of the conversion of heart in no way eliminates but on the contrary imposes the obligation of bringing the appropriate remedies to institutions and living conditions when they are an inducement to sin, so that they conform to the norms of justice and advance the good rather than hinder it.LG 36
    1889 Without the help of grace, men would not know how "to discern the often narrow path between the cowardice which gives in to evil, and the violence which under the illusion of fighting evil only makes it worse."CA 25 This is the path of charity, that is, of the love of God and of neighbor. Charity is the greatest social commandment. It respects others and their rights. It requires the practice of justice, and it alone makes us capable of it. Charity inspires a life of self-giving: "Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it."Lk 17:33

    1890 There is a certain resemblance between the union of the divine persons and the fraternity that men ought to establish among themselves.
    1891 The human person needs life in society in order to develop in accordance with his nature. Certain societies, such as the family and the state, correspond more directly to the nature of man.
    1892 "The human person . . . is and ought to be the principle, the subject, and the object of every social organization" (GS 25 # 1).
    1893 Widespread participation in voluntary associations and institutions is to be encouraged.
    1894 In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, neither the state nor any larger society should substitute itself for the initiative and responsibility of individuals and intermediary bodies.
    1895 Society ought to promote the exercise of virtue, not obstruct it. It should be animated by a just hierarchy of values.
    1896 Where sin has perverted the social climate, it is necessary to call for the conversion of hearts and appeal to the grace of God. Charity urges just reforms. There is no solution to the social question apart from the Gospel (cf CA 3, 5).