Friday, July 4, 2014

Catechesis on St. Isaiah

Among the many saints in glory whose feast we commemorate this Sunday is one of the four Great Prophets, St. Isaiah. Isaiah was of royal stock, the tribe of Judah & lived in Jerusalem.  Under King Hezekiah in the South 715-686 BC, Isaiah warns of impending doom.  Assyria sets its eyes on the Southern Kingdom.  They arrive at the walls of Jerusalem only to be struck with a plague (2 Kings 19:35; Sirach 48:21)-A narrow escape (701 BC). Isaiah warns against for alliances whether w/ Assyria, Egypt etc.  and emphasizes Israel's need to be faithful and rely upon the Lord.

The major themes of his prophecies are the threat of punishment, the time of exile, and the time of restoration, which reflects the typical deuteronomic pattern of sin, punishment, repentance and restoration. In fact, according to Josephus, King Cyrus was convinced to free the Israelites after being shown the prophecy of Isaiah (Is 44:28) which names him as the one to end the Babylonian exile and to rebuild the Temple.

Some of Isaiah's major topics include:

- Social justice: He condemns commercial greed, drunkenness, immorality, extortion etc.  He declares that the sacrifices in the Temple are not pleasing because God really desires the sacrifice of Purity of life, contrition for sin, honesty, justice, mercy, & truth.

 -Isaiah emphasizes the holiness of God, the greatness of Jerusalem &  the importance of the Davidic dynasty and tells of  the Messiah as Suffering Servant, Light of the Nations, the Good Shepherd etc.

- Messianic Prophesies: It is of Isaiah that we learn that a virgin shall conceive and bear a son (Is 7:14). Here we learn of the BVM's virginal conception of the Messiah through the over-shadowing of the Holy Spirit. St. Justin Martyr in his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew & St. Jerome in his diatribe against Helvidius both defend this Catholic understanding of Isaiah.

Isaiah lists for us the qualities of the Messiah (Is9:1-7), His Davidic descent & the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (Is 11:1 ff) . " A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;  from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—  and he will delight in the fear of the Lord."  For the fruits of the Holy Spirit, we must look to St. Paul in Galatians 5:22.

Isaiah is well worth the read, especially during Advent & Lent.
--- Rev. Harold B. McKale

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

To the Parishoners of Holy Trinity: Note of Gratitude from Father Check

June 28, 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Praised be the Lord Jesus!  I hope that this brief note finds you well.  I am writing to inform you, that do to a variety of factors, I have decided to resign as Coordinator of the Latin Mass here at Holy Trinity Church.  Effective the 1st of July, 2014, Father Harold McKale will take over the duties of Coordinator.  I simply want to offer each and every one of you a word of gratitude.  For all those who make the ceremonies so beautiful, for all those who help with various other facets of this apostolate, and to those who make the sacrifice to come to Mass.  It has been a pleasure getting to know you and working with you.  I will still be in the rotation of priests and so I hope to see you when I visit.  I hope and pray that this work will continue and I am confident that Father McKale will be a good leader and spiritual father.  Please pray for me and I will pray for you.  May God who has begun this good work, bring it to fulfillment for His glory and for our eternal salvation!

Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Father Ronald W. Check