Noticias de la Diócesis de Allentown

Five Faith Friday

Here is this week's installment of "Five Faith Friday" which contains five, faith-based things I found interesting and am sharing on Friday.

What Homily You Need to Watch --
"Of Pottery and Priesthood" by Father Bernard Ezaki. Skip the 10+ minutes you will waste on your phone or computer today and give it a watch.

"As long as we are alive, our destiny is uncertain, but once we pass through the kiln of death, our ultimate end is fixed forever. Either we will end up going to Heaven, with a possible side trip to purgatory, or we’ll end up going to Hell. It’s just that simple. There is, then, a certain hopefulness about life here and now. As long as we live, each one of us has the potential to become a saint. The old proverb says, Dum spiro, spero. “While I breathe, I hope.” At the same time, the possibility exists for us to take the wrong path. A fall from grace is possible at any moment, and so it is essential that we continually cooperate with God. After death, there is no opportunity for repentance. We will be headed ultimately to either Heaven or Hell." -Father Ezaki

So how do we get to Heaven? To quote Matthew 22:37-38: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment." Which is completely true!!!! BUT! We need good and holy priests as our shepherds to guide us in what that means. Skipping Mass and living in habitual sin is not loving God. As the Church Militant, we need to not only pray for our priests but to share with them our needs and to support them wherever possible.

Paraphrasing part of Father Ezaki's quoted part of his homily, when priests focus on God's mercy without explaining to us that the fullest measure of His mercy is found in absolution in the confessional, the priest is not providing us the fullness of truth that we need to hear in order to be saved. Let me put it this way. For a parent to let their kid stay out without a curfew, to not have any monitoring software on their technology devices, and to let them eat enormous amounts of junk food is not love. It's not "letting the kid be free" but instead it is a disservice towards the gift they have had bestowed upon them as parents.

Let's pray for good and holy priests to guide us on our journey. Our Father...

What Feast I'm Looking Forward To --
St. Nicholas Day on Sunday! Many people think of him as jolly old St. Nick but I like to look at him as the bruiser and defender of our faith. Did you know that he famously slapped the Alexandrian priest Arius, the leader of Arianism, for trying to spread the heresy of Arianism? What is Arianism? It's the heresy that maintains that Jesus was created by God and was therefore neither coeternal with God nor consubstantial. One reflection and one fact for you as we prepare celebrate St. Nicholas Day:

  1. Are you willing to defend Christ as St. Nicholas did? I'm not advocating punching people who don't agree with the Church (although some probably do need a healthy dose of reality - ha) but are you willing to speak up for the the truth? What are you willing to do to defend God's honor?
  2. Did you know that in the ancient Church, gifts were distributed between family and friends not on Christmas but on the Feast of St. Nicholas and on the Feast of the Epiphany? Kind of makes sense given what we know about St. Nicholas and how the three wise-men brought gifts on the Epiphany, right?

What You Should Know --
There is a correct and incorrect way to genuflect. Since the early 16th century, the Roman Catholic Church approved genuflection and according to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM 274), "A genuflection, made by bending the right knee to the ground, signifies adoration, and therefore it is reserved for the Most Blessed Sacrament..." (emphasis mine). People genuflect with the left knee on the ground as a sign to pay respect to kings, propose to their girlfriend, etc., but the right knee is reserved for God alone as a sign of divine worship. Pay attention next time you genuflect at Mass.

Which Program I'm All Signed Up For --
Exodus 90! Every man out there should sign up for this. Intense prayer, fraternity, and asceticism for 90 days sounds intimidating. Is it? Yeah. But you need to get uncomfortable being comfortable. Life is short and eternity is forever.

This January 4th will be my 3rd time going through the 90 day spiritual exercise and each time has brought tremendous joy and many blessings. The past 2 years I've done it with pretty much the same group of guys. Shoot, we've met at least once every two weeks ever since! But I felt a strong calling to get uncomfortable and bring Exodus 90 to a parish fraternity of men vs. a group of men from different places in the diocese. Pray for us!

Are you a woman and wondering about exodus 90? Read this article around women and asceticism. This year is definitely going to be different for me.

What Book I Read --
"God or Nothing: A Conversation on Faith" by Cardinal Sarah. It has an average of 4.9 out of 5 stars across 416 reviews on Amazon and it definitely lives up to the hype. It's an extremely easy read as the entire structure of the book is a question and answer, interview style format covering a variety of topics - everything from Pope Francis to Vatican II to modernism to prayer. If you aren't a big reader, this might be a great place to start as it is broken up very nicely and is easy to digest while at the same time not having a watered down view of the faith. I'd love to see Cardinal Sarah as the next Pope! Hey, here's a fun fact for you. Did you know that people actually gamble on who the next Pope is going to be? Currently Cardinal Sarah is sitting at +1600 betting odds.

Have a wonderful weekend and may God bless you and your family!

David Yingling started his weekly “Five Faith Friday” emails when the Coronavirus forced an end to his in-person “Pints & Prayers” gatherings, which he describes as “Men striving to deepen their faith over a cold one.” He’s a member of St. Jane Frances de Chantal Parish in Easton.