“Do you believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree?” (Under the fig tree is code for learning to know God and His ways in the scriptures.) Nathanael is flabbergasted and wide-eyed in surprise at what Jesus has disclosed about him. “You will see greater things than this. You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
Below is the beautiful “Exhortation Before Marriage” from the 1962 Roman Ritual. In the Catholic marriage rite before Vatican Council II, many priests used this to form at least part of their sermon.
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The wedding of Princess Diana (Lady Diana Spencer) in 1981 was watched by 750 million people. She died in an accident at 36 years old on August 31, 1997. More than 2.5 billion people watched her funeral in 1997. At her funeral, singer Elton John brought tears to the eyes of hundreds of mourners in Westminster Abbey when he sang: “Candle in the Wind, Goodbye England’s Rose.”
Each July 29, the Church traditionally celebrated an obligatory memorial mass of St. Martha, sister of Mary and Lazarus. But on February 2, 2021, Pope Francis expanded this memorial to include Martha’s sister and brother, Mary, and Lazarus. They were close friends of Jesus.
A newly ordained young priest fresh out of seminary was assigned to his first parish in a small, farming community. Each Sunday he preached exegetical sermons that had nothing to do with the lives of the people. In fact, over the years the village congregation had become quite patient and tolerant, gifted with the task of training young priests in the realities of Church life.
This coming weekend, in Dioceses around the world, Pope Francis is gathering Catholic families and leaders to reflect on the family in the Church, especially the domestic family at home, as the means of growing in holiness for parents, children and grandparents. There are many challenges facing every family today in America and around the world.