Roman Style Mass Chasuble
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Gothic Style Mass Chasuble
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The Epistle appointed to be read during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass today is taken from Saint Paul's 1st Epistle to the Corinthians, Chapter 4, Verses 1-5.
Brethren: Let a man so account of Us as of the ministers of Christ, and the dispensers of the Mysteries of God. Here now it is required among the dispensers, that a man be found faithful. But to me it is a very small thing to be judged by you, or by man's day; but neither do I judge my own self. For I am not conscious to myself of any thing, yet am I not hereby justified; but He that judgeth me, is the Lord. Therefore judge not before the time; until the Lord come, Who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and then shall every man have praise from God.
Gospel for the 4th Sunday of Advent
Please stand for the Holy Gospel.
The Gospel for today is taken from the Holy Gospel of Saint Luke Chapter 3, Verses 1-6.
At that time, In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being Tetrarch of Galilee, and Philip his Brother Tetrarch of Iturea, and the country of Trachonitis, and Lysanias Tetrarch of Abilina; Under the High Priests Annas and Caiphas; the word of the Lord was made unto John, the Son of Zachary, in the desert. And he came into all the country about the Jordan, preaching the baptism of penance for the remission of sins. As it was written in the book of the sayings of Isaias the Prophet: A voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight His paths. Every valley shall be filled; and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight; and the rough ways plain; And all flesh shall see the Salvation of God.
Thus far are the words of today's Holy Gospel.
In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Saint Luke writes that it was “in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,” the pagan Roman Emperor.
Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus, who was born Tiberius Claudius Nero [b. at Rome, Italy, Roman Empire on November 16, 42 B.C. - d. at Misenum, Southern Italy - the site of an ancient port in Campania, a cape on the North-West end of the Bay of Naples, at modern Miseno, Italy, on Monday, March 16, 37 A.D.], was the second Roman Emperor.
Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus became Emperor after the death of the Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar, a.k.a. Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus [b. at Rome, Italy, Roman Empire on September 23, 63 B.C. -d. at Nola, Italy, Roman Empire on Tuesday, August 19, 14 A.D.].
It is common to call the Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar - Octavius - when referring to events between 63 B.C. and 44 B.C.; Octavian (or Octavianus) when referring to events between 44 B.C. and 27 B.C.; and, Augustus, a.k.a. Caesar Augustus, a.k.a. Augustus Caesar, when referring to events after 27 B.C.
Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus remained the Roman Emperor until his own death on Monday, March 16, 37 A.D. Therefore, the 15th year “of the reign of Tiberius Caesar” would most probably be towards the end of the year 29 A.D. which ties in to what some Scripture scholars claim, namely that Christ began His public ministry in about the year 30 A.D.
Verse 2 of today’s Gospel tells us this also happened “under the” reign of the “High Priests Annas and Caiphas.”
Annas, the Son of Seth [b. at ? in about 23 B.C. or 22 B.C. - d. assassinated at Jerusalem in 66 A.D.], was appointed the first High Priest of the newly formed Roman province of Iudaea - Judea - in 6 A.D. by the Roman Legate Publius Sulpicius Quirinius [b. at Lanuvium, near Rome, Italy c. 51 B.C. - d. at ? in 21 A.D.]. This event happened just after the Romans had deposed Archelaus, Ethnarch of Judaea, thereby putting Judea directly under Roman rule.
But in 15 A.D. at the age of 36, Annas was deposed by Valerius Gratus who was the Roman Prefect, or Procurator, of Judea [under Tiberius Caesar from 15 A.D. to 26 A.D.] "for imposing and executing capital sentences which had been forbidden by the imperial government".
After Valerius Gratus deposed Annas, he appointed Ismael, the Son of Fabi, to replace Annas. But then he deposed Ismael and replaced him with Eleazar, the Son of Arianus. He then deposed Eleazar and replaced him with Simon, the Son of Camith. Finally, he deposed Simon and replaced him with Joseph Caiaphas, who was the Son-in-law of Annas.
Some Scripture scholars take the position that, despite being deposed, Annas continued to function behind the scenes as the de facto High Priest since traditionally a Jewish High Priest was High Priest for life. So even though he was succeeded by four others, the last one being his Son-in-law, Joseph Caiphas (Caiaphas) who was the High Priest from 18 A.D. to 36 A.D., each of his successors was only a "puppet High Priest". In this way, Annas remained the real High Priest and continued to be one of the nation's most influential political and social leaders until his assassination in 66 AD for advocating peace with Rome.
In 26 A.D. Valerius Gratus was replaced by Pontius Pilate.
So this explains why Saint Luke mentions this very unique situation, recognizing the reality that although Joseph Caiphas (Caiaphas) held the title of High Priest, even so, the Jews still recognized Annas as the real High Priest. All of this historical data served to verify the predictions of the Prophets about the precursor of the Messias.
The Evangelist also tells us that Saint John the Baptist was called to prepare the Jews for the coming of Christ when “Pontius Pilate” was “the Governor of Judea, and Herod” was “the Tetrarch of Galilee, and Philip his Brother Tetrarch of Iturea, and... Trachonitis, and Lysanias Tetrarch of Abilina.”
Pontius Pilate, [b. in a small village of Bisenti, Samnite territory, in today's Abruzzo region of Central Italy, most probably sometime during the last half of the First Century B.C. - d. by committing suicide in Vienne, South-Eastern France, which is 20 miles South of Lyon, on the Rhône River, sometime after the reign of the Roman Emperor Caligula, a.k.a. Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus (from birth to accession); Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (as Emperor) (Monday, March 16, 37 A.D. - assassinated by members of the Praetorian Guard on Thursday, January, 24, 41 A.D. at Rome, Italy)], was “the Governor of Judea” from 26 A.D. until 36 A.D.
It should be noted that, just as is the case with other actual people mentioned in the New Testament, some Biblical scholars likewise believed that Pontius Pilate was also a mythical character - which is not true.
Said Bible "experts" were proven wrong! It came about that in 1961 a limestone rock was discovered in the Roman theatre at Caesarea Maritima, the capital of the province of Iudaea, bearing a damaged dedication by Pontius Pilate to a Tiberieum. This dedication in Latin states that Pilate was [...]ECTVS IUDA[...] (usually read as praefectus Iudaeae), that is, Prefect/Governor of Iudaea - Judea. The early Governors of Iudaea - Judea - were of the rank of Prefect, those of a later time were of the rank of Procurator, beginning with Procurator Cuspius Fadus in 44 A.D.
As you can see from the above photo of this rock, the inscription in Latin is Pilate's tribute to Tiberieum - Tiberius. The inscription with Pilate's own name [...]TIVS PILATVS[...] can be clearly seen on the second line. This is proof that Pilate was an actual person and thus confirms the historicity of Pontius Pilate as well as adding credence to the Biblical accounts of him in the New Testament. This inscription was discovered in Caesarea (Israel) by a group led by Antonio Frova and has been dated to between 26 A.D. to 37 A.D.
Herod Antipas - short for “Antipatros” [b. at ? before 20 B.C. - d. at ? after 39 A.D.] was the “Tetrarch” - which means the “ruler of a quarter”, or 25% - of Galilee and Perea, from 4 B.C. to 39 A.D.
Just as Saint John the Baptist prepared the Jews for the Messias, today each of us must also prepare for the coming of Christ so that He may bring us His many Graces. Today’s Gospel tells us how to do this, saying in verse 5: “Every valley shall be filled; and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight; and the rough ways plain”. “Every valley shall be filled” refers to being materialistic, worldly, and timid. In other words, being too concerned about temporal things instead of eternal things which results in carelessness about one’s eternal salvation. Too much concern about making money, getting rich, being honored and esteemed, living only to enjoy the illusory good things of this world, while neglecting to take care of one’s immortal Soul and rejecting the charitable warnings of others, who are concerned about their Spiritual well-being, by telling them: “Don’t put that guilt trip on me!”
A timid person views everything that he has to do for his own salvation through a magnifying glass which makes mountains out of anthills. Such a one knows it is necessary to keep all of the Commandments, fulfil the duties of his state in life, practice the Virtues and the Works of Mercy, and work on his Spiritual Life, but says: “I can not.” He knows he should avoid the near occasions of sin, bridle his passions, fight against and subdue self-love, and give up bad habits, but yet says: “I can not.”
Timidity is caused by leading a worldly and sinful life. It is like the rich youth who, when Christ told him to “go sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in Heaven: and come follow Me. And when the young man had heard this word, he went away sad: for he had great possessions.” (Matthew 19:21-22.).
Although with our natural strength we are not able to secure our salvation, yet, by the Grace of God, each of us must fill in the valley of timidity. Remember the Scripture that says: “I can do all these things in Him Who strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13).
The Saints were weak people who were inclined to sin and to evil, like ourselves, because of the lasting effects of Original Sin. The Saints had the same obstacles and temptations to overcome as we have, in some cases maybe even much greater obstacles and temptations than ours.
Yet, with the Grace of God, they overcame all of these things and secured their eternal destiny in Heaven. Stop to think about this. The Saints were made of the same flesh and blood just like you and me, but, by working on their Spiritual life, and by refusing to become discouraged, they developed strong will power and a strong faith and an unconquerable courage!
Pray to the Saints to help you with your own Spiritual Life! WHY do you think you are given the name of a Saint when you are Baptized and again when you are Confirmed? Not only are these Saints role models for you to imitate, but they are also, along with others of your own choosing, your Patron Saints to whom to pray for help. IF you have not been doing this, We strongly suggest that you try it and it will most certainly work for each and everyone of you! Of course, IF your church does not believe in using the names of Saints for Baptisms and Confirmations, or at lease does not discourage the use of names which are not Saints (too often today, various surnames are used in the place of the names of Holy Saints!) you are obviously NOT in the unchangeable Roman Catholic Church!
“It can neither profit me, the speaker, to speak, nor you, the hearers, to hear, unless we comply with the things which are spoken, ...so let us not limit the display of our zeal to hearing only, but let us observe what is said in our deeds. For it is indeed a good thing to spend time continually in hearing the Divine oracles: but this good thing becomes useless when the benefit to be derived from hearing is not linked with it.” (Patriarch Saint John Chrysostom [b. Antioch, c. 347 A.D. - d. at Commana in Pontus on Friday, September 14, 407 A.D.], Patriarch of Constantinople [Thursday, February 26, 398 A.D. - Thursday, June 24, 404 A.D.], exiled from his See the 2nd time on Thursday, June 24, 404 A.D., Father and Doctor of the Catholic Church. Sermon on Romans 12:20; emphasis added.)
For our resolutions, let all of us, by the Grace of God, firmly resolve to pray to at least one of your Patron Saints this week for help in whatever situation it is that you need help. And when you pray, always pray in the deepest humility and meekness, as well as from the depths of the most profound love it is possible for you to have for God, and with total confidence and perfect resignation to the Holy Will of God, with total confidence humbly begging the powerful intercession of your Patron Saint before the Throne of God.
In doing these things, you clear away the blockages on the path, or the WAY, to your heart so that the Infant Jesus can come your WAY so much more easily into your heart and Soul on Christmas morning with His love for you, especially when, kneeling in adoration of Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, you receive Him on your tongue in the Sacrament of His Love for you, the Most Holy Eucharist.C