Back when I started this blog, I led a Young Adult Bible study group, so each week I would post my notes concerning the upcoming Mass Readings. My goal was to produce a commentary for the entirety of the Sunday Lectionary. However, this came to an end when I started attending an Eastern-Rite parish and handed the Bible Study over to another leader. The Eastern Churches have a different liturgical calendar and Lectionary, so the project came to an end.
This Wednesday I was leading a Bible study at a Roman-Rite parish, so I thought I would revive my tradition of posting my notes for today’s readings…
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m currently leading a Bible study through the Book of Acts. I wanted to do a quick post to make a note of where I got the maps for the study. I got them from the Archdiocese of Toronoto. The site gives a brief synopsis of each of Paul’s letters and also has three great maps showing St. Paul’s missionary journeys:
Yesterday, during our Acts of the Apostles Bible study, we read the section in Acts 17 where St. Luke talks about St. Paul’s interaction with some philosophers in Athens:
“While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to debate with him” – Acts 17:16-18
Who were these “Epicurean and Stoic philosophers”? What did they believe? All will be answered in the video below:
So, the Epicureans were founded by Epicurus. They believed that things are “good” and “bad” based upon whether they give pleasure or pain. The Epicureans were negative hedonists, attempting to eliminate desires since Epicurus regarded it as a kind of pain. His followers didn’t fear death because once you’re dead no harm can come to you.
Zeno was the founder of the Stoics. They determined “good” and “bad” based upon whether something was seen as virtue or vice. Pleasure was seen as a vice and was therefore to be avoided. Unrealistic expectations were seen as the source of grief in life.
Today is my patron’s Feast Day…
St. Peter, weak-willed and head-strong, pray for me.
Continuing my attempts to produce these Lectionary Notes in under four hours…
Fifth Sunday of Easter: 6th May, 2012
The Readings this week focus around life in Christ.
We begin with an account of St. Paul’s failed attempts in Jerusalem to commune with Christ’s Body, the Church. Strangely enough, it turns out that people tend to be a bit stand-offish if you’ve previously tried to kill them! In our Gospel Reading, Jesus teaches his disciples using the metaphor of the vine, showing us that union with Him is essential if we are to live. He gives us a warning too, that if we do not produce fruit, we will be cut off from Him and deprived of His Divine life. St. John restates this sentiment in the Second Reading, exhorting his readers to “love not in word…but in deed”.
Let us come to Mass this week thirsty for the grace of Christ which is communicated through His Church. Let us drink deeply, returning to the world refreshed, ready to share the life of Christ and to bear fruit which will last.
Through Him, and with Him, and in Him…
Okay, pop quiz time, what is the origin of the quotation below?
“We often suffer, but we are never crushed. Even when we don’t know what to do, we never give up.”
Back in August, to coincide with the anniversary of 9/11, there was an online survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of American Bible Society. The survey found that more Americans attributed the above quotation to Captain America, Martin Luther King, and President George W. Bush than to St. Paul.
In total, 63% believed the words came from somewhere other than 2 Corinthians 4:8.
Who says Biblical literacy is down?
Do you remember the bit in the Acts of the Apostles where Paul is in Athens? We’re told that “A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to debate with him…When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered” (Acts 17:18, 32). Ever wondered who these guys were?
Well, wonder no more! I’ve recently come across a collection of “Three Minute Philosophy” videos on YouTube:
Warning! This guy’s videos can contain rather colourful language…
(Also, his video on St. Thomas Aquinus has a few errors in it…)