Readings & Reflections: Wednesday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time & Sts. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, August 31,2016
It is “God who causes the growth.” The crowds go looking for Jesus, who had withdrawn to a deserted place, because they recognized the miraculous growth that had taken place in their midst through the cures, the exorcisms, and the healings at the hands of Jesus. Christ insists, “To other other towns I must proclaim the good news.” Every human soul has waited for this Lord. Blessed the people he chooses to be his own.
“Lord Jesus Christ, you have all power to heal and to deliver. There is no trouble nor bondage you cannot overcome. Set me free to serve you joyfully and to love and serve others generously. May nothing hinder me from giving myself wholly to you and to your service.” In your Name, I pray. Amen.
1 Cor 3:1-9
Brothers and sisters,
I could not talk to you as spiritual people,
but as fleshly people, as infants in Christ.
I fed you milk, not solid food,
because you were unable to take it.
Indeed, you are still not able, even now,
for you are still of the flesh.
While there is jealousy and rivalry among you,
are you not of the flesh, and walking
according to the manner of man?
Whenever someone says, “I belong to Paul,” and another,
“I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely men?
What is Apollos, after all, and what is Paul?
Ministers through whom you became believers,
just as the Lord assigned each one.
I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth.
Therefore, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything,
but only God, who causes the growth.
He who plants and he who waters are one,
and each will receive wages in proportion to his labor.
For we are God’s co-workers;
you are God’s field, God’s building.
The word of the Lord.
Ps 33:12-13, 14-15, 20-21
R. (12) Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
From heaven the LORD looks down;
he sees all mankind.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
From his fixed throne he beholds
all who dwell on the earth,
He who fashioned the heart of each,
he who knows all their works.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield,
For in him our hearts rejoice;
in his holy name we trust.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
After Jesus left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon.
Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever,
and they interceded with him about her.
He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her.
She got up immediately and waited on them.
At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases
brought them to him.
He laid his hands on each of them and cured them.
And demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God.”
But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak
because they knew that he was the Christ.
At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place.
The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him,
they tried to prevent him from leaving them.
But he said to them, “To the other towns also
I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God,
because for this purpose I have been sent.”
And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Reflection 1 – The miracles of Jesus
The miracles of Jesus, the healings He did for those who opened their hearts to Him, the teachings He had among multitudes, the casual encounters with Jews and Gentiles alike, all highlight what it will take to build the kingdom of God. Love rather than hate and indifference, mercy and forgiveness over judgment, hope instead of despair, faith in lieu of reason were all prominent in the ministry of Jesus.
It was also very clear that His vocation was to be a brother to ALL without discrimination, to reach out to ALL and to help each one grow to wholeness. Jesus once said: “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.” Jesus conducted His life and ministry by always looking forward and renewing the lives of men, by not being held and attached to groups but by being open to the need of anyone who comes His way. He always had a “global” approach to His work as he proclaimed that He has to move on and proclaim the good news to other towns as He was sent for this purpose.
In our own community, we need to be more like Jesus in our work. We should never feel comfortable with our past glories and complacent with our failures but be able to move proactively with the leadings of the Spirit towards what the greater church would want us to pursue. We need to be tied in to Him and the Father and the Church as we proceed with our apostolate as a community.
We need to shift our focus from being inward looking to being outward looking and mission oriented but making sure that our formation needs are not relegated to the sidelines in favor of events and activities that only satiate our human needs for recognition. We must re align our resources including our hearts and minds towards our desired mission of serving the greater church so that we as a community may be transformed into GIFTS within our Lord’s vineyard but without prejudice, disregard and dilution of our quest to be formed in the ways of Christ through formation teachings & retreats…So that we may all bear the fruits of being one with Christ!
Every believer of Christ has been gifted to be part of God’s royal army for the salvation of the world. Every follower of Christ has been anointed and blessed to bear witness to God’s goodness, His love and mercy through the power and authority of the Holy Spirit. Just as Jesus wants to be one with us and to work in us, it is also His deep desire that we actively contribute into the growth of His kingdom and His people by proactively responding to our anointing as a private Lay Association of the Faithful. God wants to consciously see our lives as an extension of His plan and will for every man.
God is calling us to usher in His kingdom. For we are God’s co-workers, God’s church! He is inviting us to build the body of Christ. He wants us to engage in ceaseless battle with the world, the flesh, and the devil, through prayer, study of the word and good witnessing. It is his will for us that we proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God to “other towns”, because for this purpose we have all been sent.
Let us review the direction we have taken in the last years in terms of formation and mission. Let us ask our Lord for the best approach so that we can touch more souls, more lands, more groups, more families. Let us ask his grace so we may heal and redeem those who are in despair, and redeem the helpless and the poorest of the poor from extreme poverty and oppression. Let us ask for God’s guidance so that we may follow Jesus’ very own words: “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.” Let us find new ways and direction so that we will be formed to live ‘out’ the way of Jesus who abides in us. Our ultimate goal of spiritual formation is to be more like Jesus through our spiritual exercises and practices.
Help build God’s kingdom through acts of love and mercy to others.
Heavenly Father, teach me your ways so that I may be able to do your work. In Jesus, I pray. Amen.
Reflection 2 – The Good News of the Kingdom
Universities, where students come together to hear the “masters” speak, only came about in the late 12th century. Prior to that time, education was a matter of mentoring. Small groups of students would spend time with someone who was wise. The things they learned were not only about facts and theories; they learned as much about life by watching their teacher as they did in listening to him.
If only the call to discipleship were a matter of studying some facts in a book. But Jesus calls his disciples to walk with him. Spending time watching the Lord and his responses to real life situations is how a follower is trained.
While Simon Peter remains in the background of the story of his mother-in-law’s cure, you can bet that this initial experience of Jesus in action was an invaluable tool for his later ministry. He would have noticed how Jesus reached out and responded when someone was in need. He would have seen the compassionate eyes of the Lord. Perhaps he even marveled at Jesus’ insistence that he had to move on and proclaim the message “to other towns too.”
What will the Lord have me encounter? What will I learn today about my own capacity for compassion and forgiveness and what will I learn about my own foibles and weaknesses?
In some ways, when we “learn by walking,” we’re always on the adventure of seeing the Lord in action in our lives.
Books, articles, TV programs and parish bulletin inserts are all wonderful ways of Christian formation. But don’t forget the walking part. Sometimes, it’s better to close the book or turn off the TV, to move to the “other towns” of our existence, because, as Paul reminds Timothy, our faith is meant to “bear fruit and keep growing” throughout the world. The faith can’t spread if we have our faces in a book. (Source: John Petrikovic, OFM, Cap. Weekday Homilies Help. Ohio: St. Anthony Messenger Press, August 31, 2011).
Reflection 3 – He laid his hands on every one and healed them
Who do you take your troubles to? Jesus’ disciples freely brought their troubles to him because they found him ready and able to deal with any difficulty, affliction, or sickness which they encountered. When Simon Peter brought Jesus to his home for the Sabbath meal (right after Jesus preached in the synagogue in Capernaum), his mother-in-law was instantly healed because Jesus heard Simon’s prayer. Jesus could not avoid drawing a crowd wherever he went.
Jesus wants to set us free today
No one who asked Jesus for help was left disappointed. Jesus’ numerous healings and exorcisims demonstrated the power and authority of his word, the “good news of the kingdom of God.” When he rebuked the fever, it immediately left. When he rebuked the demons, they left as well. Why did the demons shudder at Jesus’ presence? They recognized that he was the Christ, theSon of God and that he had power to destroy their kingdom by releasing those bound by it. Jesus came to set us free from bondage to sin and evil. Do you seek freedom in Christ and trust in his power to set you free?
When Jesus and the disciples sought a lonely place to regroup and rest, they found instead a crowd waiting for them! Did they resent this intrusion on their hard-earned need for privacy and refreshment? Jesus certainly didn’t but welcomed them with open-arms. Jesus put human need ahead of everything else. His compassion showed the depths of God’s love and concern for all who are truly needy. Jesus gave the people the word of God and he healed them physically as well as spiritually.
Jesus never tires of hearing and answering our pleas
We can never intrude upon God nor exhaust his generosity and kindness. He is ever ready to give to those who earnestly seek him out. Do you allow Jesus to be the Lord and Healer in your personal life, family, and community? Approach him with expectant faith. God’s healing power restores us not only to health but to active service and care of others. There is no trouble he does not want to help us with and there is no bondage he can’t set us free from. Do you take your troubles to him with expectant faith that he will help you?
“Lord Jesus Christ, you have all power to heal and to deliver. There is no trouble nor bondage you cannot overcome. Set me free to serve you joyfully and to love and serve others generously. May nothing hinder me from giving myself wholly to you and to your service.” – Read the source: http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/aug31.htm
Reflection 4 – Are you on milk or solid food?
Hungry for God? Sure you are! If you didn’t have a spiritual appetite, you wouldn’t be reading these Good News Reflections. But what type of hunger do you have? Some people are satisfied with baby food. They want everything pureed for them, i.e., they want the truth to be plain and simple, clear-cut, black and white with no grey areas, nothing to chew on. This kind of faith is effortless and easy.
However, St. Paul says in today’s first reading that this level of faith means we are “still of the flesh”. It takes hard work to understand the truth on a deeper level, with all of its nuances, and it takes the same hard work to overcome the sinful desires of our flesh-nature. Jealousy, quarrels, divisions, greed, anger, impatience, swearing, complaining, addictions, selfishness, and all the other vices we succumb to are indications that we haven’t put enough effort into deepening our understanding of the truth.
It takes spiritual maturity to appreciate — and respond to — the desires of our holy nature, which was given to us by the Holy Spirit during our baptisms. Paul told the “baby” Christians of Corinth that they were God’s “field” (to be harvested) and “building” (still under construction). This is our starting point. God has planted us in his field. He has built his foundation in our lives.
But then what? Do we want to stay in this baby stage?
When we accept the hard labor of growing in holiness, we become God’s co-workers. As partners in his mission, we are his earthly hands that plant seeds and that build up others on his foundation.
In the more advanced stages of spiritual understanding, we accept suffering and sacrifice as part of the mortar that holds the building together. We see beyond what’s obvious and we accept the guidance of God even when it doesn’t make sense. We accept Christ’s ministry (a glimpse of which we see in today’s Gospel reading) as our own, even with all of its hardships.
As we proclaim in today’s responsorial Psalm, “Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.” However, we cannot enter into this blessing if we act like babies; babies cry out: “give me, feed me, hold me”.
Infants are ignorant, but ignorance (contrary to the old cliché) is not bliss. Ignorance leads us into danger, which is why toddlers should not go out into the street alone. Ignorance also hides many exciting challenges, and so we miss wonderful opportunities to make a good difference in the world.
In the more advanced stages of spiritual understanding, we go with Jesus wherever he goes. The work of sharing in Christ’s mission is not accomplished in baby cribs. Cribs have bars that hold us back. Ministry — making a difference in the lives of others — occurs outside the security of our comfort zones. – Read the source: http://gnm.org/good-news-reflections/?useDrDate=2016-08-31
Reflection 5 – Sts. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus
The actions of these two influential Jewish leaders give insight into the charismatic power of Jesus and his teachings—and the risks that could be involved in following him.
Joseph was a respected, wealthy civic leader who had become a disciple of Jesus. Following the death of Jesus, Joseph obtained Jesus’ body from Pilate, wrapped it in fine linen and buried it. For these reasons Joseph is considered the patron saint of funeral directors and pallbearers. More important is the courage Joseph showed in asking Pilate for Jesus’ body. Jesus was a condemned criminal who had been publicly executed. According to some legends, Joseph was punished and imprisoned for such a bold act.
Nicodemus was a Pharisee and, like Joseph, an important first-century Jew. We know from John’s Gospel that Nicodemus went to Jesus at night—secretly—to better understand his teachings about the kingdom. Later, Nicodemus spoke up for Jesus at the time of his arrest and assisted in Jesus’ burial. We know little else about Nicodemus.
Patron Saint of: Undertakers
Read the source: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1124
SAINT OF THE DAY
Catholic saints are holy people and human people who lived extraordinary lives. Each saint the Church honors responded to God’s invitation to use his or her unique gifts. God calls each one of us to be a saint.
|Saint Joseph of Arimathea|
|Died||Syriac orthodox Chapel in Holy Sepulchre|
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church,Eastern Orthodox Church,Oriental Orthodox Church,Anglican Communion,Lutheranism|
|Feast||March 17 in the West, July 31 in the East, August 1 in the Episcopal Church (US)|
Joseph of Arimathea was, according to all four canonical Gospels, the man who donated his own prepared tomb for the burial of Jesus after Jesus‘ crucifixion. A number of stories that developed during the Middle Ages connect him with both Glastonbury, where he is supposed to have founded the earliest Christian oratory, and also with the Grail legend.
According to Mark 15:43, Joseph of Arimathea was “a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God”. Matthew 27:57 described him as a rich man and disciple of Jesus. According toJohn 19:38, upon hearing of Jesus’ death, this secret disciple of Jesus “asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission.” Joseph immediately purchased a linen shroud (Mark 15:46) and proceeded to Golgotha to take the body of Jesus down from the cross. There, according to John 19:39-40, Joseph and Nicodemus took the body and bound it in linen cloths with the spices that Nicodemus had bought. The disciples then conveyed the prepared corpse to the place previously bought for Joseph’s own tomb, a man-made cave hewn from rock in a garden of his house nearby. This was done speedily, “for the Sabbath was drawing on”. Luke 23:50–56also mentions the event.
Joseph of Arimathea is venerated as a saint by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and some Protestant churches. The traditional Roman calendar marked his feast day on March 17, but he is now listed, along with Saint Nicodemus, on August 31 in the Martyrologium Romanum. Eastern Orthodox churches commemorate him on the Third Sunday of Pascha (i.e., the second Sunday after Easter) and on July 31, the date shared by Lutheran churches. Although a series of legends developed during the Middle Ages (perhaps elaborations of early New Testament apocrypha) tied this Joseph to Britain as well as the Holy Grail, he is not currently on the abbreviated liturgical calendar of the Church of England, although this Joseph is on the calendars of some churches of the Anglican communion, such as the Episcopal Church (USA), which commemorates him on August 1.
Old Testament prophecy
Many Christians interpret Joseph’s role as fulfilling Isaiah‘s prediction that the grave of the “Suffering Servant” would be with a rich man (Isaiah 53:9), assuming that Isaiah was referring to the Messiah. The prophecy in Isaiah chapter 53 is known as the “Man of Sorrows” passage:
He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
The Greek Septuagint text:
And I will give the wicked for his burial, and the rich for his death; for he practised no iniquity, nor craft with his mouth.
Development of legends
|Events in the|
|Life of Jesus
according to the Gospels
|Portals: Christianity Bible|
Since the 2nd century, a mass of legendary detail has accumulated around the figure of Joseph of Arimathea in addition to the New Testament references. Joseph is referenced in apocryphal and non-canonical accounts such as the Acts of Pilate, a text often appended to the medieval Gospel of Nicodemus and The Narrative of Joseph, and mentioned in the works of early church historians such as Irenaeus (125–189), Hippolytus (170–236), Tertullian (155–222) and Eusebius (260–340), who added details not found in the canonical accounts. Francis Gigot, writing in the Catholic Encyclopedia, states that “the additional details which are found concerning him in the apocryphal Acta Pilati (“Acts of Pilate”), are unworthy of credence.”
Hilary of Poitiers (300–367) enriched the legend, and Saint John Chrysostom (347–407), the Patriarch of Constantinople, was the first to write that Joseph was one of the Seventy Apostles appointed in Luke 10.
During the late 12th century, Joseph became connected with the Arthurian cycle, appearing in them as the first keeper of the Holy Grail. This idea first appears in Robert de Boron‘s Joseph d’Arimathie, in which Joseph receives the Grail from an apparition of Jesus and sends it with his followers to Britain. This theme is elaborated upon in Boron’s sequels and in subsequent Arthurian works penned by others. Later retellings of the story contend that Joseph of Arimathea himself travelled to Britain and became the first Christian bishop in the Isles, a claim Gigot charactierizes as a fable.
Gospel of Nicodemus
The Gospel of Nicodemus, a text appended to the Acts of Pilate, provides additional details about Joseph. For instance, after Joseph asked Pilate for the body of the Christ, and prepared the body with Nicodemus’ help, Christ’s body was delivered to a new tomb that Joseph had built for himself. In the Gospel of Nicodemus, the Jewish elders express anger at Joseph for burying the body of Christ, saying:
And likewise Joseph also stepped out and said to them: Why are you angry against me because I begged the body of Jesus? Behold, I have put him in my new tomb, wrapping in clean linen; and I have rolled a stone to the door of the tomb. And you have acted not well against the just man, because you have not repented of crucifying him, but also have pierced him with a spear.— Gospel of Nicodemus. Translated by Alexander Walker.
The Jewish elders then captured Joseph, and imprisoned him, and placed a seal on the door to his cell after first posting a guard. Joseph warned the elders, “The Son of God whom you hanged upon the cross, is able to deliver me out of your hands. All your wickedness will return upon you.”
Once the elders returned to the cell, the seal was still in place, but Joseph was gone. The elders later discover that Joseph had returned to Arimathea. Having a change in heart, the elders desired to have a more civil conversation with Joseph about his actions and sent a letter of apology to him by means of seven of his friends. Joseph travelled back from Arimathea to Jerusalem to meet with the elders, where they questioned him about his escape. He told them this story;
On the day of the Preparation, about the tenth hour, you shut me in, and I remained there the whole Sabbath in full. And when midnight came, as I was standing and praying, the house where you shut me in was hung up by the four corners, and there was a flashing of light in mine eyes. And I fell to the ground trembling. Then some one lifted me up from the place where I had fallen, and poured over me an abundance of water from the head even to the feet, and put round my nostrils the odour of a wonderful ointment, and rubbed my face with the water itself, as if washing me, and kissed me, and said to me, Joseph, fear not; but open thine eyes, and see who it is that speaks to thee. And looking, I saw Jesus; and being terrified, I thought it was a phantom. And with prayer and the commandments I spoke to him, and he spoke with me. And I said to him: Art thou Rabbi Elias? And he said to me: I am not Elias. And I said: Who art thou, my Lord? And he said to me: I am Jesus, whose body thou didst beg from Pilate, and wrap in clean linen; and thou didst lay a napkin on my face, and didst lay me in thy new tomb, and roll a stone to the door of the tomb. Then I said to him that was speaking to me: Show me, Lord, where I laid thee. And he led me, and showed me the place where I laid him, and the linen which I had put on him, and the napkin which I had wrapped upon his face; and I knew that it was Jesus. And he took hold of me with his hand, and put me in the midst of my house though the gates were shut, and put me in my bed, and said to me: Peace to thee! And he kissed me, and said to me: For forty days go not out of thy house; for, lo, I go to my brethren into Galilee.— Gospel of Nicodemus. Translated by Alexander Walker
According to the Gospel of Nicodemus, Joseph testified to the Jewish elders, and specifically to chief priests Caiaphas and Annas that Jesus had risen from the dead and ascended to heaven and he indicated that others were raised from the dead at the resurrection of Christ (repeating Matt 27:52–53). He specifically identified the two sons of the high-priest Simeon (again in Luke 2:25–35). The elders Annas, Caiaphas, Nicodemus, and Joseph himself, along with Gamaliel under whom Paul of Tarsus studied, travelled to Arimathea to interview Simeon’s sons Charinus and Lenthius.
Other medieval texts
Medieval interest in Joseph centered on two themes, that of Joseph as the founder of British Christianity (even before it had taken hold in Rome), and that of Joseph as the original guardian of the Holy Grail.
Legends about the arrival of Christianity in Britain abounded during the Middle Ages. Early writers do not connect Joseph to this activity, however. Tertullian (AD 155–222) wrote in Adversus Judaeos that Britain had already received and accepted the Gospel in his lifetime, writing, “all the limits of the Spains, and the diverse nations of the Gauls, and the haunts of the Britons—inaccessible to the Romans, but subjugated to Christ.”
Tertullian does not say how the Gospel came to Britain before AD 222. However, Eusebius of Caesarea, (AD 260–340), one of the earliest and most comprehensive of church historians, wrote of Christ’s disciples in Demonstratio Evangelica, saying that “some have crossed the Ocean and reached the Isles of Britain.” Saint Hilary of Poitiers (AD 300–376) also wrote that the Apostles had built churches and that the Gospel had passed into Britain.
In none of these earliest references to Christianity’s arrival in Britain is Joseph of Arimathea mentioned. William of Malmesbury‘s De Antiquitate Glastoniensis Ecclesiae (“On the Antiquity of the Church of Glastonbury“, circa 1125) has not survived in its original edition, and the stories involving Joseph of Arimathea are contained in subsequent editions that abound in interpolations placed by the Glastonbury monks “in order to increase the Abbey’s prestige – and thus its pilgrim trade and prosperity”  In his Gesta Regum Anglorum (“History of The Kings of England”, finished in 1125), William of Malmesbury wrote that Glastonbury Abbey was built by preachers sent by Pope Eleuterus to Britain, however also adding: “Moreover there are documents of no small credit, which have been discovered in certain places to the following effect: ‘No other hands than those of the disciples of Christ erected the church of Glastonbury’;” but here William did not explicitly link Glastonbury with Joseph of Arimathea, but instead emphasizes the possible role of Philip the Apostle: “if Philip, the Apostle, preached to the Gauls, as Freculphus relates in the fourth chapter of his second book, it may be believed that he also planted the word on this side of the channel also.” 
In 1989 A. W. Smith critically examined the accretion of legends around Joseph of Arimathea, by which the poem hymn ofWilliam Blake And did those feet in ancient time is commonly held as “an almost secret yet passionately held article of faith among certain otherwise quite orthodox Christians” and Smith concluded “that there was little reason to believe that an oral tradition concerning a visit made by Jesus to Britain existed before the early part of the twentieth century”. Sabine Baring-Gould recounted a Cornish story how “Joseph of Arimathea came in a boat to Cornwall, and brought the child Jesus with him, and the latter taught him how to extract the tin and purge it of its wolfram. This story possibly grew out of the fact that the Jews under the Angevin kings farmed the tin of Cornwall.”  In its most developed version, Joseph, a tin merchant, visited Cornwall, accompanied by his nephew, the boy Jesus. C.C. Dobson (1879–1960) made a case for the authenticity of the Glastonbury legenda. The case was argued more recently by Dr Gordon Strachan (1934–2010)  and by Dennis Price.
The legend that Joseph was given the responsibility of keeping the Holy Grail was the product of Robert de Boron, who essentially expanded upon stories from Acts of Pilate. In Boron’s Joseph d’Arimathe, Joseph is imprisoned much as in the Acts, but it is the Grail that sustains him during his captivity. Upon his release he founds his company of followers, who take the Grail to Britain, though Joseph himself does not go. The origin of the association between Joseph and Britain is not entirely clear, though in subsequent romances such as Perlesvaus, Joseph himself travels to Britain, bringing relics with him. In the Lancelot-Grail Cycle, a vast Arthurian composition that took much from Robert, it is not Joseph but his son Josephus who is considered the primary holy man of Britain.
Later authors sometimes mistakenly or deliberately treated the Grail story as truth. Such stories were inspired by the account of John of Glastonbury, who assembled a chronicle of the history of Glastonbury Abbey around 1350 and who wrote that Joseph, when he came to Britain, brought with him vessels containing the blood and sweat of Christ (without using the word Grail). This account inspired the future claims of the Grail, including the claim involving the Nanteos Cup on display in the museum in Aberystwyth; however, it should be noted that there is no reference to this tradition in ancient or medieval text. John of Glastonbury further claims that King Arthur was descended from Joseph, listing the following imaginative pedigree through King Arthur’s mother:
Helaius, Nepos Joseph, Genuit Josus, Josue Genuit Aminadab, Aminadab Genuit Filium, qui Genuit Ygernam, de qua Rex Pen-Dragon, Genuit Nobilem et Famosum Regum Arthurum, per Quod Patet, Quod Rex Arthurus de Stirpe Joseph descendit.
When Joseph set his walking staff on the ground to sleep, it miraculously took root, leafed out, and blossomed as the “Glastonbury Thorn“. The retelling of such miracles did encourage the pilgrimage trade at Glastonbury until the Abbey was dissolved in 1539, during the English Reformation.
The mytheme of the staff that Joseph of Arimathea set in the ground at Glastonbury, which broke into leaf and flower as the Glastonbury Thorn is a common miracle in hagiography. Such a miracle is told of the Anglo-Saxon saint Etheldreda:
Continuing her flight to Ely, Etheldreda halted for some days at Alfham, near Wintringham, where she founded a church; and near this place occurred the “miracle of her staff.” Wearied with her journey, she one day slept by the wayside, having fixed her staff in the ground at her head. On waking she found the dry staff had burst into leaf; it became an ash tree, the “greatest tree in all that country;” and the place of her rest, where a church was afterwards built, became known as “Etheldredestow.”— Richard John King, 1862, in: Handbook of the Cathedrals of England; Eastern division: Oxford, Peterborough, Norwich, Ely, Lincoln.
Medieval interest in genealogy raised claims that Joseph was a relative of Jesus; specifically, Mary‘s uncle, or according to some genealogies, Joseph’s uncle. A genealogy for the family of Joseph of Arimathea and the history of his further adventures in the east provide material for Holy Grail romances Estoire del Saint Graal,Perlesvaus, and the Queste del Saint Graal.
Arimathea itself is not otherwise documented, though it was “a town of Judea” according to Luke 23:51. Arimathea is usually identified with either Ramleh orRamathaim-Zophim, where David came to Samuel (1 Samuel chapter 19).
- Thomas Craughwell (2005). “A Patron Saint for Funeral Directors”. Catholicherald.com. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
- Kinnaman, Scott A. (2010). Lutheranism 101. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. p. 278. ISBN 978-0-7586-2505-2.
- E.g. Ben Witherington III, John’s Wisdom: A Commentary on the Fourth Gospel, 1995, and Andreas J. Köstenberger in Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, 2007, on John 19:38–42.
- “Joseph of Arimathea”. The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1910. Retrieved 13 Dec 2014.
- John Chrysostom, Homilies of St. John Chrysostom on the Gospel of John.
- Finally, the story of the translation of the body of Joseph of Arimathea from Jerusalem to Moyenmonstre (Diocese of Toul) originated late and is unreliable.”
- Tertullian.org Tertullian, Adversus Judaeos, Chap. VII
- Eusebius, Demonstratio Evangelica, Book 3
- Hilary, Tract XIV, Psalm 8
- “CHURCH FATHERS: On the Apostles and Disciples (Pseudo-Hippolytus)”.newadvent.org.
- Antonia Gransden, Historical Writing in England II, c. 1307 to the Present, page 399. Routledge, 1996; Reprinted 2000. ISBN 0-415-15125-2. Antonia Grandsen also cited William Wells Newell, “William of Malmesbury on the Antiquity of Glastonbury” in Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, xviii (1903), pages 459–512; A. Gransden, “The Growth of the Glastonbury Traditions and Legends in the Twelfth Century” in Journal of Ecclesiastical History, xxvii (1976), page 342
- William of Malmesbury, William of Malmesbury’s Chronicle of the Kings of England: From the Earliest Period To The Reign of King Stephen, page 22 (notes and illustrations by J. A. Giles, London: Bell & Daldy, 1866)
- Smith, “‘And Did Those Feet…?’: The ‘Legend’ of Christ’s Visit to Britain” Folklore100.1 (1989), pp. 63–83.
- S. Baring-Gould, A Book of The West: Being An Introduction To Devon and Cornwall (2 Volumes, Methuen Publishing, 1899); A Book of Cornwall, Second Edition 1902, New Edition, 1906, page 57.
- Dobson, Did Our Lord Visit Britain as they say in Cornwall and Somerset?(Glastonbury: Avalon Press) 1936.
- Gordon Strachan, Jesus The Master Builder: Druid Mysteries and The Dawn of Christianity (Edinburgh: Floris Books, 1998). ISBN 9780863152757 
- Dennis Price, The Missing Years of Jesus: The Greatest Story Never Told (Hay House Publishing, 2009). ISBN 9781848500334
- Edward Donald Kennedy, “Visions of History: Robert de Boron and English Arthurian Chronicles” in, Norris J. Lacy, editor, The Fortunes of King Arthur, page 39 (D. S. Brewer, Cambridge, 2005). ISBN 1-84384-061-8
- “Elizabeth’s 1559 reply to the Catholic bishops”. fordham.edu.
- King, Richard John (1862) Handbook of the Cathedrals of England; Eastern division: Oxford, Peterborough, Norwich, Ely, Lincoln. London: John Murray (On-line text)
- C. Scott Littleton, Linda A. Malcor, From Scythia to Camelot: a radical reassessment of the legends of King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table and the Holy Grail (1994) 2000:310.
- Percy, Thomas (2001) . Reliques of Ancient English Poetry. 2. Adamant Media Corporation. p. 246. ISBN 1-4021-7380-6.
- He first visits Jesus one night to discuss Jesus’ teachings (John 3:1–21).
- The second time Nicodemus is mentioned, he reminds his colleagues in the Sanhedrin that the law requires that a person be heard before being judged (John 7:50–51).
- Finally, Nicodemus appears after the Crucifixion of Jesus to provide the customary embalming spices, and assists Joseph of Arimathea in preparing the body of Jesus for burial (John 19:39–42).
Although there is no clear source of information about Nicodemus outside the Gospel of John, the Jewish Encyclopedia and many Biblical historians have speculated that he could be identical to Nicodemus ben Gurion, mentioned in the Talmud as a wealthy and popular holy man reputed to have had miraculous powers. Others point out that the biblical Nicodemus is likely an older man at the time of his conversation with Jesus, while Nicodemus ben Gurion was on the scene forty years later, at the time of the Jewish War.
Nicodemus in John’s Gospel
As is the case with Lazarus, Nicodemus does not belong to the tradition of the Synoptic Gospels and is only mentioned by John, who devotes more than half of Chapter 3 of his gospel, a few verses of Chapter 7 and lastly mentions him in Chapter 19.
The first time Nicodemus is mentioned, he is identified as a Pharisee who comes to see Jesus “at night”. John places this meeting shortly after the Cleansing of the Temple and links it to the signs which Jesus performed inJerusalem during the Passover feast. “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him” (John 3:2).
Then follows a conversation with Nicodemus about the meaning of being “born again” or “born from above” (Greek:ἄνωθεν), and mention of seeing the “kingdom of God“. Nicodemus explores the notion of being literally born again from one’s mother’s womb, but most theologians recognise that Nicodemus knew Jesus was not speaking of literal re-birth. Theologian Charles Ellicott wrote that “after the method of Rabbinic dialogue, [Nicodemus] presses the impossible meaning of the words in order to exclude it, and to draw forth the true meaning. ‘You cannot mean that a man is to enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born. What is it, then, that you do mean?'”
Jesus expresses surprise, perhaps ironically, that “a teacher of Israel” does not understand the concept of spiritual rebirth. James F. Driscoll describes Nicodemus as a learned and intelligent believer, but somewhat timid and not easily initiated into the mysteries of the new faith.
In Chapter 7, Nicodemus advises his colleagues among “the chief priests and the Pharisees”, to hear and investigate before making a judgment concerning Jesus. Their mocking response argues that no prophet comes from Galilee. Nonetheless, it is probable that he wielded a certain influence in the Sanhedrin.
Finally, when Jesus is buried, Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about 100 pounds, for embalming Jesus’ body according to Jewish custom.[John 19:39] Nicodemus must have been a man of means. In his bookJesus of Nazareth: Holy Week, Pope Benedict XVI observes that, “The quantity of the balm is extraordinary and exceeds all normal proportions. This is a royal burial.”
Veneration and liturgical commemoration
Nicodemus is venerated as a saint in the various Eastern churches and in the Roman Catholic Church. The Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic churches commemorate Nicodemus on the Sunday of the Myrrhbearers, celebrated on the Third Sunday of Pascha (i.e., the second Sunday after Easter) as well as August 2, the date when tradition holds that his relics were found, along with those of Stephen the Protomartyr, Gamaliel, and Abibas (Gamaliel’s second son). The traditional Roman Catholic liturgical calendar lists the same feast of the finding of their relics on the following day, August 3.
In the current Roman Martyrology of the Catholic Church, Nicodemus is commemorated along with Saint Joseph of Arimathea on August 31. The Franciscan Ordererected a church under the patronage of Saints Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea in Ramla.
Nicodemus in art
Like Joseph, Nicodemus became the object of various pious legends during the Middle Ages, particularly in connection with monumental crosses. He was reputed to have carved both the Holy Face of Lucca and the Batlló Crucifix, receiving angelic assistance with the face in particular and thus rendering the works instances ofacheiropoieta.
Both of these sculptures date from at least a millennium after Nicodemus’ life, but the ascriptions attest to the contemporary interest in Nicodemus as a character in medieval Europe.
Nicodemus in music
In the Lutheran prescribed readings of the 18th century, the gospel text of the meeting of Jesus and Nicodemus at night was assigned to Trinity Sunday. Johann Sebastian Bach composed several cantatas for the occasion, of whichO heilges Geist- und Wasserbad, BWV 165, composed in 1715, stays close to the gospel based on a libretto by the court poet in Weimar, Salomo Franck.
In popular music, Nicodemus’ name was figuratively used in Henry Clay Work‘s 1864-written Civil-War-Aera piece “Wake Nicodemus”, which at that time was popular in minstrel shows. In 1978 Tim Curry covered the song on his debut album Read My Lips (Tim Curry album).
The discussion with Jesus is the source of several common expressions of contemporary American Christianity, specifically, the descriptive phrase “born again” used to describe salvation or baptism by some groups, and John 3:16, a commonly quoted verse used to describe God’s plan of salvation.
Daniel Burke notes that, “To blacks after the Civil War, he was a model of rebirth as they sought to cast off their old identity as slaves”. Rosamond Rodman asserts that freed slaves who moved to Nicodemus, Kansas, after the Civil War named their town after him. However, the National Park Service indicates that it was more likely based on a 1864 song Wake Nicodemus by Henry Clay Work used to promote settlement in the area.
In August 16, 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. invoked Nicodemus as a metaphor concerning the need for the United States to be “born again” in order to effectively address social and economic inequality. The speech was called “Where Do We Go From Here?,” and delivered at the 11th Annual SCLC Convention in Atlanta, Georgia.
- Carson, D.A. The Gospel according to John. Leicester: InterVarsity, 1991. 186.
- Driscoll, James F. “Nicodemus.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 13 Dec. 2014.
- Charles Ellicott, Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers on John 3, accessed 10 February 2016
- Burke, Daniel. Nicodemus, The Mystery Man of Holy Week, Religious News Service, March 27, 2013.
- Schiller, Gertrud. Iconography of Christian Art. Volume 2. The Passion of Jesus Christ. Janet Seligman (tr.), Greenwich, CT: New York Graphic Society, 1972: 144–5, 472–3.
- “Nicodemus National Historic Site”, National Park Service.
- King Jr., Martin Luther.Where do we go from here, August 16, 1967, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford University.
- Cornel Heinsdorff: Christus, Nikodemus und die Samaritanerin bei
Are you in crisis and looking for happiness? 7 no-fail tips from St.Teresa
Nowadays everyone talks about happiness. If you have the latest model car, you’ll be happy. If you get that apartment at the beach, you’ll be happy. If you get that promotion at work, you’ll be happy. And just like that, many other situations. Do you really think things and success can make you happy?
Saint Teresa of Jesus went through a time of conversion even after consecrating her life to God as a Carmelite sister. Like many others, she also placed her hope on temporary things, without focusing on the eternal God she followed, but one day, years after entering the convent, Jesus touched her heart and she responded with generosity. Her life forever changed after that encounter. We can all allow God to encounter us and at that moment, your gaze will rest upon the things that really matter.
The following is a prayer by Saint Teresa of Avila in which she summarizes her experience in seven tips to find true happiness and hold on to God – the most important thing in life.
Let nothing disturb you
Disturbance begins when you only focus on earthly things. The soul becomes restless. There is no peace. I search, but I can’t find it. Has this happened to you before? If you’re someone who goes to Sunday Mass, you pray the Rosary and say your daily prayers and this happens to you, don’t worry because this is normal. Jesus’ invitation through Saint Teresa is to raise our thoughts to him. This means leaving behind an earthly vision to see everything that happens through the glasses of faith. Jesus has space in his heart for you to leave anything that troubles you- wars, conflicts, hate. Leave your worries in his hands. Let nothing disturb you. Deal with your present, pray and watch God take care of everything. Once you place everything in his heart you’ll free yourself of earthly things and you’ll gain strength to face the world, but you need to leave things in his hands, that is faith, that is trust in God. He created the universe, leave it all in his hands and lift up your gaze to heaven.
“Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” Luke 24: 38-39
Let nothing frighten you
We follow Jesus, and our hope is placed in him. It takes courage to be Catholic. It’s not easy to defend our faith in a society that is almost void of values. We don’t impose our views, we light up the darkness with truth. Great is our mission! Do we truly believe this? Holding our heads high, knowing we’re on the right path is to have courage for this fight that uses other weapons: love, forgiveness, truth, faith. That’s why, when you announce Christ to others, don’t worry about what they will say or think because it’s your heart that they will see. Let nothing in life frighten you. Fear is like Morphine, it numbs and some paralyzes. When you have Jesus, you don’t need Morphine because we can face anything by his side. Come what may, nothing will separate me from the Lord’s side. This is a grace we must ask for. Never end prayer without asking the Lord for the grace of fortitude.
“What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 35, 37-39
All things are passing
Look around you. What do you see? Do you perceive the “glory of the world”? Money, transactions, shopping, sales, fame, success, acknowledgment, power. This is a hollow glory. What is it good for? Can you take it with you after your death? All of this perishes. Imagine spending 80 years trying to reach fame, success, money, and then when you finally have it… death. You worked in vain. Were you able to enjoy it? This is why the world’s glory is empty. It’s not good for much. On the other hand, fighting to reach the eternal glory to be with God has real value. We have to rid ourselves of the stereotype that being Catholic is to be repressed or enslaved to laws or norms. That’s a lie the size of ship! The closer you are to God, the more freedom you have. The more detached you are of the things of this world, the more freedom you will have. The farther away you are from temptations, the more you freedom you will have. You can’t get lost! May the vain glory of this world be an example for you to find real, heavenly glory, that glory that is worth fighting for; glory that will truly make you happy here on earth and will be contagious to others without you knowing.
“For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4: 17-18
God never changes
Many people think God is like ice cream that I can choose to my liking. I want a scoop of chocolate and strawberry with chocolate sprinkles on top. If you don’t get what you want, you don’t pay and don’t eat it. Well, God isn’t like this. God is a father, and fathers don’t always give us what we want, they give us what we need. A father knows what’s best for his children because he knows them. Because he loves his children, a father corrects his children and from time to time nags them. A father always wants what’s best for his children. How much more does God love us? Again and again we look for him to do what we want, asking him for miracles, but God isn’t a factory that does things to your liking. Sometimes you have to wait because someone else got there before you did. When you think God is no longer by your side or he doesn’t notice you, you must know God he is always present in your life. Every breath you take is guarded by him. Trust him. Let him mold and correct you. He will always give you what you need, but not always give you what you want.
“You have also forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons: “My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges.” Endure your trials as “discipline”; God treats you as sons. For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline?” Hebrews 12: 5-7
Patience obtains all things
Patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit that some have forgotten. Innovation and technology make things express. We want things now! Waiting isn’t very popular. They say patience is the science of reaching peace, being at peace with ourselves, others and God. It’s waiting without anxiety, knowing everything has its timing. But it’s really hard. Again, here’s the same tip: we must ask God for this fruit. There is no love without patience. With trust and faith we can be sure we can achieve anything. “I want to have a better relationship with my wife.” Patience. “I would like to change my weaknesses.” Patience.
“I don’t know what to do with my brother who is very rebellious.” Patience. Patience is very important, of course, without setting aside faith, hope and love, but always with patience.
“Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it. But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind.” James 1: 2-6
Whoever has God
Two things to point out here. First, we cannot allow sin to become an obstacle in reaching God. Never! We must not allow sin to sink us in the murky puddle of desperation. If you sin, repent, and confess, God will forgive you. Start over again repenting of your sin, but don’t ever give up. There is something you must know that Pope Francis has said many times, never dialogue with the devil. Lift your head high and continue your journey. With God by your side evil will not win. Second, for a Catholic, God is his treasure. If you believe this, you won’t go looking for gold nuggets in a muddy river. Imagine a treasure chest filled with beautiful jewels and precious pearls, well much more than that is God for us. God is the greatest! Come what may, in him I find my happiness and I lack nothing. I don’t envy anything from anyone else, and what’s more, I can share this treasure with those around me and I will never run out. Who wouldn’t be happy with a treasure like this. It’s not a story or a fable, it’s real. Being God your treasure, you will lack nothing.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” Matthew 6:19-21
God alone suffices
Where do I find my security? In the bank, a company, fame, money? As previously discussed, this all fades. If you lived on the street, with nothing, no telephone, no clothes, no luxuries or comforts, would you still love God? That’s it! Even if you lose it all, you should still remain faithful to God. Sometimes we have one foot in church and the other out in the world. Our steps must be firm. When our only security is God, our lives change – they transform. Who cares about material things? Who cares whether I have this or that? The only thing I need is to have the Lord by my side! God alone suffices! Only God can fill our hearts, only he can fulfill us. Is this too difficult to understand? God has given us everything! Even then we complain. Put on the glasses of faith and take a step towards God, that’s our next goal. Take that step!
“More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having any righteousness of my own based on the law but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God, depending on faith to know him and the power of his resurrection and [the] sharing of his sufferings by being conformed to his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. It is not that I have already taken hold of it or have already attained perfect maturity, but I continue my pursuit in hope that I may possess it, since I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ [Jesus].” Philippians 3: 8-12
May these 7 tips of Saint Teresa help us to see the small details in life, the things that truly matter. Let’s fix our gaze upon the Lord. Catholics are sustained in their faith by knowing they are loved by God, that they have experienced his mercy through those around him or her. If our gaze were fixed upon God, this would be a different world. Let’s rejoice in being God’s instrument. Keep faith alive, hope constant and love burning, saying with Saint Teresa, “Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you, all things are passing away: God never changes. Patience obtains all things whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices.”
Read the source and comments: http://catholic-link.org/2016/08/29/st-teresa-happiness-avila/
This article was written by H. Edgar Henríquez Carrasco, LC and originally appeared on Catholic-link.com. The post was translated by