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Reflections on forthcoming Mass readings by Tom and April Hoopes.
BY Tom & April Hoopes
Feb. 1 is the
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B, Cycle I).
A movie can awaken children to St.
Paul’s story. Use it as part of a larger effort to teach about the apostle in
the Year of St. Paul. We have watched the main three recent movies about St.
Paul. None is great, and none is entirely worthless. With each, be ready with
Paul the Emissary
(1998, starring Garry Cooper, 54 minutes)
shorter than the others (maybe too short); Paul’s preaching voice.
Cons: goofy special
awkward; you see Jesus himself. He looks and sounds odd. (Perhaps fast-forward
this part, and read it instead.)
Peter & Paul (1981,
starring Anthony Hopkins, 194 minutes)
Pros: makes the early
Church real; Anthony Hopkins is excellent; muted special effects.
accentuates the apostles’ weaknesses to the exclusion of their
strengths; John is all wrong; Peter is ineffectual and weak, and the movie is
too long (to solve both problems, fast-forward all the parts with Peter, until
after Paul dies).
so-so; focused on a bulging sun.
Warnings: turned the
story into “faith-alone” Paul vs. institutional Christianity, ignoring Paul’s
deeply sacramental outlook. The movie changes the Bible’s story to remove
Peter’s central role in the Church.
St. Paul the Apostle
(2000, starring Johannes Brandrup, 180 minutes)
Pros: exciting fight
scenes boys will like; visually appealing; colorful.
Cons: not at all true
to the story; too long.
Conversion scene: scary;
done with weird lighting and strange colors.
Warnings: nudity and
one wedding night scene Dad had to fast-forward and block.
Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Psalm 95:1-2,
6-7, 7-9; 1 Corinthians 7:32-35; Mark 1:21-28.
EPriest.com offers free homily
packs for priests.
CirclePress.org is the site to
buy the Register’s Guide to the Rosary and the
book The Better Part by Father John Bartunek.
They are published by the publisher of the Register, but we would recommend
them regardless of the publisher.
Often, we look for something new to
transform us. We want to change our routine, try the latest diet, read the
newest book offering a system for getting our life together.
Change is often necessary, but the
readings today point to the things that are already in our life and propose we
pay attention to them.
Learn from the Pope. The first reading enjoins the people of Israel to listen
to the prophets sent by the Lord. We have been greatly blessed in our day with
Pope Benedict XVI. His words are “prophetic” in that they see and speak the
truth with great insight and clarity. We also have lots of means available to
read his words. For instance, his audiences appear in the Register each week.
2. Be attentive in prayer. The Psalm
tells us: “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” This suggests
that his voice is, in fact, being spoken to us and that we are not
automatically aware of it. The habit of meditative prayer can make us aware of
it. To start, pray the Rosary with concentration.
3. Put your life in perspective. The
life of married people has lots of distractions that can easily take our minds
off of spiritual things. The second reading challenges us to set God’s
priorities in our lives and not let our stresses set our priorities for us.
4. Go to Christ’s side. The Gospel
shows Christ the Lord casting out demons and speaking with authority. He is
near us already: at every Mass and confession and in every tabernacle. We
should go to him, study him, and talk to him in order to love him and imitate
Forget looking for something new to
transform you. With your rosary, page 6 of the Register, and access to a
Catholic church, you already have enough to get started.