FSC Associate Articles

In April, May and June, we are learning about the Gospel of Matthew.  At the beginning of her presentation, Dawn gave us a handout that listed events, people, and parts of familiar stories from Scripture. Our task was to match each of these elements to the Gospel or Gospels in which it appeared.

 

I was surprised to learn that several familiar elements from Scripture are only in Matthew’s Gospel. One example is the Magi in the story of Jesus’ birth. Another example is from Matthew 16:18 where Jesus calls Peter the rock upon which He would build His Church.

FSC Associate Group Day

Saturday, April 9, 2022 - Topic:  Gospel of Matthew

Part 1 - Presenter:   Dawn Mayer

By Mary Mosser, FSC Associate

Dawn had previously given presentations to our Associate group on the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of John. Dawn reviewed some of the background information she had given us previously on the origin of the Gospels and on the Gospel writers.

 

The Gospel writers were trying to inspire people by telling them about Jesus. Each of the Gospels was written for a specific purpose and audience.  Matthew’s Gospel was written to convince Jewish people that Jesus is the Messiah. The author of Matthew’s Gospel was a Jewish believer in Christ.  He was highly educated, had knowledge of Jewish customs and connected Old Testament Biblical prophecies to Jesus

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Christ's Charge to Peter (1616) by Peter Paul Rubens 

Mark’s Gospel was written first.  Matthew’s Gospel was written between the years 70-80 AD although some parts were probably written earlier. One theory is that there was a document of Jesus’ teachings called “Q” that was used by all of the Gospel writers. Matthew’s Gospel borrowed information from Mark’s Gospel and shared the “Q” source.

 

When Matthew and Mark’s Gospels are compared, there is quite a bit of overlapping information. However, there is also information in Matthew’s Gospel that isn’t included in Mark’s Gospel.  For example, Matthew’s Gospel includes the genealogy of Jesus, the Infancy Narrative and other familiar stories, like the three temptations of Jesus.   

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One of the elements that appears only in Matthew’s Gospel is the presence of the Magi in the Infancy Narrative. Including the Magi in Matthew’s Gospel shows that Jesus is beyond the bounds of Judaism. Jesus was born as a Savior for all people. The Magi brought gifts for baby Jesus.  Their gifts were gold, which is precious, scarce and a gift for a King, frankincense, which is used by priests in the temple and myrrh, which represents bitterness and foreshadows the suffering of Jesus.

 

Dawn gave us questions related to the gifts of the Magi.  One question was: What are some new treasures that we have today?  One of the treasures of our time is technology that can bring people together, which was very useful during the COVID lockdown. Another treasure mentioned was health-related advances, like the COVID vaccines.  

Adoration of the Kings (1515) by Gerard David

Another question that Dawn posed to the group was: What are some ancient traditions that we shouldn’t let go?  An answer to that question was that we shouldn’t let go of stories of our past, which can inspire and teach the people of present day. 

 

 Matthew’s Gospel contains the Genealogy of Jesus showing that He is from the lineage of Abraham and David. Genealogy establishes one’s claim to land and is usually recorded through the father.  Matthew’s Gospel includes five women in Jesus’ genealogy, which is very unusual for that time.    

  • Ruth: a widow from Moab and the grandmother of David

  • Rahab: a prostitute who helped the Israelites capture Jericho

  • Tamar: a woman who had Judah’s children by trickery

  • Bathsheba: the wife of Uriah and mother of Solomon

  • Mary: Jesus’ mother

 

Including these women in Matthew’s Gospel shows how God can work in “the gaps”. These women are a reminder to us that anyone, no matter what their background or circumstances, can be chosen by God to have an essential role in carrying out His work.

Allegory of Good Governance

Sister Joanne Schatzlein, OSF - March 19, 2022
By Mary Mosser, FSC Associate

Our March Associate Day was on the Feast of St. Joseph. The Associates were invited to attend Mass in Chapel with the Sisters. After Mass, we gathered in Marian Hall for Sr. Joanne’s presentation. Sr. Joanne passed out song sheets for Litany of Peace, a song by Barbara Bridge. Sr. Joanne taught us the song before her presentation started. At certain points during the presentation, we sang verses of the song corresponding to that part of the presentation.   

 

Sr. Joanne’s presentation started with an explanation of how she encountered the painting titled The Allegory of Good and Bad Government. This painting was created between the years 1338 – 1339 by Ambrogio Lorenzetti and it depicts the effects of good and bad government. It covers three of the four walls in the Salon of Nine (Council Room) in the Palazzo Pubblico (Town Hall) in Siena, Italy. The center panel depicts Good Government. The panel to its right shows the Effects of Good Government. The panel to its left depicts Bad Government and shows the Effects of Bad Government.

Sr. Joanne showed us pictures of the Allegory of Good and Bad Government and explained parts of the painting. Good government is represented in the painting by specific figures. Starting on the left of the Good Government panel is Justice holding scales. Justice renders decisions that are fair and equal for everyone. In the painting, Justice looks up to the figure representing Wisdom. Wisdom is needed to deliver justice. Below Justice is Concordance who smooths things over and brings people together. Concordance hands out decisions from Justice to the people.

To the right of Justice, Wisdom and Concordance is the governing figure. Above his head are the three figures of Faith, Hope and Charity. These figures are virtues to be considered when one is voting for government officials. On each side of the governing figure are three figures representing Peace, Fortitude, Prudence, Magnanimity, Temperance, and Justice. If these virtues are being applied in the governing process, the result should be a city at peace.

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Allegory of the Good Government by Ambrogio Lorenzetti

The next section of the painting shows the effects of good government. The gates of the city are open and there is no guard at the entrance. Construction is taking place which demonstrates growth.  People are happy. A group of people are gathered around a wedding procession. The married couple is walking around the city to greet their neighbors. Women are dancing the ritual dance to welcome Spring. From outside of the city, grain is being brought into the city and stored so the residents will have food to eat.

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Effects of Good Government in the City by Ambrogio Lorenzetti

Next, we looked at the part of the painting that represents bad government. The center figure in that part of the painting is Tyranny, depicted as the devil, who is sitting on his throne. The figures sitting above Tyranny are Avarice, Pride and Vainglory. The figure of Justice is bound, lying at the feet of Tyranny. Her eyes are sad because she can’t render justice. The effects of bad government are shown by the turmoil in the city. Buildings have broken windows, someone has been murdered and people are being held hostage. The only commerce in the city is the armorer who supplies and repairs weapons.

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Allegory of the Bad Government by Ambrogio Lorenzetti

After Sr. Joanne explained the scenes in the painting and the virtues and vices that the different figures represent, she asked several questions, including the following. Where do we see the threat of pride, avarice, and vainglory in our world today?  What inspires hope of a better future?  What do we put our faith in today? What can we do to be instruments of peace?  The questions took us from how we identify the vices involved in creating the effects of bad government to how we can contribute to developing a good government.

 

One action that can be taken to becoming an instrument of peace is to volunteer. Sr. Joanne gave us an example from her own life. She volunteered at an election polling place to help keep it open when there was a shortage of volunteers. Sr. Joanne reminded us that the virtues we embrace as Franciscans can help create a better future for ourselves and those around us. Some of these virtues are striving to live simply, caring for the poor, caring for creation, and living in harmony with others.

 

If I had seen this painting in person, I would have glanced at it and moved on.  However, by the end of Sr. Joanne’s presentation, I realized that reflecting on this painting can be relevant to people of any era. A bad government happens when people don’t get involved and do nothing when the negative vices take over. Good government takes work and involvement by all the people of society. There are things each person can do to help create good government.    

Walking the Mystery with Jesus…Lent and the High Holy Days

Saturday February 26, 2022 - Presenter: Sr. Joyce Shanabarger
By Mary Mosser, FSC Associate

 

Sr. Joyce started our Associate group day with an opening prayer, then everyone participated in praying Psalm 148.

 

Sr. Joyce’s outline for her presentation consisted of six pictures with space for notes. Each picture represented an event from Lent and the High Holy Days. Sr. Joyce’s presentation topics were Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Resurrection and Ascension/Pentecost. The tables in Marian Hall were pushed together to make small groups. Sr. Joyce spoke about each topic then the groups were given an exercise related to the topic.

 

The first topic was Palm Sunday. Sr. Joyce read from Luke’s Gospel about Jesus’s entrance into Jerusalem. There were two opposing views at this event. The first view is when great crowds welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem by spreading their cloaks along the road and waving palm branches. The second view was when the Pharisees questioned Jesus’ authority and His presence in Jerusalem. Our roles are different at different times of our lives. Sometimes, we are the one being celebrated and sometimes, we have a supporting role. We thank God for both roles in our lives.

 

For the Palm Sunday exercise, the groups were given a small palm. Each person at the table took a turn holding the palm and finishing the statement: I praise you, O Lord for (personal praise statement) after which their tablemates replied, We praise you, O Lord, for all your works are wonderful!

 

The second topic was Holy Thursday. Sr. Joyce read from Luke’s Gospel about the Last Supper. The Eucharist is where we encounter the Real Presence of Jesus. This is something we understand with our heart, not with our head. The more we are truly present with others, the more we will understand Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist. Our exercise for this topic was to reflect on who we needed to be present to during this season of Lent and then to share those thoughts with our tablemates.

 

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Entry into Jerusalem (1305)
by Giotto di Bondone

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The Last Supper (1498) by Leonardo da Vinci

The third topic was Good Friday. Sr. Joyce talked about Jesus’ suffering and dying on the cross. There are two ways to look at the cross and suffering. One approach is that God sent Jesus to live among us and to die on the cross for our salvation. The other approach is that Jesus suffered and died on the cross because of the great love God has for us. We are redeemed by love, not by suffering.

 

For the Good Friday exercise, the groups received a crucifix. Each person took a turn holding the crucifix and speaking to Jesus in their heart while their tablemates prayed for them. This exercise was simple and yet, so profound. It brought me to tears knowing that Jesus understands our pain and suffering. There was also a sense of connectedness as my tablemates and I prayed for each other, knowing that they too experience sadness and sorrow in their lives.

 

The fourth topic was Holy Saturday. Mary Magdalene was at Jesus’ tomb after He died, keeping vigil. When Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to Mary Magdalene at the tomb. At the Easter Vigil service, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. The Vigil service starts in darkness. The Pascal candle, which represents Christ, is blessed then lit at the beginning of the service. Some churches hand out candles to the parishioners before the Easter Vigil service.  These individual candles are lit from the Pascal candle transforming the church from darkness into light. 

 

 

For the Holy Saturday exercise, the groups received a candle.  Sr. Joyce walked around the tables holding the group’s candle above each person’s head as they answered the question.  Who is the risen Christ to you?  After each person gave their answer, all the Associates and Sisters in Marian Hall replied, Thanks be to God.

 

The fifth topic was Resurrection. Jesus’ resurrection renews us in our Baptism, and we become a new creation. We all have life-transforming moments in our lives. Sr. Joyce told us her resurrection stories and explained the difference stages of resurrection. For our exercise, each group discussed life-transforming moments in their lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Resurrection (1715) by Sebastiano Ricci

The final topic was Ascension and Pentecost. Sr. Joyce read from Mark’s Gospel about Pentecost then posed a question to us. What do we do to spread the message that from death comes new life?  Sr. Joyce gave us three ideas to consider. The first idea was to reflect on the COVID-19 pandemic and how one’s life has changed.

 

The second idea was to participate in Pope Francis’ Synod on Synodality. This is a two-year process of listening and dialogue of the Catholic Church. If given a chance to formally participate, Sr. Joyce encouraged us to do so. Otherwise, the idea was to follow the spirit of the synod by listening to one another. One example was to listen to someone whose views differ from one’s own views without trying to change the other person’s mind.

 

The third idea was based on Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si which translates to "on care for our common home". For this idea, we are to pay attention to climate change and resolve to make a change in our lives for the sake of our climate and generations to follow.