Saturday, July 21, 2012

Fr. Chuck's Column, Sunday, July 22

Today I resume my occasional series on the windows of our church. We have now come to the last pair of windows on your right as you face the altar. The panel on the left shows a lit lamp, and the one on the right a scroll with Hebrew characters (most Hebrews in the Bible were characters!). I take this to be the window dedicated to the Scriptures, which was donated “In Memory of J.H. and Eula Francis by Mrs. Sallie Trousdale.

Why a lamp? The figure of the lamp figures prominently in the Scriptures: Jesus tells the parable of ten bridesmaids, five who were wise and brought oil for their lamps, and five who were foolish and did not provide oil for their lamps, and subsequently are left out of the wedding feast (see MT 25:1-12). Jesus also uses the analogy of lighting a lamp and placing it on a lamp stand, not under a bushel basket (See MT 5:15). But I take this lamp to be a visual reference to Psalm 119 verse 105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” This keeps to the theme of this window depicting the Scriptures, for God’s Word does illumine the darkness of our lives, shows us God’s truth and tender mercy and so lights the way we must go. The Scriptures are a light to guide our feet on the path of life. It is a wonderful blessing of the Second Vatican Council that opened up the study, love and praying of the Scriptures for so many Catholics. God’s Word is a great treasure and today we have such fuller access to it, by the readings at Mass, Bible studies, and adult religious education. I hope that you have a decent modern translation of the Scriptures in your home: not a paraphrase like “The Way,” nor an outdated translation like the King James or the Douay-Rhiems Bible, but a modern scholarly translation like the New American, the New Revised Standard Version, or the Jerusalem Bible. Further, I hope it is not just gathering dust, but is actively used in your home. Of course you can also do this electronically, and get the New American Bible and the readings for each day’s Mass at the Bishop’s web site: Click on “DAILY READINGS” or on “Bible.”

The other window depicts a scroll. Before e-readers and laptops, before even books, there were scrolls. This is what Jesus read.  We read in Luke 4:16-17, “Jesus stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him.” Now on the scroll in our window are Hebrew letters. Since my Hebrew is non-existent I went next door to the Hillel Foundation, the Jewish student center. A young man there helpfully translated the words on our window as “God the One, God the Lord.” For Jesus the Scriptures were what we call the “Old Testament.”

There are a couple of windows in the choir loft that you cannot see. Directly behind and blocked by the organ is the Rose Window. It was dedicated “In Memory of John, Emil and Lt. George Pietrucha by the John Pietrucha Family.” These are relatives of Fr. Ed Pietrucha, CSP, who was Pastor here at St. Austin from 1968 to 1974, and now lives in active retirement in Tucson, Arizona. The organ was added later and now blocks the window. You can sometimes see a thin strip of colored light just above the top of the organ, shining through.

Also in the choir area is a pair of windows dedicated by the St. Austin Altar Society. The one on the left (to the East) depicts a harp such as King David might have played while composing the Psalms. The window on the right shows a horn that looks like the vuvuzela that made so much racket during the 2010 World Cup for Soccer hosted in South Africa, and a treble clef and a note ( ). Unfortunately these windows are now blocked by panels to keep out the sun on the choir because it gets quite warm up there during 11:30 mass, and so they are hidden.  Look for them come Winter.  

God bless,

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