May 1, 2011

CF114 – Mercy Sakes Alive!

CF114 – Mercy Sakes Alive!

Show Notes for CF114

Welcome, Folks, to the Catholic Foodie, Where food meets faith! I’m your host Jeff Young and today is Divine Mercy Sunday! Thank you, Lord! It is also the day that Pope John Paul II is beatified. He is now Blessed John Paul II! Praise God for that too!

I have lots of feedback for you today. We’ll also talk about crawfish, devotion to Jesus and the Divine Mercy, the Wedding Feast at Cana and more. And Sarah Reinhard joins us today with her Mary in the Kitchen segment. All this and more right here, at the Catholic Foodie, where food meets faith!

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Tony Melendez Youth Retreat June 24 to June 26 from Betania II Marian Center on Vimeo.

Well, folks, today is Divine Mercy Sunday. What a glorious celebration! What a glorious feast! I don’t know about you, but I am VERY excited about the Mercy of God. I guess that’s because I need it so much.

You know, there really is so much that could be said about Divine Mercy. But, what I want to focus on here today, with you, is the fact this “devotion” that has positively impacted – indeed, blessed – the entire Church is just that… a devotion.

One of my heros in life is Fr. Benedict Groeschel. I have been reading his books for over two decades. I have heard him speak – in person – on several occasions. And I have heard countless recordings of his presentations and seen him on EWTN many, many times. I even had the privilege of dining with him and his community over the course of a handful of nights… but that was a number of years back, when I visited the community as part of my discernment.

Now, Fr. Benedict is a priest… Yes. But, he is also a psychologist. And he is so practical. He is a man of deep faith and deep devotion. He has written two books specifically on devotion. I recently began reading one of them. The two books are Praying to Our Lord Jesus Christ: Prayers and Meditations Through the Centuries and I Am With You Always. I will put links to these books in the show notes at

Anyway, he comments in I Am With You Always, that he considers writing that book to have been the most interesting and revealing intellectual adventure of his life. He also calls devotion a “vital question for our times.” Let me read to you a quote from the introduction.

I wanted to share this quote with you, especially today, because I have noticed a waning in devotion when it comes to Divine Mercy Sunday. I remember a number of years ago that there were special celebrations all over the Archdiocese for Divine Mercy Sunday. In addition to the usual mass schedule, there would also be a special Mass celebrated. It would usually end with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and a lengthy period of adoration (sometimes up to 3 hours). During adoration, priests would be available for confession. Multiple priests. Sometimes priests would come from other parishes to assist with hearing confessions. The whole aim was to benefit from the great opportunity to receive the plenary indulgence attached to the feast of Divine Mercy. And I remember when those special Masses and times of adoration were packed.

But, it seems to me that our enthusiasm has waned over the last couple of years. Our parish did have a special time of adoration (3 hours), and priests were available for confession, but the church was not packed. I was surprised at the small number. Now, when I say small number, I mean that in comparison to what I have seen in the past. Someone else might have been there and have been amazed at how many people were there on a Sunday night. Nevertheless, in conversations I have had with folks who promote devotion to the Divine Mercy, I have been told that some people shy away from it for the very fact that it is a “devotion.” And I really wish that they would read Fr. Benedict’s book. Because we, human beings, NEED devotion.

So, take this for what it’s worth. As I mentioned, I will post links to Fr. Benedict’s book in the show notes at

You know, the Church calls special celebrations during the year “feasts.” And it does so for good reason. And in our family, we take those celebrations, those feasts, quite seriously.

If you watched (or listened to) episode 113, then you got a sneak peek at our Easter Crawfish Extravaganza. As Easter approached, I asked the kids what they wanted to do to celebrate Easter. Without a moments hesitation, and in unison, they yelled “Crawfish!” And they did so while jumping up and down and waving their arms. I figured they were serious, and there was no way I could make any other suggestions. Nor would I want to.

Anyway, We had a great time! Big D came over, we boiled a sack of crawfish, and feasted… big time!

Now, here’s the thing with crawfish. We don’t boil as often as we used to, since the prices are so high. But the cost of boiling crawfish goes beyond the crawfish themselves. There’s also all the fixins. The seasoning, the lemon juice, the garlic, the potatoes, the corn, the mushrooms… Oh, and can’t forget the propane. Oh, and the beer. So, whenever we boil, we like to stretch things as much as possible (including just continuing to celebrate during the Octave of Easter). So, we put a lid on the pot when we were done. And then invited some other friends over the next day so that we could do a repeat! So we did two sacks over two days. After that, I think I had my fill of crawfish for a while. Meh, at least for the week. We had a great time.

But, think about it, the Church calls us to celebrate, doesn’t she? I mean, we’re talking about the Resurrection. Jesus conquers death. This is the reason for our hope. It is good and right to celebrate it. And the Church assigns 8 full days for this celebration. It is known as the Octave of Easter. And each of those days is just like Easter Sunday itself. So, we celebrated as much as we could. This concept of a prolonged celebration is not new. We see it time and again in the bible. But, I’ll share with you one specific example. The Wedding Feast at Cana.

You remember the story, right? There was a wedding feast at Cana in Galilee. Wait… Let me read it…. It’s from the Gospel of John, chapter 2….

I’d like to share a few thoughts with you about this wedding feast…

First of all, notice that John says this happened “on the 3rd day.” What does that mean? Well, it seems that scripture scholars are not altogether sure, but John could be referring to either the 3rd day of the week, or to the 3rd day of the celebration. Wedding feasts in those days could last for days. Four days, as a matter of fact. That’s a lot of partying. And a lot of wine.

And, speaking of the wine, have you ever wondered why running out of wine was such a big deal? I mean, sure, it could be embarrassing, right? There were no Super Wal-Marts or Targets or liquor stores around, like we have today. So, sure, running out of wine could really put a damper on the party. But, is that enough reason for Mary to expect Jesus to perform an incredible miracle for the couple? Just to save them some embarrassment? Well, I think it was a bit more than that.

There was a concept in Jewish life at the time, a concept that we could call “reciprocity.” Life was difficult. Cana was a village, not a metropolis. There is no indication that it was a wealthy village. And big parties like a wedding feast (that lasted for days) was a huge expense. So big of an expense, that no one could really take that on by themselves. Reciprocity simply means that one family could take on the expense of entertaining practically the whole village because they knew that every other family in the village would also invite them to a similar party. In other words, Frank and Sally could throw a party like that only because they knew that Jack and Jill, and Robert and Rita, and Bill and Kate, and Shawn and Susie were also going to invite them to their parties. This concept of reciprocity was built into their very way of life. And laws. It was part of your social responsibility. To not be able to provide for your guests could even have legal ramifications. At that time, there was a deeper sense of community, of home, of belonging. Family was everything. And families were bigger. Not just 1.2 kids. And families were extended. I mean, look at the story. Jesus even brought his disciples. Perhaps the groom hadn’t foreseen that.

You can imagine the horror the couple faced when they realized that they were running out of wine. In a very real way, they were about to lose their place in society. And this, at the very beginning of their new life together. Not to mention their families!

To our modern eyes this miracle might seem kind of scandalous. Even understanding the concept of reciprocity, it can still seem quite scandalous (especially when you hear how much wine Jesus made!). The story refers to those 6 stone jars. If you were to take the wine that Jesus made and pour it all into 1.5 liter bottles (those are the double-bottles of wine – a normal bottle is 750ml. A double-bottle is 1.5 liters), you will end up with up to 473 double-bottles of wine. That’s a lot of wine!

There is so much that I could say about this story. As a matter of fact, Char and I are going to be speaking at a gathering of married couples next week about this very story. There are so many gems here for us.

I have to tell you, I love this story. And John tells us the whole point of the story right at the end… “He manifested his glory, and his disciples believed in him.” And that’s the point of the Easter celebration too. That we may believe in him. That we may believe in his love for each one of us. Jesus is alive. And Jesus wants to bless us today just as much as he blessed that bride in groom in Cana. He wants to change the water of our tears into the wine of his joy.

There are three things I want to bring to your attention as we prepare to close out the show today.

The first is that the Daughters of St. Paul Choir have a new album out. It’s called There Can Be Miracles. And it is beautiful! You are listening to a clip right now. The award-winning Daughters of St. Paul Choir offers a brand new album that combines inspirational popular and religious songs from yesterday and today. Find the sacred in the midst of everyday life through this selection of eleven uplifting songs.

Here’s a link to this new album, There Can Be Miracles, in the show notes over at

I also want to let you know, especially if you are anywhere near Medway, MA that Tony Melendez will be conducting a youth retreat at Betania II Marian Centerthe weekend of June 24 to 26. Unfortunately, I won’t be there, but I wish I could be. Tony Melendez has a tremendous story of hope. I heard him speak at the Abbey Youth Fest here in town a couple of years ago. Powerful stuff. There will be a link in the show notes at that will take you to more information. If you are anywhere in the MA area, I want to encourage you to attend. What a wonderful summer opportunity for spiritual growth for our youth! Here’s a promo I would like to play for you….

And, finally, please go check out the new and improved I’ve been working with Kessie and Coby Thomas on their new site. The rosaries are all up and we are now working on the jewelry. Again, great religious jewelry and beautiful rosaries, all hand-made by a beautiful family. Go visit my friends at And let me know what you think about the new site!

Greek Fest is right around the corner, and I think we will be talking about that next episode. Thank you for joining me today, at the Catholic Foodie. I look forward to seeing you again next time. And, until then… bon appetit!

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