- Defending the Bride (Catholic Website of the week-by the laptop computer)
- 'The Joy of Knowing Jesus,' The Holy Witness of Michelle Duppong (Diocesan News and BEYOND)
- Recycling (Helpful Hints for Life)
-***NEW FEATURE*** CATHOLIC QUESTIONS AND CATHOLIC ANSWERS is a new section of the e-weekly (see below) ***NEW FEATURE***
BEST PARISH PRACTICES is also back!
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
Act of Faith, Act of Hope, Act of Love
“So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
I Corinthians 13:13
At home, my family still prays before and after every meal. After breakfast, mom or dad always add the Act of Faith, Act of Hope, and Act of Love prayers along with other morning prayers. They do this because they were taught this in their youth, and because it has helped to keep them faithful to God and one another their whole life long.
I have searched for these prayers as mom and dad were taught them, but I have not found them. So finally I asked my dad to write them down because they are so simple, yet so profound. And these 3 are virtues are known as the very important theological virtues.
I did this so that I might add them to my daily prayers and pass them on you. We all need more faith, hope, and love in our lives, our marriages, our families, our communities, and our world. May this begin with you and with me!
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. These prayers are found in the prayer section below.
P.S.S. This coming Sunday is the 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time. https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/072422.cfm
P.S.S.S. Readings with questions for self or family reflection found at the end of e-weekly.
From a past Sunday homily click below (15 minutes):
a) the raising of one’s mind and heart to God
b) the petition of good things from him in accord with his will
c) the personal and living relationship of the children of God with their Father who is infinitely good
d) All of the above.
535. Why is there a universal call to prayer? (CCC 2566-2567)
a) only because every one needs prayer
b) prayer changes God
c) God draws every person to the mysterious encounter known as prayer
d) prayer is magic and by it I get what I want
THE REVELATION OF PRAYER IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
536. How is Abraham a model of prayer? (CCC 2570-2573, 2592)
a) his prayer was spoken the loudest
b) he walked in the presence of God, heard and obeyed him
c) he gave 1/10 of everything to the king-priest Melchizedek
d) he is the father of many nations
537. How did Moses pray? (CCC 2574-2577, 2593)
a) in a way like Jesus would pray
b) he lingered in conversation with him often and at length
c) face to face, like a man with his friend
d) all of the above
act of faith
-a voluntarily expressed assent of the mind to some truth revealed by God.
[The assent may be purely internal, or it may be vocalized, as in the recitation of the Apostle's Creed, or it may be implied, as in genuflecting before the Blessed Sacrament. It must always be assisted by divine grace.]
act of hope
-a voluntarily expressed trust in God's goodness, based on faith, whereby a person declares his confidence that what God promised He will also fulfill
[As a supernatural act, it can be made only with the help of divine grace.]
act of love
-a deliberately expressed love of God, based on divine faith
[The act may be either perfect or imperfect, depending on whether the motive is God's goodness in himself or in relation to the person who benefited or hopes to benefit from his love of God.]
Even the Pope talks about preserving this beautiful creation that God has given us, by being prudent stewards of it. This includes reducing, reusing, and recycling. Very likely a local school or group is collecting papers, cans, and more where they get money and you do not have to pay for the trash to take it. Recycling saves money, resources, and more.
"Leaving an inhabitable planet to future generations is, first and foremost, up to us." (n. 160) -Pope Francis, Laudato Si
True communication starts inside. We can all look at the same thing and see/hear something different. Perceptions vary among people, and we often assume that other people perceive things exactly the way we do, which is often not the case.
Defending the Bride
This is a small website dedicated to explaining and defending the truths that God has revealed through the Bride of Christ, the Catholic Church. The site includes free printable one page pamphlets and a free PowerPoint presentation on the Hail Mary. There is an especially nice section featuring pictures and text that demonstrate why the location of Caesarea Philippi was so important as the place where Jesus promised to build His Church on Peter.
[For those traveling this summer and needing to get to the Holy Mass.]
MASS TIMES AND CATHOLIC CHURCHES throughout the US
When traveling this Summer maybe add some religion to your trip. Perhaps stop at a monastery or Cathedral you come across. There are many Catholic historical sites. Or visit http://www.catholicshrines.net/ for a shrine near your vacation destination.
START A HOSPITALITY GROUP FOR YOUR RCIA PROGRAM
[RCIA-Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is the process by which non-Catholics join the Church, which usually begins in the Fall] Get to know people wanting to get to know the Church before they officially join and witness to them with your kindness and your faith story by being a part of group that brings food and drink to the RCIA class and then shares how you became Catholic or grew up Catholic.
People joining RCIA may not be sure about joining the Church or even know much about the Church, but everyone wants and needs to be received and treated kindly ("love is patient, love is kind" -St. Paul). So being part of a group that brings refreshments or food and drink to RCIA class can touch them by 'breaking bread' with them and affirming that you are glad they are there and want them to be a part of your parish. And if some of your committee, one by one, can share their faith journey, that can confirm the RCIA candidates in theirs, and they get to know members of the Church with whom they will worship and serve one day if they ultimately join the Church. ALSO, small groups that people know and can grow with are central to helping us walk 'two-by-two' toward heaven.
Consult and ask if it is okay with your Parish Priest and the person in charge of RCIA. Look for another person or group of people who would be willing on occasion to make or purchase food and drink and bring them to the RCIA meeting (perhaps once a month or every two weeks). And then hopefully one of your group, or perhaps the head of different ministries of your parish, can share a brief version of their faith journey as a cradle Catholic or as a convert themselves. The sharing does not have to be spectacular or stunning, it just has to be real and heart-felt. This can go a long way to helping RCIA candidates into the Church, and making them a part of your parish family for years to come.
As her cause for canonization gets underway, family and friends recall her evangelization efforts and acceptance of God’s will.
“She could have mentioned so many amazing things that she’s done, but the simplicity of her answer touched our heart,” her mother, Mary Ann Duppong, explained to the Register. “She chose our farm at Haymarsh for her perfect day. That is why we know she is happy to have her burial spot in the cemetery overlooking St. Clement’s and our farm.”
It was upon learning of an impromptu pilgrimage to Michelle’s gravesite that Mary Ann and her husband, Ken, first heard that a cause of canonization would open for their daughter, who died from cancer on Dec. 25, 2015, a year after her diagnosis. Michelle had been serving as the director of adult faith formation for the Diocese of Bismarck, North Dakota, and before that had worked as a Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) missionary for six years at four colleges.
Msgr. James Shea, president of the University of Mary in Bismarck, called Mary Ann the evening of June 15 to let her know that an impromptu pilgrimage was headed to the cemetery to visit Michelle’s gravesite. Earlier that day, during the annual commissioning Mass celebrated at the University of Mary for new FOCUS missionaries, Bismarck Bishop David Kagan had announced the plan to open a diocesan investigation that could lead to Michelle’s beatification and canonization, and Msgr. Shea spontaneously invited everyone to join him in pilgrimage to St. Clement’s cemetery, 60 miles from Bismarck, to visit Michelle’s grave. Around 500 people, including five priests, prayed the Rosary there that night and took turns privately praying for Michelle’s intercession.
Msgr. Shea explained to the Register that he had always appreciated Michelle’s enthusiasm for evangelization. Her last year in FOCUS was as part of the 2012 inaugural team at the University of Mary to mentor students in the faith.
“Michele was very zealous but eminently practical, not idealistic,” he said. “She had an unwavering faith in the power of God and the intercession of the Blessed Mother to bring souls to Jesus. This was her main concern.”
Since her death, Msgr. Shea said he has often prayed privately to Michelle, asking help “for those who come to the University of Mary — those with faith, for it to deepen, and those who come without faith to gain it.
“One of the great lessons that Michelle’s life imparts upon us,” he told the Register, “was the beautiful way that she entered into the suffering of Jesus. How beautiful to have the example of someone who accepted, with serenity, both the joys and suffering of her life. Michelle never forgot about the power of redemptive suffering.”
‘Joyful Faith’“Michelle’s holiness of life and love for God certainly touched us here in the Diocese of Bismarck, at the University of Mary, and throughout FOCUS, but hers is a witness which should also be shared with the universal Church,” Bishop Kagan said during his announcement. He had hired Michelle as the diocesan director of faith formation, and she had worked with him in creating the “Thirst Conferences” that continue to this day, bringing in national Catholic speakers to inspire the faithful.
Not long after Bishop Kagan had celebrated Michelle’s funeral Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Bismarck, he began receiving notes and letters from people about Michelle’s influence in their lives. “What inspired me about Michelle and prompted me to take this first step were her two most obvious virtues: her joyful faith and her unconditional acceptance of God’s will for her,” Bishop Kagan told the Register. “As time goes on and our investigation progresses, that will be even more evident to all.”
Her main desire, Bishop Kagan said, was to share the joy of knowing Jesus. “Our Church, and especially our culture, needs models of everyday holiness — just as Michelle has shown us,” he said. “Especially our young men and women, married or single, need Michelle’s example of faith, hope and charity. They need to know and see that real virtue is something for them, and it is never outdated.”
FOCUS MissionaryCurtis Martin, founder and CEO of FOCUS, explained: “When Michelle and her sister Renae were in FOCUS, we all knew one another. It was founded in 1998, and Michelle joined in 2006, when we had about 150 missionaries. Today, there are 900.”
Michelle stood out, he said, because she was always building up others and never complained. “She was gracious, even when things were difficult,” Martin said. “Michelle had learned how to suffer and never got distracted by it. The spectacular secret is that while Jesus left us in awe with his miracles and wowed us with his words, the salvation he won for us came through suffering. “
Now that Michelle is on the other side of the veil, Martin said that he and his family often pray for her intercession, and he asks Michelle to teach him how to suffer. “She did that beautifully,” he said. “I really believe that Jesus Christ is asking this generation to be heroes, and you cannot be a hero without suffering.”
A friend of Michelle’s, former FOCUS missionary Rebekah Martin, lives near Napoleon, North Dakota, with her husband, Lucas, and their five children. Rebekah and Michelle were roommates at North Dakota State University from 2002 to 2006 and worked together in FOCUS at the University of South Dakota for the 2009-2010 school year.
Looking back, Rebekah said it makes perfect sense that Michelle would be considered for sainthood. “She was bold in sharing her faith,” Rebekah said. “I remember, for her first assignment in speech class, she gave a speech defending the priesthood against the attacks that were happening during that time over the scandals, saying that the vast majority of the priesthood was without accusation.”
But Michelle knew how to have fun, too, according to Rebekah. “She laughed easily, was quick with a joke, and had a knack for finding humor in the ordinary. My favorite memories are of her laughing so hard, trying to say something, but not being able to get the words out. She was so full of life!”
Rebekah described Michelle as a humble leader. “As a FOCUS team director, she cared first for the needs of her teammates. She wanted us to thrive. She encouraged her teammates to offer up mortifications, to intentionally offer up sufferings and inconveniences for the souls we were trying to reach. Michelle realized, even then, at least to some extent, the value of suffering united with Jesus.”
Rebekah noted that Michelle was always concerned for others. “I have an example of this. In September, we attended her benefit ball. My birthday had been a couple days before. She saw me and said in her sweet voice, ‘Beka! How was your birthday?’ I was just so touched that after all she had been through at that point, and though she was visibly tired, she remembered my birthday and chose to focus on me and how I was doing.”
Faith FoundationMary Ann said Michelle grew up working hard on the family farm. “That exposure to yard and garden work is probably why Michelle and two other daughters — three out of our six children — were horticulture majors,” she said. When there were extra vegetables, Michelle and her sisters sold them in town after Saturday morning Mass.
Although Michelle was valedictorian and president of her senior class, Mary Ann said that she was not particularly engaged in a social life with her peers and was always happy to go along with her family to occasional Catholic conferences that included speakers, Mass and adoration — much like the “Thirst Conferences” Michelle was later to help plan. Mary Ann pointed out that Michelle enjoyed sharing her Jan. 25 birthday with the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, the great evangelizer, as evangelizing was a mission she also lived.
Faithful Perseverance Through PainIt was in the fall of 2014 that Michelle began experiencing sharp pains in her abdomen. “Ovarian cysts” was the diagnosis. “Nothing serious, and they might even dissolve on their own,” she was told.
By mid-December, Michelle was in agony. After a second ultrasound, out-patient surgery was scheduled for Dec. 29 to remove the cysts. But the surgeon was shocked when she opened Michelle up. Her abdomen was full of cancer. It was Stage 4. “Michelle, there isn’t anything we can do,” she was told by two doctors who recommended she go home for hospice care.
“How long does she have?” Mary Ann asked, horrified.
“Two months,” was the answer.
Thus began Michelle’s yearlong journey, fighting for her life while accepting God’s will every step of the way. Her sister Renae, who had a degree in nursing, accompanied her in her suffering as her personal nurse.
Over those 12 months, there were surgeries and hospital stays, until Michelle was sent home when there was nothing more that could be done. “Michelle was not one to blame anyone for anything,” Mary Ann said. “Her attitude was, ‘If God wants me to go through this, I will go through this.’”
When Michelle entered hospice care, a family doctor asked Mary Ann: If they had to do it over again, did they think it was worth putting Michelle through all the medical procedures and pain to gain another 10 months?
“You have no idea of how many lives she touched that last year,” Mary Ann responded. “Not only was Michelle a great witness of her deep faith, but she also used that time to offer her suffering for others. There were over 230,000 hits on her CaringBridge site that year, including strangers from across the country. How do you measure the good from that?”
Mary Ann said one of her most precious gifts from Michelle is a relic medal from the Shrine of the North American Martyrs in New York. “Michelle said that she believed a time was coming when we, too, should be ready, if we would be asked by Our Lord, to suffer martyrdom to pass on the faith. She told me that we need to be brave by putting on the ‘Armor of Faith.’”
“She gave everything,” her father Ken said. “Her whole year of suffering, the pain was non-stop. But it wasn’t just that year. Her whole life was dedicated to whatever Jesus wanted.”
Ken said it was typical for hospital staff to be drawn to Michelle. “She would be concerned about their problems, not hers,” Ken said. An example he gave was when someone was upset that her husband had left her. “Michelle told her, ‘Forgive him and pray for him because you might be the only one who can help him.’” The woman came back later with joy and shared that she had found peace.
According to Ken, Michelle’s attitude was that we should do everything we can while on earth to make it to heaven. “Whatever she did, she always did her best,” her father recalled.
Family members took turns gathering around Michelle’s bed the evening of Dec. 25, singing, praying and expressing their love. She took her last breath at 11:23pm.
‘Running to Jesus’Her sister Lisa Gray, married to Brad and raising their seven children in Morehead, Minnesota, said: “When I saw her taking her last breath, I was so happy for her. I was so proud of her. I had the feeling of her running to Jesus. It was not just the tragedy-of-the-cancer story; people knew that Michelle was ‘marked.’ It was just part of her journey. I had a heart of knowledge that she was going to heaven on Christmas night.”
Early the next morning, Lisa received a great consolation. “As I woke up, I heard her voice: ‘Leese, it’s beautiful.’ Her voice was radiant.”
As Bishop Kagan pointed out to the Register, conducting a diocesan inquiry into a person’s life, virtues and reputation of holiness is just the first step of a long process that will include looking for indications of her intercessory power after her death. It is uncertain how long this initial phase will last. “The Church is always very careful in all such matters,” he noted.
“I think all that we do regarding the life and death of Michelle is very much worth our time and efforts,” Bishop Kagan explained. “Michelle was a fine, Catholic young lady devoted to Jesus and his Church. Her one desire was to share with others the joy of knowing Jesus and loving him every day.”
Toward the end of her own earthly journey, Michelle’s dear aunt, Jean Wanner, was dying of brain cancer. “They cried and held each other,” Mary Ann recalled. “Jean told her that sometimes she didn’t feel Jesus with her. Michelle told her, ‘Sometimes, I don’t feel him either. Tell Jesus how you feel. He wants to know everything. Just turn to him.’”
“That’s what Michelle did,” Mary Ann said. “She told Jesus everything.”
‘We Never Leave the Lord Alone’: 135 Years of Eucharistic Adoration at Sacré-Coeur
Since Aug. 1, 1885, the chain of perpetual adoration of the Holy Sacrament at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Montmartre in Paris has continued uninterrupted, including during the 1944 bombing and the coronavirus crisis.
Solène TadiéPARIS — As the health crisis caused by the coronavirus epidemic immersed the whole country into a long period of lockdown March 17, Sacré-Cœur Basilica in Paris, which had to close its doors for the first time in its history, nonetheless remained an unflappable beacon of prayer in France.
Enthroned at the top of the emblematic butte Montmartre, the highest point of the city, the basilica is particularly prized by tourists and art lovers for the purity of its Roman-Byzantine architecture and its rounded shapes.
It is, after the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the second-most-visited monument of the City of Light.
But this high place of world tourism, as a “Sanctuary of Eucharistic Adoration and Divine Mercy,” is also one of the most important religious sites of France.
Day and night since Aug. 1, 1885, the Body of Christ in the Holy Sacrament has been exposed and adored inside the basilica (except for Good Friday), whatever the external conditions, even the most extreme. This is remarkable, as the history of France hasn’t exactly been calm since that time, including for the Catholic Church, which is also facing an unprecedented wave of secularization at every level of society.
“The adoration hasn’t stopped even for a minute, including during the two world wars,” Sister Cécile-Marie, member of the Benedictine Sisters of the Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre and responsible for the nights of adoration at the basilica, told the Register. “Even during the 1944 bombing, when some fragments fell right next to the basilica, the adorers never left.”
Adoration in the Time of COVID-19
And the recent quarantine period was, of course, no exception. While, usually, many lay or religious people come from outside and take turns in perpetual adoration, this unprecedented situation necessitated the 14 nuns of the community to reorganize their daily life in order to keep honoring the special tradition of the sanctuary, which stayed closed to the public for more than two months, until May 31.
“It was obvious to us that since we were not touched by the coronavirus, as long as we were still on our feet, we had to act and adapt quickly to this new situation,” Sister Cécile-Marie continued.
Each nun had to pray in adoration one hour twice a day to ensure a 24/7 presence, including during meals. “We never leave the Lord alone, and one cannot leave before the next person arrives, which could be pretty difficult at night when one of us didn’t wake up on time!” she said, adding that this has also been an opportunity for them to focus more on prayer and thus reconnect with the very essence of their rule of life.
However, she confessed, the lockdown also created a totally unusual sense of emptiness within the church, usually crowded with pilgrims and visitors. In her view, the most difficult thing to handle when the basilica suddenly emptied was the sight of all the candles slowly going out.
“It was a very sad vision, but, miraculously, we immediately started receiving requests of intentions of prayer from people via email; so, eventually, there were always at least one or two candles burning, and when they were about to extinguish, we would suddenly receive another request, which was so comforting.”
And the Benedictine community was quickly joined in prayer by a multitude of adorers who prayed with them remotely, following an online table for intentions of prayers.
“It was a beautiful experience: We were alone in the basilica, but we felt we were always connected with the adorers that were in spiritual communion from where they were,” Sister Cécile-Marie recalled. “We couldn’t help people by wearing white coats, but we fought the epidemic our own way: through prayer.”
A Place of Reparation
The construction of the basilica wasn’t even completed when perpetual adoration was initiated. The historical context in which the building project was born was particularly sensitive and painful for the French nation.
Indeed, the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War following the Siege of Paris in 1871 left a strong sense of hopelessness among the population and was often associated in the collective mind with a weakening of the faith as a consequence of the French Revolution.
It was then, as an act of reparation designed to instill hope in the nation’s heart, that two laymen, Alexandre Legentil and Hubert Rohault de Fleury, initiated and developed the ambitious project to build a church dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, with the support of a large network of friendships.
And the place chosen by the then-archbishop of Paris, Joseph-Hippolyte Guibert, for the construction owes nothing to chance: It was in Montmartre, which literally means “Mount of Martyrs,” that the first Christians of Paris, including St. Denis, were killed in hatred of the faith in the third century.
“The foundress of our community, Mother Adèle Garnier, heard about the project and received soon after a divine call to establish perpetual adoration in this new church dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and she submitted this idea to the archbishop of Paris,” Sister Cécile-Marie said.
But the building process, started in 1875 and completed in 1914, was particularly arduous because of the sand sub-base, which made the site unstable. Therefore, divine assistance was sought through the creation of a provisory chapel so that people could pray and meditate even during the work. “Times of adoration of the Holy Sacrament were already organized there, and the first pilgrims came, giving the first financial contributions for the building site,” Sister Cécile-Marie continued.
St. Thérèse of Lisieux herself was among the first contributors to the basilica, which could only augur a glorious future for the site. During a visit to Paris on her way to Rome with her family and a group of pilgrims, on Nov. 6, 1887, young Thérèse attended Mass at Sacré-Cœur and decided to offer her gold bracelet for the basilica’s monstrance.
It wasn’t until 1919 that the building was finally consecrated by Archbishop Guibert, five years after the completion of the work, as ravages of the Great War forced him to postpone the ceremony.
One century later, as the basilica’s first jubilee coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic, Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit chose this emblematic place to conduct an extraordinary blessing ceremony of the French capital with the Holy Sacrament, on Holy Thursday, to seek God’s protection for the city and its inhabitants.
“Sacred Heart of Jesus … from this basilica, day and night, your mercy shines on this city, France and on the world, in the sacrament of the Eucharist,” Archbishop Aupetit said in his prayer raised from the basilica’s portico. “Assist all those who are suffering the consequences of the pandemic and support those who, in so many ways, put themselves at the service of their brothers and sisters. Give health to the sick, strength to the medical staff, comfort to the families and salvation to all those who have died.”
Solène Tadié is the Register’s Rome-based Europe correspondent.
CORPORAL WORKS OF MERCY - YEAR OF MERCY
Practical Suggestions for Practicing the Corporal Works of Mercy
(The Corporal Works of Mercy are kind acts by which we help our neighbors with their everyday material and physical needs.)
Feed the Hungry
-see to the proper nutrition of your loved ones,
-support and volunteer for food pantries, soup kitchens, and agencies that feed the hungry;
-make a few sandwiches to hand out as you walk through areas
where you might encounter people in need;
-educate yourself about world hunger;
-avoid wasting food;
-share your meals with others.
-5 out of 4 Americans are bad at Math.
-If you got into a taxi and he started driving backwards, would the driver end up owing you money?
-Why is it called a tv set if you only get one?
-Why is abbreviation such a long word?
-Why is a carrot more orange than an orange?
A rushing tourist, out of breath, stops at a small country house where a grandpa is sitting on the porch and asks, “Excuse me, how can I get the fastest to the train station?” “No problem,” waves the grandpa, “let me just let the dog loose.”
I marked the spot
Two friends rented a boat and fished in a lake every day. One day they caught 30 fish. One guy said to his friend,
"Mark this spot so that we can come back here again tomorrow."
The next day, when they were driving to rent the boat, the same guy asked his friend, "Did you mark that spot?"
His friend replied, "Yeah, I put a big 'X' on the bottom of the boat."
The first one said, "Oh my goodness! What if we don't get that same boat today!?!?"
Grandparents and Grandchildren
I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I
decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what color
it was. She would tell me, and always she was correct. But it was
fun for me, so I continued. At last she headed for the door, saying
sagely, "Grandma, I think you should try to figure out some of these
When my grandson Billy and I entered our vacation cabin, we kept the
lights off until we were inside to keep from attracting pesky
insects. Still, a few fireflies followed us in. Noticing them before
I did, Billy whispered, "It's no use, Grandpa. The mosquitoes are
coming after us with flashlights."
A nursery school teacher was delivering a mini-van full of kids
home one day when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front
seat of the fire truck was a Dalmatian dog. The children started
discussing the dog's duties. "They use him to keep crowds back,"
said one youngster. "No," said another, "he's just for good luck." A
third child brought the argument to a close: "No, they use the dogs
to find the fire hydrant."
Act of Faith
O my God I believe all You have said because You are the infallible truth.
Act of Hope
O my God I hope for all You have promised because You are faithful.
Act of Love
O my God I love You above all things because You are good.
SUNDAY MASS READINGS AND QUESTIONS
for Self-Reflection, Couples or Family Discussion
17th Sunday in Ordinary Time -Sunday, July 24th, 2022
The First Reading- Genesis 18:20-32
In those days, the LORD said: "The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great, and their sin so grave, that I must go down and see whether or not their actions fully correspond to the cry against them that comes to me. I mean to find out." While Abraham's visitors walked on farther toward Sodom, the LORD remained standing before Abraham. Then Abraham drew nearer and said: "Will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty? Suppose there were fifty innocent people in the city; would you wipe out the place, rather than spare it for the sake of the fifty innocent people within it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to make the innocent die with the guilty so that the innocent and the guilty would be treated alike! Should not the judge of all the world act with justice?" The LORD replied, "If I find fifty innocent people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake." Abraham spoke up again: "See how I am presuming to speak to my Lord, though I am but dust and ashes! What if there are five less than fifty innocent people? Will you destroy the whole city because of those five?" He answered, "I will not destroy it, if I find forty-five there." But Abraham persisted, saying "What if only forty are found there?" He replied, "I will forbear doing it for the sake of the forty." Then Abraham said, "Let not my Lord grow impatient if I go on. What if only thirty are found there?" He replied, "I will forbear doing it if I can find but thirty there." Still Abraham went on, "Since I have thus dared to speak to my Lord, what if there are no more than twenty?" The LORD answered, "I will not destroy it, for the sake of the twenty." But he still persisted: "Please, let not my Lord grow angry if I speak up this last time. What if there are at least ten there?" He replied, "For the sake of those ten, I will not destroy it."
This Reading makes several presumptions about the nature of God and our relationship with him:
a. It is possible for the righteous to intercede with God and influence the Divine will.
b. God is fundamentally just, and justice includes not only mercy for the innocent but punishment for the wicked.
c. If there is a conflict of the claims of justice and mercy, God prefers mercy.
d. God is slow to punish the wicked, and does so only when fully justified.
These theological convictions, embedded in the narrative, have shaped both Jewish and Christian understandings of the nature of God, prayer, justice, and mercy throughout history.
Adults - Have you experienced God’s mercy in your life in a big way? In small ways?
Teens - What does it mean to you to be merciful as the Father is merciful?
Kids - Has anyone in your life been merciful to you?
Responsorial- Psalm 138: 1-2, 2-3, 6-7, 7-8
R.Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,
for you have heard the words of my mouth;
in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple
and give thanks to your name.
R. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
Because of your kindness and your truth;
for you have made great above all things
your name and your promise.
When I called you answered me;
you built up strength within me.
R. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
The LORD is exalted, yet the lowly he sees,
and the proud he knows from afar.
Though I walk amid distress, you preserve me;
against the anger of my enemies you raise your hand.
R. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
Your right hand saves me.
The LORD will complete what he has done for me;
your kindness, O LORD, endures forever;
forsake not the work of your hands.
R. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
-We pray always a prayer of thanksgiving, which is the literal meaning of Eucharist. We have realized the promise of this week’s Psalm: We worship in His holy temple, in the presence of angels, hallowing His name. Try to list three things each night this week that you are grateful for as you reflect on your day.
The Second Reading- Colossians 2:12-14
Brothers and sisters: You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. And even when you were dead in transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he brought you to life along with him, having forgiven us all our transgressions; obliterating the bond against us, with its legal claims,which was opposed to us, he also removed it from our midst, nailing it to the cross.
In this Reading, we see the mercy of God at work, even as it was in the First Reading. God “errs” on the side of mercy (so to speak), when mercy and justice oppose.
Do you err on the side of mercy in your dealings with others?
The Holy Gospel according to Luke 11:1-13
Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples." He said to them, "When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test." And he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,' and he says in reply from within, 'Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.' I tell you, if he does not get up to give the visitor the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence. "And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?"
The two paragraphs that follow the Lord’s prayer are meant to encourage us (1) to be persistent in prayer and (2) to trust in God’s generosity. One may ask, if God is so generous a Father, why does he insist on our persistence in prayer. Why not give everything immediately? Or better, why make us ask at all? Why not give us everything we want and need without our asking? God is a good parent, however, and the dialogue of prayer actually fosters relationship between God and his children, in which God permits the participation his children into his providential guidance of the universe. God is a Father who encourages us to make our needs and desires known, always trusting in his goodness.
Adults - Do you dialogue with God throughout the day?
Teens - Pray the Lord’s prayer slowly and intentionally each day this week, meditating on the meaning.
Kids - Do you talk to God the same way you talk to your parents and friends? Remember to tell Him all about your days!
LIVING THE WORD OF GOD THIS WEEK! –“The Our Father is certainly the most sublime formula possible and contains the whole essence of the most elevated mental prayer. However, Jesus gave it as a formula for vocal prayer: " When you pray, say. . . " (ibid. 11:2). This is enough to make us understand the value and importance of vocal prayer, which is within the reach of everyone even children, the uneducated, the sick, the weary.... But we must realize that vocal prayer does not consist only in the repetition of a certain formula. If this were true, we should have a recitation but not a prayer, for prayer always requires a movement, an elevation of the soul toward God. In this sense, Jesus instructed His disciples: "When thou shalt pray, enter into thy chamber, and having shut the door, pray to thy Father in secret.... And when you are praying, speak not much as the heathens" (Mt 6:6-7). It is interesting to note that in St. Matthew these prescriptions concerning the exterior and interior dispositions necessary for well-made prayer immediately precede the teaching of the Our Father. Therefore, in order that our vocal prayer be real prayer, we must first recollect ourselves in the presence of God, approach Him, and make contact with Him. Only when we have such dispositions will the words we pronounce with our lips express our interior devotion and be able to sustain and nourish it. Unfortunately, inclined as we are to grasp the material part of things instead of the spiritual, it is only too easy in our vocal prayer to content ourselves with a mechanical recitation, without taking care to direct our heart to God; hence we should always be vigilant and alert. Vocal prayer made only by the lips dissipates and wearies the soul instead of recollecting it in God; it cannot be said that this is a means of uniting us more closely to Him.” —Divine Intimacy Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D
CATHOLIC QUESTIONS AND CATHOLIC ANSWERS
534. What is prayer? d. All of the above.
Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God, or the petition of good things from him in accord with his will. It is always the gift of God who comes to encounter man. Christian prayer is the personal and living relationship of the children of God with their Father who is infinitely good, with his Son Jesus Christ, and with the Holy Spirit who dwells in their hearts.
535. Universal call to prayer c. God draws every person to the mysterious encounter known as prayer
Because through creation God first calls every being from nothingness. Even after the Fall man continues to be capable of recognizing his Creator and retains a desire for the One who has called him into existence. All religions, and the whole history of salvation in particular, bear witness to this human desire for God. It is God first of all, however, who ceaselessly draws every person to the mysterious encounter known as prayer.
536. How is Abraham a model of prayer? b. he walked in the presence of God, heard and obeyed him
Abraham is a model of prayer because he walked in the presence of God, heard and obeyed him. His prayer was a battle of faith because he continued to believe in the fidelity of God even in times of trial. Besides, after having received in his own tent the visit of the Lord who confided his plan to him, Abraham dared to intercede for sinners with bold confidence.
537. How did Moses pray? d. all of the above
The prayer of Moses was typical of contemplative prayer. God, who called to Moses from the burning bush, lingered in conversation with him often and at length, “face to face, like a man with his friend” (Exodus 33:11). In this intimacy with God, Moses attained the strength to intercede tenaciously for his people: his prayer thus prefigured the intercession of the one mediator, Christ Jesus.