In this e-weekly:
- Catholic All Year (Catholic Website of the Week)
- Eucharistic Miracles! (Diocesan News and BEYOND)
- A Prayer Before A Crucifix (under Praying Hands)
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
The Crucifix - The Core Christian Image
What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?" Pilate asked. They all answered, "Crucify him!" "Why? What crime has he committed?" asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, "Crucify him!" (Matthew 27:22-23)
The crucifix, that is, a cross with the body of our Lord upon it is the core Christian image. Some Christians say that Christ should not be portrayed upon the cross, since He is risen from the dead. Yet, for us who as St. Paul says, "make up for what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ (Col. 1:13)," the crucifix urges us on because it is the love of Christ (II Cor. 5:14) made visible.
The cross itself only has meaning and value because Jesus Christ, God made man, hung upon it. Crucifixion, a horrible means of execution and an ignominious death, has been transformed to be a means of life-giving love because sin and death died upon it. Jesus went forward to rise from the dead and to raise all who believe in Him.
But the further power of the crucifix is that it gives hope to us who suffer. It shows that good can be brought out of evil, especially the evil that strikes us or strikes those we love. It shows that suffering has value when it is united to God who suffered. Indeed, Christianity is the only religion that believes that God became human and that He suffered and died for humanity!
So if you do not have a crucifix in your house, get one! Indeed, every room should have one. And if you have a crucifix in your house, office, classroom, church, or elsewhere, look often upon it to be reminded of the love that God has for YOU and indeed all the world AND what you too can do through and for Jesus!
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. This coming Sunday is Twenty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time. The readings can be found at: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/082822.cfm
P.S.S. At the end of e-weekly is the Sunday Readings with commentary and reflection questions.
557. What is the importance of Tradition in regard to prayer? (Catechism of the Catholic Church-CCC 2650-2651)
a) it helps us make sure prayer is from God and not something we ourselves make up
b) it directs us to God and not ourselves or false gods
c) it helps teach us how to pray
d) all of the above
AT THE WELLSPRINGS OF PRAYER
558. What are the sources of Christian prayer?(CCC 2652-2662)
a) Holy Bible
b) Mass and the Sacraments
c) theological virtues and everyday situations
d) all of the above
THE WAY OF PRAYER
559. In the Church are there different ways of praying?(CCC 2663)
d) Yes and No
560. What is the way of our prayer? (CCC 2664, 2680-2681)
a) Christ because prayer is directed to God our Father
b) only through Mary and the Saints
c) the authority of our own name
d) creation and the world
(Latin cruc, crux "cross" + figere "to fasten, to affix" = "to fasten to a cross"; crucifīgere "to crucify")
- an image of a cross with the body of Jesus upon it
[It is usually made of wood. Due reverence is always given to it. It is sometimes carried as a procession cross leading a line of clergy. Depicting the dead or suffering Christ, the crucifix did not come into general use until after the Reformation. The earlier ones represented Our Lord as the High Priest crowned, robed, and alive. Some men and women religious wear the crucifix as part of their habit. A crucifix is attached to the Rosary beads, and many liturgical blessings are to be given with it. A blessed crucifix is a sacramental and is commonly displayed in Catholic hospitals, homes, and institutions.]
- a Latin word meaning "body"
I've reviewed the book. It is a basic presentation of the value, riches and beauty of Catholicism-all about why taking the Faith seriously should matter. After introducing the life-changing nature of Christ's mission and that of His Church, the book focuses in particular on Kelly's "Seven Pillars of Catholic Spirituality": Reconciliation, Contemplation, The Mass, the Bible, Fasting, Spiritual Reading and the Rosary. Rediscovering Catholicism is not for those who are already deeply committed and deeply knowledgeable; it is a deliberately breezy treatment designed primarily to get the lukewarm or indifferent excited about being Catholic, or perhaps those who, while not exactly lukewarm, are engaged in only a sort of secularized social Catholicism because they have been badly formed.
The book is available in single copies for the cost of shipping and handling ($5.95), and at $2.00 per copy for bulk distribution (with free shipping): Rediscovering Catholicism. It is well worth considering, but be warned: Though it is an easy read, it is over 300 pages long, so you have to ask yourself whether your intended recipients will actually read it.
For those with shorter attention spans, Catholic Answers' Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth, developed originally for distribution at World Youth Days, is a 32-page booklet which provides a more succinct and classically-apologetical introduction to Catholicism. It's available for $1.00 plus shipping, or in bulk for as little as 50 cents. Either text could be just the thing to jump-start the nascent Catholics you hold dear.
"The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the "one mediator between God and men". But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, "the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery" is offered to all men. He calls his disciples to "take up [their] cross and follow [him]", for "Christ also suffered for [us], leaving [us] an example so that [we] should follow in his steps." In fact Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be its first beneficiaries. This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately than any other person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering.
Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven." -St. Rose of Lima
Catechism of the Catholic Church #618
Catholic All Year writes, "Hi! I’m Kendra. I’m a Catholic wife and mother of many, from little to teenaged. I also dabble in teaching, reading, writing, cooking, baking,
sewing, crafting, party planning, graphic design, home remodeling, and watching Netflix streaming...." Kendra shares all things Catholic in amazing ways that reach out to so many. Be sure to stop by!
PRAY AND FAST FOR YOUR PARISH AND THE CHURCH
“After Jesus and the disciples had gone back home and were alone, they asked him, "Why couldn't we force out that demon? He replied ‘This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.’"
Praying is doing something! And fasting is the greatest spiritual weapon you can bring to bear on spiritual evils and to assist right and good things in the physical order.
These are our top two weapons employed in spiritual warfare. At a time when many evils are being uncovered in our beloved Church, we can turn to these tried and true methods of interceding for the victims of abuse and for the Church as a whole. Suggestions on ways to pray and fast are below.
*Note: When fasting we give up a good, and are taught to offer the discomfort up for the intention we are praying for. To “offer something up” means that we are making a choice to not let our discomfort be wasted. Christ suffered to redeem us, and when He did, He changed the nature of suffering to make it possible for all human suffering to be united with His own in order to play a part in the redemption of the human race. How do we offer our challenges for a certain intention? We tell God, "I offer this up to You for….. or, Lord, please use this for….(the victims of abuse, the universal Church, etc.)”
Ways To Pray Ways To Fast
-Pray a Daily Rosary, even just once decade. -Give up dessert
-Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet -Give up your morning coffee
-Go to Adoration -Eat only bread and water for the day
-Attend a Daily Mass -Fast from Social Media for a day or a week
-Pray the Morning Offering -Fast from television
-Pray the Saint Michael Prayer -Fast from any creature comfort that you enjoy
Help us continue to offer Jimmy Akin’s Mysterious World. Won’t you make a pledge at SQPN.com/give today?
Links for this episode:
- Franco Serafini’s book A Cardiologist Examines Jesus: The Stunning Science Behind Eucharistic Miracles
- Fatima in Sr. Lucia’s Own Words
- Eucharistic miracles
- Church investigations of Eucharistic miracles
- Article on St. Thomas Aquinas on Eucharistic miracles
- Summa Theologiae on Eucharistic miracles
- Eastern Orthodox view on Eucharistic miracles
- Serratia Marcescens
- World Population by Blood Type
- Paul VI’s Credo of the People of God
- Please spread the word about the podcast. Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts!
- Purchase the books and other material from this and other episodes at the Mysterious World Bookstore.
- Join the conversation at the Starquest Facebook page and the Jimmy Akin’s Mysterious World Facebook page.
- Be part of the StarQuest Discord community at SQPN.com/discord
- Send your feedback or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or send a tweet to @mys_world
- You can also leave a voice message on the Mysterious Feedback Line at (619) 738-4515
Cast members share their takeaways from filming the story of the Marian apparitions.
Joseph PronechenShortly before the premiere of Fatima, several cast members shared with the Register some experiences and thoughts about the film, which debuted Friday in theaters and on demand.
“I really like that it’s releasing at this point of the year because of the coronavirus and everything. It just brings faith to people’s hearts, and it’s really inspiring. It brings hope to the world at this time,” said 14-year-old Stephanie Gil, who plays young Lucia. Gil was 12 during the movie’s filming.
“I think that the main message of the film is to have hope and faith in general, and in yourself; and to believe in what you believe and not let anyone tell you otherwise. It’s just: Be strong and fight for what you believe.”
Gil said younger audiences will also like the film because they will feel they can relate to the seers, Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco, because they were 10, 8 and 7 during the 1917 apparitions, and going through that situation at their young age “is amazing, something really admirable for me. I want them [young people] to take out [as a message] how you should never give up. … In the film, Lucia is so devoted to her faith, and that’s what keeps her going.”
Gil said this role was “life-changing. I will never forget filming this film because it’s so special and close to my heart.”
Actor Goran Višnjić shared how he portrayed Arturo de Oliveira Santos, the atheist, unbelieving mayor, whose wife was a believer and churchgoer. “In Portugal at the time, the Church was really on the outskirts of society; the new government was against it. They were trying to portray the Church as superstitious people. [Yet] the core of the people was supporting the Church, and people were churchgoers. I was trying to find a kind of balance between those two things. And I was trying to portray him as a guy between a rock and a hard place.”
Višnjić believes Fatima will appeal to everybody, Catholic or not. “If it is really an honestly good and positive message, we can all recognize it. … The thought is important; the message is important. So this movie doesn’t matter who’s going to be watching it — Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists or whatever — but the message of the film is beautiful. It’s love each other. Don’t make war. The message is pure, positive and beautiful.”
A Catholic himself, Višnjić went to Fatima while filming in Portugal. “You feel you’re in an amazing, special place. You feel a calm; I don’t want to say divinity. But it does feel very special, very different,” he said of his pilgrimage experience. “The whole process … was a bit special; it wasn’t like shooting any other film.”
Portraying Jacinta, 9-year-old Alejandra Howard makes quite an impression in Fatima, her first film.
She enjoyed playing the young saint “because we were very close to where it actually happened, and I heard all about Jacinta. I was on the internet learning about her,” Howard related. “I think it was easy for me.” The best part about playing Jacinta, Howard said, was having something in common with St. Jacinta. “I am kind of courageous, and she was courageous.”
For her part, Howard said the filming deepened her own faith. “I was already a believer of God. But I think after doing this movie I was more of a believer now than before.”
She encourages young moviegoers to see the film because “it’s a really interesting story, a true story that happened a hundred years ago, and [you] get a really good feeling of it.”
Lucia Moniz, who is not Catholic, portrays Lucia’s mother, Maria dos Santos. She shared how she “was very moved by the script, very moved by the way it was filmed. This film talked about an important issue, which is real lives and how this event affects people who believe and people who don’t believe. The most important thing I felt with this film and the message is that, beyond believing or not, the power of love is so important.”
Stephanie Gil, who portrays Lucia, and Lucia Moniz, who portrays Lucia’s mother, act in a scene from the movie.
Moniz brings that out on screen in her love for her daughter, despite her refusal to believe Lucia sees the Blessed Virgin Mary. “I always wanted to make sure of that even though this character doesn’t act right in most of this story in her reaction in not believing her [daughter], it’s not a question of how much she loves her daughter. It’s sometimes humans don’t know what to do, and they don’t know how to act.”
Joaquim de Almeida, who plays Father Ferreira, explained why this is such an important film. “There was the time of the pandemic then; the Spanish Flu was going on — so many parallels to what’s happening today. In Portugal in 1917, people in the country were very poor, and they were in need of hope, and belief and faith, and this was something that even if it was repressed in the beginning by the republican government, it ended with many people being attracted on Oct. 13 — 70,000 people were there” to see the “Miracle of the Sun.”
L to r: Goran Višnjić plays Mayor Arturo de Oliveira Santos,
and Joaquim de Almeida plays Father Ferreira.
De Almeida believes people “should look at it and be upbeat about faith and believing and hoping. It expresses a good lesson for the kids. If you believe in something, don’t say you lied. If you believe it’s true, say it’s true. The kids had so much pressure to say it was a lie. They said, ‘No. We saw it.’”
Whether viewers are “a believer or nonbeliever,” he thinks the film can touch all open hearts. “It’s appealing because it’s based on facts. A lot of believers come to Fatima every year, but it’s not just that. It’s the story in itself, and the comparison, the parallels to today. Most of all, it’s important that we have hope.”
Joseph Pronechen is a Register staff writer.
In the opening of their letter, the women recall a quote from Pope Francis on the role of women in the Church: “You have said that you seek ‘a more incisive female presence in the Church,’ and that ‘women are capable of seeing things with a different angle from [men], with a different eye. Women are able to pose questions that we men are not able to understand.’” “We write to you, Holy Father, to pose questions that need answers,” the letter notes.
Specifically, they are seeking answers to the questions raised in Vigano’s recent letter, which accused Pope Francis and other members of the Church hierarchy for covering up sexual abuse allegations against former cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
The women’s questions for Pope Francis include if or when he was made aware of any sanctions allegedly placed on then-cardinal Theodore McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI, and whether he brought McCarrick back into public ministry despite knowing about these sanctions and accusations.
Asked these questions by journalists on his return flight from the recent World Meeting of Families in Ireland, Pope Francis responded by saying he “will not say a single word on this” and instead encouraged journalists to study the statement themselves and draw their own conclusions.
“To your hurting flock, Pope Francis, your words are inadequate,” the signers of the letter say, addressing the Pope’s response. “They sting, reminiscent of the clericalism you so recently condemned. We need leadership, truth, and transparency. We, your flock, deserve your answers now.”
“Please do not turn from us,” they ask in the letter. “You’ve committed yourself to changing clerical ways in the Church. That a cardinal would prey on seminarians is abhorrent. We need to know we can trust you to be honest with us about what happened. The victims who have suffered so greatly need to know they can trust you. Families, who will be the source of the Church’s renewal, need to know we can trust you, and thus trust the Church.”
The women who have signed the letter serve in a variety of positions and vocations within the Church, in both private and public life. They describe themselves as “deeply committed to our faith and profoundly grateful for Church teachings, the Sacraments, and the many good bishops and priests who have blessed our lives.”
They are “wives, mothers, single women, consecrated women, and religious sisters. We are the mothers and sisters of your priests, seminarians, future priests and religious. We are the Church’s lay leaders, and the mothers of the next generation. We are professors in your seminaries, and leaders in Catholic chanceries and institutions. We are theologians, evangelists, missionaries and founders of Catholic apostolates.”
“In short, we are the Church, every bit as much as the cardinals and bishops around you,” they say. The letter is signed, “With love for Christ and the Church.”
Some prominent signers of the letter include Mary Rice Hasson, the Kate O'Beirne Fellow in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center; Professor Janet E. Smith, the Father Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Ethics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary; Leah Darrow, a Catholic speaker, author and evangelist; Ashley McGuire, a senior fellow at The Catholic Association; Kathryn Jean Lopez with the National Review Institute; and Obianuju Ekeocha, the founder and president of Culture of Life Africa.
Other signers include professors and faculty from Catholic institutions including Notre Dame, The Catholic University of America, and the University of St. Thomas, as well as women who are mothers of seminarians, homeschooling mothers, business owners, philosophers and psychologists.
The letter, dated August 30, 2018, is described as the personal initiative of the original signatories and was not organized or sponsored by any group or organization. It had 5,300 signatures as of press time. (As of Saturday evening, Sept. 1, 2018, there are 25,820 signatures.
'Teach Your Children How to Pray!' Pope Francis Tells Parents
By Ann Schneible
Vatican City, (EWTN News/CNA) - On Wednesday, Pope Francis continued his weekly catechesis on the family, saying that parents have the responsibility to teach their children to pray.
Delivering his address to pilgrims and visitors, gathered under the hot sun for the weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, the pontiff stressed the importance of teaching children how to show love for God through prayer.
"It is beautiful when mothers teach their little children to blow a kiss to Jesus or to Our Lady. What tenderness there is in this!" he said.
"In that moment the child's heart is transformed into a place of prayer. And this is a gift of the Holy Spirit."
However, in off-the-cuff remarks, the Pope lamented how there are children who are not taught the most basic prayers by there parents, a phenomena he said he has witnessed in the city.
"There are children who have not learned how to make the Sign of the Cross!" he said. "You, mother, father! Teach your children how to pray, how to make the Sign of the Cross!"
Children should learn prayer with "the same spontaneity" as when they learn to say "daddy" and "mommy," so that it stays with them forever, the Pope added.
The Pope's August 26 address was the latest in a series of catechesis dedicated to the family. Since late year, the pontiff has been centering his Wednesday catecheses on this theme as part of the lead-up to the World Meeting of Families in September, as well as October's Synod of Bishops on the Family.
In his catechesis, delivered in Italian, the Holy Father observed how many Christians know they need prayer, but do not have the time.
"Their regret is sincere, certainly, because the human heart always seeks prayer, even without knowing it; and if it does not find it, it does not have peace."
It is for this reason that Christians must cultivate a love for God, he said.
While it is good to believe in God, to have hope in him to help at difficult times, and to be grateful to him, Pope Francis asked whether or not we also love him.
He cited the scripture passage from Deuteronomy, repeated by Christ in Matthew's Gospel, in which we are called to love God with all our heart, our soul, and strength.
"(This) formula uses the intense language of love, poured into God," the Pope said.
Pope Francis acknowledged that we are able see God as the one who gives us life and from whom even death cannot separate us, the "great Being" and "Judge" who made all things and controls every act, the Pope said. However, these concepts only find their full significance "when God is the love of our loves."
"God could have simply made us know him as the supreme Being, given his commandments, and awaited the results."
This he has done, but also "infinitely more," the Pope said, adding in off-the-cuff remarks: "He accompanies us on the path of life. He protects us. He loves us."
Pope Francis acknowledged how there is little time available in family life. However, by finding time to pray, we "give time back to God." In so doing, we escape the obsession with not having enough time, rediscover "peace in the important things," and "discover the joy in unexpected gifts."
Encouraging the faithful to read the Gospel every day, as he has done on numerous occasions, the Holy Father said this is a particularly important practice for families.
"The Gospel, read and meditated on in the family, is like good bread which nourishes the hearts of everyone," he said.
Pope Francis concluded: "In the family of prayer, in strong moments and in difficult periods, may we be entrusted to one another, in order that everyone of us in the family may be protected by God's love."
"The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle. Spiritual progress entails the ascesis and mortification that gradually lead to living in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes:
He who climbs never stops going from beginning to beginning, through beginnings that have no end. He never stops desiring what he already knows." -St. Gregory of Nyssa
Catechism of the Catholic Church #2015
-Why do monkeys carry their babies on their backs? It would be a bit hard dragging a buggy all the way up the trees.
-Doctor says to the patient: “Your coughing sounds much better.” The patient replies: “And no wonder. I spent a lot of time practicing.”
-I have a very good feeling about my job interview today. The manager said they were looking for somebody responsible. “You’ve found your man,” I responded, “whenever there was a problem in my last job, they always said that I was responsible!”
-A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing.
-Did you know that dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish?
-Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?
-By the time a man realizes that his father was right, he has a son who thinks he’s wrong.
-A TV can insult your intelligence, but nothing rubs it in like a computer.
-A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station…
From the Mouths of Infants and Babes:
-A wife invited some people to dinner. At the table, she turned to their six-year old daughter and said, "Would you like to say the blessing?" "I wouldn't know what to say," the girl replied. "Just say what you hear Mommy say," the wife answered. The daughter bowed her head and said, "Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?"
-After the church service a little boy told the pastor, "When I grow up, I'm going to give you some money." "Well, thank you," the pastor replied, "but why?" "Because my daddy says you're one of the poorest preachers we've ever had."
A pastor, known for his lengthy sermons, noticed a man get up and leave during the middle of his message.
The man returned just before the conclusion of the service.
Afterwards the pastor asked the man where he had gone.
"I went to get a haircut," was the reply.
"But," said the pastor, "why didn't you do that before the service?"
"Because," the gentleman said, "I didn't need one then."
Cop With a Collar
A young clergyman, fresh out of seminary, thought it would help him better understand the fears and temptations his future congregations faced if he first took a job as a policeman for several months. He passed the physical examination; then came the oral exam to test his ability to act quickly and wisely in an emergency. Among other questions he was asked, "What would you do to disperse a frenzied crowd?"
He thought for a moment and then said, "I would take up a collection."
The minister was preoccupied with thoughts of how he was going to ask the congregation to come up with more money than they were expecting for repairs to the church building. Therefore, he was annoyed to find that the regular organist was sick and a substitute had been brought in at the last minute. The substitute wanted to know what to play.
"Here's a copy of the service," he said impatiently. "But, you'll have to think of something to play after I make the announcement about the finances."
During the service, the minister paused and said,
"Brothers and Sisters, we are in great difficulty; the roof repairs cost twice as much as we expected and we need $4,000 more. Any of you who can pledge $100 or more, please stand up."
At that moment, the substitute organist played,
"The Star Spangled Banner."
And that is how the substitute became the regular organist!
-Catechism of the Catholic Church #1182
SUNDAY MASS READINGS AND QUESTIONS
for Self-Reflection, Couples or Family Discussion
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Sunday, August 28th, 2022
The First Reading- Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29
My child, conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts. Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God. What is too sublime for you, seek not, into things beyond your strength search not. The mind of a sage appreciates proverbs, and an attentive ear is the joy of the wise. Water quenches a flaming fire, and alms atone for sins.
Composed c. 200 BC, Sirach is the last of the wisdom books and may be regarded as a massive summation of the Israelite wisdom tradition. In fact, Sirach is truly a meditation on the entire body of Israel’s Scriptures from the perspective of wisdom, that is, the practical knowledge of successful living. Because Sirach provides such a useful digest of the moral message of the Old Testament Scriptures, the early Church used it heavily in catechesis, earning it the name “Ecclesiasticus,” that is, “the little book of the Church.” The author, like Jesus of Nazareth to come, highly prizes humility, and in today’s passage stresses this virtue as one key to entering into God’s favor. In his exhortation “Humble yourself, the greater you are,” we hear a “pre-echo” of Jesus’ words: “Whoever would become great in God’s kingdom must become the servant of all,” and “let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as the one who serves” (Luke 22:27). Jesus Christ is the culmination of a profound tradition of moral reflection of God’s revelation within Israel.
Adults - The definition of humility is “to know the truth.” Humility doesn’t mean put yourself down, it means you are honest about things you may not be good at, and that you give credit for your gifts to God who gave them to you. Try to do a truly humble examination of yourself this week.
Teens- What gift has God blessed you with? How can you use them to build up the Body of Christ?
Kids- What is one thing you’re really good at? Thank God for that gift!
Responsorial- Psalm 68:4-5, 6-7, 10-11
R.GOD, IN YOUR GOODNESS, YOU HAVE MADE A HOME FOR THE POOR.
THE JUST REJOICE AND EXULT BEFORE GOD;
THEY ARE GLAD AND REJOICE.
SING TO GOD, CHANT PRAISE TO HIS NAME;
WHOSE NAME IS THE LORD.
R. GOD, IN YOUR GOODNESS, YOU HAVE MADE A HOME FOR THE POOR.
THE FATHER OF ORPHANS AND THE DEFENDER OF WIDOWS
IS GOD IN HIS HOLY DWELLING.
GOD GIVES A HOME TO THE FORSAKEN;
HE LEADS FORTH PRISONERS TO PROSPERITY.
R. GOD, IN YOUR GOODNESS, YOU HAVE MADE A HOME FOR THE POOR.
A BOUNTIFUL RAIN YOU SHOWERED DOWN, O GOD, UPON YOUR INHERITANCE;
YOU RESTORED THE LAND WHEN IT LANGUISHED;
YOUR FLOCK SETTLED IN IT;
IN YOUR GOODNESS, O GOD, YOU PROVIDED IT FOR THE NEEDY.
R. GOD, IN YOUR GOODNESS, YOU HAVE MADE A HOME FOR THE POOR.
-The First Reading—not accidentally!—ended with a call for the practice of almsgiving, that is, material help offered to the poor. The Psalm picks up on the theme of kindness to the poor. The Psalm asserts that God himself is the primary benefactor of the orphan, the widow, and other disadvantaged persons. Therefore, when we show kindness to the poor, it is an imitatio Dei, an act that makes us resemble God! What is the connection between humility and almsgiving? It lies in seeing the poor person as like ourselves, as sharing in our humanity, as being our brother or sister. Pride involves placing ourselves above the level of other human beings, so that their needs have no claim on us. But through almsgiving we recognize the poor as our family, as fellow children of God who have a claim on our love.
How can you do God’s work this week?
The Second Reading- Hebrews 12: 18-19, 22-24A
BROTHERS AND SISTERS: YOU HAVE NOT APPROACHED THAT WHICH COULD BE TOUCHED AND A BLAZING FIRE AND GLOOMY DARKNESS AND STORM AND A TRUMPET BLAST AND A VOICE SPEAKING WORDS SUCH THAT THOSE WHO HEARD BEGGED THAT NO MESSAGE BE FURTHER ADDRESSED TO THEM. NO, YOU HAVE APPROACHED MOUNT ZION AND THE CITY OF THE LIVING GOD, THE HEAVENLY JERUSALEM, AND COUNTLESS ANGELS IN FESTAL GATHERING, AND THE ASSEMBLY OF THE FIRSTBORN ENROLLED IN HEAVEN, AND GOD THE JUDGE OF ALL, AND THE SPIRITS OF THE JUST MADE PERFECT, AND JESUS, THE MEDIATOR OF A NEW COVENANT, AND THE SPRINKLED BLOOD THAT SPEAKS MORE ELOQUENTLY THAN THAT OF ABEL.
The author describes the community of the “Heavenly Jerusalem” as including “countless angels in festal gathering,” that is, gathered for a feast. What is this feast at which the angels and saints gather at “Mt. Zion”? It is the Eucharist, where they consume the “sprinkled blood” of Jesus which “speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” (Abel’s blood cried out for justice; Jesus’ blood cries out for mercy.) The Eucharist is the banquet at which God invites the poor, the blind, the lame, etc.—in other words, invites us.
Did you know that all of the angels and saints, as well as our loved ones in heaven, are present at each Mass?
THE HOLY GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE 14:1, 7-14
On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table. "When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, 'Give your place to this man,' and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place. Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, 'My friend, move up to a higher position.' Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted." Then he said to the host who invited him, "When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
This banquet table may be seen as a symbol of the Church, which is gathered around the Eucharistic table of the Lord. Our Lord is condemning an attitude of “climbing the social ladder,” that is, seeking to acquire honor and authority, perhaps by obtaining “cherry” positions for our own glory. Our Lord has a warning for “social climbers” or “political animals” that gather around his table. This is also a call to practice a form of almsgiving: inviting the poor to share your food. Those who show love to the outcasts and disadvantaged in this life may be assured that God will be “in their debt,” and will repay that debt in the next. When we show love by meeting the material needs of the truly poor, we are “doing God’s work for him,” because as the Psalm taught us, kindness to the poor is the kind of thing God does. Also, If the banquet table represents the Eucharistic fellowship of the Church, the “poor, crippled, blind, and lame” are those broken with sins committed against them and sins they have committed themselves, people who need the Good News. Jesus is calling us to go out and invite those outside the Church to come to his Banquet. his evangelistic effort should be motivated by humility, realizing that we ourselves are “poor, crippled, blind, and lame” in God’s eyes (see Rev. 3:17), at least until he brought us into his banqueting hall. When we engage in sharing the Good News of God’s banquet, the “repayment” that we will receive in the life to come will be, perhaps, to share the joy of the heavenly banquet with the very people we invited during our earthly life.
Adults - Do you know how to evangelize and share your faith? Find a friend/fellow parishioner that does it well and ask them to help you! Also, consider attending your parish’s RCIA class to support those preparing to enter the Church and for a refresher for yourself. Try to invite someone who might be interested in the Catholic faith to come with you to learn more!
Teens - If someone asked you why you are Catholic what would you say?
Kids - Try to read about the life of a Saint this week, and learn one new thing about our faith.
LIVING THE WORD OF GOD THIS WEEK! –“There is a little demon of pride in each one of us. There is a natural inclination in each one to esteem ourselves a little better in most ways, if not in all, than our neighbor. We must keep this demon in check and not let him grow in us. Any gifts of mind or body that we have are from God — our duty is to use them properly and to thank God for the loan of them. If He gave greater gifts to another, I thank God for it. That other was able to make better use of them than I would. I have enough gifts to go on. I shall not be judged on the use or abuse of gifts which I did not receive. If I use all the gifts which God gave me, to help my neighbor, the spiritually poor, the lame and blind, to heaven, instead of keeping myself aloof from them as the Pharisees did, then my judgment will be easy. I shall be "repaid in the resurrection of the just." — Excerpted from The Sunday Readings Cycle C, Fr. Kevin O' Sullivan, O.F.M
“Jesus, you are my Lord and my God. Come and reign in me.”
CATHOLIC QUESTIONS AND CATHOLIC ANSWERS
CHAPTER TWO: The Tradition of Prayer
557. What is the importance of Tradition in regard to prayer? d) all of the above
In the Church it is through living Sacred Tradition that the Holy Spirit teaches the children of God how to pray. In fact prayer cannot be reduced to the spontaneous outpouring of an interior impulse; rather it implies contemplation, study and a grasp of the spiritual realities one experiences. In other words, it is not simply by accident, but something we choose and keep responding to. And in Matthew 15:1-9, Jesus condemns false human, earthly tradition, not Sacred Tradition, which He Himself gave us.
AT THE WELLSPRINGS OF PRAYER
558. What are the sources of Christian prayer? d) all of the above
They are: the Word of God which gives us “the surpassing knowledge” of Christ (Philippians3:8); the Liturgy of the Church that proclaims, makes present and communicates the mystery of salvation; the theological virtues; and everyday situations because in them we can encounter God. “I love you, Lord, and the only grace I ask is to love you eternally. … My God, if my tongue cannot say in every moment that I love you, I want my heart to repeat it to you as often as I draw breath.” (The Curé of Ars, Saint John Mary Vianney)
THE WAY OF PRAYER
559. In the Church are there different ways of praying? a) Yes
In the Church there are various ways of praying that are tied to different historical, social and cultural contexts. The Magisterium of the Church has the task of discerning the fidelity of these ways of praying to the tradition of apostolic faith. It is for pastors and catechists to explain their meaning which is always related to Jesus Christ.
560. What is the way of our prayer? a) Christ because prayer is directed to God our Father
The way of our prayer is Christ because prayer is directed to God our Father but reaches him only if we pray – at least implicitly – in the name of Jesus. His humanity is in effect the only way by which the Holy Spirit teaches us to pray to our Father. Therefore liturgical prayers conclude with the formula: “Through our Lord Jesus Christ.”