In this e-weekly:
- Ovulation Method: Achieving or Postponing Pregnancy the Natural Way (Catholic Website of the Week)
- First Unborn Child to be Beatified Along with Martyred Family (Diocesan News and BEYOND)
- Tips for Driving in the Fall (Helpful Hints for Life)
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum –INRI–Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews
"Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read,
"Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews. …and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek."
"What I have written, I have written," the words of Pontius Pilate to the chief priests who did not want to have Jesus called, "The King of the Jews." (John 19:22) Four little letters that represent so much.
From one perspective, INRI is the charge for which Jesus was killed as was the custom with crucifixion to place the charge above the criminal. From another perspective, it was Pilate's way of having his say after he was somewhat forced to give Jesus over to be crucified. A charge and declaration given for a King who saved and led his people not by an army and the sword, but by the Cross and forgiveness.
On most of our tombstones there will be the year we were born – the year we died (i.e. 1930 – 2016). They say the difference is what that "-" (dash) stands for. If we are accused and charged in this life, let us make sure that it is for doing the right things, and let us remember that the initials on our crucifixes in our homes and churches remind us of the King who first did it for us!
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. Look under Catholic Term for more information regarding "INRI."
P.S.S. This coming Sunday is Twenty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time. Readings can be found at: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/090323.cfm
a) to help us recall Christ
b) to teach us how to pray
c) to make prayer what prayer is inside the Church
d) all of the above
562. How is Christian prayer Marian? (CCC 2673-2679, 2682)
a) it cooperates with the Holy Spirit
b) Mary is the only way to Jesus
c) Christian Prayer is not Marian
d) none of the above
563. How does the Church pray to Mary? (CCC 2676-2678, 2682)
a) with the Hail Mary, because God Himself used these words through the Archangel Gabriel
b) we know that she prays for us as she prays
c) when asking her help, we are adhering with her to the plan of the Father
d) all of the above
GUIDES FOR PRAYER
564. How are the saints, guides for prayer? (CCC 2683-2684, 2692-2693)
a) they showed us you can do it yourself
b) they showed you have to be highly educated
c) they are our models of prayer
d) they did something no one else ever did
"INRI" (Latin for Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum - Iesous Nazareth Rex Judaeos)
- The initials of the Latin for Jesus the Nazareon, the King of the Jews
[The first letters of the Latin phrase that was put on the Cross when Jesus was crucified. There is no "J" in the Latin alphabet. Rex is Latin for "king" as Latin was the language of the Roman Empire, the authority which crucified Jesus. The sign was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek (John 19:21) The Jews were awaiting a King, but most probably failed to think that he would be this sort of king.]
Tips for Driving in the Fall
- Never forget the Most Dangerous Ten Minutes on the road! According to Dr. Bill Tassel, manager of Driver Training for Triple-A, those are the first ten minutes of an autumn rain storm. That’s because the new rain mixes with all the oil, antifreeze and transmission gunk that’s built up over the summer, making the road super slick beneath your tires. So if you’re on the road when rain starts, reduce your speed about 40% – so you can keep 100% control of your car.
- Watch out for fallen leaves. This applies to both wet AND dry leaves, because they both have the same effect as rain. Drive fast through a pile of leaves, and you’ll end up swerving into a ditch!
- It’s also a good idea to run your defroster more in the fall because as it gets colder outside, your body heat in a car is enough to fog up all the windows. So you’ll be safer if you eliminate the windshield mist BEFORE you start moving. NOT as you’re speeding down the highway!
- If it’s foggy OUTSIDE the car, Give yourself more stopping time on the road. A normal rule of thumb is to drive three or four car lengths behind the car in front of you. In foggy weather, plan on at least six car lengths. That will give you extra time to stop, in case you need to suddenly slam on the brakes!
- Give your eyes time to adjust. Over the next few weeks, our days will SHRINK an hour and a half in North America. Once Daylight Saving Time ends on the first Sunday in November, chances are you’ll be driving home from work IN THE DARK. So take an extra two to five minutes in the car, to let your eyes adapt, BEFORE you start driving.
"The Epiphany is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, Son of God and Savior of the world. The great feast of Epiphany celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the wise men (magi) from the East, together with his baptism in the Jordan and the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee. In the magi, representatives of the neighboring pagan religions, the Gospel sees the first-fruits of the nations, who welcome the good news of salvation through the Incarnation. The magi's coming to Jerusalem in order to pay homage to the king of the Jews shows that they seek in Israel, in the messianic light of the star of David, the one who will be king of the nations. Their coming means that pagans can discover Jesus and worship him as Son of God and Savior of the world only by turning towards the Jews and receiving from them the messianic promise as contained in the Old Testament. The Epiphany shows that "the full number of the nations" now takes its "place in the family of the patriarchs", and acquires Israelitica dignitas (is made "worthy of the heritage of Israel")."
Catechism of the Catholic Church #528
Ovulation Method: Science at the Service of the Family
Achieving or Postponing Pregnancy Naturally
Did you know that a woman is capable of becoming pregnant for only a brief time each month? However this window of fertility varies from woman to woman and even from cycle to cycle?
The Ovulation Method helps you find your window of fertility, greatly increasing your chance to achieve pregnancy sooner or allowing you to postpone a pregnancy with a 99% method effectiveness.
The Ovulation Method does this all naturally without drugs or devices and is absolutely free.
Watch the video, The Ovulation Method, Science at the Service of Family, use the Resources tab above to continue your education in this "best kept secret." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNlQ2LOjB9k&t=11s
Plan your Family Naturally with the Ovulation Method. Use for postponing pregnancy with 99% method effectiveness and achieving. http://www.ovulationmethod.o...
Reach Out To Those Who Are Struggling or Have Fallen Away
“You did not strengthen the weak nor heal the sick nor bind up the injured. You did not bring back the stray or seek the lost -Ezekiel 34:4
If you know someone who is struggling with the news from the Church or if you have not seen someone in church for awhile, please reach out to them and make sure they know that they are valued and listened to. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers to their questions, but do let them know that you will help them seek the answers they need. Even be willing to walk with them in the action they feel called to if you are able to, and it is right to do so. (With the pandemic, a good place to start is praying for them.)
The Lord sent out His disciples two by two. We need to be concerned with our family and parishioners who stop coming to church for one reason or another. In time of crisis, we need to make sure we all stay strong, so if we can be strong for someone now and care, they may be able to do so for another at another time even ourselves.
First pray, pray for by name people who have fallen away. Entrust them to Jesus through Mary, loved by St. Joseph. Call, send a note, ask someone close to them to find out what happened or what one is going through let them know you miss them. Affirm or encourage people that may not come that often.
You can look into programs that might help, and with your Parish Priest's permission, you might see if they can help in your parish:
Landings International – Paulist Fathers
Landings helps Catholics who have been away from the Church make a smooth landing as they return to the Faith and parish life.
Catholics Come Home | Welcome Home
Our apostolate is dedicated to helping people home to the Catholic Church. If you have a general question, please start by visiting our Q&A section.If your question isn't answered there, we also recommend visiting Catholic Answers.
GratitudeGratitude is the virtue by which a person acknowledges, interiorly and exteriorly, gifts received. In marriage it is it is important to be grateful, both in the recesses of our inner selves, and in external exchanges with our marriage partner, and to do so with some regularity. At the end of the day, find a quiet place for a few moments of prayer, and begin by praying for light to see and understand how you regard your spouse. A simple prayer is all that is needed; this is not a search for what is wrong, but for seeing more clearly what is right. Gratitude leads to many other “virtues” like laughter and fun, compassion and mercy. In addition to highlighting the gifts of our marriage partner, this examen, this daily looking, will also uncover our inclination to magnify small failings, our own and others.
Each night take one minute to think of 2-3 things you are grateful for about your spouse.
Józef and Wiktoria Ulma were declared martyrs along with their seven children in December, 2022. Their upcoming beatification bears a twofold significance for the Church: The Ulmas are not only the first family to be beatified together, but also their youngest child will be the first unborn baby to be directly honored in this way.
The beatification of the Ulmas’ unborn child is particularly significant since theologians have deliberated for ages over whether an unbaptized infant can merit beatitude in Heaven.
Domestic WitnessJózef and Wiktoria Ulma were a devout married couple who lived on a farm in the village of Markowa, Poland. They were blessed with seven children – Stanisława, age eight, Barbara, seven, Władysław, six, Franciszek, four, Antoni, three, and Maria, two. Wiktoria was seven months pregnant with their youngest at the time of their deaths.
After the Nazi regime occupied Poland in 1939, Wiktoria and Józef selflessly offered their home as a refuge for eight Jews.
On March 24, 1944, the family’s secret was discovered by a Nazi patrol, who shot first the Jews and then Józef and Wiktoria in front of their small children. When the young Ulmas began to scream in horror, they were also murdered as a warning to other families.
The Catholic News Agency reported that a Bible was later found in the family’s home in which the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37) had been highlighted in red ink.
While Wiktoria and Józef were originally included in a 2003 collective beatification effort for 100 Polish martyrs of World War II, Archbishop Adam Szal of Przemysl, Poland, chose to separate them from the group and presented the cause for the entire Ulma family to the Vatican.
“The beatification of the Ulma family as a whole, including several children who were under the age of reason, points to the reality of the family as the domestic church,” noted Fr. John Paul Walker, O.P., pastor of St. Gertrude Parish in Cincinnati, Ohio. Walker told CatholicVote:
If we believe that the Church universal is indeed “one body” (cf. Rom 12:5) then so too ought we to see the domestic church as one body, in which all the parts work together. The faith and charity lived by Józef and Wiktoria permeated their children and, despite their young age, they all “acted as one” in this supreme gift of charity (even if the little ones had only a childlike understanding of what was happening).
First Unborn Child Beatified Fr. Gerald Murray, a canon lawyer and pastor of Holy Family Church in New York, NY, commented that “the unborn Ulma child, like the Holy Innocents, gave silent witness to Christ by his death, which was his baptism of blood.”
Vatican News also affirmed in a press release that “the children shared in the operative faith of their parents, while the unborn child in Wiktoria’s womb received a baptism of blood.”
The Church has long held that the graces of Baptism can be acquired before death in special circumstances outside of the sacramental baptism with water, known as “baptism of blood” (through martyrdom for Christ) and “baptism of desire” (through a desire for the sacrament).
As the secular culture denies the personhood of the unborn, the inclusion of the unborn Ulma baby as a beatified saint is monumental.
“This is a clear reminder of the personhood, dignity, and potential sainthood … of every single human life from the moment of conception,” Fr. Walker said, adding that the baby’s martyrdom is “a sobering reminder that the forces of evil never cease their attack against all that is good, especially against the innocent.”
Joining the ‘Cloud of Witnesses’ The Ulmas’ liturgical feast day will be celebrated on July 7, the date of the parents’ 1935 wedding.
“The heroic deaths of the members of the Ulma family at the hands of Nazi murderers is a shining witness of Christian fortitude and love,” Fr. Murray said. “Like St. John the Baptist, they went to their deaths for the ‘crime’ of loving God and their neighbor in distress.”
Roxane Salonen Books August 27
The naming didn’t happen until Ascension Press contacted Metz earlier this year, requesting use of the image for What Would Monica Do?, the new book I co-wrote with Patti Armstrong addressing the heartache of loved ones who have left the faith.
Since the piece had yet to be named, Metz did what she always does in approaching her art. “I prayed, asking St. Monica to help,” she said. “I think I’m pretty docile to the will of God, and when I prayed, it was really about the tears. It’s always been about the tears.”
In fact, after she had completed and even varnished the piece, she sensed God directing her to “go back and add a tear.” It was raised from the rest of the image and not discernable on the book-cover rendition. But Metz knows it’s there — just like Our Lord knows the intricacies of all hearts.
“The enemy wants us to believe this world should be filled with no tears,” she added, “but we see that’s not so through the work of the cross.”
Ascent to GodMetz grew up in a home of addiction and divorce. Without any foundational faith, she dipped into the occult, exploring tarot cards and astrology. “The enemy was always there, tempting me,” she recalled, and like St. Augustine’s, her heart was restless.
At 17, Metz felt a prompting and stopped at a small country church. “I went in and just poured out my heart to the Lord, singing (Amazing Grace) at the top of my lungs,” she recounted. “I think God marked me at that moment, and I really started pursuing religion.”
Metz eventually met and married her husband, Ken, a cradle Catholic, and readily agreed to raise their children Catholic. “That glance toward God had happened. I opened the door, and he came,” causing a yearning to be part of something bigger, she explained. But she wasn’t interested in Catholicism for herself.
“If I ever do become a saint, I would be the patron saint of stubbornness,” she admitted. Despite attending Mass with Ken, she did not believe in the Real Presence. “I just didn’t see that that could possibly be real from the way [people] were receiving and dressing. There was no witness that there was something different here.”
But in 2009, experiencing a time of spiritual aridity, Metz began “yearning for the comfort he had always given me.” God was indicating to her it was time to enter the Church, but in hearing this call, she said, “I slammed my fists down on the kitchen counter and said, ‘Anything but that!’”
She challenged God, saying that if he really wanted her in the Church, he would have to make it abundantly clear. That night, she went to tuck in her son, who was preparing for his first Communion.
“Only a mother can understand the way that a child seeks and speaks,” she said, noting that, when she threw back the covers, she saw him clutching a plastic rosary with heart-shaped beads. “His little hand went up, and he threw it at me, saying, ‘Here, Mom, I want you to have this.’”
That was all it took. “It was God using the lowliest one to strike down the strong,” she said. “I knew in that moment that, yes, I was being called into the Catholic Church.”
Her ascent helped inspire her husband’s reversion, and soon after her reception into the Church, she was coordinating then-called Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) at her parish.
Finding Sacred Art Metz chose Elizabeth Ann Seton as her confirmation saint, noting that the saint had once uttered that if people knew the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, they would be crawling on their hands and knees to receive him.
“This was all grace,” she said, noting that the priest who formed her was very Eucharistic, and she would spend every Friday in a Holy Hour with him. “He was a good teacher of the faith, and God sent me what I needed at the time.”
Metz consecrated herself to Mary and her children to the Blessed Mother, as well. “I had my conversion, and then our Blessed Mother chose me,” she said. “After that, I really did experience quite a miraculous freedom and liberty that I no longer had to be concerned with the welfare of my kids.”
They were young at the time, 9 and 10, she added, “so I had not experienced yet a lot of the worldly issues our young people face.”
Metz was enjoying her work as a mixed-media artist. When a friend requested she paint a saint for a Catholic-radio fundraiser, after some hesitation, she relented, ultimately producing a depiction of St. Lucy.
Soon thereafter, Metz discovered a dark blob in one of her eyes, causing partial blindness and requiring medical intervention. A friend suggested she pray to St. Lucy, and when, just days later, the blob disappeared, Metz was powerfully awakened to the intercession of saints.
Before the blob dissolved completely, however, it changed into the shape of a heart, Metz said. “Ever since then, I’ve done nothing [artistically] but paint the saints.”
Meeting St. MonicaFor each work, she appeals to God and seeks to know the saints through their intercession.
“With St. Lucy healing my eye, I was all-in with what they were there for: to teach and guide us,” she said. To create the right prayerful atmosphere as she paints, Metz incorporates sacramentals, “everything from having relics around me to using holy water. I also have an exorcised candle burning. I really try to create a sacred environment and enter into that.”
She also invites the Holy Spirit to join her. “It has really taught me to trust the Lord. I’ve learned how to distinguish God’s voice from other voices. It’s a great gift that I cannot take any credit for, to be honest.”
Metz did not know a lot about St. Monica as she set about praying, but she felt her presence and “a real love” as she asked her intercession. “We know these saints choose us,” she said, noting that she also was inspired to make her eyes blue. “I wanted her eyes reflective of being sorrowful. For whatever reason, blue represented to me the color of sorrow.”
In St. Monica, Metz sees “persevering in our suffering, our disappointments, and hoping for the goodness of the Lord. I’m still in awe of her. I just think she’s a powerful saint for this time, as so many of our kids are so lost.”
Ultimately, Metz returns to the most divine element of her Monica art: the tear. “That’s what I would hope women especially would see [in this image]; to never deprive the Lord of your tears, your dreams, your wants — and to know how he delights in giving you an answer in those tears.”
Find more of Metz’s work at her website, TruOriginal.com.
SaveGood News at St. Victoria
In 1996, I was diagnosed with “angioid stripes,” a disease affecting my vision. By 2000, I had only a small amount of central vision remaining in one eye. No longer could I jump in the car, read a book or look to the rear of our church and recognize my parishioners.
The call went out for help. To date, I have had nearly 300 drivers who have driven me everywhere from a quick hop to the grocery store to destinations hours away from Victoria. What a wonderful way to get to know people, and, I think, I offer wives of newly retired husbands a great respite!
There are 60 people on the “drop-off dinner” list and I can’t count the number of invitations to parishioners’ homes. Since my culinary skills were always in question, this is nothing short of fabulous.
Countless people read for me, tape-record books and materials, and a faithful volunteer puts everything in large type that I need for my liturgies. Along with a great staff and adaptive equipment, I’m able to do all that is expected of a priest with a growing parish — one that has nearly tripled in size since 1996, and during that time, we built a new church.
And, lest I forget, there’s my faithful dog, Miss Betsy White. No, she’s not a seeing eye dog, but she is a dog that sees a need to be a loving and faithful companion.
Sure, there are days I would like to jump in the car or pick up a book, but then I stop and think of all my blessings and thank God.
Father Bob White is pastor of St. Victoria in Victoria.
Denver, Colo., Sep 5, 2018 / 07:00 pm (CNA).- One week after thousands of Catholic laywomen signed a letter asking Pope Francis to respond to their questions about the Church’s sexual abuse crisis, a group of Catholic laymen have penned their own letter to the pope and American bishops, calling for an investigation into the Church’s role in preventing sexual abuse.
The letter is hosted on the website “Catholic Men United for Christ,” but it is not sponsored by any group or organization. The signatories of the letter pledge to do some form of fasting on each Friday starting Sept. 7, and continuing through 2018.
Signatories include popular Catholic author Scott Hahn, radio host Al Kresta, along with other notable Catholic leaders.
“Holy Father, we come to you for answers. You personally have been faced with allegations. These allegations have been leveled by a high-ranking church official, Archbishop Viganò. Further, many bishops in the United States have publicly stated that they believe these allegations should be investigated. We implore you to address them,” reads the letter.
“Moreover, regardless of the veracity of Archbishop Viganò’s allegations, our concerns about corruption remain.”
“Your Holiness, Your Eminences, and Your Excellencies: Amidst widespread global abuse, coverups, and hierarchical failure, what are you doing and what will you do to protect the people of God? We urge you to answer this simple question because the cost of the episcopal corruption is catastrophic.”
The letter requests that an investigation into Church hierarchy be carried out by “faithful lay men and women.”
The signatories “reiterate and support” last week’s letter from Catholic lay women, signatory Mark DeYoung told CNA, "but even more so, we're looking at the bigger picture at what has happened in various countries [...] in just saying that there is certainly established fact there is a problem with abuse."
Letter to Pope Francis from Catholic Women (you can sign if you feel so called there)
DeYoung, a theology graduate student, said that fathers have expressed concern about potentially sending their sons to seminary, and have even said that they "will not have their kids involved in the liturgy as altar servers” out of fear of sexual abuse.
This could result in "potentially the death of vocations and young people being active in the Church,” said DeYoung. He also said it was “heartbreaking” to read testimony from some of the Pennsylvania abuse victims who said that their abuse caused them to lose their religious faith entirely.
“We’re really fighting for these people, (and) we're also saying that as Catholic men that we're going to take responsibility for our own lives as well,” noting that not every Catholic man is faithful or properly follows Church teaching.
DeYoung told CNA that the letter came from the fact that many Catholic men are “angry, heartbroken, and really shocked at the state of the Church at the moment,” in terms of the abuse of minors as well as “the clergy members who are disobeying their vows and living and against the call to chastity and purity.”
In addition to the investigation into abuse and misconduct, DeYoung says that the signatories are also looking to the bishops for spiritual leadership during this chaotic time.
"We are men who love the Church, we love our bishops, we support our Holy Father, and we want to see the truth come out here," he said.
At press time, the letter had been signed by over 3,000 people. (8,000 as of Saturday evening)
IF YOU FEEL CALLED TO SIGN THIS LETTER, YOU CAN AT, AS WELL AS SEE ALL WHO HAVE SIGNED IT:
A group of Catholic Men throughout the country have worked to put together a letter to Pope Francis and the Bishops of the United States.
Here’s a few facts to help clear up the confusion:
1. Abortion can always be forgiven in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In fact, the Church makes every effort to encourage people involved in it to find healing and forgiveness. A wonderful example is Project Rachel. It is not the case that abortions will only be forgiven in the Year of Mercy. They can and are forgiven at any time when a person repents and confesses.
2. Abortion is a sin. Because it is a grave matter and the Church hopes to discourage people from them, canon law says that procuring an abortion also incurs the penalty of automatic excommunication.
3. Forgiving the sin is one thing, and remitting the penalty of excommunication is another. Usually the penalty can only be remitted by the bishop. However, in the United States the bishops have given to all priests the faculty to not only forgive the sin when it is confessed in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but also to remit the penalty. This is to encourage people to have easier access to forgiveness and healing.
4. Bishops in other countries, however, may have decided to handle it differently. So in brief, the pope is saying that any priest all over the world will be able not only to forgive the sin in confession but also to remit the penalty. While the pope didn’t mention the penalty in his statement, presumably that’s what he meant. Most likely an official text will be issued to clarify the canonical aspects.
Pope Francis said:
For this reason too, I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it. May priests fulfill this great task by expressing words of genuine welcome combined with a reflection that explains the gravity of the sin committed, besides indicating a path of authentic conversion by which to obtain the true and generous forgiveness of the Father who renews all with his presence.
5. Also, the automatic penalty of excommunication for abortion doesn’t apply if:
a) the person did not know about it (that would probably exclude about 99% of all Catholic women who have had abortions from incurring the penalty)
b) the person was under the age of 17
c) the person acted out of force or fear
d) the person had an imperfect use of reason
(See this for more info on canonical penalties)
Bottom line: when you see headlines about what the pope said, realize that the journalist writing the story probably knows very little about the Catholic faith and is not getting it right. The best thing is to go directly to the source (Vatican website) and read what the pope actually said.
Finally, God is so merciful. Jesus said, “No one who comes to me will I ever reject.” (Jn 6) His heart is overflowing with love and mercy, that heart pierced on the cross from which blood and water flowed out, the source of sacramental life in the Church.
Catechism of the Catholic Church #1235
Some Thoughts: ---In a shoe shop: These shoes might be tight for the next two weeks. : Don’t worry. I’ll start wearing them on the third week.
--- At an interview: “In the beginning, you’ll be earning 20 000, later on it can go up to 40 000.” “OK, I’ll come again later then.”
--- I made a beginner’s mistake and went shopping on an empty stomach. I am now the happy owner of aisle 7.
A woman was taking an afternoon nap. When she woke up, she told her husband, "I just dreamed that you gave me a pearl necklace. What do you think it means?" "You'll know tonight," he said. That evening, the man came home with a small package and gave it to his wife. Delighted, she opened it to find a book entitled "The Meaning of Dreams."
Forest Gump and St. Peter
When Forest Gump died, he stood in front of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter said, "Welcome, Forest. We've heard a lot about you." He continued, "Unfortunately, it's getting pretty crowded up here and we find that we now have to give people an entrance examination before we let them in.""Okay," said Forest. "I hope it's not too hard. I've already been through a test. My momma used to say, 'Life is like a final exam. It's hard.' "
"Yes, Forest, I know. But this test is only three questions. Here they are."
1) Which two days of the week begin with the letter 'T'?"
2) How many seconds are in a year?
3) What is God's first name?
"Well, sir," said Forest, "The first one is easy. Which two days of the week begin with the letter 'T'? Today and Tomorrow."
St. Peter looked surprised and said, "Well, that wasn't the answer I was looking for, but you have a point. I give you credit for that answer."
"The next question," said Forest, "How many seconds are in a year? Twelve."
"Twelve?" said St. Peter, surprised and confused.
"Yes, sir. January 2nd, February 2nd, March 2nd …"
St. Peter interrupted him. "I see what you mean. I'll have to give you credit for that one, too."
"And the last question," said Forest, "What is God's first name? It's Andy."
"Andy?" said St. Peter, in shock. "How did you come up with 'Andy'?"
"I learned it in church. We used to sing about it." Forest broke into song, "Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me, Andy tells me I am His own."
St. Peter opened the gate to heaven and said, "Run, Forest, Run!"
Kids in Church
One Sunday in a Midwest City, a young child was "acting up" during the morning worship hour. The parents did their best to maintain some sense of order in the pew, but, were losing the battle. Finally, the father picked the little fellow up and walked sternly up the aisle on his way out. Just before reaching the safety of the foyer, the little one called loudly to the congregation, "Pray for me! Pray for me!"
The preacher was holding a microphone attached to a cord, and as he preached, he moved briskly about the platform, jerking the mike cord as he went. Then he moved to one side, getting wound up in the cord and nearly tripping before jerking it again. After several circles and jerks, a little girl in the third pew leaned toward her mother and whispered, "If he gets loose, will he hurt us?"
The Best Way To Pray
A priest, a minister and a guru sat discussing the best positions for prayer, while a telephone repairman worked nearby.
"Kneeling is definitely the best way to pray," the priest said.
"No," said the minister. "I get the best results standing with my hands outstretched to Heaven."
"You're both wrong," the guru said. "The most effective prayer position is lying down on the floor."
The repairman could contain himself no longer. "Hey, fellas," he interrupted. "The best prayin' I ever did was when I was hangin' upside down from a telephone pole."
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, shower plentifully blessings on Your holy Church, on the Supreme Pontiff, and on all the clergy; grant perseverance to the just, convert sinners, enlighten the unfaithful, bless our parents, friends, and benefactors, assist the dying, liberate the souls of purgatory, and extend over all hearts the sweet empire of Your love. Amen.
"Finally, the People of God shares in the royal office of Christ. He exercises his kingship by drawing all men to himself through his death and Resurrection. Christ, King and Lord of the universe, made himself the servant of all, for he came "not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." For the Christian, "to reign is to serve him," particularly when serving "the poor and the suffering, in whom the Church recognizes the image of her poor and suffering founder." The People of God fulfills its royal dignity by a life in keeping with its vocation to serve with Christ.
The sign of the cross makes kings of all those reborn in Christ and the anointing of the Holy Spirit consecrates them as priests, so that, apart from the particular service of our ministry, all spiritual and rational Christians are recognized as members of this royal race and sharers in Christ's priestly office. What, indeed, is as royal for a soul as to govern the body in obedience to God? And what is as priestly as to dedicate a pure conscience to the Lord and to offer the spotless offerings of devotion on the altar of the heart?"
-Catechism of the Catholic Church #786
SUNDAY BIBLICAL MASS READINGS AND QUESTIONS
for Self-Reflection, Couples or Family Discussion
22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time - Sunday, September 3rd, 2023
The First Reading - Jeremiah 20:7-9
You duped me, O LORD, and I let myself be duped; you were too strong for me, and you triumphed. All the day I am an object of laughter; everyone mocks me. Whenever I speak, I must cry out, violence and outrage is my message; the word of the LORD has brought me derision and reproach all the day. I say to myself, I will not mention him, I will speak in his name no more. But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it.
Does God really “deceive,” “entice,” “seduce” people? Jeremiah does not speak as a systematic theologian, much less as a moral philosopher. He speaks as a poet and a mystic, giving voice to his experiences in bold and even hyperbolic language. Clearly he is passionate for the LORD, the covenant God of Israel. Yet his passion for the LORD leads to conflict with the world, with his nation, his city, his people. The ways of the LORD are at odds with the ways of everyone around him, and the result is conflict and suffering. The prophet would like to avoid this conflict, but cannot, because his passion for the LORD is too great to be suppressed: “it becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it.” The Church intends us to see Jeremiah’s words in a messianic sense. Jeremiah was a type, image, and forerunner of the Messiah. Jeremiah’s experiences strikingly prefigured the experiences of Jesus. Both preached against Jerusalem and the Temple (Jer 7 & 11); both were persecuted by the High Priests (Jer 20:1-6); both were tried and imprisoned by a sympathetic but weak-willed civil magistrate (Jer 38:14-28); both descended into the pit and were raised up again (Jer 38:1-13). In many ways, Jeremiah was God’s suffering servant; in fact, the argument has been made more than once that Isaiah was describing Jeremiah in his Suffering Servant Songs. It is not accidental that in last week's readings, the disciples tell Jesus that many think he, Jesus, is the prophet Jeremiah. Like Jeremiah, Jesus is impassioned for the LORD, and his passion will lead to his Passion, as we see in the Gospel Reading.
Adults - In what ways does living out your faith set you against the world?
Teens - What do you do when it is difficult to make the right decision and decide against the ways of the world?
Kids - How do Jesus give us the strength to live as Christians, even when it’s hard?
Responsorial- Psalm 63: 2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
O God, you are my God whom I seek;
for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts
like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary
to see your power and your glory,
For your kindness is a greater good than life;
my lips shall glorify you.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Thus will I bless you while I live;
lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name.
As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied,
and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
You are my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.
My soul clings fast to you;
your right hand upholds me.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
We immediately recognize similarities between this psalm and the famous Psalm 42: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.” Ultimately this is not about physical thirst but about desire for God’s Spirit: “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst” (John 4:14). The Spirit is communicated through the waters of Baptism but also in the Body and Blood of the Eucharist: “As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied.” Unlike the Jeremiah reading, this Psalm expresses hope. The suffering of the one who loves the Lord is temporary. There will be joy, satisfaction, and embrace. In the context of Mass, this Psalm serves to whet our appetite for the nuptial banquet we are about to receive. Where do you turn when you need hope?
The Second Reading- Romans 12:1-2
I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.
Reflection - St. Paul employs priestly terminology here in his exhortation “to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice.” His words reflect the belief that in the Church, every believer has come to share in Christ’s priesthood. We have become the priestly people that God intended for Israel at Sinai, before God’s plans were derailed by the idolatry of the Golden Calf (see Exod 19:5-6; 1 Peter 2:9). We are not necessarily ministerial priests whose vocation is specifically to preside at the liturgy. Nonetheless, we are true priests, and our sacrifice, like Jesus’, is our very lives, our very selves (our “bodies” in St. Paul’s terminology). St. Paul’s urging to give our very lives coincides nicely with Our Lord’s exhortation in the Gospel Reading. -Do you offer up your daily struggles in prayer?
The Holy Gospel according to Matthew 16:21-27
Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do." Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay all according to his conduct.”
Reflection The contrast between the glorious things spoken to Peter in last Sunday’s Gospel and the sharp rebuke of Peter in this Gospel could hardly be more pronounced. It is quite intentional on the part of the evangelist, who wants us to observe, almost simultaneously, the divine promises given to Peter and Peter’s human weaknesses. The contrast between divine guidance and human weakness is the theme of the history of the Papacy. Catholics hold that the Pope is infallible in his teaching, not impeccable in his behavior. The distinction is often lost on non-Catholics, who understand us to believe the Pope is sinless. Obviously, the Popes have not been sinless, and a few well-chosen historical examples quickly demonstrate the fact. But we do not hold that the Pope is sinless. Nor that he always teaches in the best way, or says exactly the right thing at the right time. Papal infallibility is much weaker than some understand it. It simply the belief that the Pope is protected from error in his solemn or official teaching. In last Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus did not say to Peter: “You will never again sin.” He said: “What you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; what you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” We mentioned that “bind and loose” were terms referring to the authority to judge halakhah, the application of divine law to real life circumstances. The sphere of halakhah is roughly what we Catholics call “faith and morals.” In the Greek of this passage, Jesus uses future perfect formation. Literally, “What you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven; what you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven.” In other words, it’s not so much that Peter’s decisions change heavenly policy, it is that the policy of heaven will be reflected in Peter’s teachings. In today’s passage, Peter is not making a decision about halakhah for God’s people. In fact, the Spirit has not even been poured out yet, and Peter has not formally assumed his role as royal steward, even as Jesus has not yet ascended to the right hand of the Father (see John 20:17; Acts 2:33). Peter gives an emotional reaction to a hard teaching of Jesus, and Jesus rebukes him sharply. Peter is wrong. Suffering and death will happen to Jesus. In fact, almost identical suffering and death is going to happen to Peter himself (John 21:18). All followers of Christ must be ready to follow Christ to death, including and especially the successor of Peter. In fact, many of Peter’s early successors did share in martyrdom.
Adults - What did you learn about the papacy from this reflection that you didn’t know before?
Teens - How do you think Peter felt when he was rebuked by Christ?
Kids - Say a special prayer for the pope this week!
LIVING THE WORD OF GOD THIS WEEK! - Peter received This daily carrying of our Christian cross can be, and is for many, a prolonged martyrdom. Poverty, ill-health, cruelty and hardheartedness met with in the home and in one's neighbors, are heavy crosses which only a truly Christian shoulder can bear. But, if we were offered health, happiness, peace, wealth and power for the next fifty or seventy years on this earth, in exchange for an eternal heaven after death, what rational one among us would accept that offer? Christians know that this life is a period of training, which makes us ready hereafter to receive the eternal reward which Christ has won for us. Every trainee knows that one must endure certain hardships and sufferings in order to merit graduation into one's chosen profession or trade. On our Christian graduation day we shall, please God, hear the welcome words : "Well done good and faithful servant; because you have been faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater, come and join in your Master's happiness" (Mt. 25: 21). May God grant that every one of us will hear these words of welcome. -Excerpted from The Sunday Readings by Fr. Kevin O'Sullivan, O.F.M.
CATHOLIC QUESTIONS AND CATHOLIC ANSWERS
561. What is the role of the Holy Spirit in prayer? d) all of the above
Since the Holy Spirit is the interior Master of Christian prayer and “we do not know how to pray as we ought” (Romans 8:26), the Church exhorts us to invoke him and implore him on every occasion: “Come, Holy Spirit!”
562. How is Christian prayer Marian? a) it cooperates with the Holy Spirit
Because of her singular cooperation with the action of the Holy Spirit, the Church loves to pray to Mary and with Mary, the perfect ‘pray-er’, and to “magnify” and invoke the Lord with her. Mary in effect shows us the “Way” who is her Son, the one and only Mediator.
563. How does the Church pray to Mary? d) all of the above
Above all with the Hail Mary, the prayer with which the Church asks the intercession of the Virgin. Other Marian prayers are the Rosary, the Akathistos hymn, the Paraclesis, and the hymns and canticles of diverse Christian traditions.
GUIDES FOR PRAYER
564. How are the saints, guides for prayer? c) they are our models of prayer
The saints are our models of prayer. We also ask them to intercede before the Holy Trinity for us and for the whole world. Their intercession is their most exalted service to God’s plan. In the communion of saints, throughout the history of the Church, there have developed different types of spiritualities that teach us how to live and to practice the way of prayer.