Parishes Increasing Membership in the Bible Belt (Diocesan News and More)
Pope Francis' 10 Secrets to Happiness (Helpful Hints for Life)
Piece on angels at end of e-mail
-***NEW FEATURE*** BEST PARISH PRACTICE is a new section of the e-weekly (see below) ***NEW FEATURE***
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
Offering Mental Prayer
"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." -Psalm 19:14
Mental Prayer is a treasure of the Church that has sadly laid in the storehouse, away from most Christians today. Members of the Church in every age have offered mental prayer to be happy, to strength them for this world, and to bring them to heaven. I offer it now to you for the same reasons. Please find the 'how to offer mental prayer,' below. It is simple, but it takes time and practice.
Finally, this week's e-weekly is a little different. I have taken out some of the parts and give focus to Mental Prayer and at the end of the e-weekly, there is a re-posting of an e-weekly on Angels.
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. This coming Sunday is the Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time. >>> Readings
Bad Things Happen To Good People
Homily from Feast of St. Michael-Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People-Mental Prayer
Three Simple Steps
1) PREPARATION (1-2 minutes)
a) Find a quiet place (in front of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament if possible)
b) Prepare body and soul for Meditation (take deep breathes, close your eyes, try to quiet your heart)
c) Offer vocal prayers of faith, humility, and help
"O my God, I love you, and I believe all You have said because You are the infallible truth."
"Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. I am sorry for having offended You."
"Come Holy Spirit, Come Holy Spirit, COME HOLY SPIRIT"
During this time, you prepare for meditation. You try to come to a place where you body and soul can be quiet or at least at rest. Then you try to unwind. Take several deep breaths. Perhaps stretch your neck or move around slightly. You as a person, body and soul, have to be aware of a distinct transition from daily events of life to a moment of union with God. Finally, begin to enter mental prayer by praying vocally. You may use the above prayers, an Our Father, or in your own words, pray simply and humbly.
2) MEDITATION (8-? Minutes)
a) Close your eyes and open your heart (Fill mind and heart with thoughts of God and His goodness)
Here is where you enter mental prayer. To assist you, you may need the Holy Bible, some religious book, a vivid memory of some event, or something that will engage your imagination, heart, and soul turning it toward God (i.e. a religious picture). You enter into this by reading the passage, or closing your eyes and thinking of the details of the image or memory. Do not force it. You might ask yourself questions to assist you, but ultimately it is a time of walking with the Lord. If your mind wanders off or worries, say a short inward prayer, and come back to the passage or image. You may receive some insights, or God may give you some feelings or inspirations. You may speak to Him inwardly. This is not about action; it is about You and Him.
Possible passages of the Holy Bible. Read slowly only until your mind latches onto something, then close your eyes and go with it.
- Matthew chapters 5-7 (The Sermon on the Mount)
- Matthew 13:1-24 (The parable of the sower)
- Matthew 13:44-50 (Parables: hidden treasure, pearl of great price)
- Matthew 18:1-6 (Becoming like children)
- Matthew 18:21-35 (The unforgiving servant)
- Matthew 19:16-30 (The rich young man)
- Mark 1:14-15 (The proclamation of the Kingdom)
- Mark 1:40-45 (The healing of the leper)
- Mark 5:24-34 (The healing of the woman with the hemorrhage)
- Luke 1:46-55 (The Magnificat)
- Luke 15:1-10 (Parables: the lost sheep, the lost coin)
- Luke 15:11-32 (The prodigal son)
- Luke 17:5-10 (Faith; attitude of service)
- John 1:1-18
- John 2:1-11 (Wedding at Cana)
- John 3:14-21
- John 8:23-32 ("The truth will make you free")
- John 15:1-11 (The vine & branches)
- John 15:12-17 ("Love one another")
-being at the birth of Jesus in the manager (i.e. shepherds, Mary and Joseph, wise men, camels, sheep)
-standing at Calvary (i.e. seeing all pass by, Mary beholding her son, Jesus breathing His last)
-image yourself as a very small child in the arms of the Blessed Virgin Mary, (i.e. asleep, hugging her)
-image Jesus looking face to face at you (i.e. study His face, look into His eyes, is He happy, sad, etc.?)
-a moment in church, when someone blessed you, when God felt near
3) CONCLUSION (1-2 mintues)
a) Thank God (for the time spent and for any thoughts or inspirations)
"Thank you Jesus for.!" Offer a Hail Mary or Glory Be
b) Make a resolution (cling to what you have been given or resolve to avoid some sin or bad habit)
This is when the time of mental prayer is brought to an end. Examine the time. Thank God for the good. Ask pardon and help for the bad. Perhaps write down some insights or cling to them. Resolve to do better or to avoid some sin or bad habit for the rest of the day.
THIS is what will bring you more fully to Jesus and change you, your life, and your world for the better!
10 Minutes a Day! Either you will give up a bad habit, or you will give up Mental Prayer.
prayer (from Latin precārius "obtained by entreaty") [entreaty = earnest request, appeal, beg]
-the raising of one's mind and heart to God
Mental Prayer (from Greek menos "spirit" = "obtain by entreaty with spirit")
(also from Late Latin mentalis, from Latin ment-, mens "mind,")
-one's own prayer offered interiorly with mind, heart, soul, and strength
[In mental prayer the three powers of the soul are engaged: the memory, which offers the mind material for meditation; the intellect, which ponders or directly perceives the meaning of some religious truth and its implications for practice; and the will, which freely expresses its sentiments of faith, trust, and love, and (as needed) makes good resolutions based on what the memory and intellect have made known to the will. Mental Prayer is a form of meditation consisting in the application of the various faculties of the soul, memory, imagination, intellect, and will, to the consideration of some mystery, principle, truth, or fact, with a view to exciting proper spiritual emotions and resolving on some act or course of action regarded as God's will and as a means of union with Him.]
By Carol Glatz - Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Slowing down, being generous and fighting for peace are part of Pope Francis' secret recipe for happiness.
In an interview published in part in the Argentine weekly "Viva" July 27, the pope listed his Top 10 tips for bringing greater joy to one's life:
1. "Live and let live." Everyone should be guided by this principle, he said, which has a similar expression in Rome with the saying, "Move forward and let others do the same."
Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives to lead a general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican last month. (CNS/Paul Haring)
2. "Be giving of yourself to others." People need to be open and generous toward others, he said, because "if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid."
3. "Proceed calmly" in life. The pope, who used to teach high school literature, used an image from an Argentine novel by Ricardo Guiraldes, in which the protagonist -- gaucho Don Segundo Sombra -- looks back on how he lived his life.
"He says that in his youth he was a stream full of rocks that he carried with him; as an adult, a rushing river; and in old age, he was still moving, but slowly, like a pool" of water, the pope said. He said he likes this latter image of a pool of water -- to have "the ability to move with kindness and humility, a calmness in life."
4. "A healthy sense of leisure." The pleasures of art, literature and playing together with children have been lost, he said.
"Consumerism has brought us anxiety" and stress, causing people to lose a "healthy culture of leisure." Their time is "swallowed up" so people can't share it with anyone.
Even though many parents work long hours, they must set aside time to play with their children; work schedules make it "complicated, but you must do it," he said.
Families must also turn off the TV when they sit down to eat because, even though television is useful for keeping up with the news, having it on during mealtime "doesn't let you communicate" with each other, the pope said.
5. Sundays should be holidays. Workers should have Sundays off because "Sunday is for family," he said.
6. Find innovative ways to create dignified jobs for young people. "We need to be creative with young people. If they have no opportunities they will get into drugs" and be more vulnerable to suicide, he said.
"It's not enough to give them food," he said. "Dignity is given to you when you can bring food home" from one's own labor.
7. Respect and take care of nature. Environmental degradation "is one of the biggest challenges we have," he said. "I think a question that we're not asking ourselves is: 'Isn't humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?'"
8. Stop being negative. "Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem. That means, 'I feel so low that instead of picking myself up I have to cut others down,'" the pope said. "Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy."
9. Don't proselytize; respect others' beliefs. "We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. But the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyzes: 'I am talking with you in order to persuade you,' No. Each person dialogues, starting with his and her own identity. The church grows by attraction, not proselytizing," the pope said.
10. Work for peace. "We are living in a time of many wars," he said, and "the call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive" and dynamic.
Pope Francis also talked about the importance of helping immigrants, praising Sweden's generosity in opening its doors to so many people, while noting anti-immigration policies show the rest of Europe "is afraid."
He also fondly recalled the woman who helped his mother with the housework when he was growing up in Buenos Aires.
Concepcion Maria Minuto was a Sicilian immigrant, a widow and mother of two boys, who went three times a week to help the pope's mother do laundry, since in those days it was all done by hand.
He said this hard-working, dignified woman made a big impression on the 10-year-old future pope, as she would talk to him about World War II in Italy and how they farmed in Sicily.
"She was as clever as a fox, she had every penny accounted for, she wouldn't be cheated. She had many great qualities," he said.
Even though his family lost touch with her when they moved, the then-Jesuit Father Jorge Bergoglio later sought her out and visited her for the last 10 years of her life.
"A few days before she died, she took this small medal out of her pocket, gave it to me and said: 'I want you to have it!' So every night, when I take it off and kiss it, and every morning when I put it back on, this woman comes to my mind."
"She died happy, with a smile on her face and with the dignity of someone who worked. For that reason I am very sympathetic toward housecleaners and domestic workers, whose rights, all of them, should be recognized" and protected, he said. "They must never be exploited or mistreated."
Pope Francis' concern was underlined in his @Pontifex Twitter feed just a few days later, July 29, with the message: "May we be always more grateful for the help of domestic workers and caregivers; theirs is a precious service."
The Practice of Mental Prayer
[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 visithttp://www.catholicshrines.net/ for a shrine near your vacation destination.
HAVING GREETERS WELCOME AND HELP BEFORE MASS
Have individuals or couples or families greet people as they come to Mass, welcoming them and helping them as necessary.
People can feel welcome from the first moment of arriving at Mass, creating an environment of welcome and hospitality. Can help new comers find restrooms or what they need. Persons who come by themselves can have a sense that people are glad to see them. Fellowship, which is becoming very important to some can be facilitated in this way.
Consult and ask if it is okay with your Parish Priest and possibly Liturgy Committee if your parish has one. There would probably need to have a training for them as is done for lectors and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion once it is determined exactly what the greeters will do. Greeters can hold the doors of church, possibly shake hands. Try to help those who may be looking for things or something in the church. Greeters can wear name tags possibly making it is easier to be approached. Greeters should not be overwhelming to those they greet, but can even greet them by names and ask about family if appropriate it. While ushers may do some of these jobs, the exact task of greeters usually is to create an climate/environment of welcome and hospitality, as our Lord often said, "Come away with me for awhile." (Mark 6:31)
What's Driving the Growth of Catholic Churches in the Bible Belt?
Meanwhile, many Baptist, Methodist and Lutheran churches are struggling to keep enough people in the pews to justify opening their doors.
It has widely been reported that the U.S. as a whole is losing its religion, with Protestant mainline churches seeing the most decline over the past 15 years. But two key factors are contributing to Catholic growth throughout the south: a boom in the Hispanic population, and the southern migration of Catholic retirees and families from the Northeast.
St. Gregory’s Catholic Church in Bluffton, along the southern coast of South Carolina, particularly illustrates this shift along the Bible Belt - the congregation grew by a massive 70 percent in just 10 years, and now claims 10,000 registered members. Even though South Carolina is gaining in population, the growth of this parish outpaces even that of the state, according to local newspapers.
“Sunday Masses are crowded as latecomers squeeze into pews or stand in the back of the church. Twelve Masses are held Friday evening through Sunday — two of which are in Spanish. And work is underway on a new parish life center for community events,” Kasia Kovacs reports in The Island Packet.
Hispanics made up about 40 percent of the Church in the United States in 2016, with especially large representation among youth and young adults: 50 percent of Catholics ages 14 to 29 are Hispanic; and 55 percent of Catholics under 14 are Hispanic. Though immigration rates from Hispanic countries have begun to slow in recent years, the percentage of Hispanic Catholics in the U.S. is expected to continue growing during the next decade.
At St. Gregory’s, Masses for major holidays like Christmas and Easter are said in both English and Spanish, and seminarians in the state are required to be fluent in Spanish before their ordination. The parish celebrates Las Posadas and other traditional Hispanic celebrations, and food trucks at parish events now feature empanadas and gorditas.
“Having this summer experience, and seeing how it comes together — seeing how the Hispanic community and English community collaborate — it really is a single entity,” seminarian Tom Drury told The Island Packet.
Parishioner Jenny Bermejo, who moved to the area as a child with her family in 2004, said that St. Gregory’s has provided them with community and the familiarity of home.
“We were still pretty new to South Carolina, so hearing Mass in Spanish really brought us a sense of home,” Bermejo said.
St. Gregory’s pastor Monsignor Ronald Cellini told The Island Packet that his Hispanic parishioners are often more active in church life in the United States than they were back in Mexico, Guatemala or Colombia. The rural area of Bluffton reminds them of home, and they are putting down roots - they are not transient migrants who will leave in a few years.
“The Bluffton Hispanic community is here — it’s not a migrant community,” he said. “Kids grow up here. They’ve been here, they’re staying here.”
In response to these shifting demographics and the influx of Hispanic Catholics throughout the United States, the U.S. bishops have called for a meeting called the V Encuentro- Fifth Encounter- a national gathering of U.S. Hispanic leaders and ministers to consult with Hispanic Catholics and respond to their pastoral needs.
The first Encuentro was held in 1972, and the most recent was held in 2000, with a related youth meeting held in 2006.
This year, the V Encuentro will be held in Grapevine, Texas Sept. 20-23
Some Alternate USA State Slogans
Michigan: First Line Of Defense From The Canadians
Minnesota: 10,000 Lakes ... And 10,000,000,000,000 Mosquitoes
North Dakota: We Really Are One Of The 50 States!
Oklahoma: Like The Play, Only No Singing
Rhode Island: We're Not REALLY An Island
South Dakota: Closer Than North Dakota
– Little Johnny, why does your little sister cry?
– Because I helped her.
– But that is a good thing! What did you help her with?
– I helped her eat the last of her gummy bears.
Little Johnny asks the teacher, “Mrs Roberts, can I be punished for something I haven’t done?” Mrs Roberts is shocked, “Of course not, Johnny, that would be very unfair!” Little Johnny is relieved, “OK Mrs Roberts, sorry, I haven’t done my homework.”
-The first time I got a universal remote control I thought to myself, “This changes everything”.
-I recently decided to sell my vacuum cleaner as all it was doing was gathering dust.
-You can never lose a homing pigeon – if your homing pigeon doesn’t come back what you’ve lost is a pigeon.
-Don’t you hate it when someone answers their own questions? I do.
-As I watched the dog chasing his tail I thought “Dogs are easily amused”, then I realized I was watching the dog chasing his tail.
-Where there’s a will, there’s a relative.
-I woke up this morning and forgot which side the sun rises from, then it dawned on me.
Christian One Liners (Part I)
Don't let your worries get the best of you; remember, Moses
started out as a basket case.
Some people are kind, polite, and sweet-spirited until you try to sit in their pews.
Many folks want to serve God, but only as advisors.
The good Lord didn't create anything without a purpose, but mosquitoes come close.
People are funny; they want the front of the bus, the middle of the road, and the back of the church.
Opportunity may knock once, but temptation bangs on your front door forever.
Quit griping about your church; if it was perfect, you couldn't belong.
If the church wants a better pastor, it only needs to pray for the one it has.
Plaster From Above
The crumbling, old church building needed remodeling, so the preacher made an impassioned appeal, looking directly at the richest man in town. At the end of the message, the rich man stood up and announced, "Pastor, I will contribute $1,000." Just then, plaster fell from the ceiling and struck the rich man on the shoulder. He promptly stood again and shouted, "Pastor, I will increase my donation to $5,000." Before he could sit back down, plaster fell on him again, and again he virtually screamed, "Pastor, I will double my last pledge." He sat down, and a larger chunk of plaster fell hitting him on the head. He stood once more and hollered, "Pastor, I will give $20,000!" This prompted a deacon to shout, "Hit him again, Lord! Hit him again!"
All About Angels
On September 29, the Church honors and calls upon the archangels Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. On October 2, the Church will honor and call upon Guardian Angels. Let's here it for angels! Yeah!!!
There are almost 300 references to angels in the Sacred Scriptures, but what are they, what do they do, and what does the Church through which Christ speaks say about them?
An angel is a pure spirit being with no body. They were created 'before' humanity. They were given a choice at the moment of their creation to serve God or not serve God. Fallen angels, devils, chose not to serve God and were separated forever with no possibility of change because their choice is forever.
They are depicted with wings because all they do is 'instantaneous.' Every human person at the moment of their conception is assigned a guardian angel. "See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels always see the face of my Father in heaven." -Matthew 18:10-11
When we die, we do NOT become angels. Our soul goes either to Heaven, Purgatory, or Hell and waits to be reunited with our bodies at the Last Judgment when our bodies will be resurrected.
[Below is straight from the Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding angels:]
Who are they?
329 St. Augustine says: "'Angel' is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is 'spirit'; if you seek the name of their office, it is 'angel': from what they are, 'spirit', from what they do, 'angel.'"188 With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they "always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven" they are the "mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word".189
330 As purely spiritual creatures angels have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness.190
Christ "with all his angels"
331 Christ is the center of the angelic world. They are his angels: "When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him. . "191 They belong to him because they were created through and for him: "for in him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities - all things were created through him and for him."192 They belong to him still more because he has made them messengers of his saving plan: "Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?"193
332 Angels have been present since creation and throughout the history of salvation, announcing this salvation from afar or near and serving the accomplishment of the divine plan: they closed the earthly paradise; protected Lot; saved Hagar and her child; stayed Abraham's hand; communicated the law by their ministry; led the People of God; announced births and callings; and assisted the prophets, just to cite a few examples.194 Finally, the angel Gabriel announced the birth of the Precursor and that of Jesus himself.195
333 From the Incarnation to the Ascension, the life of the Word incarnate is surrounded by the adoration and service of angels. When God "brings the firstborn into the world, he says: 'Let all God's angels worship him.'"196 Their song of praise at the birth of Christ has not ceased resounding in the Church's praise: "Glory to God in the highest!"197 They protect Jesus in his infancy, serve him in the desert, strengthen him in his agony in the garden, when he could have been saved by them from the hands of his enemies as Israel had been.198 Again, it is the angels who "evangelize" by proclaiming the Good News of Christ's Incarnation and Resurrection.199 They will be present at Christ's return, which they will announce, to serve at his judgement.200
The angels in the life of the Church
334 In the meantime, the whole life of the Church benefits from the mysterious and powerful help of angels.201
335 In her liturgy, the Church joins with the angels to adore the thrice-holy God. She invokes their assistance (in the funeral liturgy's In Paradisum deducant te angeli. . .["May the angels lead you into Paradise. . ."]). Moreover, in the "Cherubic Hymn" of the Byzantine Liturgy, she celebrates the memory of certain angels more particularly (St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, and the guardian angels).
336 From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession.202 "Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life."203 Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.
188 St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 103,1,15: PL 37,1348.
189 Mt 18:10; Ps 103:20.
190 Cf. Pius XII, Humani generis: DS 3891; Lk 20:36; Dan 10:9-12.
191 Mt 25:31.
192 Col 1:16.
193 Heb 1:14.
194 Cf. Job 38:7 (where angels are called "sons of God"); Gen 3:24; 19; 21:17; 22:11; Acts 7:53; Ex 23:20-23; Judg 13; 6:11-24; Isa 6:6; 1 Kings 19:5.
195 Cf. Lk 1:11,26.
196 Heb 1:6.
197 Lk 2:14.
198 Cf. Mt 1:20; 2:13,19; 4:11; 26:53; Mk 1:13; Lk 22:43; 2 Macc 10:29-30; 11:8.
199 Cf. Lk 2:8-14; Mk 16:5-7.
200 Cf. Acts 1:10-11; Mt 13:41; 24:31; Lk 12:8-9.
201 Cf. Acts 5:18-20; 8:26-29; 10:3-8; 12:6-11; 27:23-25.
202 Cf. Mt 18:10; Lk 16:22; Ps 34:7; 91:10-13; Job 33:23-24; Zech 1:12; Tob 12:12.
203 St. Basil, Adv. Eunomium III, I: PG 29,656B.
SUNDAY MASS READINGS AND QUESTIONS
for Self-Reflection, Couples or Family Discussion
The Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - August 12th, 2018
The First Reading- 1 Kings 19:4-8
Elijah went a day's journey into the desert, until he came to a broom tree and sat beneath it. He prayed for death saying: "This is enough, O LORD! Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers." He lay down and fell asleep under the broom tree, but then an angel touched him and ordered him to get up and eat. Elijah looked and there at his head was a hearth cake and a jug of water. After he ate and drank, he lay down again, but the angel of the LORD came back a second time, touched him, and ordered, "Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!" He got up, ate, and drank; then strengthened by that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.
The Bread of Life Discourse is paramount to understanding the Eucharist. Jesus tells us exactly what the Eucharist is and what it means, and he ties it in with the feeding of the five thousand to bring home to us that the Eucharist is true food for our bodies and our spirits. Today’s readings contain a good deal of frustration: in the first reading Elijah — God’s greatest prophet ever — is ready to give up his prophetic ministry. We see how God provides for him, and sends the angel to care for and encourage him.
Adults - Ask God to fortify you and help you through the struggles you may face this week.
Teens - Try to get through the week without murmuring (grumbling or complaining). Make a “murmur jar” and put acts of charity or kindness on slips of paper in the jar. If someone murmurs, they get a slip to counteract their grumbles with an act of charity.
Kids - Do you ever get frustrated and want to give up on things? What makes you frustrated? What helps you to get past it?
Responsorial - Psalm 34: 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Glorify the LORD with me,
Let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
And delivered me from all my fears.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy.
And your faces may not blush with shame.
When the afflicted man called out, the LORD heard,
And from all his distress he saved him.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
-How has God been there for you in times of distress?
The Second Reading- Ephesians 4:30-5:2
Brothers and sisters: Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were sealed for the day of redemption. All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.
Today’s second reading ties it all together so nicely. Life is frustrating at times. We want to give up at times. We want to lash out. But, Paul reminds us that no matter what awfulness comes our way, our response needs to be an imitation of Christ.
Paul reminds us that holiness consists in putting into practice everything Christ taught. Strive to learn more about a teaching of the Church this week.
The Holy Gospel according to John 6: 41-51
The Jews murmured about Jesus because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven," and they said, "Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother? Then how can he say, 'I have come down from heaven'?" Jesus answered and said to them, "Stop murmuring among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day. It is written in the prophets: They shall all be taught by God. Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."
In this Sunday’s Gospel, the Jews clearly think they have Jesus figured out. They know His father and His mother, and are sure of His origin. Jesus clearly corrects them and explains that He is the way to eternal life. He teaches that only He can reveal God because He is the only one who truly knows Him. His use of the future tense in “the Bread that I will give” points to the Institution of the Eucharist, and His reference of “for the life of the world” teaches that through His Passion, Death, and Resurrection he redeems all of humanity.
Adults Do you ever get frustrated? Do you ever murmur? How does your prayer life and the Eucharist help you to deal with your frustrations?
Teens -In the Jewish Scriptures, the Hebrews murmured (grumbled or complained) their way through the desert, and now people are murmuring at Jesus when he tells them that he is the bread of life. Do you ever murmur? Does it accomplish anything? What could be an alternate response to things that make you unhappy?
Kids - How does Jesus use bread to feed us today?