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Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
Small Things With Great Love
"Show the wonder of your great love, you who save by your right
hand those who take refuge in you from their foes."
We are often deceived that we can do little to nothing to change the world or situation of life that we find ourselves in. But the truth is that if we do the little that God gives us to the best of our ability, the big stuff will take care of itself.
And so what are the little things that God gives us? It is being faithful to our families, it is doing our schoolwork well and playing kindly in the school yard, it is putting in a full day's work to the best of our ability and reaching out to co-workers, it is doing household duties and yes even cleaning the toilet until it sparkles. :o)
Whether it is getting up, eating, cleaning, picking up a piece of trash, smiling, saying, "I love you," or whatever the next moment of life brings you, do it with great love FOR GOD, and for your neighbor, and in this you do it for yourself and change the world!
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. This coming Sunday is 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time. >>> Readings
Brothers and sisters: Indeed the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow,
(Latin lubēre, libēre "to please, to be pleasing")
- to know, will, and do the good of another
-to seek the highest and best good for the other
(Truth of story is unknown, but idea for action is sound.)
Two years ago an atheist living there complained about two crosses on a bridge in town. He requested that they be removed and the town removed them. He then decided that, since he was so successful with that, the city shield should also be changed since it had on it, along with other symbols, a heart with a cross inside signifying the city's Lutheran beginnings.
At that point, the residents decided they had had enough. Hundreds of residents made their opinions known by placing small crosses in their front yards. Seeing this quiet but powerful statement from the community, the man removed his complaint. Those simple crosses remain in those front yards today.
After passing those crosses for two years, it finally hit me that a small cross in millions of front yards across our country could provide a powerful and inspiring message for all Americans passing them every day. I think it might be time to take this idea across America.
We have those who say, even high up, that "we are not a Christian nation" and everywhere you look others are trying to remove from our history and current lives any reference to God, prayer, or the fact that our country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. The majority of Americans are Christians, why are we letting this happen to us? It's time to stand up and make a statement...a small, quiet, but powerful statement.
If you agree, place a small wooden cross in your front yard or garden for all to see that they are not alone. It would be a beautiful thing to see crosses all across America.
God has richly blessed America but America is falling short of returning thanks for it, and this is only one way that we can help to change that. Do not be afraid to unobtrusively let others know where you stand and what you believe.
P.S. It's not a bad idea to make this a worldwide effort.
Catechism of the Catholic Church #2610
Be Bold. Be Catholic. The Dynamic Catholic Institute was founded by writer Matthew Kelly to do its part in the rejuvenation of Catholicism in the English-speaking world. Eight years ago Kelly published his book Rediscovering Catholicism, and it is the mission of the Institute to place a copy of this book in the hands of every Catholic in the United States. You can help them acomplish this or obtain a copy free as well as check out other incredible resources.
USE RECYCLED AND/OR RECYCLABLE TABLE SERVICE AT PARISH FUNCTIONS
The last 3 Popes have been asking us to be more conscience of the world God created and in which we live and to do what we can to keep it the place God created it to be. Any parish efforts in Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse is encouraged to be attempted. Concretely, using washable table service (plates, silverware, cups, etc.) can go a long way, especially with Parish Gatherings and fundraisers. If this is not practical, please consider using paper products instead of styrofoam or plastic, since paper biodegrades and the others do not, if you will not be able to recycle.
Recycling is the first options, but if it is not a go, then try to do something. Paper may also actually be cheaper than the others at certain times of buying. If recycling, plastic is the one to go with.
Bring this request to your Pastor and/or Pastoral Council and ask if they will see what is doable. If able, offer to be the one who does the recycling. We cannot do all, but we can all do something.
By Christine Rousselle
About six weeks before the event, the pastors of the two parishes were discussing how to respond to the recent sexual abuse crisis and it effects both on them as priests and on their parishioners. According to Fr. Dan Leary, pastor at St. Andrew’s, “we both kind of came to this conclusion: repair my Church, repair my Church.”
Following that conversation, a program of events were held in the parishes centered around prayer, fasting, and adoration.
Since the outbreak of the recent scandals over the summer, many bishops, including Pope Francis, have called for the Church to collectively practice penance and fasting.
In the wake of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, the pope issued his Letter to the People of God in which he said it was “essential” that the whole Church acknowledge and respond to the wounds inflicted by the abuse crisis.
“May fasting and prayer open our ears to the hushed pain felt by children, young people and the disabled,” the Pope wrote. “A fasting that can make us hunger and thirst for justice and impel us to walk in the truth.”
Fr. Leary explained to CNA that many pastors have struggled in responding to the pain and confusion the recent scandals have caused their flocks.
“People are wounded, they don’t know who to turn to,” he told CNA.
“The answer is, of course, to turn to the Lord. The Church has the best medicines for spiritual injuries - in the sacraments and in the disciplines of prayer; these have power, real healing power.”
Leary told CNA that when the news of the scandals first broke, he held a listening session shortly afterwards with his parishioners, which he described as “very positive.” But, he said, many priests were asking themselves and each other how to move past simple listening.
“As shepherds, we have to lead, always lead, towards Christ. Many of us in the Washington archdiocese have had listening sessions, and that is such an important part - hearing the needs of the parish. But there comes a time where people want answers, not just listening, and what answer can we give?”
The answer, Leary said, lies in leading by example.
“There is so much power in prayer, and in acts of penance and reparation. These unify us with Christ in his love for the suffering Church. But we have to be the first ones, as priests, to show the way and to ask for our parishioners help, their prayers for us, so that we can serve them as they deserve to be served.”
Inspired by the tradition of St. Francis of Assisi, Fr. Leary and Fr. Lawrence Swink of Sacred Heart, hosted simultaneous days of prayer, reparation, and fasting at their two parishes on the saint’s feast day, Oct. 4.
The parishes, in the northern and southern halves of the Archdiocese of Washington, offered to serve as “poles of prayer” for the archdiocese. Parishioners and other Catholics were free to attend a Holy Hour at either parish throughout the event.
The day was focused on the Blessed Sacrament, Leary told CNA, because it is there Catholics “will find the ultimate healing and the grace to respond to this time of pain and suffering in the Church.”
Each hour began with the Litany for Priests, composed by Cardinal Richard Cushing, to offer prayers for the ministry of priests.
Leary called the litany “very powerful” and believes it is particularly important to pray for priests during this time, and he said it has been a focus in his own parish since 2009.
He told CNA that these prayers have “borne tremendous fruit, especially the Litany for Priests,” and have been “so effective in helping people to understand the beauty, the dignity of the priesthood.”
Understanding the priesthood, Leary told CNA, is crucial for Catholics to gain a deeper understanding of the Sacrament of the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
“Otherwise, it’s just a man sitting there listening to their sins,” he said.
“But if they see it as a priest, who sits in persona Christi, and then the Mass is an act of sacrifice in persona Christi, their faith will elevate.”
Leary hopes that other churches in the area will be inspired by the event and host their own versions. St. Andrew Apostle plans on hosting a 40-hour Eucharistic Adoration around the feast of St. Andrew, which is celebrated on November 30. This event will also include prayer intentions for priests.
By Elise Harris
On “the day the sun danced,” thousands of people bore witness to a miracle that not only proved the validity of the Fatima Marian apparitions, but also shattered the prevalent belief at the time that God was no longer relevant, according to one theologian.
What crowds witnessed the day of the miracle was “the news that God, in the end, contrary to what was said in the philosophy books at that time, was alive and acting in the midst of men,” Dr. Marco Daniel Duarte told EWTN News.
If one were to open philosophy books during that period, they would likely read something akin to the concept conceived by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who boldly asserted in the late 1800s that “God is dead.”
Yet as this and other philosophies like it were gaining steam in the life and thought of society, the Virgin Mary appears and tells three small shepherds that “God is alive and still attentive to humanity, even though humanity is waging war with one another.”
Duarte, a theologian and director of the Fatima shrine museums, spoke about the cultural significance of the Miracle of the Sun given the atheistic thought prevalent in Portuguese society at the time.
In 1917, Portugal, like the majority of the world, was embroiled in war. As World War I raged throughout Europe, Portugal found itself unable to maintain its initial neutrality and joined forces with the Allies, in order to protect colonies in Africa and to defend their trade with Britain. About 220,000 Portuguese civilians died during the war; thousands due to food shortages, thousands more from the Spanish flu.
Compounding the problem, government stability in the country had been rocky at best following the revolution and coup d’état that led to the overthrow of the monarchy and subsequent establishment of the First Portuguese Republic in 1910.
A new liberal constitution separating Church and state was drafted under the influence of Freemasonry, which sought to omit the faith – which for many was the backbone of Portuguese culture and society – from public life.
Anti-Catholicism in Portugal had initially begun in the 18th century during the term of statesman Marquês de Pombal, and flared up again after the drafting of the new constitution.
Catholic churches and schools were seized by the government, and the wearing of clerics in public, the ringing of church bells, and the celebrating of popular religious festivals were banned. Between 1911-1916, nearly 2,000 priests, monks and nuns were killed by anti-Christian groups.
This was the backdrop against which Mary, in 1917, appeared to three shepherd children – Lucia dos Santos, 10, and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, 9 and 7 – in a field in Fatima, Portugal, bringing with her requests for the recitation of the rosary, for sacrifices on behalf of sinners, and a secret regarding the fate of the world.
To prove that the apparitions were true, Mary promised the children that during the last of her six appearances she would provide a “sign” so people would believe in the apparitions and in her message.
What happened on that day – Oct. 13, 1917 – has come to be known as the “Miracle of the Sun,” or “the day the sun danced.”
According to various accounts, a crowd of some 70,000 people – believers and skeptics alike – gathered to see the miracle that Mary had promised. After appearing and speaking to the children for some time, Mary then “cast her own light upon the sun.”
The previously rainy sky cleared up, the clouds dispersed and the ground, which had been wet and muddy from the rain, was dried. A transparent veil came over the sun, making it easy to look at, and multi-colored lights were strewn across the landscape.
The sun then began to spin, twirling in the sky, and at one point appeared to veer toward earth before jumping back to its place in the sky.
Duarte said the miracle was a direct, and very convincing contradiction to the atheistic regimes at the time, which is evidenced by the fact that the first newspaper to report on the miracle was an anti-Catholic, Masonic newspaper in Lisbon called O Seculo.
The Miracle of the Sun, he said, was understood by the people to be “the seal, the guarantee that in fact those three children were telling the truth.”
Even today, “Fatima makes people change their perception of God,” he said, explaining that for him, one of the most important messages of the apparitions is that “even if man has separated God from his existence, God is present in human history and doesn’t abandon humanity.”
With World War I raging, a war the likes of which the world had never seen, Mary appeared to tell the children that “that story can have another ending, when the power of prayer is stronger than the power of bullets.”
The Miracle of the Sun is also the heart of a special exhibition called “The Colors of the Sun” the shrine is offering for the duration of the centenary year of the apparitions, which focuses on the symbolic nature of the miracle and its cultural significance.
Displayed are “various objects, some older, others more contemporary, some more modern, some made of textile, others of organic materials, paintings, sculptures,” but which are all “placed with a narrative,” he said.
Beginning with a set of black umbrellas used by people who had gathered at the Cova de Iria (Cave of Iria) where Mary appeared Oct. 13, the exhibit aims to build a narrative of what people saw that day, and is supplemented with different works that express the various elements of Mary’s message to the children.
It also shows developments of how the shrine developed over the years, showing the transformation of what used to be a small, simple chapel into what is now two basilicas: the Basilica of Nossa Senhora do Rosario (Our Lady of the Rosary) and Basilica da Santissima Trindade (Basilica of the Holy Trinity), with an open chapel in between where the statue of Our Lady of Fatima resides.
Pieces come from all over the world – some from the Fatima shrine, some from the State of Portugal, and some even hail from Germany and France.
One of the highlight pieces is a giant heart made by Joana Vasconcelos, a well-known Portuguese artist who crafted the piece entirely out of red plastic ware, such as spoons and forks.
“It’s material that isn’t important for anyone, but which after everything is united, forms the image of a heart and can be the image of reparation,” Duarte said.
The exhibit closes with white parasols, rather than umbrellas, in order to show the fruit of the miracle, Duarte said, adding that it can also signify “the presence of God, the Eucharistic Christ.”
In this sense, the parasols “can be for us a symbol that also we can be God’s tabernacles and can be the place where God dwells,” he said. “This is the true shrine that God wants. The shrine of Fatima is precisely the image of what God wants: to dwell among men.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church #1399
A mother was teaching her 3-year-old the Our Father. For several evenings at bedtime she repeated it after her mother. One night she said she was ready to solo. The mother listened with pride as she carefully enunciated each word, right up to the end of the prayer.
"Lead us not into temptation," she prayed, "but deliver us some e-mail, Amen."
After the Baptism of his baby brother in church, little Johnny sobbed all the way home in the back seat of the car. His father asked him three times what was wrong. Finally, the boy replied, "That priest said he wanted us brought up in a Christian home, but I want to stay with you guys."
Love Your Sibling As You Love Yourself.A PSR teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds. After explaining the commandment to 'honor thy father and thy mother', she asked, "Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?" Without missing a beat, one little boy answered, "Thou shall not kill."
It was raining hard and a big puddle had formed in front of an Irish pub.
An old man stood beside the puddle holding a stick with a string on the end and jiggled it up and down in the water.
A curious gentleman asked what he was doing.
'Fishing,' replied the old man.
'Poor old fool' thought the gentleman, so he invited the old man to have a drink in the pub.
Feeling he should start some conversation while they were sipping their whisky, the gentleman asked, And how many have you caught?'
'You're the eighth".
I hope the children will never find out why I say ‘oooops….” so often when I vacuum their rooms.
What an amazing, clever dog we have, darling.
He brings in the newspaper every day, and we’ve never even subscribed to any!
Lord, grant that I may always allow myself
to be guided by You,
always follow Your plans,
and perfectly accomplish Your Holy Will.
Grant that in all things,
great and small,
today and all the days of my life,
I may do whatever You require of me.
Help me respond to the slightest prompting of Your Grace,
so that I may be Your trustworthy instrument for Your honour.
May Your Will be done in time
and in eternity by me, in me, and through me. Amen.
Catechism of the Catholic Church #1073
SUNDAY MASS READINGS AND QUESTIONS
for Self-Reflection, Couples or Family Discussion
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time - October 14th, 2018
The First Reading- Wisdom 7:7-11
I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I preferred her to scepter and throne, and deemed riches nothing in comparison with her, nor did I liken any priceless gem to her; because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand, and before her, silver is to be accounted mire. Beyond health and comeliness I loved her, and I chose to have her rather than the light, because the splendor of her never yields to sleep. Yet all good things together came to me in her company, and countless riches at her hands.
Our first two readings today set the stage for the story we hear in the Gospel. Wisdom, which is also often a name given to the Holy Spirit, is the most valuable gift God can give us. If we have wisdom — if we allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit — our lives will always be in union with God’s plan for us.
Adults - What are some concrete ways to grow in wisdom?
Teens -What qualities tell you that someone is wise?
Kids - Who is the wisest person you know? Why do you think they are wise?
Responsorial- Psalm 90: 12-13, 14-15, 16-17
R.Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
Make us glad, for the days when you afflicted us,
for the years when we saw evil.
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Let your work be seen by your servants
and your glory by their children;
and may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours;
prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands!
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
-Do an extra act of kindness this week in honor of God’s love.
The Second Reading- Hebrews 4:12-13
Brothers and sisters: Indeed the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.
The letter to the Hebrews tells us that the word of God, also a title for Jesus, is “living and effective.” God’s word works its way into the tiniest places in our hearts and can fill the gaps in our lives. It knows us intimately and spurs us on to be whole.
How do you experience God’s word as living and effective?
The Holy Gospel according to Mark 10:17-30
As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother." He replied and said to him, "Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth." Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, "You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God." Peter began to say to him, "We have given up everything and followed you." Jesus said, "Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come."
The Gospel warns us (as our second reading two weeks ago did) against the comfort of material wealth. Comfort makes us lazy, and like the young man in the story, we want an easy way to be “good enough” for God. We can get the sense that the young man was disingenuous in his question — it seems he was expecting to be told that he was doing just fine and to go about his business as usual. But, with Jesus, it’s never business as usual. God calls us to more. God calls us to make sacrifices, to be detached from material wealth. People who aren’t attached to material wealth have no trouble giving it up and won’t be burdened with it when it’s time to leave it behind. And, of course, we have the promise that whatever we give up, we’ll receive a hundredfold. It’s important to remember that, even if we’re doing everything right, and have the best attitude, bad stuff can still happen. We must have faith that God can do good, even when bad things happen.
Adults - In what ways can wealth have a negative effect in our lives? In what ways can it do good?
Teens -When Jesus talks about the “eye of the needle,” he’s referring to a gate in Jerusalem’s wall that was very narrow and only people could walk through it. When merchants came in with their goods on camels, they would have to go through other gates to enter. Jesus is saying that, if we want to get through the “gate” (to heaven), we need to be able to leave material things behind. They won’t fit through the gate with us. How hard is it for you to let go of material things? What are you willing to give up? What aren’t you willing to give up?
Kids -Why do you think the young man was sad when he left?
SACRED SCRIPTURE CORNER
The Rich Young Man
"Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, "You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions." -Mark 10:21-22
If a person wanted to sum up this encounter in a concise way, it could be said that the rich young man was not able to say “yes” to Jesus Christ. This man could not follow Jesus Christ at this point in his life. If he could have said “yes” to Jesus Christ, his life would have been undoubtedly blessed by his surrender of himself. However, maybe the more important lesson about Jesus’ interaction with the young man is that he could not say “no” to other things in his life. He could not sever the attachments and relationships he had in his rich life. Perhaps this young man acknowledged that many of the things he had in his life were good, and he would have to say “no” to some good things in order to be able to say “yes” to the source of all goodness, Jesus Christ.
Contemporary society is challenging us to say “yes” all of the time. Our hectic lives point to this reality, and it's easy to say “yes” too much. What priorities can we rearrange in our lives in order to make sure that we do not miss the invitation from Jesus Christ to follow him more closely? This is a question that each of us must consider in our lives.
Further Reading: Matthew 19:16-30; Luke 18:18-30
It may not take courage to make a promise, but it can take a lot of courage to keep a promise. This is especially true for the promises we make on our wedding day. There are particular acts of courage that can help build up our marriages. The first one is: The courage to say what needs to be said - most marriages aren’t harmed as much by what is said as by what is left unsaid. Withholding our truth from one another can kill a marriage. This can range from failing to express one’s love (in words, in deeds, in conscientious responses), to not standing up for oneself, to failing to speak up when something’s wrong in your marriage but you don’t want to rock the boat. We must have the courage to both speak and hear.
Pray for the courage and wisdom to share or say something that needs to be said in your Marriage.