In this e-weekly:
- MUST SEE WEBSITE: Institute of School and Parish Development (Catholic Website of the week)
- Fatherhood and the Power of the Keys (Diocesan News and BEYOND)
- Illinois: Prayer in Public Schools (Helpful Hints for Life)
-***NEW FEATURE*** CATHOLIC QUESTIONS AND CATHOLIC ANSWERS is a new section of the e-weekly (see below) ***NEW FEATURE***
BEST PARISH PRACTICE is also BACK! (see below
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
".they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers,
listening to them and asking them questions." Luke 2:46
This month nearly 2 million children begin Catholic School. Many of us may have attended a Catholic school in our time. Many remember the dear nuns, or a wonderful lay teacher who gave fully of themselves, bringing his or her uniqueness to the classroom.
"Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old." Matthew 13:52
Regardless of who taught us and how we were educated, Catholic Schools have a value that is not found elsewhere because what they teach concerns God and heaven, our true home.
Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 4:8
Solid Catholic Schools and the education and formation they provide are needed now more than ever. Yet these blessed institutions do not happen by accident. They occur when the Father's blessing touches the honest, hard work of men and women of faith who love the Faith and children.
.do not be too hard on your children so they will become angry. Instruct them in their growing years with Christian teaching. -Ephesians 6:4
As millions of children continue to experience the blessings of Catholic Schools this month, let us give thanks to God for these schools, pray for them to bear fruit, and do all we can to support (as those who have went before us have supported) that which has brought so many blessings to this earth.
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. This coming Sunday is the Twenty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time. >> Readings
P.S.S. Sunday Readings with reflection available at the end of e-weekly.
Baptism of the Lord (18min)
Baptism of the Lord (21min)
a) blessing and adoration
b) petition and intercession
c) thanksgiving and praise
d) all of the above
551. What is “blessing”? (CCC 2626-2627; 2645 )
a) a control over something
b) man’s response to God’s gifts
c) a multiplication of items
d) none of the above
552. How can adoration be defined? (CCC 2628)
Human Beings acknowledging that they belong to God.
a) True b) False
553. What are the different forms of the prayer of petition? (CCC 2629-2633; 2646)
a) those made to oneself
b) the prayer must include the acknowledgment of the angels
c) the worship of God
d) the first thing to ask for is the coming of the Kingdom
554. In what does the prayer of intercession consist? (CCC 2634-2636; 2647)
It must extend even to one’s enemies.
a) True b) False
555. When is thanksgiving given to God? (CCC 2637-2638; 2648 )
b) above all in celebrating the Holy Eucharist (Holy Mass)
c) every event in life is a reason
d) all of the above
556. What is the prayer of praise? (CCC 2639-2643; 2649)
That which recognizes the creature is more important that the Creator.
a) True b) False
Catholic School (from Late Latin catholicus, from Greek katholikos "universal, general"+ from Latin schola, from Greek scholē "discussion, lecture, school")
- an institution under the supervision of the Church whose corporate policy is to train the students in the Gospel message of salvation as taught by the teaching authority of the Catholic Church given to her by Jesus Christ and guaranteed by the Holy Spirit
In the words of the Second Vatican Council, "It is the special function of the Catholic school to develop in the school community an atmosphere animated by a spirit of liberty and charity based on the Gospel. It enables young people, while developing their own personality, to grow at the same time in that new life which has been given them at baptism. Finally it so orients the whole of human culture to the message of salvation that the knowledge which the pupils acquire of the world, of life and of men is illumined by faith. Thus, the Catholic school, taking into consideration as it should the conditions of an age of progress, prepares its pupils to contribute effectively to the welfare of the world of men and to work for the extension of the kingdom of God" (Declaration on Christian Education, 8).
-prayer of Saint Augustine of Hippo
What you need to know about prayer in Public Schools: For Students- Every student has the constitutional right to pray in public schools at any time or place as long as it is not disruptive and does not interfere with classroom instruction.
For Teachers: Students can initiate prayer individually and in groups, in the public schools, however a teacher or administrator generally cannot.
What you need to know about the silent reflection and student prayer act in Illinois:
1-It's just a moment of silence.
2-It includes all religious and non-religious perspectives.
3- It is consistent with the U.S. Constitution.
"THE SUPREME COURT has held that students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse door. The law enacted in Illinois comports with the Constitution, allowing for a daily routine of silent prayer or reflection in the classroom that does not endorse religion, yet accommodates free expression," was stated by Andy Norman of the Mauck & Baker law firm in Chicago, a Christian Legal Society.
In a very special way, parents share in the office of sanctifying "by leading a conjugal life in the Christian spirit and by seeing to the Christian education of their children."
-Catechism of the Catholic Church 2226
There are many things to pray for, especially all affected by the pandemic. People need ways to grow closer to God, His Church, and one another. One of the best ways to spiritually do this is a Holy Hour in church in front of the tabernacle or Jesus facing us in the monstrance. 'We look at Him, and He looks at us.'
You are face to face with Jesus. You come to Jesus in His House. You are in His Real Presence, Body, Blood, soul, and Divinity. Jesus said, "I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father." -Matthew 18:19 "So you could not keep watch with me for one hour?" -Jesus says (Matthew 26:40)
Ask your Parish Priest to have the Holy Hour for and with you. Or ask a Deacon or Lay person to lead with permission of your Parish Priest. It can be before or after the Daily Mass. It can be of an evening or the best time for many of you to gather. You can be in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Priests praying with their people to Jesus is what we need now more than ever. You can offer Sacred Scripture, etc. More at: http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/pea/holyhour.html
When Isaiah prophesies that Shebna will be thrust from his office as royal treasurer, he reveals that Shebna has failed in leadership by living a life of personal indulgence while ignoring God and failing to ensure justice for the people. Therefore, God takes away the power that was entrusted to Shebna and gives it to Eliakim, who “shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem” (Isaiah 22:21). This ruler, who is called to exercise paternal care is, the prophet announces, entrusted with “the key of the House of David … when he opens, no one shall shut; when he shuts, no one shall open” (Isaiah 22:22). The link is explicit between Eliakim’s love for God and the people and his authority to open and close.
This divine entrustment of authority is evident throughout the history of Israel. God called rulers to shepherd his people well, to serve them in justice. Today’s Psalm reveals something of the divine logic of power, “The Lord is exalted, yet the lowly he sees, and the proud he knows from afar. Your kindness, O Lord, endures forever; forsake not the work of your hands” (Psalm 138:6, 8). God loves his creatures. He looks to those who are humbly willing to serve in order to entrust them with authority rooted in his own paternal love.
This divine plan continues today in God’s entrustment of his people to the pastors of the Church and ultimately to Peter’s successor, the pope. It is when Simon Peter acknowledged Christ’s divine sonship that Jesus affirmed the Father’s choice of him to be the rock upon which the Church would be built and to be the one entrusted with “the keys to the kingdom of heaven, [that] whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19).
The power to bind and loose is a power of mercy, the mercy of the Father mediated by Christ and his Body, the Church. St. Catherine of Siena, who possessed a profound love for the Church and the papacy, spoke of the entrustment of divine authority as “keys to the blood.” She understood that not only to the pope, but also to every priest, is entrusted the divine authority to extend the grace of the saving sacrifice of Christ to those who approach the Eucharistic Lord. She begged people to pray fervently for priests and for the pope, that they become faithful ministers of the mysteries they celebrate and truthful guardians of the deposit of faith.
In every age, as in the time of Isaiah, there have been leaders who serve themselves more than the people entrusted to them.
May we, like St. Catherine of Siena, pray for leaders in the Church and in civil society.
Only with God’s grace can we rediscover what power and authority are as a share in the strength of the Lord and recommit to accepting and living the love that seeks to serve rather than to be served.
Sister Mary Madeline Todd is a Dominican Sister of the
St. Cecilia Congregation in
Nashville. She received her
doctorate in sacred theology from the Angelicum in Rome and
currently teaches religion and philosophy at Mount de Sales Academy in Baltimore.
After defeating pagan warriors in a fight for his crown, Pope Sylvester II granted the “Sacred Crown” to King Stephen of Hungary. On Christmas Day in the year 1000, the future patron saint became the King of Hungary.
King Stephen then dedicated his country to Christian principles. According to St. John Paul II, the king did not consider his crown an honor, “but a service.”
Pope St. John Paul II’s words describing this epic moment in history:
“At the dawn of the millennium, the figure of King St. Stephen stands out.
“He founded the State on the firm rock of Christian values, and for this reason wanted to receive the royal crown from the hands of my Predecessor, Pope Sylvester II. Thus the Hungarian nation was founded in deep unity with the Chair of Peter and bound by close ties to other European countries, which shared the same Christian culture.
“This culture was the vital sap flowing through the fibres of the developing plant, which assured its growth and vigor, and prepared the extraordinary flourishing that was to come.”
St. Stephen held a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He built many churches in her honor.
On the day of his death in 1038, King St. Stephen dedicated his country to the Blessed Virgin Mary on the Solemnity of the Assumption. He requested that the state and Church leaders “protect and spread the Catholic faith.”
He dedicated one of his final prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary:
“To thee, O Queen of heaven, and to thy guardianship, I commend the holy Church, all the bishops and the clergy, the whole kingdom, its rulers and inhabitants; but before all, I commend my soul to thy care.”
Ambassador of Hungary to the Holy See Eduard Habsburg brought attention to the Aug. 20th celebration in a post accompanied by a photo of Our Lady with St. Stephen.
Here’s the photo below:
Hungary’s “birthday”, the 20th of August, then King Stephen offering the crown he received from the Pope to Our Lady who is, henceforth, queen of Hungary,” said Habsburg.
St. Stephen’s Day falls every year on Aug. 20. Hungary considers this day a public holiday, or the “birthday” of Hungary, “celebrating the foundation of the Hungarian state more than 1000 years ago.” It is comparable to July 4 in the United States.
It was the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the women and the rest of their FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) team was headed to a retreat center near Gretna, Neb. when a large truck smashed into their car on Highway 6 near the Platte River, several miles east of Lincoln.
While the other women had minor injuries - a broken shoulder, whiplash, cuts and bruises - Ashley was life-flighted to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha in critical condition.
She had sustained major head trauma, and had significant swelling and bleeding in her brain.
Brad Stevens, Ashley's fiancé of just a few weeks, got the call from Nikki Shasserre, a staff member at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Newman Center, who had hosted an engagement party for the couple three weeks prior.
Get to the hospital now, Ashley's in critical condition.
Father Robert Matya, the chaplain for the UNL Newman Center, had been on his way to the same retreat and was able to be with the women at the scene, praying with them and comforting them. He then rushed to the hospital to be with Brad, a former student he'd known for years, and was with him to receive the grim diagnosis.
"I remember very distinctly arriving at the hospital, and Brad and I went in to sit down with the doctor, who told us that he didn't think it was going to be possible that Ashley would survive at that point," Fr. Matya recalled. "He was just trying to be honest with us."
That was around 10 in the morning. By 3 p.m., Ashley was heading to surgery. Father stayed with Brad and Ashley in the ICU that night.
From the very first moment, Father said, the way Brad handled the situation was remarkable.
"What was beautiful about watching Brad in that experience was that he was just unwavering from the first moment on, in terms of being at her side. There was never a question of his dedication to her throughout the whole experience, and that was the case not only on that day of the accident but throughout the entire process of her rehabilitation," he said.
"There was never any question (of Brad's faithfulness)," Fr. Matya added.
Brad's faith in God had been what initially attracted Ashley to him. They were both working at Resident Assistants in the Husker Village dorms, and during the long walks patrolling the halls on duty nights, she would pepper him with all of her questions about Catholicism. A devout Protestant, Ashley was amazed at how well Brad could defend and explain his faith using scripture. She became "like a little sponge," she said, soaking up knowledge about the Catholic Church.
A few years after they became friends, and in the early phases of their dating relationship, Ashley became Catholic after taking classes at the Newman Center and developing strong friendships there.
The day of the accident, dozens of friends from the Newman Center and beyond had arrived at UNMC, offering meals and prayers and whatever support they could. Word spread quickly, and more prayers and support started pouring in from UNL students and the Catholic community around the state - and even the world.
Ashley, who said she does not remember "literally a single day" of the entire month she spent at UNMC, said she has only heard and read of the tremendous outpouring of love that occurred within those first days and weeks.
"I was submerged in prayer," she said. "From holy hours at the Newman Center, across the country, there people I didn't even know were surrounding me with prayer that I'm so thankful for."
"It's amazing seeing God's love through so many instruments you know when you're quite literally helpless."
Slowly, Ashley started making improvements, though for a long time it was uncertain exactly how healed she could be. She had a stroke while at UNMC, and it was uncertain for a while whether she'd ever be able to walk, or hold a job, or take care of future children.
"I can't even imagine Brad, just three weeks after getting engaged, and my parents just sitting by, not knowing if I'm going to make it and if I did, what would be the end result? How much of Ashley would they get back, would he get back?" she said.
Even the tiniest glimpses of hope, however, made Brad "just giddy excited," Ashley said.
"Even if I was just able to squeeze his hand or open my eyes and look at him, or just try to smile, anything gave him glimpses of hope that I was going to make it," she said.
A gratitude journal Brad kept at the time proves his incredible hope. In an entry dated Dec. 13, one day after the accident, Brad responded to the prompts in his journal:
Today I feel: "Great, it was starting out to be a good day, until Nikki Shasserre called and told me the news. After that a mix of scared, sad, mad, happy."
Spiritually I: "Am overwhelmed by the huge support you have received from all over the country. I feel consoled during a moment of great trial."
Magical moments (comfort, peace, and love): "You opened your eye and looked at me!! That was huge. I was so thankful to know I had communicated with you and was able to show my love for you and show you I'm there for you."
It was Brad's faithfulness that kept Ashley going in the hard months of recovery and therapy to come.
After UNMC, Ashley was flown down to Atlanta to continue her treatment - it was closer to her parents, who live in Knoxville, Tenn., and was highly recommended for brain trauma recovery.
Brad kept his job as an aide to a state senator in Nebraska, but flew down to Atlanta every Thursday through Sunday to be with his fiancé.
"That was beautiful to me and exactly what I needed to hear to keep fighting and to keep doing frustrating therapies," Ashley said. For a while, even the basics were extremely difficult. She had to re-learn how to write, eat, walk, do long division - but Brad's visits kept her looking forward to the weekends.
"I remember seeing him every Thursday and just being giddy, when you're going through something so life-altering, being able to cling to normalcy is exactly what you need," she said.
But May 16th, the day they had originally planned for their wedding, was harder than most. Brad flew down to be with Ashley, and they went to a church to pray.
"I'm not a crier, I'm just not, but that day we went to the chapel and I just broke down, and I walked out of the church and he came after me and he said 'What's wrong? I'm still here, we're still going to get married,'" Ashley recalled.
She told Brad about all the doubts she had - doubts, she thinks now, that came from Satan.
"We didn't have our wedding rescheduled, I didn't know when or if I would go back to work, I still wasn't approved to drive, and I just kept thinking: Am I worth it?"
"I remember he took my hands and said, 'Ashley, I still love you, I love you just as much as when I asked you to marry me, I'm going to marry you, and it's not going to be today, but it will be as soon as it makes sense, as soon as you get back and we get in our rhythm, it will be then.'"
And it was. The next week, Ashley found out her release date. She entered a driving program, and was
approved to start working again part-time. As the improvements kept coming, Ashley and Brad started re-looking at wedding dates.
They settled on Dec. 12 - exactly a year after the accident.
"It was Ashley's idea," Brad said. "She wanted to conquer a sad day and remember it with joy, or in her words 'kick the accident in the face.'"
"I think some people question like why would you want to do that, so many hard memories will be evoked on that day, why would you want to have the happiest day of your life kind of conflict with that?" Ashley said. "To me, that was the point."
It was a cold December day in Nebraska again. There had been a blizzard the day before Dec. 12, 2009, the day of Ashley and Brad Stevens' wedding.
"I guess you should expect (a blizzard) in December in Nebraska," Ashley joked. Nonetheless, friends and family from all over the country were able to make it.
"It was just a party," Ashley said. And the FOCUS team - half of whom had been in the car with Ashley - were in the choir loft. They sang and played Bethany Dillan's "Let Your Light Shine Down", which the team had listened to together, per Ashley's request, at a meeting a week before the accident.
The truck driver was there too.
"Seeing the church surrounded by people that had stood by our sides whether its prayers, meals, visits, and just having a party, it was a way of saying I'm still here, that God healed us, healed me, and performed a miracle," Ashley said.
The Stevens have now been married for almost 6 years, with two beautiful little girls. They travel in between Tennessee and Nebraska often, so the girls can get to know both sets of grandparents.
They still have their ups and downs, like any couple, but in large part because of the accident, Ashley never doubts that Brad is in it for the long haul.
"Marriage is hard," Ashley said, "but it's part of the cost, and when you sign the marriage license you know that. The vow, 'in good and in bad, in sickness and in health,' obviously Brad's already lived the in sickness and in health vow out before we even walked down the aisle."
"The best advice we can offer for marriage prep is to take a step back, and evaluate your relationship,"
Brad said. "And (if) there's not much about God, there's not much about how the relationship has challenged you to be better, change habits or to find joy in sacrifice, then there's a disconnect."
There are reminders of the accident - Ashley permanently lost hearing in her right ear, she suffered nerve injuries and lost partial control of her right hand. But at the end of the day goodness prevailed,
Ashley said, which is why she is working on a book telling her story.
"God gives us all different gifts," Ashley said. "And I don't have the gift of musical ability, or anything artistic, at times I don't have the gift of extraversion, but I do have the gift of a cool story. And I have the gumption to share it."
"God gives us all a story for a reason, he doesn't give us a story to keep it to ourselves, he gives us a story to share,
"The point (of the story) is that God always wins," she said. "And that may not look like the win that has always played out in your head, but he's faithful, and he works miracles in our lives, and we can't forget all he's done in our life."
These days, the Stevens are looking forward to settling in Nebraska as their oldest starts school. As for Brad, he's thankful that after everything, they're able to have a normal life.
"Ashley is a rock star and I thank God for her and the family we have together." As those first responsible for the education of their children, parents have the right to choose a school for them which corresponds to their own convictions. This right is fundamental. As far as possible parents have the duty of choosing schools that will best help them in their task as Christian educators. Public authorities have the duty of guaranteeing this parental right and of ensuring the concrete conditions for its exercise.
-Catechism of the Catholic Church 2229
-Who was the greatest comedian in the Bible? A. Samson, he brought the house down. (destroyed the pillars that dropped the roof on his enemies)
-What excuse did Adam give to his children as to why he no lived in Eden? A. Your mother ate us out of house and home.
-Which servant of God was the most flagrant lawbreaker in the Bible? A. Moses, he broke all 10 Commandments at once. (when he smashed the tablets at the wickedness of God’s people)
A Spanish magician says he will disappear on the count of 3. He says "uno, dos..." poof. He disappeared without a tres.
Two men meet on opposite sides of a river. One shouts to the other "I need you to help me get to the other side!" The other guy replies, "You are on the other side!"
For our daughters 6th birthday we bought her a fish. We couldn’t help laughing when on the way she announced “the fish’s name is Sparingly.” “How do you know?” I asked. “Look” she responded “it says “feed sparingly 3 times daily.”
Husband brings the child home from kindergarten and asks his wife, "He’s been crying the whole way home. Isn’t he sick or something?" "No," replies the wife, "he was just trying to tell you he isn’t our Frankie."
-If you start to think I talk too much, just tell me. We’ll talk about it.
-That moment when you check your time on your phone and have to check again 10 seconds later because you weren't paying attention the first time.
-That awkward moment when your friend says they are not hungry but ends up eating half of your food when you just order for yourself.
TEACHER: Now, Simon , tell me, do you say prayers before eating?
SIMON: No sir, I don't have to, my Mom is a good cook.
A boy with a monkey on his shoulder was walking down the road when he passed a policeman who said, "Now, now young lad, I think you had better take that monkey the zoo." The next day, the boy was walking down the road with the monkey on his shoulder again, when he passed the same policeman. The policeman said, "Hey there, I thought I told you to take that monkey to the zoo!" The boy answered, "I did! Today I'm taking him to the cinema."
If College Students Wrote The Bible
The Last Supper would have been eaten the next morning -- cold.
The Ten Commandments would actually be only five -- double-spaced and written in a large font.
A new edition would be published every two years in order to limit reselling.
Forbidden fruit would have been eaten because it wasn't cafeteria food. Paul's letter to the Romans would become Paul's email to email@example.com.
Reason Cain killed Abel: they were roommates.
Reason why Moses and followers walked in the desert for 40 years: they didn't want to ask directions and look like freshmen.
Instead of God creating the world in six days and resting on the seventh, he would have put it off until the night before to get it done.
One Sunday morning, a priest wakes up and decides to go golfing. He calls the retired priest and says that he feels very sick, and won't be able to go to offer the Mass.
Way up in heaven, Saint Peter sees all this and asks God, ''Are you really going to let him get away with this?''
''I'll take care of it,'' says God.
The priest drives about five to six hours away, so he doesn't bump into anyone he knows. The golf course is empty when he gets there. So he takes his first swing, drives the ball 495 yards away and gets a hole in one.
Saint Peter watches in disbelief and asks, '' Why did you let him do that?''
To this God says, ''Who's he going to tell?''
(Saint Thomas is the patron of Catholic Schools)
SUNDAY MASS READINGS AND QUESTIONS
for Self-Reflection, Couples or Family Discussion
Sunday, August 23, 2020
The First Reading - Isaiah 22:19-23
Thus says the LORD to Shebna, master of the palace: “I will thrust you from your office and pull you down from your station. On that day I will summon my servant Eliakim, son of Hilkiah; I will clothe him with your robe, and gird him with your sash, and give over to him your authority. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. I will place the key of the House of David on Eliakim’s shoulder; when he opens, no one shall shut when he shuts, no one shall open. I will fix him like a peg in a sure spot, to be a place of honor for his family.”
The role of “master of the palace,” literally “the one over the house” (Heb. ‘asher ‘al-habayith), was the Number Two position of authority after the King (observe the dynamic in 1 Kings 18:1-5, for example). The office was first established by Solomon (1 Kings 4:6). Apparently the badge of his office was the wearing of the key to the palace on his shoulder (Isa 22:22). He controlled access to the king, either by unlocking or locking the palace doors to those who sought the king’s presence. This is what the text means by “what he opens, none shall shut, etc.” This statement will be paralleled in the Gospel: “what you bind on earth will be bound in heaven...”
Adults - What parallels do you see between the First Reading and the Gospel?
Teens - Typology is when an Old Testament event prefigures a New Testament event. What are some examples you can think of?
Kids - How do you think the stories of the Old Testament help us understand Jesus better?
Responsorial- Psalm 138:1-2, 2-3, 6, 8
R. Lord, your love is eternal; do not forsake the work of your hands.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,
for you have heard the words of my mouth;
in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple.
R. Lord, your love is eternal; do not forsake the work of your hands.
I will give thanks to your name,
because of your kindness and your truth:
When I called, you answered me;
you built up strength within me.
R. Lord, your love is eternal; do not forsake the work of your hands.
The LORD is exalted, yet the lowly he sees,
and the proud he knows from afar.
Your kindness, O LORD, endures forever;
forsake not the work of your hands.
R. Lord, your love is eternal; do not forsake the work of your hands.
Psalm 138 is a Psalm of David, in which David praises God for God’s covenant faithfulness (Heb. hesed). The Hebrew hesed is translated as “kindness” in the final stanza of our liturgical translation (“your kindness, O Lord, endures forever”) and as “love” in the response (“Your love is eternal”), both of which are renderings of Ps 138:8. “Kindness” and “love” are both certainly aspects of hesed, but neither catches the full force of the Hebrew term, which pervades the Psalter. Where do you see the love of God working in your life?
The Second Reading- Romans 11:33-36
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor? Or who has given the Lord anything that he may be repaid? For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
Reflection - This passage is Paul’s doxology in praise of God’s mysterious providence. Paul affirms that “the gifts and call of God” to Israel is “irrevocable,” which is similar to the affirmation of Psalm 138: “your hesed endures forever.” God does not break his covenants, and even stays faithful when we break them. -Is praise a part of your daily prayer?
The Holy Gospel according to Matthew 16:13-20
Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.
Reflection Even some non-Catholic commentators (most notably, W.F. Albright, father of American biblical archeology and Old Testament studies) recognize that, in Matt 16, Jesus is investing Peter with role of royal steward in the Kingdom that Jesus is establishing. Isaiah 22 is clearly the background for the promise of the “keys to the Kingdom.” Aside from Judges 3:23-25, which has no thematic parallels, Isaiah 22 is the only passage of the Old Testament where the word “key” even occurs. The thematic parallels are strong: the promise to Eliakim concerning “opening” and “shutting” is repeated to Peter, although using the terms “binding” and “loosing.” “Binding” and “loosing” were technical terms in first century Judaism referring to the authority to decide matters of halakhah (lit. “the walk”, i.e. “the behavior” or “how one behaves”), that is, the practical application of divine law. Jesus did not write down a book with the answers to all controversies in this area that would ever arise in the history of the Church. He did, however, invest Peter with the authority to make decisions in this regard. The Church has always held that Peter’s authority—like the authority of the apostles in general—was passed down to his successors. Otherwise, passages like Matt 16:13-20, and others which speak to us of the authority of the apostles, would simply be matters of historical curiosity for us. The priestly and paternal roles of the Royal Steward, Peter and his successors, is reflected in titles given to the Bishop of Rome: “pontifex maximus” (“greatest priest”) and “Papa” or “Pope,” meaning “Father.” This reflects the prophetic typology of Isa 22: “He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” The Church is the New Jerusalem (see Heb 12:22-24). The successor of Peter continues to authoritatively “bind” and “loose,” making decisions of halakhah for the People of God.
Adults - Did you know that the papacy is scriptural? How does that affect your view of the office of Pope?
Teens - How does this knowledge of the history of the papacy affect your view of the hierarchy of the Church?
Kids - Pray for the pope this week!
LIVING THE WORD OF GOD THIS WEEK! - Peter received the primacy in the Church and the gift of infallibility in his official teaching on matters of faith and morals. As the Church was to continue long after Peter had died, it was rightly understood from the beginning that the privileges given to him and which were necessary for the successful mission of the Church, were given to his lawful successors-the Popes.
This has been the constant belief in the Church from its very beginning. The first Vatican Council solemnly defined this dogma and it was reconfirmed recently in the second Vatican Council. In giving these powers to Peter and to his lawful successors Christ was planning for our needs. In order to preserve and safeguard the right conduct of all its members He provided a central seat of authoritative power in His Church. Through the gift of infallibility He assured us that whatever we were commanded to believe (faith) or to do (morals) would always be what He and his heavenly Father wanted us to believe and to do.
How can we ever thank Christ for these marvelous gifts to his Church, that is, to us? Let us say a fervent: "thank you, Lord; You have foreseen all our needs and provided for them, grant us the grace to do the little part you ask of us in order to continue our progress on the one direct road to heaven."
-Excerpted from The Sunday Readings by Fr. Kevin O'Sullivan, O.F.M
CATHOLIC QUESTIONS AND CATHOLIC ANSWERS
550. What are the essential forms of Christian prayer? d) all of the above
They are blessing and adoration, the prayer of petition and intercession, thanksgiving and praise. The Eucharist contains and expresses all the forms of prayer.
551. What is “blessing”? d) none of the above
The prayer of blessing is man’s response to God’s gifts: we bless the Almighty who first blesses us and fills us with his gifts.
552. How can adoration be defined? a) True
Adoration is the humble acknowledgement by human beings that they are creatures of the thrice-holy Creator.
553. What are the different forms of the prayer of petition? d) the first thing to ask for is the coming of the Kingdom
It can be a petition for pardon or also a humble and trusting petition for all our needs either spiritual or material. The first thing to ask for, however, is the coming of the Kingdom.
554. In what does the prayer of intercession consist? a) True
Intercession consists in asking on behalf of another. It conforms us and unites us to the prayer of Jesus who intercedes with the Father for all, especially sinners. Intercession must extend even to one’s enemies.
555. When is thanksgiving given to God? d) all of the above
The Church gives thanks to God unceasingly, above all in celebrating the Eucharist in which Christ allows her to participate in his own thanksgiving to the Father. For the Christian every event becomes a reason for giving thanks.
556. What is the prayer of praise? b) False
Praise is that form of prayer which recognizes most immediately that God is God. It is a completely disinterested prayer: it sings God’s praise for his own sake and gives him glory simply because he is.