- Brief homily from former Green Beret, Football All-Star, and Millionarie turned Priest ("Helpful Hints of Life")
- Once Again, The Blood of St. Januarius Liquifies on Feast Day (Diocesan News and BEYOND)
- THIRD COMMANDMENT: QandA on Third Commandment at end of e-mail
Catholic Good News
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
Family Traditions and Church Liturgy
"You shall observe this rite as a perpetual ordinance for you and your children." Exodus 12:24
Almost all of us have set patterns or rituals we go through each day or each year. We may not realize it, but this is very similar to Liturgy, what we do every Sunday as Roman Catholics.
Many families have taken their summer vacations as they do every year. I met a priest friend of mine, and he said he was getting a late start, but said that he wanted to do his spring cleaning like he does every year. Whether we admit or not, like or not, we are creatures of habit and ritual, it is our nature, the way God designed us. So Holy Mass every Sunday, further than being obligatory, is natural for us. However, unlike family tradition or daily ritual which only accomplishes something for the day or time. Holy Mass gives us what we need for a day and life, and further Holy Mass takes us to Calvary and the Last Supper, gives us Jesus fully since It is Him, and unites us to Heaven and all who love God.
Keep your good family traditions and rituals, and strive to understand more the critical and natural liturgy of your life in THEE Liturgy of the Heaven and Earth which we call the Holy Mass!
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. This coming Sunday is Twenty-Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time. >> Readings
c) floating off the ground
d) putting oneself in a trance
569. How can vocal prayer be described? (CCC 2700-2704, 2722)
a) it associates the body with the prayer of the heart
b) it springs from personal faith
c) the Our Father is a perfect form of it
d) all of the above
570. What is meditation? (CCC 2705-2708, 2723)
a) repeating, “ohm,…ohm,…ohm,” over and over
b) it involves clearing one’s minds of all thoughts
c) that which engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire
d) none of the above
571. What is contemplative prayer? (CCC 2709-2719, 2724, 2739-2741)
a) simple gaze upon God in silence and love
b) the ability to move things with your mind
c) matching the thoughts of the person you are praying with
d) all of the above
(Answers on back)
(Latin liturgia "public work", Greek leitourgía "public service, public duty")
- official public worship of the Church
[In Christian tradition it means the participation of the People of God in "the work of God." –CCC 1069 In Scripture it refers to the religious duties to be performed by priests and levites in the Temple, especially those related to the Sacrifice; in Christian use among the Eastern Churches it means the Eucharistic Sacrifice.
In present day usage liturgy is the official public worship of the Church and is thus distinguished from private devotion. It is the special title of the Eucharist, and the administration of the sacraments with the annexed use of the sacramentals. Its function, therefore, is twofold: to give honor and praise to God, which is worship and our salvation, and to obtain blessings for the human race, which is sanctification.]
Brief Homily from a former All Star American Football Player, ex-Green Bare, and Millionarie turned Priest:
I have been celebrating Mass at a local parish while the pastor is away the past few weeks. Many of the readings during that time concerned the prophets and their message and trials. I was moved to reflect once again on the prophetic dimension of our Baptism in Christ-Priest, Prophet and King. Several decades ago, the great Archbishop Fulton Sheen said, "The prophetic voice of Christ has all but been stilled in the Church today." To the degree we fail in this prophetic mission, the world will sink into oblivion under the increasing weight of its sins.
In my lifetime, the United States has gone from quite a wholesome, rational, and moral country, to one that is largely decadent, irrational, and immoral. Most people seem to be hardened to it, unconcerned that we have a death wish in process.
First it was artificial contraception, then abortion, then partial-birth abortion, then infanticide (all of which have been supported by many liberal politicians at one time or another, even some running for president) not to mention euthanasia, and outright killing of the disabled and sick. Actually, it's even worse. Terri Schiavo wasn't sick. She didn't die from an illness. They killed her by starvation, a very cruel way to die.
Now it's same sex marriage (no transmission of life, no fruit of natural love) and we call it inclusive and just. It is yet another nail in the coffin of a society that is clearly dying. Every stage of life is under assault by the forces of death. From prevention of life through artificial contraception, to abortion-which is homicide by definition in each case (the taking of the life of an innocent human being), and genocide taken as a whole. Preventing life, ending life from the youngest to the oldest. We call it progress. It is a death wish, and we had better watch what we wish for. (for the end of a culture of death is death for all!)
"All that evil requires to prosper is that good men remain silent."
The hour is late. We have had years to change course. Instead, we have obstinately refused and gone from bad to worse. May God have mercy on us, and grant us the courage and strength to act in accordance with that truth.
God bless you,
Fr. John Corapi
"The liturgy is the work of the whole Christ, head and body. Our high priest celebrates it unceasingly in the heavenly liturgy, with the holy Mother of God, the apostles, all the saints, and the multitude of those who have already entered the kingdom."
-Catechism of the Catholic Church #1187
Saint Michael's Media is a lay Catholic apostolate located in the Detroit area. They are dedicated to the New Evangelization and spreading the truth of the Catholic faith via the medium of television, radio, the internet and other forms of modern mass media.
ASK AND HAVE ACTIVE PARISHIONERS ASK OTHERS TO JOIN MINISTRIES OR ACTIVITIES (when appropriate during pandemic)
There is a lot of talent in parish, but some people do not know what they can offer, or may have never thought about doing certain ministries or activities. But simply asking or showing faith in certain persons can move them to become active.
When people are asked and someone feels they can contribute it can engage them and make them feel engaged at the parish making them more connected. It can also increase the amount of people involved in certain things in the parish which help in countless ways.
Look around at Mass for those who attend regularly or ask persons who currently assist in ministries if they know other persons they think might be blessed and bless the ministry. Then prayerfully discern and loving ask and invite.
By Hannah Brockhaus
Rome Newsroom, Sep 19, 2020 / 05:59 am MT (CNA).- The blood of early Church martyr St. Januarius liquified in Naples Saturday, repeating a miracle dating at least to the 14th century.The blood was declared to have turned from solid to liquid at 10:02 am in the Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary Sept. 19, the feast of St. Januarius.
Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, archbishop of Naples, announced the news to a mostly empty cathedral, due to coronavirus restrictions.
“Dear friends, dear all the faithful, once again with joy and emotion I inform you that the blood of our holy martyr and patron St. Januarius has liquefied,” Sepe said.
His words were received by an applause from those present inside and outside the cathedral.
Sepe added that the blood had “completely liquefied, without any clots, which has happened in past years.”
The miracle is “a sign of God’s love, goodness, and mercy, and of the closeness, the friendship, the fraternity of our St. Januarius,” the cardinal stated, adding “Glory be to God and veneration to our saint. Amen.”
St. Januarius, or San Gennaro in Italian, is the patron saint of Naples. He was bishop of the city in the third century, and his bones and blood are preserved in the cathedral as relics. He is believed to have been martyred during the Christian persecution of Emperor Diocletian.
The liquefaction of St. Januarius’ blood happens at least three times per year: the saint’s feast day of Sept. 19, the Saturday before the first Sunday of May, and Dec. 16, which is the anniversary of the 1631 eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
The reputed miracle has not been officially recognized by the Church, but is known and accepted locally and is considered to be a good sign for the city of Naples and its region of Campania.
In contrast, he failure of the blood to liquefy is believed to signal war, famine, disease, or other disaster.
When the miracle occurs, the dried, red-colored mass of blood one one side of the reliquary becomes a liquid covering nearly the entire glass.
The last time the blood did not liquefy was in December 2016.
The miracle did occur while Naples was under lockdown for the coronavirus pandemic on May 2. Cardinal Sepe offered Mass via livestream and blessed the city with the relic of the liquefied blood.
“Even in this time of coronavirus, the Lord through the intercession of St. Januarius has liquified the blood!” Sepe declared.
This could be the last time Sepe offers the feast day Mass and confirms the miracle of St. Januarius. Pope Francis is expected to soon name a successor to Sepe, who is 77 years old, in what is considered a very important archdiocese for Italy.
Cardinal Sepe has been archbishop of Naples since July 2006.
In his homily at Mass Sept. 19, the archbishop condemned the “virus” of violence and those who take advantage of others through money lending or stealing funds intended for economic recovery in the pandemic’s wake.
“I think of violence, a virus that continues to be practiced with lightness and cruelty, whose roots go beyond the accumulation of social evils that favor its explosion,” he said.
“I think of the danger of interference and pollution of the common and organized underworld, which tries to grab resources for economic recovery, but also tries to hire proselytes through criminal assignments or money lending,” he continued.
The cardinal said he thinks also “of the evil sown by those who continue to chase wealth through illegal actions, profiteering, corruption, scams” and he worries about the tragic consequences for those who are unemployed or underemployed and now are in an even more precarious situation.
“After the lockdown we are realizing that nothing is the same as before,” he stated, and encouraged the community to be sober minded in considering the threats, not only of disease, to daily life in Naples.
Sepe also spoke about young people and the hope they can give, lamenting the discouragement young people face when they cannot find work.
“We all know well that [young people] are the real, great resource of Naples and the South, of our communities and our territories that need, like bread, the freshness of their ideas, their enthusiasm, their cleverness, their optimism, their smile,” he encouraged.
"Jewish liturgy and Christian liturgy. A better knowledge of the Jewish people's faith and religious life as professed and lived even now can help our better understanding of certain aspects of Christian liturgy. For both Jews and Christians Sacred Scripture is an essential part of their respective liturgies: in the proclamation of the Word of God, the response to this word, prayer of praise and intercession for the living and the dead, invocation of God's mercy. In its characteristic structure the Liturgy of the Word originates in Jewish prayer. The Liturgy of the Hours and other liturgical texts and formularies, as well as those of our most venerable prayers, including the Lord's Prayer, have parallels in Jewish prayer. The Eucharistic Prayers also draw their inspiration from the Jewish tradition. The relationship between Jewish liturgy and Christian liturgy, but also their differences in content, are particularly evident in the great feasts of the liturgical year, such as Passover. Christians and Jews both celebrate the Passover. For Jews, it is the Passover of history, tending toward the future; for Christians, it is the Passover fulfilled in the death and Resurrection of Christ, though always in expectation of its definitive consummation." -Catechism of the Catholic Church #1096
---I did a self-defense course. I wouldn’t recommend anyone to attack me in slow motion now.
---They say you can’t get a decent job without education. But look at Albert Einstein – he was a drop-out and still ended up being the first man on the moon!
-Want to hear a pizza joke…. nah, it’s too cheesy. What about a construction joke? Oh never mind, I’m still working on that one. Did you hear the one about the rope? Skip it.
-I childproofed the house… but they still get in!
-Whenever I find the key to success, someone changes the lock.
-I just let my mind wander, and it didn’t come back.
-A day without smiling is a day wasted.
Q. What’s the worst thing about being lonely?
A. Playing Frisbee.
-After many years of studying at a university, I’ve finally become a PhD… or Pizza Hut Deliveryman as people call it.
From the Mouths of Infants and Babes:
It was the end of the day when I parked my police van in front of the station. As I gathered my equipment, my K-9 partner, Jake, was barking, and I saw a little boy staring in at me. 'Is that a dog you got back there?' he asked.
'It sure is,' I replied.
Puzzled, the boy looked at me and then towards the back of the van. Finally he said, 'What'd he do?'
While working for an organization that delivers lunches to elderly shut-ins, I used to take my 4-year-old daughter on my afternoon rounds. She was unfailingly intrigued by the various appliances of old age, particularly the canes, walkers and wheelchairs. One day I found her staring at a pair of false teeth soaking in a glass. As I braced myself for the inevitable barrage of questions, she merely turned and whispered, 'The tooth fairy will never believe this!'
I Got a Big One
When the Pope visited Colorado he was anxious to get to an important meeting. The limousine assigned to pick him up did so and off they went. The Catholic chauffeur knew it was the "Holy Father" riding in the car and wouldn't consider going faster than 55 mph. However, the Pope, anxious to get to the meeting on time, told the driver to pull over, get in the back seat, and let him drive. The impatient pontiff put the pedal to the metal and quickly reached 85 mph on the Colorado interstate. Almost immediately a state trooper hiding off the side of the road turned on his siren and lights, and gave chase. Catching the speeding car, he ordered the driver to pull over. When he saw the driver, he couldn't believe it and immediately called his captain. He said, "I really got a big one today."
The captain said, "You mean the District Attorney?"
"No, sir, much bigger than that."
"You have a Senator?" came the puzzled reply.
"No, sir, you don't understand. This is the top of the line."
"Who do you have? The President?"
"No, sir, please understand me, this is really big."
"Well, for heaven's sake, who have you pulled over?"
"Well, Captain, I'm not sure, but the Pope is his chauffeur."
Forgive me my sins, O Lord;
forgive me the sins of my youth and the sins of mine age,
the sins of my soul and the sins of my body,
my secret and my whispering sins,
my presumptuous and my crying sins,
the sins that I have done to please myself
and the sins that I have done to please others.
Forgive me those sins that I know
and those sins which I know not;
forgive them, O Lord,
forgive them all of thy great goodness and mercy. Amen.
From Private Devotions (1560)
THE THIRD COMMANDMENT OF GOD
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work. You shall not do any work, either you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your work animal, or the resident alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. -Ex 20:8-11
The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath. Mk 2:27-28
1. Why are we commanded to keep Sunday as the Lord's Day?
The Church commands us to keep Sunday as the Lord's day, because on Sunday, the first day of the week, Christ rose from the dead, and on Sunday the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles. (Saturday night is considered part of the Lord’s Day.)
Jesus rose from the dead "on the first day of the week." Because it is the "first day," the day of Christ's Resurrection recalls the first creation. Because it is the "eighth day" following the sabbath, it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ's Resurrection. For Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord's Day (he kuriake hemera, dies dominica) Sunday. (CCC 2174)
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. (Genesis 2:2)
2. Are the Sabbath day and the Sunday the same?
The Sabbath day and the Sunday are not the same. The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week (Saturday), and is the day which was kept holy in the old law; the Sunday is the first day of the week, and is the day which is kept holy in the new law (because on it, Jesus rose from the dead).
Sunday is expressly distinguished from the sabbath which it follows chronologically every week; for Christians its ceremonial observance replaces that of the sabbath. In Christ's Passover, Sunday fulfills the spiritual truth of the Jewish sabbath and announces man's eternal rest in God. For worship under the Law prepared for the mystery of Christ, and what was done there prefigured some aspects of Christ:
Those who lived according to the old order of things have come to a new hope, no longer keeping the sabbath, but the Lord's Day, in which our life is blessed by him and by his death. –St. Ignatius of Antioch (CCC 2175)
3. What is meant by the Old and New Law?
A. The Old Law means the law or religion given to the Jews; the New Law means the law or religion given to Christians.
4. Why does the Church command us to keep the Sunday holy instead of the Sabbath?
The Church commands us to keep the Sunday holy instead of the Sabbath because on Sunday Christ rose from the dead, and on Sunday He sent the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles.
5. Do we keep Sunday instead of Saturday holy for any other reason?
We keep Sunday instead of Saturday holy also to teach that the Old Law is not now binding upon us, but that we must keep the New Law, which takes its place and fulfills the Old Law.
6. What are we commanded by the third commandment?
By the third commandment we are commanded to worship God in a special manner on Sunday (by the Jewish reckoning, which Catholics follow, Saturday night is considered part of Sunday), the Lord's Day. We are commanded to keep holy the Lord's Day and the holydays of obligation, on which we are to give our time to the service and worship of God.
‘The Sunday Eucharist (Holy Mass) is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin (mortal sin).’ (CCC 2181)
Keep you my sabbath; for it is holy unto you. (Exodus 31:14)
7. What are holy days of obligation?
Holydays of obligation are special feasts of the Church on which we are bound, under pain of mortal sin, to assist at the Mass and to keep from servile or bodily labors when it can be done without great loss or inconvenience. Whoever, on account of their circumstances, cannot give up work on holydays of obligation should make every effort to assist at Mass and if appropriate should also explain in confession the necessity of working on holydays.
8. How are we to worship God on Sunday (or Saturday night) and holy days of obligation?
We are to worship God on Sundays and holydays of obligation by assisting at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, by prayer, and by other good works. (Holy Mass on a Saturday night is considered a Sunday.)
Tradition preserves the memory of an ever-timely exhortation: Come to Church early, approach the Lord, and confess your sins, repent in prayer. . . . Be present at the sacred and divine liturgy, conclude its prayer and do not leave before the dismissal. . . . We have often said: "This day is given to you for prayer and rest. This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." –Sermon on the Lord’s Day from the Early Church
9. How serious is it to deliberately miss the Holy Mass on a Sunday (Saturday night) or holy day of obligation through our own fault?
If committed freely with full consent of the will and with full knowledge of God’s command, to deliberately miss the Holy Mass on a Sunday (Saturday night) or holy day of obligation is a mortal sin, which means through this sin, one’s relationship with God is severed. Sacramental Confession (Reconciliation) would then be the step to confess this sin and restore our relationship with God.
Any deliberately less contact with God than once a week in the Holy Mass causes our relationship with God to die on its own accord from lack of union with God in the intimacy of the Holy Mass. Thus, sickness, care for children or the infirm, work scheduled for us by employers during Sunday Mass, distance from the offering of a Holy Mass, or the equivalent are factors beyond our control and thus are mitigating circumstances which keep this from being a mortal sin in one’s life.
10. What is forbidden by the third commandment of God?
The third Commandment forbids all unnecessary servile work and whatever else may hinder the due observance of the Lord's Day.
On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are to refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed to God, the joy proper to the Lord's Day, the performance of the works of mercy, and the appropriate relaxation of mind and body. (CCC 2185; CIC, can. 1247)
Six days shall you do work; in the seventh day is the sabbath, the rest holy to the Lord. (Exodus 31:15)
Six days you may labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the seasons of plowing and harvesting you must rest. Exodus 34:21
11. What is servile work? Servile work is that which requires labor of body rather than of mind.
12. From what do servile works derive their name?
Servile works derive their name from the fact that such works were formerly done by slaves. Therefore, reading, writing, studying and, in general, all works that slaves did not perform are not considered servile works. God set Israel free from slavery in Egypt, and God has set us free from slavery to sin.
13. When is servile work allowed on Sunday?
Servile work is allowed on Sunday when the honor of God, our own need, or the good of our neighbor requires it.
14. Give some examples of when the honor of God, our own need, or the good of our neighbor may require servile works on Sunday.
The honor of God, our own need, or the good of our neighbor may require servile works on Sunday, in such cases as the preparation of a place for Holy Mass, the saving of property in storms or accidents, the cooking of meals and similar works.
15. Name some of the good works recommended for Sunday.
Some of the good works recommended for Sunday are: The reading of religious books or papers, teaching Catechism, bringing relief to the poor or sick, visiting the Blessed Sacrament, attending Vespers (Evening Prayers offered by Priests or Nuns), Rosary or other devotions in the Church; also attending the meetings of religious sodalities or societies. It is not necessary to spend the whole Sunday in such good works, but we should give some time to them, that for the love of God we may do a little more than what is strictly commanded.
16. Is it forbidden, then, to seek any pleasure or enjoyment on Sunday?
It is not forbidden to seek lawful pleasure or enjoyment on Sunday, especially to those who are occupied during the week, for God did not intend the keeping of the Sunday to be a punishment, but a benefit to us. Therefore, after assisting at Holy Mass we may take such recreation as is necessary or useful for us; but we should avoid any vulgar, noisy or disgraceful amusements that turn the day of rest and prayer into a day of scandal and sin.
Sanctifying Sundays and holy days requires a common effort. Every Christian should avoid making unnecessary demands on others that would hinder them from observing the Lord's Day. Traditional activities (sport, restaurants, etc.), and social necessities (public services, etc.), require some people to work on Sundays, but everyone should still take care to set aside sufficient time for leisure. With temperance and charity the faithful will see to it that they avoid the excesses and violence sometimes associated with popular leisure activities. In spite of economic constraints, public authorities should ensure citizens a time intended for rest and divine worship. Employers have a similar obligation toward their employees. (CCC 2187)
SUNDAY MASS READINGS AND QUESTIONS
for Self-Reflection, Couples or Family Discussion
25th Sunday of Ordinary Time: September 20, 2020
The First Reading - Isaiah 55:6-9
Seek the LORD while he may be found, call him while he is near. Let the scoundrel forsake his way, and the wicked his thoughts; let him turn to the LORD for mercy; to our God, who is generous in forgiving. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.
Sometimes this passage has been used to justify a distorted fideism (an overemphasis on faith that ignores reason and logic). The fideist says: “Why try to understand God and his ways? He’s incomprehensible. We should just accept everything on faith.” It’s true that understanding God poses difficulties, and that ultimately He is beyond what we can grasp with our rational faculties. However, the incomprehensibility of God, ironically, makes sense. We would not expect finite creatures to be able completely to comprehend an infinite, all-powerful, and all-wise being. If God is really who and what we believe Him to be, we would expect there to be a cognitive gap between His reality and our understanding of Him. Recognizing the gap between our understanding and the reality of God, the Church has nonetheless never advocated a dismissal of human reason from the life of faith. It must always be “faith seeking understanding,” and St. John Paul II dedicated his famous encyclical Fides et Ratio precisely to this issue. However, Isaiah 55:6-9 is not primarily making a philosophical argument about the intelligibility of the divine essence or actions. If we examine the context, we see that the discourse concerns God’s mercy toward the undeserving. Our Reading for today follows directly on that striking and beautiful passage in Isa 55:1-5, which promises a future experience in which the poor, hungry, and thirsty will be able to come to a free, divinely-provided banquet which will initiate them into the covenant God had made with David long ago.It is in the context of forgiveness and mercy that our text says, “my thoughts are not your thoughts … my ways are above your ways.”
Adults - What helps you understand more about the Lord?
Teens - Why is it understandable that we would not fully understand God?
Kids - How can you grow in knowledge of God?
Responsorial- Psalm 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18
R.The Lord is near to all who call upon him.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
R. The Lord is near to all who call upon him.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. The Lord is near to all who call upon him.
The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
R. The Lord is near to all who call upon him.
First Reading and the Psalm are to concepts of covenant and covenantal faithfulness. We saw how our First Reading, in context, follows closely upon an offer of a new, gracious, eternal covenant in Isaiah 55:1-3, in which the hesed or “covenantal love” of the Davidic covenant will be extended to all the poor who answer God’s call (Isa 55:3). Covenantal virtues of God are also extoled in Psalm 145, a Psalm that functions as a kind of preparation for the five “halleluiah” (Heb. “Praise” hallelu “the Lord” yah) Psalms with which the Psalter concludes. So, by the time we reach Psalm 145, we are beginning to “wrap up” the book of Psalms by trying to take in the “big picture” of God in relationship to his people, and sum up the message of this entire collection of sacred poems.
How has God been faithful in your life?
The Second Reading- Philippians 1:20C-24, 27A
Brothers and sisters: Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me life is Christ, and death is gain. If I go on living in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. And I do not know which I shall choose. I am caught between the two. I long to depart this life and be with Christ, for that is far better. Yet that I remain in the flesh is more necessary for your benefit. Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ.
Reflection - In a providential pun, St. Paul describes his life of ministry as “fruitful labor,” because he is, in a true sense, a faithful worker in the vineyard of the Lord, even one who has borne the heat of the day, although St. Paul would not be one to complain to receive the same “pay” as every other Christian. In fact, he would rejoice if so many could share in the same “salary” from the Lord. All Paul wants is Christ. To live is Christ, and to depart this life means to be with Christ. So “it’s all good.” He’s not looking forward to some kind of material benefit or carnal pleasure in heaven as a pay-off, a kind of eternal free ticket to the heavenly Disney World because he “put his time in the trenches.” No, Paul just wants communion with Christ. That is quite a contrast to the Gospel parable, where the workers don’t want a relationship with the vineyard owner, they want more pay.
-Focus this week on putting the Lord first and letting all of your actions flow from that relationship.
The Holy Gospel according to Matthew 20:1-16A
Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. Going out about nine o’clock, the landowner saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.’ So they went off. And he went out again around noon, and around three o’clock, and did likewise. Going out about five o’clock, the landowner found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’ When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’ When those who had started about five o’clock came, each received the usual daily wage. So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’ He said to one of them in reply, ‘My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?’ Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
Reflection The vineyard in this parable can be identified as “Israel,” based on Old Testament texts (Isa 5:1-7). Jesus’ choice of twelve apostles makes clear that in his ministry he is establishing a New Israel, a new community of God’s people. This community will consist as one people made up of both Jews and Gentiles (Matt 28:19; Eph 2:11-16). This new community is the manifestation on earth of the Kingdom of God, and it is also the “vineyard” of this parable. It comes to be called the ekklesia, the “gathering,” the Church. The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard comes immediately after Peter’s request to know what the reward for the apostles will be (Matt 19:27). Thus, it can be interpreted as a warning against thinking of the Kingdom of Heaven in terms of personal reward: “What’s in it for me?” In the first sense, then, the vineyard is God’s Kingdom on earth, in our own age manifested as the Church. The workers in the vineyard are those the Lord calls to assist him in his labors: the apostles first, but in later generations their successors and others who work to “cultivate” and care for God’s Kingdom. A secondary application can be made to all Christians, for we are all called to care for and cultivate the Kingdom manifest as the Church, even if the only member of that body we ever are able to “help” or “cultivate” is our own self. The message of the parable then is clear: all who are called to work with the Lord to care for his Kingdom will receive the same reward: the “denarius” (“usual wage” in our Mass translation). The Fathers generally held that this “denarius” represents eternal life, the basic “pay” of all who heed the Master’s call to come into his vineyard. All workers will receive this reward equally.
Adults - Do you operate with a “what’s in it for me?” mindset? How can you work against this?
Teens - Are there things in your life causing you bitterness? Take them to the Lord in prayer.
Kids - What does it mean that God loves us all equally?
LIVING THE WORD OF GOD THIS WEEK! - Looking back on our past life, how many years have we really given to God since we came to the use of reason? Those school years, the time spent learning a trade or profession, the weeks, months, years working in an office or factory or farm, the hours among the pots and pans in the kitchen — have we earned some credit in heaven for all of this, or is it all crossed off our pay sheet through lack of right intention or through sin? If so, those years are lost to us. We were "idle" all that time. Today's parable, however, should give us new hope and courage. It may be the sixth or the ninth or even the eleventh hour of our life but we can still earn heaven if we listen to God's call and set to work diligently in His vineyard. If we put our conscience right with God today and resolve to be loyal to Him from now on He will be as generous to us, as the parable promises. -Excerpted from The Sunday Readings by Fr. Kevin O'Sullivan, O.F.M.
568. What is one example as an expression of the life of prayer? b) meditation
Christian tradition has preserved three forms for expressing and living prayer: vocal prayer, meditation, and contemplative prayer. The feature common to all of them is the recollection of the heart.
EXPRESSIONS OF PRAYER
569. How can vocal prayer be described? d) all of the above
Vocal prayer associates the body with the interior prayer of the heart. Even the most interior prayer, however, cannot dispense with vocal prayer. In any case it must always spring from a personal faith. With the Our Father Jesus has taught us a perfect form of vocal prayer.
570. What is meditation? c) that which engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire
Meditation is a prayerful reflection that begins above all in the Word of God in the Bible. Meditation engages thought, imagination, emotion and desire in order to deepen our faith, convert our heart and fortify our will to follow Christ. It is a first step toward the union of love with our Lord.
571. What is contemplative prayer? a) simple gaze upon God in silence and love
Contemplative prayer is a simple gaze upon God in silence and love. It is a gift of God, a moment of pure faith during which the one praying seeks Christ, surrenders himself to the loving will of the Father, and places his being under the action of the Holy Spirit. Saint Teresa of Avila defines contemplative prayer as the intimate sharing of friendship, “in which time is frequently taken to be alone with God who we know loves us.”