- Ovulation Method: Achieving or Postponing Pregnancy the Natural Way (Catholic Website of the Week)
- Bishop Brothers: Stephen and Gregory Parkes (Diocesan News and BEYOND)
- Tips for Driving in the Fall (Helpful Hints for Life)
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum –INRI–Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews
"Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read,
"Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews. …and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek."
"What I have written, I have written," the words of Pontius Pilate to the chief priests who did not want to have Jesus called, "The King of the Jews." (John 19:22) Four little letters that represent so much.
From one perspective, INRI is the charge for which Jesus was killed as was the custom with crucifixion to place the charge above the criminal. From another perspective, it was Pilate's way of having his say after he was somewhat forced to give Jesus over to be crucified. A charge and declaration given for a King who saved and led his people not by an army and the sword, but by the Cross and forgiveness.
On most of our tombstones there will be the year we were born – the year we died (i.e. 1930 – 2016). They say the difference is what that "-" (dash) stands for. If we are accused and charged in this life, let us make sure that it is for doing the right things, and let us remember that the initials on our crucifixes in our homes and churches remind us of the King who first did it for us!
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. Look under Catholic Term for more information regarding "INRI."
P.S.S. This coming Sunday is Twenty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time. >> Reading
a) to help us recall Christ
b) to teach us how to pray
c) to make prayer what prayer is inside the Church
d) all of the above
562. How is Christian prayer Marian? (CCC 2673-2679, 2682)
a) it cooperates with the Holy Spirit
b) Mary is the only way to Jesus
c) Christian Prayer is not Marian
d) none of the above
563. How does the Church pray to Mary? (CCC 2676-2678, 2682)
a) with the Hail Mary, because God Himself used these words through the Archangel Gabriel
b) we know that she prays for us as she prays
c) when asking her help, we are adhering with her to the plan of the Father
d) all of the above
GUIDES FOR PRAYER
564. How are the saints, guides for prayer? (CCC 2683-2684, 2692-2693)
a) they showed us you can do it yourself
b) they showed you have to be highly educated
c) they are our models of prayer
d) they did something no one else ever did
Tips for Driving in the Fall
- Never forget the Most Dangerous Ten Minutes on the road! According to Dr. Bill Tassel, manager of Driver Training for Triple-A, those are the first ten minutes of an autumn rain storm. That’s because the new rain mixes with all the oil, antifreeze and transmission gunk that’s built up over the summer, making the road super slick beneath your tires. So if you’re on the road when rain starts, reduce your speed about 40% – so you can keep 100% control of your car.
- Watch out for fallen leaves. This applies to both wet AND dry leaves, because they both have the same effect as rain. Drive fast through a pile of leaves, and you’ll end up swerving into a ditch!
- It’s also a good idea to run your defroster more in the fall because as it gets colder outside, your body heat in a car is enough to fog up all the windows. So you’ll be safer if you eliminate the windshield mist BEFORE you start moving. NOT as you’re speeding down the highway!
- If it’s foggy OUTSIDE the car, Give yourself more stopping time on the road. A normal rule of thumb is to drive three or four car lengths behind the car in front of you. In foggy weather, plan on at least six car lengths. That will give you extra time to stop, in case you need to suddenly slam on the brakes!
- Give your eyes time to adjust. Over the next few weeks, our days will SHRINK an hour and a half in North America. Once Daylight Saving Time ends on November 3rd, chances are you’ll be driving home from work IN THE DARK. So take an extra two to five minutes in the car, to let your eyes adapt, BEFORE you start driving.
"The Epiphany is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, Son of God and Savior of the world. The great feast of Epiphany celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the wise men (magi) from the East, together with his baptism in the Jordan and the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee. In the magi, representatives of the neighboring pagan religions, the Gospel sees the first-fruits of the nations, who welcome the good news of salvation through the Incarnation. The magi's coming to Jerusalem in order to pay homage to the king of the Jews shows that they seek in Israel, in the messianic light of the star of David, the one who will be king of the nations. Their coming means that pagans can discover Jesus and worship him as Son of God and Savior of the world only by turning towards the Jews and receiving from them the messianic promise as contained in the Old Testament. The Epiphany shows that "the full number of the nations" now takes its "place in the family of the patriarchs", and acquires Israelitica dignitas (is made "worthy of the heritage of Israel")."
Catechism of the Catholic Church #528
Achieving or Postponing Pregnancy Naturally
Did you know that a woman is capable of becoming pregnant for only a brief time each month? However this window of fertility varies from woman to woman and even from cycle to cycle?
The Ovulation Method helps you find your window of fertility, greatly increasing your chance to achieve pregnancy sooner or allowing you to postpone a pregnancy with a 99% method effectiveness.
The Ovulation Method does this all naturally without drugs or devices and is absolutely free.
Watch the video, The Ovulation Method, Science at the Service of Family, use the Resources tab above to continue your education in this "best kept secret."
Reach Out To Those Who Are Struggling or Have Fallen Away
“You did not strengthen the weak nor heal the sick nor bind up the injured. You did not bring back the stray or seek the lost -Ezekiel 34:4
If you know someone who is struggling with the news from the Church or if you have not seen someone in church for awhile, please reach out to them and make sure they know that they are valued and listened to. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers to their questions, but do let them know that you will help them seek the answers they need. Even be willing to walk with them in the action they feel called to if you are able to, and it is right to do so. (With the pandemic, a good place to start is praying for them.)
The Lord sent out His disciples two by two. We need to be concerned with our family and parishioners who stop coming to church for one reason or another. In time of crisis, we need to make sure we all stay strong, so if we can be strong for someone now and care, they may be able to do so for another at another time even ourselves.
First pray, pray for by name people who have fallen away. Entrust them to Jesus through Mary, loved by St. Joseph. Call, send a note, ask someone close to them to find out what happened or what one is going through let them know you miss them. Affirm or encourage people that may not come that often.
You can look into programs that might help, and with your Parish Priest's permission, you might see if they can help in your parish:
Landings International – Paulist Fathers
Landings helps Catholics who have been away from the Church make a smooth landing as they return to the Faith and parish life.
Catholics Come Home | Welcome Home
Our apostolate is dedicated to helping people home to the Catholic Church. If you have a general question, please start by visiting our Q&A section.If your question isn't answered there, we also recommend visiting Catholic Answers.
Bishop brothers; Stephen and Gregory Parkes to become 1 of 11 sibling-bishops in U.S Catholic history
By Haley Hinds
Published 6 days ago
FOX 13 News
Bishop brothersHaley Hinds reports.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - First, they were the Parkes brothers. Then, the Parkes fathers. Soon, they'll become the Parkes bishops.
You may be familiar with Bishop Gregory Parkes, who leads the Diocese of St. Petersburg and the 500,000 Catholics who are a part of it. But you may not know that his brother is also a priest.
On September 23, Bishop-Elect Stephen Parkes will be ordained in the Diocese of Savannah. It's a rare and unique bond these brothers share. They'll be one of only 11 pairs of sibling-bishops in the history of the Catholic Church in the United States.
"We grew up in a household that was a faith-filled home," Bishop Gregory Parkes said. "We've been there for each other as priests and we'll be there for each other now as bishops."
"God chose us to be priests and to be together in that, which is a huge blessing," Bishop-Elect Stephen Parkes said.
But the call to priesthood lingered for both. Bishop-Elect Stephen was ordained in 1998. Bishop Gregory followed in 1999.
"The family is so important when it comes to nurturing vocations that, really, they are born from a family," Bishop-Elect Stephen Parkes said. "We don't fall out of the sky at 33 years old, wearing flowing robes. We are not hatched; we come from families."
The brothers tried to meet for lunch once a week, usually halfway in Lakeland. But on July 2, after a 31-mile bike ride, then-Father Stephen Parkes got a life-changing phone call from the Vatican nuncio to the U.S.
"Certainly, I was not expecting it," Bishop-Elect Stephen Parkes said.
He was told that Pope Francis selected him as the next bishop of Savannah.
Bishop Gregory Parkes said, "It was a great joy to get that news. The archbishop from Washington who called my brother to tell him that he had been appointed a bishop called me shortly after that to give me the news. He said, since you're his brother, you need to know as well."
"The last two popes have asked me about my height," Bishop Gregory Parkes said. "My younger brother Stephen is actually the short one in the family. I'm six-[foot]-eight. He's about six-[foot]-four. And, we had an older brother who was also six-[foot]-eight."
While, yes, they did play basketball in their younger days, "I think God had other plans for the Parkes brothers," Bishop-Elect Stephen Parkes joked at his first press conference in Savannah.
"Taking the time to get to know those you are called to serve, both the priests as well as the people, make sure that they know that you love them and you are there to serve them and be with them," Bishop Gregory Parkes said.
"No, 2020 has not been a very easy year," agreed Bishop-Elect Stephen Parkes. "But when it comes to the gift of our faith, I think we have to say that we are not alone. We have one another and the lord is with us. So we have to be able to believe in that and preach that message."
In 1996, I was diagnosed with “angioid stripes,” a disease affecting my vision. By 2000, I had only a small amount of central vision remaining in one eye. No longer could I jump in the car, read a book or look to the rear of our church and recognize my parishioners.
The call went out for help. To date, I have had nearly 300 drivers who have driven me everywhere from a quick hop to the grocery store to destinations hours away from Victoria. What a wonderful way to get to know people, and, I think, I offer wives of newly retired husbands a great respite!
There are 60 people on the “drop-off dinner” list and I can’t count the number of invitations to parishioners’ homes. Since my culinary skills were always in question, this is nothing short of fabulous.
Countless people read for me, tape-record books and materials, and a faithful volunteer puts everything in large type that I need for my liturgies. Along with a great staff and adaptive equipment, I’m able to do all that is expected of a priest with a growing parish — one that has nearly tripled in size since 1996, and during that time, we built a new church.
And, lest I forget, there’s my faithful dog, Miss Betsy White. No, she’s not a seeing eye dog, but she is a dog that sees a need to be a loving and faithful companion.
Sure, there are days I would like to jump in the car or pick up a book, but then I stop and think of all my blessings and thank God.
Father Bob White is pastor of St. Victoria in Victori
Denver, Colo., Sep 5, 2018 / 07:00 pm (CNA).- One week after thousands of Catholic laywomen signed a letter asking Pope Francis to respond to their questions about the Church’s sexual abuse crisis, a group of Catholic laymen have penned their own letter to the pope and American bishops, calling for an investigation into the Church’s role in preventing sexual abuse.
The letter is hosted on the website “Catholic Men United for Christ,” but it is not sponsored by any group or organization. The signatories of the letter pledge to do some form of fasting on each Friday starting Sept. 7, and continuing through 2018.
Signatories include popular Catholic author Scott Hahn, radio host Al Kresta, along with other notable Catholic leaders.
“Holy Father, we come to you for answers. You personally have been faced with allegations. These allegations have been leveled by a high-ranking church official, Archbishop Viganò. Further, many bishops in the United States have publicly stated that they believe these allegations should be investigated. We implore you to address them,” reads the letter.
“Moreover, regardless of the veracity of Archbishop Viganò’s allegations, our concerns about corruption remain.”
“Your Holiness, Your Eminences, and Your Excellencies: Amidst widespread global abuse, coverups, and hierarchical failure, what are you doing and what will you do to protect the people of God? We urge you to answer this simple question because the cost of the episcopal corruption is catastrophic.”
The letter requests that an investigation into Church hierarchy be carried out by “faithful lay men and women.”
The signatories “reiterate and support” last week’s letter from Catholic lay women, signatory Mark DeYoung told CNA, "but even more so, we're looking at the bigger picture at what has happened in various countries [...] in just saying that there is certainly established fact there is a problem with abuse."
Letter to Pope Francis from Catholic Women (you can sign if you feel so called there)
DeYoung, a theology graduate student, said that fathers have expressed concern about potentially sending their sons to seminary, and have even said that they "will not have their kids involved in the liturgy as altar servers” out of fear of sexual abuse.
This could result in "potentially the death of vocations and young people being active in the Church,” said DeYoung. He also said it was “heartbreaking” to read testimony from some of the Pennsylvania abuse victims who said that their abuse caused them to lose their religious faith entirely.
“We’re really fighting for these people, (and) we're also saying that as Catholic men that we're going to take responsibility for our own lives as well,” noting that not every Catholic man is faithful or properly follows Church teaching.
DeYoung told CNA that the letter came from the fact that many Catholic men are “angry, heartbroken, and really shocked at the state of the Church at the moment,” in terms of the abuse of minors as well as “the clergy members who are disobeying their vows and living and against the call to chastity and purity.”
In addition to the investigation into abuse and misconduct, DeYoung says that the signatories are also looking to the bishops for spiritual leadership during this chaotic time.
"We are men who love the Church, we love our bishops, we support our Holy Father, and we want to see the truth come out here," he said.
At press time, the letter had been signed by over 3,000 people. (8,000 as of Saturday evening)
IF YOU FEEL CALLED TO SIGN THIS LETTER, YOU CAN AT, AS WELL AS SEE ALL WHO HAVE SIGNED IT:
A group of Catholic Men throughout the country have worked to put together a letter to Pope Francis and the Bishops of the United States.
After the pope’s statement about forgiving abortion, some media reports have made it sound like the Catholic Church doesn’t forgive abortion. People are asking, “Why can abortion only be forgiven during the Year of Mercy?”
Here’s a few facts to help clear up the confusion:
1. Abortion can always be forgiven in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In fact, the Church makes every effort to encourage people involved in it to find healing and forgiveness. A wonderful example is Project Rachel. It is not the case that abortions will only be forgiven in the Year of Mercy. They can and are forgiven at any time when a person repents and confesses.
2. Abortion is a sin. Because it is a grave matter and the Church hopes to discourage people from them, canon law says that procuring an abortion also incurs the penalty of automatic excommunication.
3. Forgiving the sin is one thing, and remitting the penalty of excommunication is another. Usually the penalty can only be remitted by the bishop. However, in the United States the bishops have given to all priests the faculty to not only forgive the sin when it is confessed in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but also to remit the penalty. This is to encourage people to have easier access to forgiveness and healing.
4. Bishops in other countries, however, may have decided to handle it differently. So in brief, the pope is saying that any priest all over the world will be able not only to forgive the sin in confession but also to remit the penalty. While the pope didn’t mention the penalty in his statement, presumably that’s what he meant. Most likely an official text will be issued to clarify the canonical aspects.
Pope Francis said:
For this reason too, I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it. May priests fulfill this great task by expressing words of genuine welcome combined with a reflection that explains the gravity of the sin committed, besides indicating a path of authentic conversion by which to obtain the true and generous forgiveness of the Father who renews all with his presence.
5. Also, the automatic penalty of excommunication for abortion doesn’t apply if:
a) the person did not know about it (that would probably exclude about 99% of all Catholic women who have had abortions from incurring the penalty)
b) the person was under the age of 17
c) the person acted out of force or fear
d) the person had an imperfect use of reason
(See this for more info on canonical penalties)
Bottom line: when you see headlines about what the pope said, realize that the journalist writing the story probably knows very little about the Catholic faith and is not getting it right. The best thing is to go directly to the source (Vatican website) and read what the pope actually said.
Finally, God is so merciful. Jesus said, “No one who comes to me will I ever reject.” (Jn 6) His heart is overflowing with love and mercy, that heart pierced on the cross from which blood and water flowed out, the source of sacramental life in the Church.
Sr. Marianne Lorraine Trouvé, FSP is a Daughter of St. Paul who currently works on the editorial staff of Pauline Books and Media. She has a master’s degree in theology from the University of Dayton, with a concentration in Marian studies (The Marian Research Institute at UD). She has also edited several books on Theology of the Body, including the new translation of Pope John Paul’s talks that was done by Michael Waldstein. She is also very interested in Saint Thomas Aquinas and has been working her way through the Summa for several years now, one article at a time. Besides prayer and work, she likes to write, garden, do logic puzzles and take walks with friends. She blogs at Thomas for Today.
Catechism of the Catholic Church #1235
Some Thoughts: ---In a shoe shop: These shoes might be tight for the next two weeks. : Don’t worry. I’ll start wearing them on the third week.
--- At an interview: “In the beginning, you’ll be earning 20 000, later on it can go up to 40 000.” “OK, I’ll come again later then.”
--- I made a beginner’s mistake and went shopping on an empty stomach. I am now the happy owner of aisle 7.
A woman was taking an afternoon nap. When she woke up, she told her husband, "I just dreamed that you gave me a pearl necklace. What do you think it means?" "You'll know tonight," he said. That evening, the man came home with a small package and gave it to his wife. Delighted, she opened it to find a book entitled "The Meaning of Dreams."
Forest Gump and St. Peter
When Forest Gump died, he stood in front of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter said, "Welcome, Forest. We've heard a lot about you." He continued, "Unfortunately, it's getting pretty crowded up here and we find that we now have to give people an entrance examination before we let them in.""Okay," said Forest. "I hope it's not too hard. I've already been through a test. My momma used to say, 'Life is like a final exam. It's hard.' "
"Yes, Forest, I know. But this test is only three questions. Here they are."
1) Which two days of the week begin with the letter 'T'?"
2) How many seconds are in a year?
3) What is God's first name?
"Well, sir," said Forest, "The first one is easy. Which two days of the week begin with the letter 'T'? Today and Tomorrow."
St. Peter looked surprised and said, "Well, that wasn't the answer I was looking for, but you have a point. I give you credit for that answer."
"The next question," said Forest, "How many seconds are in a year? Twelve."
"Twelve?" said St. Peter, surprised and confused.
"Yes, sir. January 2nd, February 2nd, March 2nd …"
St. Peter interrupted him. "I see what you mean. I'll have to give you credit for that one, too."
"And the last question," said Forest, "What is God's first name? It's Andy."
"Andy?" said St. Peter, in shock. "How did you come up with 'Andy'?"
"I learned it in church. We used to sing about it." Forest broke into song, "Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me, Andy tells me I am His own."
St. Peter opened the gate to heaven and said, "Run, Forest, Run!"
Kids in Church
One Sunday in a Midwest City, a young child was "acting up" during the morning worship hour. The parents did their best to maintain some sense of order in the pew, but, were losing the battle. Finally, the father picked the little fellow up and walked sternly up the aisle on his way out. Just before reaching the safety of the foyer, the little one called loudly to the congregation, "Pray for me! Pray for me!"
The preacher was holding a microphone attached to a cord, and as he preached, he moved briskly about the platform, jerking the mike cord as he went. Then he moved to one side, getting wound up in the cord and nearly tripping before jerking it again. After several circles and jerks, a little girl in the third pew leaned toward her mother and whispered, "If he gets loose, will he hurt us?"
The Best Way To Pray
A priest, a minister and a guru sat discussing the best positions for prayer, while a telephone repairman worked nearby.
"Kneeling is definitely the best way to pray," the priest said.
"No," said the minister. "I get the best results standing with my hands outstretched to Heaven."
"You're both wrong," the guru said. "The most effective prayer position is lying down on the floor."
The repairman could contain himself no longer. "Hey, fellas," he interrupted. "The best prayin' I ever did was when I was hangin' upside down from a telephone pole."
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, shower plentifully blessings on Your holy Church, on the Supreme Pontiff, and on all the clergy; grant perseverance to the just, convert sinners, enlighten the unfaithful, bless our parents, friends, and benefactors, assist the dying, liberate the souls of purgatory, and extend over all hearts the sweet empire of Your love. Amen.
[This is a weekly electronic newsletter from Father Robert. This will be sent out weekly. Please recommend this to individuals you think might be interested. Any suggestions or comments are welcomed, or if you wish to no longer receive this please e-mail: Roman.Catholic.Good.News@gmail.com]
"Finally, the People of God shares in the royal office of Christ. He exercises his kingship by drawing all men to himself through his death and Resurrection. Christ, King and Lord of the universe, made himself the servant of all, for he came "not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." For the Christian, "to reign is to serve him," particularly when serving "the poor and the suffering, in whom the Church recognizes the image of her poor and suffering founder." The People of God fulfills its royal dignity by a life in keeping with its vocation to serve with Christ.
The sign of the cross makes kings of all those reborn in Christ and the anointing of the Holy Spirit consecrates them as priests, so that, apart from the particular service of our ministry, all spiritual and rational Christians are recognized as members of this royal race and sharers in Christ's priestly office. What, indeed, is as royal for a soul as to govern the body in obedience to God? And what is as priestly as to dedicate a pure conscience to the Lord and to offer the spotless offerings of devotion on the altar of the heart?"
-Catechism of the Catholic Church #786
SUNDAY MASS READINGS AND QUESTIONS
for Self-Reflection, Couples or Family Discussion
23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time: September 6, 2020
The First Reading - Ezekiel 33:7-9
Thus says the LORD: You, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel; when you hear me say anything, you shall warn them for me. If I tell the wicked, “O wicked one, you shall surely die, ” and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked from his way, the wicked shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death. But if you warn the wicked, trying to turn him from his way, and he refuses to turn from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but you shall save yourself.
Now Ezekiel was a prophet and a priest, entrusted by virtue of his office with teaching the People of God the ways of the Lord and the distinction between virtue and vice, holiness and sin. The moral sense of this Reading applies in the first place to those who are in an analogous situation to Ezekiel in the Church, namely, the members of the hierarchy: pope, bishops, priests. One of the roles of the hierarchy is to warn the Church and the world of wickedness that leads to our death. Mortal sin would certainly fit that category. All Christians, however, are called to help others lead lives of holiness in love.
Adults - How do you help those you love grow closer to Christ?
Teens - What challenges do you face when living, and encouraging others to live, the Christian life? How do you or can you deal with those challenges?
Kids - How do our bishops and priest help and encourage us to live holy lives?
Responsorial- Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
R.If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works.”
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
So the Psalm calls us to humility. Others have their pet sins; we, too, often have ours. When others confront us with our sin, let us not have a hard heart like Israel did in the wilderness. That would lead us to “forty years of wandering” in a spiritual desert. Are you open to fraternal correction in love from those who love you?
The Second Reading- Romans 13:8-10
Brothers and sisters: Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet, ” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.
Reflection - There are two implications of this passage in light of the Ezekiel passage. First, we need to remember that sin is a lack of love. Society has completely lost sight of this fact. Love is now confused with “niceness,” with complying with whatever a person wants. The Catechism is quite clear on this, and in its treatment of offenses against the Ten Commandments, it explains why different sins are actually a failure of love. -How is sin a lack of love?
The Holy Gospel according to Matthew 18:15-20
Jesus said to his disciples: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again, amen, 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. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
Reflection Jesus’ words are primarily addressed to the “disciples” (v. 1), which the Church has understood to mean the Twelve, who are the proto-hierarchy of the Church. The guidelines in this passage are intended to inform their juridical and sacramental role, as those who will establish and enforce halakhah (the Jewish term for authoritative interpretation of the law) for the new covenant community, and will dispense the forgiveness of sin (see John 20:22-23). When confronting sin within the Church, the watchwords are private and personal. One begins by going to the person in private, and making a personal appeal. The goal is reconciliation, not condemnation.
Adults - How can you preach the Gospel in love instead of judgement? What steps can you make to have reconciliation as a goal, instead of condemnation?
Teens - Is reconciliation with each other and the Lord your goal when resolving conflict?
Kids - What are some ways you can resolve arguments with love instead of anger?
LIVING THE WORD OF GOD THIS WEEK! - Unfortunately, there are far too many Christians today who pay no heed to the serious obligation of encouraging an erring brother to give up his sinful ways. They shrug it off by saying : "I have more than enough to do to keep myself from sin" or "am I my brother's keeper"? We are our brothers' keepers, and even if we have many temptations and inclinations to sin we shall not overcome them if we have no time to think of our neighbors' need. There are, alas, millions of lapsed or luke-warm Christians who could and would have been active members of Christ's mystical body if their neighbors had fulfilled this grave obligation which Christ has imposed on us all. Would the Reformation, which has caused whole countries of the western world to lose almost all faith in Christ and indeed in God, have had such disastrous effects, if those who remained within the Church had put this law of fraternal charity into practice?
Let us see our present-day obligations and what we are doing to help our neighbors retain their Christian faith and practice. It is in the home that the religion of the next generation is firmly established or lost. When parents are loyal to their faith in their daily lives, their children will, as a rule, be loyal to it too. Parents! the first neighbors and fellow Christians whom you must kindly and charitably correct are your own children. Their future salvation and your own too will depend on how well you fulfill this obligation. Parents who are obedient to Christ in this will find time and many opportunities to have a charitable word of help for an erring neighbor outside their household. Let each one of us look into his past conduct in relation to this law of charity. Have we really tried to help our fellowmen on the road to heaven? Have we given them the good example of a truly Christian way of living? Have we offered advice and encouragement when it was needed, and correction in private where that was possible? If so "we have gained our brother." We have brought a prodigal son back to a loving Father and that loving Father will repay us a hundred-fold in this life and especially in the next. -Excerpted from The Sunday Readings by Fr. Kevin O'Sullivan, O.F.M.
CATHOLIC QUESTIONS AND CATHOLIC ANSWERS
561. What is the role of the Holy Spirit in prayer? d) all of the above
Since the Holy Spirit is the interior Master of Christian prayer and “we do not know how to pray as we ought” (Romans 8:26), the Church exhorts us to invoke him and implore him on every occasion: “Come, Holy Spirit!”
562. How is Christian prayer Marian? a) it cooperates with the Holy Spirit
Because of her singular cooperation with the action of the Holy Spirit, the Church loves to pray to Mary and with Mary, the perfect ‘pray-er’, and to “magnify” and invoke the Lord with her. Mary in effect shows us the “Way” who is her Son, the one and only Mediator.
563. How does the Church pray to Mary? d) all of the above
Above all with the Hail Mary, the prayer with which the Church asks the intercession of the Virgin. Other Marian prayers are the Rosary, the Akathistos hymn, the Paraclesis, and the hymns and canticles of diverse Christian traditions.
GUIDES FOR PRAYER
564. How are the saints, guides for prayer? c) they are our models of prayer
The saints are our models of prayer. We also ask them to intercede before the Holy Trinity for us and for the whole world. Their intercession is their most exalted service to God’s plan. In the communion of saints, throughout the history of the Church, there have developed different types of spiritualities that teach us how to live and to practice the way of prayer.