-Rituals and Explanations for Catholic Families, Especially Children (Catholic Website of the Week)
- Simple Prayers That Can Be Prayed Throughout the Day (Helpful Hints for Life)
-FIRST COMMANDMENT - QandA on First Commandment at end of e-mail
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
Our Lady of Lourdes
"A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars."
On February 11, 1858, 14-year-old Bernadette was gathering firewood for her mother when she was drawn by a noise to the Grotto of Massabielle, a small cave-like structure. There she saw a beautiful young woman holding a rosary. Bernadette prayed the rosary after which the woman smiled and disappeared.
After 17 more appearances over the next five months, Bernadette learned that the woman was the Blessed Virgin Mary and that she desired to have processions and a chapel built for the benefit of many. When she asked her name by the request of the local clergy for some proof of the authenticity of the message, the woman said, "I am the Immaculate Conception." A name total unknown to Bernadette, but one that had been declare of Blessed Mary, four years early by Pope Pius IX in Rome, Italy.
During one of the apparitions, Our Lady asked Bernadette to drink water from a nearby stream. Unable to see it, Bernadette scratched at the ground and water immediately started flowing. She also put some on her face which was mud at first, and she was first thought crazy by those that gathered, but to this day, thousands, come to this stream daily, with many cures being reported.
On the second apparition of Feb. 18, 1858, Our Lady said to Bernadette, "I do not promise to make you happy in this life but in the next." Indeed, she had a sad life with many trials, but trusting the beautiful Lady and God who sent her, St. Bernadette is not only with them now and assisting us from heaven, but she has also brought the world the miraculous healing waters of Lourdes as well as devotion to Her who gives us Jesus!
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. Look under Catholic Websites of the Week for more information on Our Lady of Lourdes and Bernadette.
P.S.S. This coming Sunday is 24th Sunday of Ordinary Times. >>> Readings
(Latin de- "to" + votum "vow, promise" = devovere "to vow, to promise"; devotus "vowed")
- the disposition of will to do promptly what concerns the worship and service of God
[Although devotion is primarily a disposition or attitude of the will, acts of the will that proceed from such disposition are also expressions of devotion. Essential to devotion is readiness to do whatever gives honor to God, whether in public or private prayer (worship) or in doing the will of God (service). A person who is thus disposed is said to be devoted. His devotedness is ultimately rooted in a great love for God, which in spiritual theology is often called devotion.]
(from Italian grotta, grotto; Latin crypta "cavern, crypt")
- a small cave or cavern often associate with miraculous appearances
[Appearances such as at Lourdes, France, and at Manresa, Spain.]
(Latin per "through" + agr-, ager "land" = "through the land"; peregrinus "foreign, abroad")
- a journey to a sacred place for love of God or someone He has given us
[Its purpose may be simply to venerate a certain saint or ask some spiritual favor; beg for a physical cure or perform an act of penance; express thanks or fulfill a promise. From the earliest days pilgrimages were made to the Holy Land, and later on to Rome, where Peter and Paul and so many Christians were martyred. From the eighth century the practice began of imposing a pilgrimage in place of public penance. As a result, during the Middle Ages pilgrimages were organized on a grand scale and became the object of special Church legislation. In modern times, besides Rome and the Holy Land, famous shrines such as Lourdes, Fátima, and Guadalupe draw thousands of pilgrims each year from the Catholic world.]
Simple Prayers That Can Help You Through the Day
An Act of Faith-O my God I believe all You have said because You are the infallible truth.
An Act of Hope - O my God I hope for all You have promised because You are faithful.
An Act of Love - O my God I love You above all things because You are good.
Following the divinely inspired teaching of our holy Fathers and the tradition of the Catholic Church (for we know that this tradition comes from the Holy Spirit who dwells in her) we rightly define with full certainty and correctness that, like the figure of the precious and life-giving cross, venerable and holy images of our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ, our inviolate Lady, the holy Mother of God, and the venerated angels, all the saints and the just, whether painted or made of mosaic or another suitable material, are to be exhibited in the holy churches of God, on sacred vessels and vestments, walls and panels, in houses and on streets."
-Catechism of the Catholic Church #1161
Elmira, NY, Sep 14, 2019 / 04:25 am (CNA).- For nearly 15 years, a Catholic charity in south-central New York has sold ceramic bowls to raise both money for a local food pantry and awareness about the problem of homelessness in the region.Catholic Charities of Chemung and Schuyler Counties is preparing for its 14th annual Empty Bowls Luncheon on Oct. 15, where donors will eat soup and hear the stories of homelessness.
Lindsay Baker, director of development for Catholic Charities in the area told CNA that the project informs people on poverty statistics and provides them with a souvenir bowl as a reminder of all the “empty bowls in the community.”
The project is a major event for the region. Local artists, including high-schoolers and students and faculty from nearby Elmira College, handcraft commemorative bowls for the luncheon.
“[We have partnered] with our local potters. They create commemorative bowls for each participant to take home with them. It’s meant to be a reminder of hunger in the community,” Baker said.
Most of the bowls are made by professional artisans, like Gene Carr, a local artist who helps each year with the pottery. Bowls are also made by two Elmira professors - Doug Holtgrewe, a former teacher of ceramic, and Chris Longwell, a professor of art. So far, they have made more than 200 bowls for the event.
Participants choose a custom-created bowl when they enter the luncheon, and are served soup from a local deli. Baker said last year the soup was chicken noodle and pumpkin squash.
“The idea is that you are satisfied but you are not stuffed. It’s a hunger awareness event so you may not leave extremely full, but people leaving the soup kitchen don’t always leave full too,” she told CNA.
During the event, those who have been homeless, or whose family members have been homeless, tell their stories.
“Last year, we had a woman share her story. Her son had been in a homeless shelter and he’s a heroin addict. She talked about the struggle she went through and how Catholic Charities met him where he is at and how is on a much better path,” Baker said.
She said the testimonies are a cause for personal reflection, but they’re also fun.
During lunch this year, Baker will read three testimonies from community members who have struggled with poverty. After the three people gather on stage, the crowd will guess which story belongs to whom.
She said the testimonies emphasize the work of Catholic Charities and the success of people who have overcome homelessness. She said stories help contextualize the reality of poverty because the testimonies are from ordinary people in the local community.
“I think this is one of the few events that highlight that it can happen to anybody. We have community members, we have volunteers, we have donors who will share their story. It’s not just somebody else’s problem. It’s actual human beings you can see.”
Proceeds will go to the Samaritan Center, an emergency shelter and a food pantry for homeless families and individuals. According to Catholic Charities, $40, the cost of a single ticket, will allow the organization to feed a family for a week, and $320, the cost for a table of eight, will cover the cost to temporarily shelter 15 people.
Baker said the event is a force for good in the region. She said the project is not only a fundraiser for the Samaritan Center, but it also promotes mental healthcare and awakens people to a reality which is often neglected.
“I think people are kind of numb to the reality of what life is like for some people,” she said. “[This event], in a nice way, slaps them in the face and tells them what life is like. People really leave moved. They have a better appreciation for what is going on behind the scenes.”
Sister Crucita has been a member of the Josephine Sisters in Mexico for 70 years. At nearly 100 years old, she says she is happy with her vocation and would not change her decision to give her life to God.
In an interview with EWTN News, Sister Crucita – whose full religious name is Sister Maria of the Royal Cross – said that the secret of her perseverance has always been her trust in the mercy of God and the support of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“I say to the Blessed Virgin Mary, 'Take care of me, you already know I'm yours. Deliver me from the snares of the devil.' The Blessed Virgin has taken great care of me,” she said.
Through the Holy Rosary she was able to persevere in face of the temptation to abandon the religious life on many occasions, she said.
“One of the strongest temptations was to want to leave the religious life, because there were a lot of difficulties at the hospital where I was. The doctors encouraged me to leave, but I trusted in God and the Blessed Virgin. And here I am, thanks to them,” she said.
Sister Crucita was born Nov. 23, 1917 in the El Oro municipality in Mexico State. From a very young age, she had a love for Christ and the Church, thanks to the devotion of her parents who took her to Mass.
“I always liked going to Mass. I had an uncle who was a sacristan and I liked to spend time with him. So I was always drawn to the things of the Lord,” she said.
She began thinking about a religious vocation after a group of religious sisters came to her home town. She even discerned with a cloistered convent, but was forced to return home after two years, due to an illness.
Sister Crucita was introduced to the Josephine Sisters by a priest. She worked alongside the sisters at a local hospital for a few months, and then entered the novitiate.
On Aug. 15, 1947, Sister Crucita made her final vows as a Josephine sister, at 30 years of age. Currently she goes to confession about every two weeks, prays the Holy Rosary three or four times a day, and attends Mass daily.
She said her religious vocation was always tied to her profession as a nurse.
At the start of the 1950s, Sister Crucita was sent to her congregation's hospital in Cuba. Later, in 1952, she arrived in Guadalajara and was assigned as a nurse to the Civil Hospital. For many years she was the supervisor of the pediatrics department.
“I see how the sick suffer and there are many who offer everything to God, they don't complain or anything. So then I think, if they who are sick and are always thinking about God, then what can I complain about. Anything on my part is something passing and I offer it to the Lord,” she emphasized.
Sister María de la Cruz said that one of her secrets to keep on going has always been to feel welcomed by the mercy of God: “I know that He loves me much more than I love him. I have always thought that He seeks me, he calls me, that he is always with me. If something happens to me, He watches over me.”
She encouraged young people to trust “completely in God, in the love that He has for us” because “He helps us and gives us peace.”
On Nov. 23, at Our Lady of Bethlehem and Saint Michael the Archangel church, a Mass of Thanksgiving will be celebrated for Sister Crucita’s 100th birthday.
Sister Beatriz Escamilla, a 44-year-old Josephine sister, said that at nearly 100 years old, Sister Crucita is still very independent.
“She begins her routine at 5:00 am, because she moves at a slower pace, and then she comes to the chapel at 7:00 am. She is one of the most punctual sisters, and sometimes she beats us all there. Sometimes she's the one who opens up the chapel,” Sister Beatriz said.
She also highlighted Sister Crucita's fervent prayer for “vocations and for those of us still working in the apostolate.”
“She has an hour dedicated to prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament to especially ask for these needs,” she said.
Whenever things at the hospital get difficult, Sister Beatriz said, she can always count on Sister Crucita for encouragement.
“She's a person you're drawn to, through the peace she conveys. She offers a lesson in joy, perseverance, dedication and sacrifice,” she concluded.
Church Serves 'Women the Rest of the World has Left Behind'
By Adelaide Mena
Washington D.C., Sep 7/ 05:32 pm (EWTN News/CNA) Recent claims that the Catholic Church disregards women fail to acknowledge the Church’s critical work to support women and families around the world, say leaders in medicine, academia and global relief work.
“Anyone who thinks that the Catholic Church doesn’t support women doesn’t know much about the Church, its mission and its presence around the world,” said Joan Rosenhauer, Executive Vice President of US Operations for Catholic Relief Services.
“Every day, the Catholic community supports women with opportunities to strengthen their families, become better educated, and build their economic and food security. Our presence across the globe, including in some of the most remote places on earth, allows us to help many women the rest of the world has left behind,” she told EWTN News Aug. 27.
A recent “Poverty Matters” blog post in the British daily The Guardian criticized the Church as being anti-woman. Entitled “Pope Francis has done little to improve women’s lives,” the blog post argued particularly against the Church’s stance on human sexuality.
Rosenhauer pointed to several initiatives Catholic Relief Services has started to help alleviate poverty, particularly for women and their families. For example, the Savings and Internal Lending Communities program has provided loans to more than 1 million people – over 80 percent of them women – to help start small family businesses or help women to become financially independent.
Additionally, Rosenhauer said, “thousands of girls and women are being helped around the world every day through Church-run programs focusing on maternal and child nutrition, girls’ education, and livelihoods for women, to name just a few.” CRS runs programs that both distribute food in times of need and teach farming techniques that aid with food production and nutrition.
The Catholic Church, she continued, also provides programming, such as The Faithful House in sub-Saharan Africa, that helps strengthen families and relationships between spouses in order to help families find their basis in loving, respectful relationships.
Participants in the Faithful House, she said “report decreased alcohol use, better management of household finances, improved budgeting and savings, and the ability to pay for essential items such as school fees, household repairs, and transportation.” One participant comment that “by the time our children have their own families, society will be better than it is now because children learn from watching their parents in a loving and respectful relationship.”
The Church’s sexual teachings also help support women and families, Rosenhauer said. Catholic Relief Service’s work to teach Natural Family Planning methods help “women adopt life-affirming ways to space births in order to reduce the risk of the mothers dying during labor and improve the chances that babies will be born healthy and thrive.”
Other organizations corroborate the Church’s emphasis on providing life-affirming development policies. In 2009, Dr. Donna J. Harrison, president of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, briefed the U.N. Commissioner on Human Rights on the risks of promoting abortion as part of attempts to aid international development or address maternal mortality.
The provision of abortion in developing countries, Harrison wrote, “increases, not decreases maternal mortality and morbidity in resource poor nations,” increasing the “risk of hemorrhage, infection and incomplete abortion” in such areas.
The promotion of abortion as a development policy, she continued, also diverts funds and attention from interventions that have been proven to help reduce maternal mortality and increase overall health such as “prenatal care, skilled birth attendants, antibiotics and oxytocics.”
Helen Alvare, law professor at George Mason University and consultor for the Pontifical Council for the Laity, called critics of the Church’s reproductive and sexual teachings to consider the importance of these teachings in helping save the lives of the poor.
Abortion destroys lives, she told EWTN News, notably “millions of children, and their mothers suffering the physical, psychological and spiritual aftermath of a surgery unlike any other on earth.”
The Church’s teachings also help protect the most vulnerable members of society – particularly women, children and the poor – from “the sex and mating markets that grow up when sex is divorced even from the idea of kids.”
The promotion of birth control and abortion in such schemas, Alvare noted, leads to an increase in the “rates of single moms and rates of abortions,” as well as a decline in marriage rates.
"Mary, the all-holy ever-virgin Mother of God, is the masterwork of the mission of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time. For the first time in the plan of salvation and because his Spirit had prepared her, the Father found the dwelling place where his Son and his Spirit could dwell among men. In this sense the Church's Tradition has often read the most beautiful texts on wisdom in relation to Mary. Mary is acclaimed and represented in the liturgy as the "Seat of Wisdom." In her, the "wonders of God" that the Spirit was to fulfill in Christ and the Church began to be manifested:"
Catechism of the Catholic Church #721
--I’m not happy with this and I’d like to exchange it please., But that’s your bank statement Mr Dibbley!, I said exchange it!!!
--Give a man a fish and you will feed him for the day. -Teach a man to fish and he’s going to spend a fortune on gear he’ll only be using twice a year.
“I’d like to start with the chimney jokes – I’ve got a stack of them. The first one is on the house.” – Tim Vine
"I love my rock-hard, honed six-pack so much I protect it with a good layer of lard."
The Parish Priest
A young lady comes to the priest asking for prayers for a boy she likes. She explains that her mom will not let her date him until the boy becomes Catholic. The priest assures her that he will pray for this boy. So after a little while the boy expresses interest in the Catholic Church and starts to take classes at a nearby parish. The young lady comes joyfully to the priest and tells him the update, and asks him to keep praying for the boy so that he will stay the course and become Catholic so that she can start to date him. The priest assures her that he will. A few months later, the young lady comes running to the priest yelling, "Stop praying, stop praying, Father! He is going to become a priest!
Hot Air Hand Dryers:
My pastor friend put sanitary hot air hand dryers in the rest rooms at his church and after two weeks, took them out. I asked him why and he confessed that they worked fine, but when he went in there he saw a sign that read,"For a sample of this week's sermon, push the button."
GREAT TRUTHS THAT ADULTS HAVE LEARNED:
1) Raising teenagers is like nailing Jell-O to a tree.
2) Wrinkles don't hurt.
3) Families are like fudge...mostly sweet, with a few nuts.
4) Today's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut that held its ground.
5) Laughing is good exercise. It's like jogging on the inside.
6) Middle age is when you choose your cereal for the fiber, not the toy.
God of mercy, we celebrate the feast of Mary, the sinless mother of God.
May her prayers help us to rise above our human weakness.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.
Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death: By asking Mary to pray for us, we acknowledge ourselves to be poor sinners and we address ourselves to the "Mother of Mercy," the All-Holy One. We give ourselves over to her now, in the Today of our lives. And our trust broadens further, already at the present moment, to surrender "the hour of our death" wholly to her care. May she be there as she was at her son's death on the cross. May she welcome us as our mother at the hour of our passing to lead us to her son, Jesus, in paradise."
-Catechism of the Catholic Church #2677
"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them." (Ex 20:2-4).
1. What does the commandment mean by "no other gods"?
By no other gods the commandment means idols or false gods, which the Israelites frequently worshipped when, through their sins, they had abandoned the true God.
2. How may a person, in a sense, worship other gods?
We, in a sense, may worship other gods by giving up the salvation of our souls for wealth, honors, society, worldly pleasures, etc., so that we would offend God, renounce our faith or give up the practice of our religion for their sake.
3. What are we commanded by the first commandment?
By the first commandment we are commanded to offer to God alone the supreme worship that is due Him.
It is written, "The Lord your God shall you worship, and Him only shall you serve." (Luke 4:8)
4. How do we worship God?
We worship God by acts of faith, hope, and charity, and by adoring Him and praying to Him most especially in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
How may the first Commandment be broken?
A. By giving to a creature the honor which belongs to God alone; by false worship; and by attributing to a creature a perfection which belongs to God alone.
What is the honor which belongs to God alone? This is a divine honor, in which we offer Him sacrifice, incense or prayer, solely for His own sake and for His own glory. To give such honor to any creature, however holy, would be idolatry.
How do we offer God false worship? We do this by rejecting the religion He has instituted and following one pleasing to ourselves, with a form of worship He has never authorized, approved or sanctioned.
Why must we serve God in the form of religion He has instituted and in no other? We must do this because heaven is not a right, but a promised reward, a free gift of God, which we must receive in the manner He directs and pleases.
When do we attribute to a creature a perfection which belongs to God alone? We do this when we believe it possesses knowledge or power independently of God, so that it may, without His aid, make known the future or perform miracles.
5. What does faith oblige us to do?
Faith obliges us: first, to make efforts to find out what God has revealed; second, to believe firmly what God has revealed; third, to profess our faith openly whenever necessary.
Therefore, everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. (Matt. 10:32)
6. What does hope oblige us to do?
Hope obliges us to trust firmly that God will give us eternal life and the means to obtain it.
Paul, a servant of God and apostle of Jesus Christ, in accordance with the faith of God's elect and the full knowledge of the truth which is according to piety, in the hope of life everlasting which God, who does not lie, promised before the ages began. (Titus 1:1-2)
7. What does charity oblige us to do?
Charity obliges us to love God above all things because He is infinitely good, and to love our neighbor as Jesus has loved us.
And one of them, a doctor of the Law, putting him to the test, asked him, "Master, which is the great commandment in the Law?" Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, and with your whole soul, and with your whole mind.' This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:35-40)
8. How can a Catholic best safeguard his faith?
A Catholic can best safeguard his faith by making frequent acts of faith, by praying for a strong faith, by studying his religion very earnestly, by living a good life, by good reading, by refusing to associate with the enemies of the Church, and by not reading books and papers that distort the Church and her teaching.
I know that after my departure fierce wolves will get in among you, and will not spare the flock. And from among your own selves men will rise speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. (Acts 20:29-30)
9. How does a Catholic sin against faith?
A Catholic sins against faith by:
Voluntary doubt - Refusing to hold as true what God revealed and the Church teaches. Doubt is involuntary when the person hesitates to believe or cannot overcome objections to faith.
Incredulity - Neglect or outright refusal to assent to a revealed truth.
Heresy - Denial of a truth that must be believed with divine and catholic faith.
Apostasy - Total repudiation of the Catholic faith.
Schism - Refusal to submit to the Pope or to accept communion with the Church.
This is why I was born, and why I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice. (John 18:37)
10. What are the sins against hope?
The sins against hope are presumption and despair.
11. When does a person sin by presumption?
A person sins by presumption when he trusts that he can be saved by his own efforts without God's help, or by God's help without his own efforts. A person may be guilty of presumption:
1.(1) By putting off confession when in a state of mortal sin; 2.(2) By delaying the amendment of our lives and repentance for past sins; 3.(3) By being indifferent about the number of times we yield to any temptation after we have once yielded and broken our resolution to resist it; 4.(4) By thinking we can avoid sin without avoiding its near occasion; 5.(5) By relying too much on ourselves and neglecting to follow the advice of our confessor in regard to the sins we confess.
Nay I do not even judge my own self. For I have nothing on my conscience, yet I am not thereby justified. (I Corinthians 4:4)
12. When does a person sin by despair?
A person sins by despair when he deliberately refuses to trust that God will give him the necessary help to save his soul. A person may be guilty of despair by believing that we cannot resist certain temptations, overcome certain sins or amend our lives so as to be pleasing to God.
May no temptation take hold of you but such as man is equal to. God is faithful and will not permit you to be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also give you a way out that you may be able to bear it. (I Corinthians 10:13)
13. What are the chief sins against charity?
The chief sins against charity are hatred of God and of our neighbor, envy, sloth, and scandal.
Charity does not envy. (I Corinthians 13:4)
14. Besides the sins against faith, hope, and charity, what other sins does the first commandment forbid?
Besides the sins against faith, hope, and charity, the first commandment forbids also superstition and sacrilege.
15. When does a person sin by superstition?
A person sins by superstition when he attributes to a creature a power that belongs to God alone, as when he makes use of charms or spells, believes in dreams or fortune-telling, or goes to spiritualists. It is sinful to consult mediums, spiritualists, fortune tellers and the like even when we do not believe in them, but through mere curiosity, to hear what they may say:
1.(1) Because it is wrong to expose ourselves to the danger of sinning even though we do not sin; 2.(2) Because we may give scandal to others who are not certain that we go through mere curiosity; 3.(3) Because by our pretended belief or interest we encourage those who do these things to continue their harmful practices.
All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to “unveil” the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone. (CCC 2116)
Neither let there be found among you any one that ... consults soothsayers, or observes dreams and omens. Neither let there be any wizard, nor charmer. (Deuteronomy 19:10-11)
16. When does a person sin by sacrilege?
A person sins by sacrilege when he mistreats sacred persons, places, or things (i.e. a priest, a church, a rosary).
They have set your sanctuary ablaze, they have profaned the dwelling of your name on the earth. (Psalm 73:7)
Let us pray:
An Act of Faith-O my God I believe all You have said because You are the infallible truth.
An Act of Hope - O my God I hope for all You have promised because You are faithful.
An Act of Love - O my God I love You above all things because You are good.
SUNDAY MASS READINGS AND QUESTIONS for Self-Reflection, Couples or Family Discussion
24th Sunday in Ordinary Time - September 15th, 2019
The First Reading- Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14
The LORD said to Moses, "Go down at once to your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt, for they have become depraved. They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them, making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it, sacrificing to it and crying out, 'This is your God, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt!' "I see how stiff-necked this people is, " continued the LORD to Moses. Let me alone, then, that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them. Then I will make of you a great nation." But Moses implored the LORD, his God, saying, "Why, O LORD, should your wrath blaze up against your own people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with such great power and with so strong a hand? Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and how you swore to them by your own self, saying, 'I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky; and all this land that I promised, I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.'" So the LORD relented in the punishment he had threatened to inflict on his people.
Reflection The episode in today’s First Reading has been called “Israel’s original sin.” Freed from bondage, born as a people of God in the covenant at Sinai, Israel turned aside from His ways and fell to worshipping a golden calf. Moses implores God’s mercy, just as Jesus will later intercede for the whole human race. Just as He still pleads for sinners at God’s right hand and through the ministry of the Church.
Adults - Is there a sin in your life that you need help overcoming? Pray for guidance in this area each day this week. Teens - What is the “golden calf” in your life? Kids - Ask God every morning to help you make good choices throughout the day.
Responsorial- Psalm 51:3-4,12-13, 17, 19
R. (Lk 15:18) I will rise and go to my father. Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense. Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me. R. I will rise and go to my father. A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me. Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me. R. I will rise and go to my father. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall proclaim your praise. My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn. R. I will rise and go to my father.
Reflection -Psalm 51 is THE great psalm of repentance in the entire psalter, used in the Lectionary and the Liturgy of the Hours at those times in the Church calendar that most call for acts of contrition. David’s words have resounded on the lips of repentant believers down through the centuries, unrivaled for bluntness and sincerity. How long has it been since you have been to the Sacrament of Confession? If it’s been awhile, try and go this month.
The Second Reading- 1 Tim 1:12-17
Beloved: I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry. I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and arrogant, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief. Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am the foremost. But for that reason I was mercifully treated, so that in me, as the foremost, Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life. To the king of ages, incorruptible, invisible, the only God, honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
Reflection “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” Paul cries in today’s Epistle. These are the happiest words the world has ever known. Because of Jesus, as Paul himself can testify, even the blasphemer and persecutor can seek His mercy. Why do you think Saint Paul called himself the foremost of sinners?
The Holy Gospel according to Luke 15:1-32
Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So to them he addressed this parable. “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance. “Or what woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it? And when she does find it, she calls together her friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’ In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Then he said, “A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’ So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began. Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns, who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’”
Reflection Today’s Gospel speaks to us in two practical ways, depending on which “son” we are. Some of us at Mass this Sunday are the younger son, who have been going astray rather self-consciously. We “younger sons” need to be reassured of God’s forgiveness. We need to pick up and leave the pig slop we’ve been entrenched in and return to God, who is waiting to embrace us. Others of us at Mass are the older brother. We think we are good, not in need of forgiveness, and God owes us something. We resent riff-raff hanging around, and in particular don’t want them in our churches or other places where we hang out. We older brothers have no joy in our lives, because we really aren’t motivated by love, and don’t understand the God of love and joy. We need conversion as much as the younger son. We need to recognize “younger sons” as siblings, as family members, and share God’s joy at their repentance and reconciliation. God is not a businessman rewarding service in a tit-for-tat or quid-pro-quo manner. God is a father, who wants all his sons to share his love and joy.
Adults - Do you know someone who is struggling? How can you be of help to them, either directly or indirectly? Teens - How can you assist the needy in the community? Do you have a neighbor in need that you can assist? Kids - Do you have any items you no longer use that you could donate to those in need?
LIVING THE WORD OF GOD THIS WEEK!
He spent his days then among sinners, the tax-gatherers, the robbers, the adulterers, the usurers. The twelve special friends He chose from amongst His followers had more than their share of human failings. We are all sinners to a greater or lesser degree. With this knowledge and conviction, which any true Christian must have, of the infinite mercy of God, no sinner need ever, and should never, despair. No sinner was ever lost and no sinner will ever be lost, because of his sins. Sinners are lost only because they will not trust and believe in God's mercy and turn to Him to ask for pardon. Not a day passes but our merciful Father sends out and calls to us His erring children to return to our Father's household. Today, one of those calls is in the very words of the parables you have heard. There may be another call for the sinners amongst us. There may not. Heed this one and the other call will not be necessary. Turn to God today with a truly contrite heart. God will do the rest. — The Sunday Readings Cycle C, Fr. Kevin O' Sullivan, O.F.M.
CATHOLIC QUESTIONS AND CATHOLIC ANSWERS
565. Who can educate us in prayer? d) none of the above
The Christian family is the first place of education in prayer. Daily family prayer is particularly recommended because it is the first witness to the life of prayer in the Church. Catechesis, prayer groups, and “spiritual direction” constitute a school of and a help to prayer.
566. What places are conducive to prayer? d) all of the above
One can pray anywhere but the choice of an appropriate place is not a matter of indifference when it comes to prayer. The church is the proper place for liturgical prayer and Eucharistic adoration. Other places also help one to pray, such as a “prayer corner” at home, a monastery or a shrine.
CHAPTER THREE: The Life of Prayer
567. What times are more suitable for prayer? d) all of the above
Any time is suitable for prayer but the Church proposes to the faithful certain rhythms of praying intended to nourish continual prayer: morning and evening prayer, prayer before and after meals, the Liturgy of the Hours, Sunday Eucharist, the Rosary, and feasts of the liturgical year. “We must remember God more often than we draw breath.” (Saint Gregory of Nazianzus)