- Abortion Forgiveness and Healing website (Catholic Website of the week-by the laptop computer)
- The Mystical Life of Guardian Angels, Revealed by the Saints (Diocesan News and BEYOND)
- Pope Francis: Respect and Listen to your Guardian Angel (Helpful Hints for Life)
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
“You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth;
you shall not bow down before them or worship them.” Exodus 20:4-5
The above quote of the Sacred Scriptures is sometimes misunderstood to accuse Roman Catholics of idol worshiping when our Christian brothers and sisters come into a Catholic church and see statues on the walls and on the altars.
But we must remember that God Himself commanded Moses to make graven cherubim to be placed above the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:18-20). God does not contradict Himself. The cherubim represented God and help to make Him present to the people of Israel and are not gods themselves like other religions believed in the time of Moses. So statues remind us and make visible those faithful followers of Jesus who intercede for us and show us how to live during ordinary and difficult times.
Further, we have statues in our city parks and along our highways. We have pictures of our loved ones in our homes and places of work. These are not idols nor do we worship them. They keep near to our hearts and our minds those who love us and whom we love. Do you have statues in your parish or home of those in heaven who love you and long to help you?
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. This coming Sunday is the 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time. >> Readings
P.S.S. Readings with meditations and questions with reflections are at the end of this e-mail.
a) unite our prayer with Jesus
b) this trust is tested when we think we are not heard
c) receive the Holy Spirit who transform our heart
d) all of the above
576. Is it possible to pray always? (CCC 2742-2745, 2757)
a) No, we cannot stay awake 24/7
b) No, we get distracted from time to time
c) Yes, for the time of the Christian is the time of the risen Christ who remains with us always
d) Yes, because I can pray in the past and pray in the future for all the times I missed before
577. What is the prayer of the Hour of Jesus? (CCC 2604, 2746-2751, 2758)
a) the first 60 minutes of Jesus’ existence
b) the priestly prayer of Jesus at the Last Supper
c) Jesus’ time on the Cross
d) Jesus’ prayer of picking of the 12 Apostles
statue (from Latin statuere; “to set up”)
- a likeness of a holy person that leads one to honor and/or imitate them to the glory of God
[A likeness of Christ, the Blessed Virgin, or one of the saints, or a symbolic form of an angel, sculptured, carved, or cast in a solid material, and venerated by the faithful. Its purpose is to recall the person whom the statue represents in order to inspire greater piety. Christians do not worship statues as idols.]
POPE FRANCIS: RESPECT AND LISTEN TO YOUR GUARDIAN ANGEL
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis says God has given everybody a Guardian Angel to accompany us and offer advice and protection, an Angel to whom we should listen with meekness and respect. He was speaking during his homily at Mass on Friday (2nd October) celebrated in the Santa Marta Residence.
Taking his cue from Friday’s feast of the Guardian Angels, the Pope’s homily reflected on this divine presence in our lives, describing the Angel as God’s ambassador who accompanies each one of us. He noted how the proof of this was illustrated when God chased Adam out of Paradise: He didn’t leave Adam on his own or say to him: “fend for yourself as best as you can.” The Pope stressed that every person has been given a Guardian Angel by God who stays by our side.
God's Ambassador by our side
“He is always with us! And this is a reality. It’s like having God’s ambassador with us. And the Lord advises us: ‘Respect his presence!’ And when we, for example, commit a sin and believe that we’re on our own: No, he is there. Show respect for his presence. Listen to his voice because he gives us advice. When we hear that inspiration: ‘But do this … this is better … we should not do that.’ Listen! Do not go against him.”
Pope Francis explained how the Guardian Angel always protects us, especially from evil. Sometimes, he noted, “we believe that we can hide so many things,” “bad things” that in the end will always come to light. The Angel, he continued, is there to advise us and “cover for us” just a friend would do. “A friend who we don’t see but we hear.” “A friend who one day will be with us in the everlasting joy of Heaven.”
Respect him and listen to him
“All he asks is that we listen to him and respect him. That’s all: respect and listening (to him). And this respect and listening to this companion on our journey is called meekness. The Christian must be meek when it comes to the Holy Spirit. Meekness towards the Holy Spirit begins with this yielding to the advice given by this companion on our journey.”
The Pope went on to explain that in order to be meek, we need to become small like children and our Guardian Angel is a companion who teaches us this humility and just like children we should listen to him.
“May we ask the Lord for the grace of this meekness, to listen to the voice of this companion, to this ambassador from God who accompanies us in His name and may we be supported by his help. (We must) always journey forward. And in this Mass where we praise the Lord, let us remember how good our Lord is, who straight after we lost His friendship, did not leave us alone, did not abandon us.”
“By keeping the memorials of the saints - first of all the holy Mother of God, then the apostles, the martyrs, and other saints - on fixed days of the liturgical year, the Church on earth shows that she is united with the liturgy of heaven. She gives glory to Christ for having accomplished his salvation in his glorified members; their example encourages her on her way to the Father.
Catechism of the Catholic Church #1195
Forgiveness and Healing After Abortion
This page offers a variety of resources for forgiveness and healing but also allows the user to enter his or her zip code to find after-care programs in their area.
From the website:
Have you personally experienced abortion or had your child aborted? It is a difficult issue to deal with. Your feelings associated with the abortion(s) deserve attention. Our hope is to connect you with the resources that can help you understand your feelings and behavior related to your experience.
All the resources we recommend have two things in common; one, they will have a powerful positive impact on your life and second, all the people involved care deeply about you, many share your experience and have dedicated their lives to helping you.
USE RECYCLED AND/OR RECYCLABLE TABLE SERVICE AT PARISH FUNCTIONS (as pandemic allows)
The last 3 Popes have been asking us to be more conscience of the world God created and in which we live and to do what we can to keep it the place God created it to be. Any parish efforts in Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse is encouraged to be attempted. Concretely, using washable table service (plates, silverware, cups, etc.) can go a long way, especially with Parish Gatherings and fundraisers. If this is not practical, please consider using paper products instead of styrofoam or plastic, since paper biodegrades and the others do not, if you will not be able to recycle.
Recycling is the first options, but if it is not a go, then try to do something. Paper may also actually be cheaper than the others at certain times of buying. If recycling, plastic is the one to go with.
Bring this request to your Pastor and/or Pastoral Council and ask if they will see what is doable. If able, offer to be the one who does the recycling. We cannot do all, but we can all do something.
The Catholic Church teaches that God assigns every person with at least one Guardian Angel. Several saints, including St. Padre Pio, St. Gemma Galgani, and St. Faustina had mystical encounters with their guardian angels.
Don’t forget to call on your guardian angel! He hears you and guides you at all moments!
Here’s 10 saint quotes about the powerful and mystical life of Guardian Angels:1) “…What a consolation it is to know one is always in the care of a celestial spirit, who does not abandon us (how admirable) even when we disgust God! How sweet is this great truth for the believer! Who, then, does the devout soul fear who tries to love Jesus, having always close by such a great warrior?
“Know that he is still powerful against Satan and his satellites; his charity has not diminished, nor will he ever fail in defending us.
“Develop the beautiful habit of always thinking of him; that near us is a celestial spirit, who, from the cradle to the tomb, does not leave us for an instant, guides us, protects us as a friend, a brother; will always be a consolation to us especially in our saddest moments.”
– St. Padre Pio
2) “Jesus has placed near you an Angel from Heaven who is always looking after you; he carries you in his hands lest your foot strike against a stone.
“You do not see him, and yet he is the one who…has preserved your soul…he is the one who removes from you the occasions of sin.”
“Your Guardian Angel is covering you with his wings, and Jesus, the purity of virgins, reposes in your heart. You do not see your treasures; Jesus is sleeping and the Angel remains in his mysterious silence. However, they are there with Mary who is hiding you also under her veil!…”
– St. Therese of Lisieux
3) “One evening, when I was suffering more than usual, I was complaining to Jesus and telling him that I would not have prayed so much if I had known that He was not going to cure me, and I asked Him why I had to be sick this way.
“My angel answered me as follows: ‘If Jesus afflicts you in your body, it is always to purify you in your soul. Be good.’
“Oh, how many times during my long illness did I not experience such consoling words in my heart! But I never profited by them.”
“From the moment I got up from my sick bed…My guardian angel began to be my master and guide. He corrected me every time I did something wrong, and he taught me to speak but little, and only when I was spoken to.”
– St. Gemma Galgani
4) “Gemma saw her guardian angel with her own eyes, touched him with her hand, as if he were a being of this world, and would talk to him as would one friend to another.”
“‘Jesus,’ she once said, ‘has not left me alone; He makes my guardian angel stay with me always.'”
– Ven. Father Germanus C.P., The Life of St. Gemma Galgani
5) “One day, when I was at adoration, and my spirit seemed to be dying for Him, and I could no longer hold back my tears, I saw a spirit of great beauty who spoke these words to me: ‘Don’t cry — says the Lord.’ After a moment I asked, ‘Who are you?’
“He answered me, ‘I am one of the seven spirits who stand before the throne of God day and night and give Him ceaseless praise.’ Yet this spirit did not soothe my yearning, but roused me to even greater longing for God.
“This spirit is very beautiful, and his beauty comes from close union with God. This spirit does not leave me for a single moment, but accompanies me everywhere.”
– St. Faustina
6) “Then I saw one of the seven spirits near me, radiant as at other times, under a form of light. I constantly saw him beside me when I was riding on the train.
“I saw an angel standing on every church we passed, but surrounded by a light which was paler than that of the spirit who was accompanying me on the journey, and each of these spirits who were guarding the churches bowed his head to the spirit who was near me.”
– St. Faustina
7) “With what humility should we assist at Mass, if we realized that our Guardian Angel was kneeling beside us, prostrate before the Majesty of God! With what eagerness should we not ask him to offer our prayers to Jesus Christ!”
– St. John Vianney
8) “When tempted, invoke your Angel. He is more eager to help you than you are to be helped! Ignore the devil and do not be afraid of him: He trembles and flees at the sight of your Guardian Angel.”
– St. John Bosco
9) “I was in bed suffering greatly, when on a sudden I became absorbed in prayer. I joined my hands and, moved with heartfelt sorrow for my countless sins, I made an act of deep contrition.
“My mind was wholly plunged in this abyss of my crime against my God, when I beheld my Angel standing by my bed. I felt ashamed of being in his presence.
“He instead was more than courteous with me, and said, kindly: ‘Jesus loves thee greatly. Love Him greatly in return.'”
“Then he added, ‘Are you fond of Jesus’ Mother? Salute her very often, for she values such attention very much, and unfailingly returns the salutations offered to Her; and if you do not sense this, know that she makes a proof of your unfailing trust.'”
“He blessed me and disappeared.”
– St. Gemma Galgani
10) “My Guardian Angel told me to pray for a certain soul, and in the morning I learned that it was a man whose agony had begun that very moment. The Lord Jesus makes it known to me in a special way when someone is in need of my prayer. I especially know when my prayer is needed by a dying soul. This happens more often now than it did in the past.”
– St. Faustina
Pourciau felt his boat rock while he was waiting to participate in a boat procession down the bayou. He watched the waves cutting across the water, heading toward the shore as if the Blessed Sacrament carried by Father Michael Champagne were drawing them.
Father Champagne was joining a 50-boat fleet taking part in the “Fête-Dieu Du Teche Eucharistic Boat Procession” — a 38-mile journey from St. Leo the Great Church in Leonville to Our Lady of Sorrows Chapel in Baton Rouge. The procession stops five times along the shore at makeshift altars and several churches for recitation of the rosary and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
The procession is held on Aug. 15, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Its path is culturally significant for many of the residents as it re-enacts the Acadians’ flight from religious persecution by the British government in Canada before fleeing to Louisiana around 1765. Christians still face persecution for publicly living their faith today with ISIS committing genocide against them and other religious minorities in the Middle East.
(Learn more about the Knights of Columbus’ aid for Middle East Christians here)
Father Champagne, a priest in the Community of Jesus Crucified who helped begin the event five years ago, credits the Knights for making the procession a possibility.
“They sponsor the event in their councils throughout the Diocese of Lafayette and they organize into groups to help with the preparation and implementation,” he said. “The Knights have been, and continue to be, an essential component in putting on this unique and complex annual procession.”
Pourciau is one of the 40 Knights on the procession’s planning committee. There are even more Knights among the 125-plus volunteers and the thousands who participate in the event. Knights prepare the benediction sites along the bayou and the churches, moor and launch the 50 boats at each stop and provide tents among other tasks.
The Knights involved said they see it as part of their evangelization efforts.
Dr. Kim Hardey, a member of St. Pius X Council 8901 in Lafayette, is one of those volunteers. He has driven boats in past years, but he is now part of the mooring crew, driving to each stop along the bayou to anchor boats in the procession. He also led an extensive door-to-door advertising effort.
“We picked up every house in a 37-mile radius on the bayou and divided them up into little groups,” Hardey said. “We had great volunteers who went door-to-door about the fête and invited them to participate in any way that they could.”
It’s a family affair for Father Champagne. His dad, Howard, has lent a hand in past years. In 2015, during the first Eucharistic Boat Procession, Howard — a member of St. Leo the Great Council 12115 in New Orleans — cleared the bayou bank of trees and brush behind St. Joseph Church in Cecilia so that the boats would have a landing.
Catholics have rallied around the event, which is seen as a sign a hope especially during this past year of crisis in the Church. Last year, the procession was held the day after the Pennsylvania grand jury released a report that at least 300 priests sexual abused more than 1,000 victims. This year, the procession was held just days after Pew Research Center released a survey that found that only one-third of U.S. Catholics believe in the transubstantiation — that Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharist, a fundamental teaching of the Catholic faith.
“Having Jesus carried through the streets — in our case, on the bayous — is like a language of faith and belief being spoken,” Father Champagne said. “We need to rebuild a culture of faith and belief so that we can become marinated in it and learn the faith.”
The Knights of Columbus’ mission is not only focused on serving the needy, but also on strengthening faith. As part of its “Faith In Action” program, the Knights has several programs dedicated to encouraging prayer and spiritual formation. Pope Francis acknowledged in a recent letter to Supreme Knight Carl Anderson about the “privileged role” Knights have in mending the “torn fabric of ecclesial life.”
The Knights see their role in the Eucharistic Boat Procession as evangelizers. They serve to strengthen the faith of others, especially during this time in the Church’s history. In turn, their own faith is strengthened.
To learn more about the Knights, go to www.KofC.org.
Washington D.C., Oct 6, 2017 / 05:38 pm (EWTN News/CNA) -
After the Trump administration announced new exemptions to the contraceptive mandate and a religious freedom guidance, experts said both actions offered concrete protections of religious freedom.
“Today the Trump administration made two commendable decisions in support of the bedrock American principle of religious liberty,” Dr. Matthew Franck, director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute, told EWTN News, calling the actions “cause for much celebration.”
On Friday morning the administration followed through on two promises made in President Donald Trump’s May 4 executive order on religious liberty – relief from the HHS mandate for religious and conscientious objectors, and a Department of Justice guidance to federal agencies on implementing religious freedom protections found in existing federal law.
The administration first announced on Friday an expansion of religious and moral exemptions to the HHS contraceptive mandate, over which many non-profit groups and some for-profit businesses had sued the federal government.
“Groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor, who dedicate their lives to the indigent elderly, can finally expect the restitution of their conscience-rights in court,” Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, policy advisor with The Catholic Association, stated on Friday.
The HHS had interpreted the Affordable Care Act to include a mandate on cost-free coverage for sterilizations, contraceptives, and drugs that can cause early abortions in health plans.
Although many religious groups were opposed to contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-causing drugs, the religious exemptions from the mandate were so narrow that only churches and their integrated auxiliaries were safe from having to comply.
This meant that many religious charities and universities had to comply with the mandate’s demands. The Obama administration offered an “accommodation” to objecting non-profits to comply with the mandate, but charities like the Little Sisters of the Poor said this still forced them to be complicit in the provision of objectionable coverage.
Under the interim final rules released Friday, non-profits, small businesses, and even some publicly-traded companies can apply for a religious exemption to the mandate, if they establish that complying with the mandate would violate their religious beliefs.
The new rules “substantially expand the scope of that religious exemption,” Greg Baylor, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, said.
Large “publicly-traded” companies wouldn’t be eligible to claim a “moral” exemption from the mandate, but secular non-profits and small businesses would be – which benefits groups like the March for Life, which is a pro-life organization opposed to the mandate on conscience grounds, but a group that is “not inherently religious.”
In establishing such broad new exemptions, the new rule “practically amounts to a revocation of the mandate,” Franck told EWTN News.
And the “accommodation” offered to non-profits, where their insurer or third party administrator provided the objectionable coverage, is now voluntary, the Department of Health and Human Services announced.
Prominent U.S. bishops praised the HHS announcement on Friday as a “return to common sense.”
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chair of the U.S. bishops’ religious liberty committee, said in a statement that the new rule “recognizes that the full range of faith-based and mission-driven organizations, as well as the people who run them, have deeply held religious and moral beliefs that the law must respect.”
“We welcome the news that this particular threat to religious freedom has been lifted,” they stated.
The Becket Fund, a religious freedom law firm that defended the Little Sisters of the Poor in court against the mandate, praised the “common sense, balanced rule,” but added that the litigation is ongoing in mandate cases.
In the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor against the mandate at the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court in a rare move in the middle of the case ordered both the plaintiffs and the government to submit briefs detailing if, and how a solution could be crafted that provided for cost-free coverage outlined in the HHS mandate, while at the same time maintaining the religious freedom of the non-profits that sued the government.
In May of 2016, the Court vacated the federal circuit court decisions on the mandate, ordered the federal government not to fine the plaintiffs, and instructed all parties to come to a solution that provided the contraception coverage while respecting the religious freedom of the plaintiffs. The cases are currently still at the federal circuit court level.
“14 or 15 months later” after the Supreme Court asked for a solution, “what we see today is really the resolution of that process,” Rienzi said.
With the HHS announcement, the government now “admits the prior version of the mandate broke the law,” Rienzi said, referring to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Under the 1993 law, the federal government must not substantially burden one’s deeply-held religious beliefs unless it establishes that to do so is in its “compelling interest” and is the “least-restrictive means” of fulfilling that interest.
The government essentially admitted on Friday that there were indeed less-restrictive means of ensuring cost-free coverage for contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-causing drugs than forcing the non-profits to comply with the mandate through the “accommodation,” Rienzi said.
“I assume those lawyers at DOJ will cooperate and go into the courtrooms and admit that the federal government broke the law, and that the Little Sisters and other groups are entitled to a final injunction to give them lasting protection against this kind of treatment,” he said.
Also on Friday, the Department of Justice announced a religious freedom guidance that was ordered by President Trump in his May 4 executive order on religious freedom.
The 25-page guidance outlines religious freedom protections in existing federal law that federal departments and agencies are to incorporate into their functions. It states that “Religious liberty is not merely a right to personal religious beliefs or even to worship in a sacred place. It also encompasses religious observance and practice.”
The guidance is significant and establishes solid protections for religious freedom at the federal level, Professor Robert Destro of the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law told EWTN News.
“We’ve never had anything this far-reaching before,” he said, noting that the guidance puts religious freedom on the level of freedom of speech.
It also takes principles of religious freedom and applies them to many federal levels, Destro said.
For instance, U.S. attorneys at the Department of Justice in litigation must “conform all the arguments that the government is making across the country” to the religious freedom principles outlined in the guidance, he said.
This would apply to ongoing court cases, including the DOJ’s position on the current religious freedom case before the Supreme Court of Masterpiece Cakeshop. It would also apply to “other cases where the arguments were already written,” Destro said.
The guidance also informs regulations, grants, contracts, and diversity training. Agencies like the State Department, where many employees have historically been reticent to talk about the role religion in international problems, could be affected by this, Destro said.
Regarding its application to federal contracts, the guidance could influence cases where religious charities are in danger of losing federal contracts due to their employment practices or their religious mission.
“It really gives faith-based organizations and others with religious objections an argument to make when they’re in discussions with a federal agency about accepting a grant or a contract,” Baylor told EWTN News.
The guidance also reiterates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, in that it “does not permit the federal government to second-guess the reasonableness of religious beliefs,” Joshua Mercer, co-founder of CatholicVote.org, told EWTN News.
This is significant because certain Catholic colleges did not receive religious exemptions from the contraceptive mandate, Mercer said, yet the government should have honored their religious objections. “It’s up to our bishops to decide a university is sufficiently Catholic or not, not our federal government,” he said.
It could apply to conscience protections for health care professionals, Baylor noted. The Obama administration, under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act mandated that doctors had to provide gender-transition procedures even if they conscientiously objected to doing so.
“There has been a nationwide injunction against that rule, and the federal government has indicated that it plans to reconsider the rule,” Baylor noted.
However, he added, “this guidance strengthens the hand of those who would argue that this sort of thing violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment.”
Ultimately, the guidance is “pretty far-reaching, and it’s going to take a good deal of time for the agencies to conform their practice to what’s being required,” Destro said.
“This may have an impact that we don’t see” in informing federal agencies how they should operate, Baylor said.
POPE FRANCIS: SINCERE CONFESSION ALLOWS ONE TO DISCOVER THE DEPTHS OF GOD'S FORGIVENESS
Vatican City -- The Holy Father reflected on the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the forgiveness of God during his homily at Casa Santa Marta this morning.
Pope Francis commented on Paul’s Letter to the Romans, a reading where Paul professes that “I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want.” Paul’s acknowledgement of his condition as a “slave” to sin is the manifestation of all Christians’ struggle in “the life of faith.”
“This is the struggle of Christians,” Pope Francis said. “It is our struggle every day. And we do not always have the courage to speak as Paul spoke about this struggle.”
“We always seek a way of justification: ‘But yes, we are all sinners.’ But we say it like that, don’t we? This says it dramatically: it is our struggle. And if we don’t recognize this, we will never be able to have God’s forgiveness. Because if being a sinner is a word, a way of speaking, a manner of speaking, we have no need of God’s forgiveness. But if it is a reality that makes us slaves, we need this interior liberation of the Lord, of that force. But more important here is that, to find the way out, Paul confesses his sin to the community, his tendency to sin. He doesn’t hide it.”
The Holy Father stressed the importance of confessing one's sins with “concreteness”. Some prefer to “confess to God” so as to have no contact with anyone, while Paul confesses his weakness to his brothers face to face. Others, he continued, will go to confession but say “so many up-in-the-air things, that they don’t have anything concrete.” In confessing such a way, is the “same as not doing it.”
“Confessing our sins is not going to a psychiatrist, or to a torture chamber: it’s saying to the Lord, ‘Lord, I am a sinner,’ but saying it through the brother, because this says it concretely. ‘I am sinner because of this, that and the other thing’”, the Holy Father said.
The 76 year old Pontiff went on to say that through concreteness, honesty and the “sincere ability” to feel shame for one’s sins can bring one to discover the depth of God’s mercy and forgiveness. The approach to confessing one’s sins should be that of little children, who “have that wisdom.”
“When a child comes to confess, he never says something general. ‘But father, I did this and I did that to my aunt, another time I said this word’ and they say the word. But they are concrete, eh? They have that simplicity of the truth. And we always have the tendency to hide the reality of our failings,” the Pope said.
To feel shame in the moment of confessing one’s sins in the presence of God is a grace, he concluded. This “grace of shame” is the same grace exhibited by St. Peter.
“We think of Peter when, after the miracle of Jesus on the lake, [he said] ‘Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinner.’ He is ashamed of his sins in the presence of the sanctity of Jesus,” the Pope said.
" The intercession of the saints. "Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness. . . . They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus. . . . So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped."
Do not weep, for I shall be more useful to you after my death and I shall help you then more effectively than during my life. I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth. –St. Therese of Child Jesus and the Holy Face, the Little Flower
Catechism of the Catholic Church #956
---That moment when you’re trying to fish out a piece of meat from between your teeth and end up looking like you’re having facial spasms.
---Are you feeling all alone? - Put on a good horror movie and switch off all the lights, that alone feeling will soon go away.
Homework - When Dad came home he was astonished to see Alec sitting on a horse, writing something. " What on earth are you doing there ?" he asked. "Well, the teacher told us to write an essay on our favourite animal. That's why I'm here and that's why Susie's sitting in the goldfish bowl !"
Going Out - A couple was going out for the evening. The last thing they did was to put the cat out. The taxi arrived, and as the couple walked out of the house, the cat shoots back in. So the husband goes back inside to chase it out. The wife, not wanting it known that the house would be empty, explained to the taxi driver "He's just going upstairs to say goodbye to my mother." A few minutes later, the husband got into the taxi and said, "Sorry I took so long, the stupid thing was hiding under the bed and I had to poke her with a coat hanger to get her to come out!"
Children Tell It
A ten-year old, under the tutelage of her grandmother,
was becoming quite knowledgeable about the Bible..
Then, one day, she floored her grandmother by asking,
"Which Virgin was the mother of Jesus ? The Virgin Mary or the King James Virgin ?"
Attending a wedding for the first time, a little girl whispered to her mother, "Why is the bride dressed in white?""
The mother replied, "Because white is the color of happiness, and today is the happiest day of her life."
The child thought about this for a moment then said, "So why is the groom wearing black?"
Three boys are in the school yard bragging about their fathers. The first boy says, "My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a poem, they give him $50."
The second boy says, "That's nothing. My Dad scribbles a few words on piece of paper, he calls it a song, they give him $100."
The third boy says, "I got you both beat. My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a sermon, and it takes eight people to collect all the money!"
A little girl was sitting on her grandfather's lap as he read her a bedtime story.
From time to time, she would take her eyes off the book and reach up to touch his wrinkled cheek.
She was alternately stroking her own cheek, then his again.
Finally she spoke up, "Grandpa, did God make you?"
"Yes, sweetheart," he answered, "God made me a long time ago."
"Oh," she paused, "Grandpa, did God make me too?"
"Yes, indeed, honey," he said, "God made you just a little while ago."
Feeling their respective faces again, she observed,
"God's getting better at it, isn't he ?"
the Increase of Priestly and Religious Vocations
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Eternal Father,
Son of the Virgin Mary,
we thank you for offering your life in sacrifice on
the Cross, and for renewing this sacrifice
in every Mass celebrated throughout the world.
In the Power of the Holy Spirit
we adore you and proclaim
your living presence in the Eucharist.
We desire to imitate the love you show us
in your death and resurrection,
by loving and serving one another.
We ask you to call many young people to religious
life, and to provide the holy and generous priests
that are so needed in your Church today.
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer. Amen.
Catechism of the Catholic Church #960
SUNDAY MASS READINGS AND QUESTIONS
for Self-Reflection, Couples or Family Discussion
27th Sunday of Ordinary Time – September 27, 2020
The First Reading - Isaiah 5:1-7
Let me now sing of my friend, my friend's song concerning his vineyard. My friend had a vineyard on a fertile hillside; he spaded it, cleared it of stones, and planted the choicest vines; within it he built a watchtower, and hewed out a wine press. Then he looked for the crop of grapes, but what it yielded was wild grapes. Now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and people of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard: What more was there to do for my vineyard that I had not done? Why, when I looked for the crop of grapes, did it bring forth wild grapes? Now, I will let you know what I mean to do with my vineyard: take away its hedge, give it to grazing, break through its wall, let it be trampled! Yes, I will make it a ruin: it shall not be pruned or hoed, but overgrown with thorns and briers; I will command the clouds not to send rain upon it. The vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the people of Judah are his cherished plant; he looked for judgment, but see, bloodshed! for justice, but hark, the outcry!
The First Reading gives us the key prophetic parable that identifies the “vineyard” as God’s people Israel. Although we have not read it in the liturgy until this Sunday, this passage of Isaiah has been in the background through Jesus’ other vineyard parables in the last several weeks. The themes of this song from Isaiah have important connections with the Song of Songs. The word translated “friend” in our Mass version is literally “my beloved,” in Hebrew dowdi or didi, which is the preferred term the bride uses for the royal bridegroom in the Song of Songs. The Song of Songs is also full of vineyard imagery; in fact, the vineyard/garden is often identified with the bride herself: she is a vineyard/garden. “A garden enclosed is my sister, my bride; a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed!” (Song 4:12). “Let my beloved come to his garden and eat its choicest fruit” (Song 4:16). Thus, the poem in Isaiah 5:1-7, understood in light of broader Scriptural themes, is a love story. The vineyard is a metaphor for the spouse of the Lord, his beloved people. Ultimately it points forward to the Bride of Christ.
Adults - How is Scripture a love story?
Teens - How do you see God’s love for you?
Kids - How can you show your love for God?
Responsorial- Psalm 80:9, 12, 13-14, 15-16, 19-20
R. The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.
A vine from Egypt you transplanted;
you drove away the nations and planted it.
It put forth its foliage to the Sea,
its shoots as far as the River.
R. The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.
Why have you broken down its walls,
so that every passer-by plucks its fruit,
The boar from the forest lays it waste,
and the beasts of the field feed upon it?
R. The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.
Once again, O LORD of hosts,
look down from heaven, and see;
take care of this vine,
and protect what your right hand has planted
the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
R. The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.
Then we will no more withdraw from you;
give us new life, and we will call upon your name.
O LORD, God of hosts, restore us;
if your face shine upon us, then we shall be saved.
R. The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.
Here, Israel is again likened to a vine that God transplanted from Egypt to Canaan. God has then punished vineyard-Israel, but the Psalm implores him to come to their aid. Verses 15-16 are key: “Look down from heaven, and see; take care of this vine … and the son of man whom you made strong for yourself.” This “son of man” is none other that the royal Son of David who sat on the throne of Israel at the time the psalm was composed. Later in the psalm (verse 18) he is referred to as “the man on your right”: “May your hand be with the man on your right” (v. 18). This is an apt expression, since the Temple, the throne of God, lay to the north of the royal palace, the throne of David, so that the Son of David literally sat “at the right” (i.e. to the south) of God. (Directions were expressed facing east: “left” was north, “right” was south.) Psalm 80 is a prayer for God to protect vineyard-Israel, but also the royal Son of David. In fact, the fate of Israel and of the royal son are united and inextricable. What do you need God’s help with right now?
The Second Reading- Philippians 4:6-9
Brothers and sisters: Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.
Reflection - St. Paul exhorts us here to ponder “whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, gracious, etc.” It is a list similar to the Fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23. Using the vineyard analogy given to us in the other readings, we can say that St. Paul wishes us to envision the Fruit of the Spirit, so that we may also bear these Fruit. What we contemplate, we emulate. That is why Our Lord teaches in the Sermon on the Mount: “The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness!” (Matt 6:22-23).
-Work to focus on the good in the world this week, and to limit your exposure to the negative and immoral.
The Holy Gospel according to Matthew 21:33-43
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: "Hear another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey. When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce. But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned. Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones, but they treated them in the same way. Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, 'They will respect my son.' But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, 'This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’ They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?" They answered him, "He will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times." Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes? Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit."
Reflection The basic meaning of the parable is clear: the tenants are the chief priests and leaders of the people. The servants sent to the vineyard are the prophets; the son is Jesus himself; the vineyard owner is God the Father. The judgment on the tenants is a prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem which was to happen within a generation (AD 70). The Temple was decorated in its interior with garden imagery, which was intended to evoke the concept of Eden, the original garden-vineyard of God. In fact, a great vine was carved on the gates of the Temple. Some scholars surmise that Jesus was passing the Temple gates, with the great vine image, on the way to Gethsemane in John 15, where he begins his “True Vine” discourse: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower …” By identifying Himself as the True Vine, Jesus is claiming to be the personal embodiment of Israel, the people of God.
Adults - In what ways can our behavior reflect that of the tenants?
Teens - How can you fight against greed and selfishness in our lives?
Kids - What does it mean that we are all one in Jesus?
LIVING THE WORD OF GOD THIS WEEK! - In God's plan of love and mercy the tragedy of Calvary turned out to be the great "triumph of failure." That death brought life to the world and opened the gates of God's eternal kingdom for all nations and races. The Gentiles rallied around the standard of Christ. A new vineyard was set up in which all men could work for their Father in heaven and for their own eternal interests. We Christians today are the successors of the first Gentile followers of Christ. We too have been called to work in God's vineyard. Are we working honestly and devotedly? Are we producing the grapes and the wine that our divine Master expects of us? If our answer is "yes, I am living a true Christian life, I am working for God's honor and glory and for my own eternal salvation," then we can say a heartfelt "thank you" to our merciful Father, and ask him to keep us ever on this right path. But if our answer is "no," then let us pay heed to today's lesson. What happened to the chief priests and elders can and will happen to unfaithful Christians if they persevere in their infidelity and disobedience. But we can still put ourselves right with God. Let us do it today — tomorrow may be too late. -Excerpted from The Sunday Readings by Fr. Kevin O'Sullivan, O.F.M.
575. As children of God, how may we strengthen our trust in Him? d) all of the above
Filial trust is tested when we think we are not heard. We must therefore ask ourselves if we think God is truly a Father whose will we seek to fulfill, or simply a means to obtain what we want. If our prayer is united to that of Jesus, we know that he gives us much more than this or that gift. We receive the Holy Spirit who transforms our heart.
576. Is it possible to pray always? (CCC 2742-2745, 2757) c) Yes, for the time of the Christian is the time of the risen Christ who remains with us always
Praying is always possible because the time of the Christian is the time of the risen Christ who remains “with us always” (Matthew 28:20). Prayer and Christian life are therefore inseparable: “It is possible to offer frequent and fervent prayer even at the market place or strolling alone. It is possible also in your place of business, while buying or selling, or even while cooking.” (Saint John Chrysostom)
577. What is the prayer of the Hour of Jesus? b) the priestly prayer of Jesus at the Last Supper
It is called the priestly prayer of Jesus at the Last Supper. Jesus, the High Priest of the New Covenant, addresses it to his Father when the hour of his sacrifice, the hour of his “passing over” to him is approaching.