- Abortion Forgiveness and Healing website (Catholic Website of the week-by the laptop computer)
- Knights Take Faith on the Bayou (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
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.]
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
Silent No More Awareness
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.
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.
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)
“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.
By Matt Hadro
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.
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!"
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 in Ordinary Time - October 6th, 2019
The First Reading- Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4
How long, O LORD? I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not intervene. Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and clamorous discord. Then the LORD answered me and said: Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily. For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. The rash one has no integrity; but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.
Habakkuk begins his book by complaining to the LORD: why does God seem to do nothing about the violence and injustice the prophet sees around him (1:2-4)? God replies that He is preparing the Babylonians to come and destroy the evildoers (1:5-11) and Habakkuk acknowledges this divine judgment (1:12). However, sending the Babylonians as executors of justice raises another theological problem: how can God judge wicked persons by others who are yet more wicked (1:13)? First, the LORD counsels the prophet and all the righteous to have patience, even if it seems like the oracles of God are slow in fulfillment (2:2-4). Secondly, the LORD pronounces five woes (vv. 6-8; 9-11; 12-14; 15-17; 18-20) on the “arrogant man” whose “greed is as wide as Sheol” and “gathers for himself all nations.” This may be simultaneously (1) a hyperbolic description of any wealthy oppressor, and (2) a specific description of the King of Babylon (or Assyria). The message of these woes is that the wickedness of the wicked man will come back on his head: those he oppresses will one day suddenly turn on him (2:7) and he will experience the destruction to which he subjugated others (vv. 8, 10, 17).
Adults - Can you think of a time in your life that the Lord seemed to be absent, but in hindsight you can see that He was working in your life?
Teens - Can you think of a situation where God clearly brought good out of a bad situation?
Kids - Pray for those who feel like God has abandoned them.
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.
-Psalm 95 is a very common responsorial, and also appears frequently in the Divine Office. The Psalm recalls the trials of faith that Israel underwent in the desert, while wandering forty years under Moses. Massah (“trial”) and Meribah (“contention”) are names of the location in Exod 17 where the people ran out of water, and lost their faith in God and his prophet Moses. The grumbled and complained, accusing God of intending evil for them. We can say that those two events became iconic examples of the loss of faith by God’s people, and they resulted in plagues in both instances. They become ensconced in Israel’s memory as counterexamples to the faith we should embrace and demonstrate toward God.
Is there an area of your life where you have hardened your heart toward God?
The Second Reading- 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14
Beloved: I remind you, to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God. Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us.
Unlike the Israelites in the desert, we have the tremendous “help of the Holy Spirit” in order to maintain the “faith and love” of Christ Jesus in our lives. Faith is contrary to a “spirit of cowardice,” but leads us to an attitude of “power, love, and self-control.”
Say a special prayer to the Holy Spirit this week and ask for His guidance.
The Holy Gospel according to Luke 17:5-10
The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith." The Lord replied, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you. "Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, 'Come here immediately and take your place at table'? Would he not rather say to him, 'Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished'? Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded? So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.'"
Often hearing that faith the size of a mustard seed would be sufficient to perform miracles, people can think: “I can’t work miracles; therefore, my faith must not even be the size of a mustard seed! I must try real hard to muster up some faith the size of a mustard seed, because my faith is microscopic!” However, our Lord was not trying to discourage us and tell us that our faith was insignificant. Rather, the purpose of our Lord’s words are consolation, not rebuke. The point he is making to the disciples is this: You don’t need much faith to be effective! Just give me a little bit of faith and I can do great things for you! Just as I took five loaves and two fish and fed 5,000, I can take a mustard seed of your faith and transplant a tree into the ocean.” Our Lord’s words are meant to be an encouragement. You may only have a tiny amount of faith, but go ahead and step out on that faith anyway. You do not need huge faith already in order to begin serving the Lord. He will take what you have and do great things with it.
Adults - Pray to the Lord each morning this week for the grace of increased faith. Take special notice of how God shows up in your regular days.
Teens - Try keeping a journal of “God-moments” you encounter each day.
Kids - Pick out one big blessing each day you are thankful for this week, and thank God for it.
LIVING THE WORD OF GOD THIS WEEK! - The sincere Christian can find many ways to help to make Christ known to his neighbor without going on the foreign missions. There are pagans and unbelievers, often such through no fault of their own, and there are many lax Christians all around us. We should, and we can, have an effective influence on them and on their eternal future, if we ourselves live our Christian lives as Christ expects us to do. A quiet word, a charitable gesture, a truly unselfish interest in a neighbor's troubles, coming from a sincere layman can do more good than a series of sermons given by a renowned theologian in the parish church.
Look around you today. Think of your fellow-workers and those living in your own street. Many of them need help and need it badly. You can help them, God expects you to help them. It is His plan for getting you to help yourself to get to heaven. If you fail to cooperate with God by helping to bring His stray children back to Him, you may find that you will be a straying child on your day of reckoning. God forbid. — Excerpted from The Sunday Readings Cycle C, 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.