Thursday, September 27, 2007

By Wally Arida
Emailed September 28, 2007

Dear Friends,

This Sunday's Readings tell the story of the rich man who ate with gusto while ignoring the beggar Lazarus who, at his foot, was pleading for a little food. "Woe to the complacent - The scandal of faith not lived." Fr. James Wayne, Director for Evangelization for the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh, brings us this message in his podcast. Listen to this rich sermon here.

"What was the rich man's sin?" Being wealthy is not sinful. What tortured his soul was his decision to not share his wealth. Fr. Phil Bloom raises a similar thought in "Why Was the Rich Man Condemned?" And Fr. Romy Seleccion, our homily editor, shares his own reflection with a pastoral call for all of us to love and "hug" each other for God. Our Burning Question asks us this related question, "Who is your neighbor?"

Striking a common chord with the sunday's reflections, Pope Benedict said last wednesday, "The Gospel must reach all of society not just the poor." Think about that statement for a moment. How many times have we done things to help the poor but ignored our own calling to please our God?

It's the same important message delivered by Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Denver in "Renewing the Church, Converting the World". when Christ said, "Be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect,” the archbishop said He wasn’t talking only about the clergy. The demands of holiness apply to every one of us. No excuses. No exceptions. And Pope Benedict chimes in perfectly again by proclaiming, "Life is always a choice between God and Satan, between love and selfishness."

And what brings people to stay in the Church? It's the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Fr. Philip N. Powell, OP, clearly explains this in "Kids These Days: What they don't want from the Church." He urges us all to "Teach the apostolic faith full on, no compromises on basic doctrine or dogma." The youth would rather hear the bald-faced Truth and struggle with it than listen to a priest/minister try to sugar-coat a difficult teaching in the vain search for popularity or “hipness.” And this applies to adults as well. You have to read this.

And the truth we speak about in the Catholic Church just keeps ringing loud and clear. Case in point: Another Episcopalian bishop - the third in the past few months - has announced he is converting to Catholicism. And in light of the rising surge in popularity for the Sacrament of Confession among Catholics, it seems even the Protestants are coming back to the Sacrament of Confession that they have all but ignored for over 100 years. This summer, the second-largest North American branch of the Lutheran Church passed a resolution supporting it.

"The American Church lost sight of its men - The men’s club revisited." This is a great article that discusses how the Church has seemingly lost its grip on its Catholic men. You - men and women alike - need to read this. Also this week, on Sept. 26, 2007, “The largest simultaneous pro-life mobilization in history” started. We have an interview with a co-director of Sacramento’s 40 Days for Life Campaign, a local chapter for this national campaign. Read this and see how you can help in your area.

And we bring you stories of Catholics from all over the world beginning with the surging faith that is building up in China where churches are so full during Mass, people have to patiently sit outside in makeshift benches on Sundays. And we bring you a story about the evangelization history of Korea, a nation which is 40% Catholic. Did you know this country was evangelized by lay people and that by the time the Europeans arrived, there were already about 50,000 Catholics there? From Malawi, this video of a local Easter Mass will infuse you with the same energy as the local congregation.

BE INSPIRED. "Don't Hide Jesus" by Aimee Milburn tells the story of a man who used to hide his crucifix under his shirt - but not anymore. You always hear the usual stories of "Pennies" on the sidewalk being good luck, gifts from angels, etc. This is the first time I've ever heard this twist on the story. Gives you something meaningful to think about.

LIFESTYLE NEWS. Watch out all you heavy cell phone users. Long term use of mobile phones could cause hearing problems. And if you're thinking of getting a tattoo. Think again. Tattoo regret is now very common in the U.S. And the removal process is painful, expensive, and time-consuming. Finally, there's a new Brad Pitt movie that's coming out about the life of Jesse James. Surprise, surprise. The writer of the novel is a Roman Catholic deacon.

And how was your week? Have a great and blessed coming week.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & editor-in-chief

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