Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"Are you envious because I am generous?” 9/21/08

"Are you envious because I am generous?”
Issue Date: September 21, 2008 (25A)

BURNING QUESTION: Is it more important to believe in God or to believe in the Church?
FEATURED BLOG: How to talk to your doctor about God
VOCATION NEWS: More men becoming priests at mid-life
PASTORAL HISPANA: Dios nos ama no por lo que hacemos sino por lo que somos

Dear Friends,

We start our journey this week with Discussion Questions on the Sunday Readings for use by prayer groups or for individual prayer. This Sunday, the Readings discuss the two great attributes of God in the Bible: Justice and Mercy. The point is that while God is both just and merciful, God’s mercy can and often does trump God’s justice.

The vineyard owner gave equal pay to everyone although they all worked different hours. The wages the owner pays his workers, Fr. John Foley, S. J. asks, were they a simple remuneration for labor or are they a gift from a fond heart? Is God fair? No, God is not fair! Fr. Clyde A. Bonar says God is generous!! God is mercy and love and forgiveness and goes well beyond being "fair."

Jesus is giving us an opportunity, according to Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B., to grasp that God's nature is to be extravagantly generous, beyond the rational rules of exchange. And Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio says Jesus actually gives us what we do not deserve – friendship with Him that opens out to eternal glory hereafter. He adds that the first takers for this offer have typically been those most aware of their need for mercy. And this is why the last have usually been first when it comes to the Kingdom of God.

The vineyard owner asks the workers, "Why do you stand here idle all day?" Fr. Philip Merdinger's podcast tells us that this Gospel verse is a call to evangelization. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino says Jesus calls on all those who have received Him to share generously with all men what they themselves have received. Fr. Cusick adds that Jesus forgives us through confession and transforms us to become vehicles of conversion for others. God gets His divine jollies when He witnesses generosity in us and Fr. James Gilhooley explains it well.

Fr. Phil Bloom adds his bottom line: When we compare ourselves to others - thinking we should receive more - we become resentful and envious. When we focus on God's generosity, we become joyful stewards.

CHURCH OR GOD? Our Burning Question this week asks us what is more important, to believe in God or to believe in the Church? To help us understand this better, we bring you part 2 of our series on Demystifying Canon Law. This article explains that in response to the growing tide of new movements in the Church, Canon law does not dictate the form they will take, but arises in response to the Holy Spirit.

POPE AT LOURDES. The Pope had one of his most active preaching weekends ever as he visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in France last weekend. In remarks to tens of thousands of pilgrims who braved cold and rainy weather to greet him, the pontiff said Mary is “the sign of the victory of love, of good and of God, giving our world the hope that it needs.” Reflecting on the need to accept the love of God, he said the only thing that separates a saint from a sinner is that a saint looks less at himself and more at Christ and his love. And addressing the Traditionalists in our Church, the Pope said “Every person, without exception, should be able to feel at home, and never rejected.” He added that the Latin Mass deserve "a place in the Church."

POLITICS, DIVORCE & QUINCEANERA. This week, Pope Benedict also clarified that as part of the Laity's need to instill Christ in the world, Christian laypeople have as part of their vocation the participation in politics. He likewise rejected easier divorce rules, saying the Roman Catholic Church could not recognize "irregular unions" of Catholics who divorce and remarry outside the church. And from the USCCB, a document is published this week that covers the ritual blessing for the Quinceanera, the coming-of-age celebration for Hispanic girls on their 15th birthday.

YOUTH BIBLE READING. After the Second Vatican Council, American Catholics dusted off their family Bibles and began charting the unfamiliar territory of personal Bible reading. And now Catholic youths are attempting to catch up to adults in reading Scripture. Leading this charge is Mark Hart, executive vice president for Life Teen. Popularly known as "Bible Geek," he shares his love of Scripture with today’s teens.

PRAYING FOR HEALING? Touched by an angel? A new survey of the USA's religious beliefs and practices finds 55% of all adults — including one in five of those who say they have no religion — believe they have been protected from harm by a guardian angel. Given this new reality, many families of sick people are struggling with how they can discuss God with their physician. We bring you the advice and tips from several physicians who study faith and medicine.

STORIES OF HOPE. A well known theologian explains how life is valuable at all stages by using a crumpled twenty dollar bill as a valuable teaching aid. And in another reflective story, we look at the Buzzard, the Bat and the Bumble Bee to illustrate inportant life lessons that can be gleamed from the flight patterns of these creatures of the sky.

YOUTH, VIDEO GAMES AND PARENTING. When to back off, when to step in? What we need to understand is that our job as parents is not to finish our kids or produce perfect kids. It's to start our kids. Take the case of video games. A recent survey shows 97 percent of young Americans -- girls included -- play video games. This illustrate just how ingrained video games have become in our youth culture. However, another study shows these games can actually make your kids better citizens. Can playing "Madden" or "World of Warcraft" encourage your kid to be more engaged in public life? Believe it or not, the answer is yes. And love it or not, Mom and Dad, technology isn’t going away. We bring you 5 Tech secrets all parents need to know.

Another busy week in our Catholic world. Have a blessed and safe new week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

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