Thursday, November 27, 2008

“Be watchful! Be alert!"

"For I was hungry and you gave me food"
Issue Date: November 23, 2008 (34A)

BURNING QUESTION: Do you invite the poor to your banquet?
FEATURED BLOG: This Thanksgiving, I am most thankful to God for ...
RECONCILIATION: This Advent, set the pace for Peace
PASTORAL HISPANA: Comienza Nuestra Esperanza

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 we begin another Advent season. For some it is a time of delight, waiting eagerly for Christmas. For others it is a dreaded time, as they worry about how they will pay for the gifts and meals they want to provide. Whatever our situation, the Scripture readings this Sunday help us to adopt a stance of faithful watching and waiting.

We know that Jesus' birth has happened already but also, in a surprising way, it has not happened at all. We are still mean to our neighbors. Fr. John Foley tells us that we need the birth of Jesus into our hearts. Each moment, each event of our life is a sign of the Lord's coming. Fr. Campion P. Gavaler reminds us that whatever the moment, we can say in faith that it is the Lord and he awaits our response of love and gratitude. While Father Cusick warns us that You Snooze, You Lose!"

But Advent, according to Fr. Alex McAllister, is also a season which looks forward - to the second coming of Christ at the end of time. And somehow these next four weeks, we must learn to live as if the Christ was crucified yesterday, rose this early morning, and will return for us at any hour. Quite a pointed message by Fr. James Gilhooley.

Fr. Joseph Pellegrino likens our spiritual life to driving a car. We can be going about our business but warning signs are often ignored. Temptation is there, but we don't have enough spiritual energy to resist. Fr. Phil Bloom, on the other hand, likens it to visiting the doctor. Many people avoid seeing the doctor, afraid of what he will tell them. But when a person does get the courage to go, the diagnosis can be a relief. It's the first step toward finding a cure. And reconciling with Jesus in the Sacrament of Confession is the cure.

CELEBRATING ADVENT. Many Catholic parishes are offering Penance services over the next four weeks. It would be a good exercise to read this next article before you go: 20 Tips For Making A Good Confession. Also, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher for the Pontifical household, discusses how there are many means for those looking for God's will to find it through meditation on Scripture, specifically the Readings we celebrate every Sunday at Mass. And you'll be surprised to know that Evangelical Christians are now adopting — and adapting — the rituals of Advent, the four weeks leading up to Christmas that are traditionally celebrated by Catholics.

THANKSGIVING. Is “Thanksgiving” Catholic? The history books will tell you that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the pilgrims in 1621. Not true. Catholics celebrated it with a Mass celebration about 80 years earlier. But one thing is sure. This feast is truly American. And the“moral history” of America is what we ought to ponder at Thanksgiving. For America is, was, and always will be a moral experiment—an experiment in our capacity to live freedom nobly.

Also, When you sit down with family and friends at Thanksgiving dinner and bow your heads to pray, what should you say? We have the article that displays the different prayers people are expressing for this feast. And while we should all make it a point to attend Mass on this special day, we should remember that Thanksgiving can’t be limited to Sunday Eucharist. We are called to develop a lifestyle of thanksgiving everyday. Ask yourself this, "Do you invite the poor to your banquet?" It's our Burning Question this week. So, as you take stock of your life, we ask you to complete this sentence: This Thanksgiving, I am most thankful to God for ... Click here to share your thoughts with us.

STRUGGLING WITH FAITH? It happens to all of us at some point in our lives. A college student asks, "I'm in college and my heart isn't into Church anymore. What now?" See the advise she received. And sometimes, we can be so enamored with Christ and feel so loved by Him, knowing that He is holding us through our difficulties. And then, in a split second, our A.D.D. kicks in and all of a sudden we are alone. Well, it just so happens that the Church has the prescription for us. It's listed here. Bo Sanchez wisely reminds us that despite everything, we need to remember that "God is a Happy God!"

ENJOYING THE HOLIDAYS. It's the day after Thanksgiving. You have a ton of leftovers from the night before and overnight family guests to feed for breakfast. What do you do? Check out this video tip. And sure, we know the holiday leaves us stuffed. But it's not just the extra calories that make us groggy. Here are the "Four Reasons Thanksgiving Makes Us Sleepy." And if you're like me, the fallin of the leaves means your allergy symptoms are starting to rise. For many people, fall is the worst time of year for symptoms such as frequent sneezing, runny nose and red, watery eyes. Fight Fall allergies. We show you how.

Another eventful week in our Catholic world. Have a great and blessed holiday weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida

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