Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"Tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you" 9/28/08

"Tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you"
Issue Date: September 28, 2008 (26A)

BURNING QUESTION: "What is the Communion of Saints?"
FEATURED BLOG: Form your Conscience. Vote your Conscience!
PASTORAL HISPANA: ¿Palabras o Acciones?

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 talk about the parable of the two sons. One said "No" and did what he was told anyway. One said "Yes"and did nothing.

Father Cusick says many people profess to be scandalized by the hypocrites, backbiters, gossips and slanderers who go to church each week. Anyone who professes to be a Roman Catholic and yet does not worship according to the perfect prayer of Christ in the Sacrifice of the Mass on Sundays is the equal of the Pharisees. But Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. says it should be obvious that Jesus is not suggesting that we ought to despise ritual and disregard moral codes. It is just as obvious that he not only wants us to say the right things like the first son. Because, as Fr. James Gilhooley explains, in the final roundup, it is only by deeds that we prove what we are. We should be like lighthouses - by definition they make no noise, they just shine.

Fr. Phil Bloom explains that there are two paths: one leads to sadness and one leads to purpose. Yet God welcomes those who say "yes" into his kingdom even if we used to be notorious sinners, Clyde A. Bonar explains. In "Why be good?" Fr. John Foley, S. J. talks about how sin really does mess up your life, letting it come apart at the seams. And in a moving podcast homily, Deacon Alex Jones talks about the seemingly unfair actions of God.

MOTHER TERESA, PADRE PIO AND MORE. This past Tuesday was the feast day of Padre Pio. So we bring you the secret story of Padre Pio's stigmata, a volume detailing the report of a Vatican investigator into the wounds of the Passion that the friar suffered. We also bring you an eye-opening interview with Mother Teresa. This is an excerpt of one of the last interviews with Mother Teresa in 1989. It offers a deep look at the working faith of this modern day saint.

From the Vatican, the Pope said everyone should "reconcile your differences before approaching the altar." He asks, "How then can we present ourselves at God's altar divided and distant from one another?" From the Philippines comes news that the Catholic country could be facing a 2-child policy soon. And Filipino-Americans are joining with Catholics from their native country to fight proposed legislation that would promote contraception and limit family size, while punishing conscientious objectors. And from Japan, it appears the country is going to see the first Catholic to ever become its prime minister take office very soon.

US PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS. I have never seen this country more polarized than this election cycle. And political discourse among friends and family have been hotter than ever. To bring civility back among friends, we thought we should bring you this: How To Debate Politics Like A Gentleman. Remember the old adage, “Never discuss politics or religion?” Well, those exactly are the hot topics this year. And Catholics are in the middle of it all. As much as 23% of Americans declare themselves as Catholics. Given that many of the defining political issues partake of a religious or moral nature, could there really be a Catholic Vote? And Fr. John Corapi SOLT, STD brings you this message: Form Your Conscience, Vote Your Conscience! To those who say otherwise, he asks, "Since when is Christian thought not permitted to influence a country that was founded on Christian principles? We share in the good and the evil of those we place in office."

STORIES OF HOPE. This week we bring you two true stories of Life. The first is about a man who deals with the grief of a son who was still-born. Many years later, he still mourns for the his baby that was not to be. And the second story is about a father and his autistic son who were washed out to the ocean. Initially they were together. Then the ocean currents pulled them apart. It's a touching story of survival and fatherhood.

TIGHTEN YOUR BELTS. As the US economy coughs, the whole world sneezes. And Benedict XVI is urging leaders to fight against extreme poverty, even if it means greater sacrifice as many countries face these economic difficulties. In the US, conspicuous consumption is out and frugality is in. An emerging national trend show more people now cook their own meals and eat at home to save money. And we bring you a very timely article: Penny Pinching: Advice for the Tightwads Among Us. Finally, we ask you to join us and Deacon Greg Kandra in "You are our Rock, O Lord": a prayer in times of economic crisis.

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

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

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