Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar" 10/19/08

"Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar"
Issue Date: October 19, 2008 (29A)

BURNING QUESTION: Was the Blessed Mother a Virgin Forever?
FEATURED BLOG: Scripture Alone: What Does the Bible Say?
STORIES OF RECONCILIATION: Mission and Ministry in a Changing Social Order
PASTORAL HISPANA: Dad al Cesar que es del Cesar y a Dios lo que es de Dios

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's Gospel is the famous story where Jesus tells the Pharisees to "repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God." And in the heat of the current US election fever, it has brought out a lot of discussion this week about the way we Christians are expected to merge our political and moral thoughts to the issues that matter.

Fr. John Foley says there seems to be two realms, God’s and Caesar’s. Which do you live in? Father Clyde A. Bonar explains further that we are both a Christian and a Citizen. And Jesus charges us to live our Christian faith in every sphere of life — in business, in our civic duty, in our personal lives.

Father Phil Bloom explains that as Christians we cannot escape the duty of political involvement. Whether opposing the culture of death or any tyranny of the political order, Father Cusick reminds us that the Christian gives first allegiance to the laws of God. When faced with challenging issues, Fr. Philip Merdinger challenges you to ask yourself, "Is it lawful before God?"

It can be intimidating to get involved in today's controversial issues - even if it's just writing a "letter to the editor." But Fr. Campion P. Gavaler assures us that Christ keeps his promise
to be "God with us."
He is the same God that, according to Father Joseph Pellegrino, used a pagan, Cyrus, and returned his people from exile. Today He uses us to return the world to its
natural state of union with its Creator
. And to make this happpen, Father Alex McAllister says we need to constantly re-examine our faith and we need to study the Gospel.

ELECTIONS 2008. Two and a half weeks to the 2008 Presidential elections and many catholics are still undecided. But one thing is sure: most Americans want abortion restricted. A recent survey says 92% favor limits on legal abortions. Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio writes that these are times when Christians have a duty boldly to insist that while Caesar is owed his due, we won’t stand by and silently watch him step on God’s toes. Bishop Robert Vasa, Diocese of Baker, reminds all that as you form conscience to discern the issues these election, know that not all issues are equal. And Cheryl Dickow posted a parishWorld blog with a very pointed and inquiring question, "Can a Catholic Vote Anti-Life?"

ECONOMY BLUES. The economy continues its uncertain swings and everyone is worried and anxious. For many people, God is just some kind of vague emergency service to be called upon when the going gets tough or when we have some kind of need. "Why Turn to Jesus when we are Suffering?" offers some faithful insights. Bo Sanchez has news for you, "God Has Nothing To Do With Our Poverty!" And when hard times hit, what should you tell your kids? Finally, we offer you a way to shift out of neutral. It's "4 Easy Steps To Get Motivated and Get Moving In Life."

THE BIBLE AND THE SYNOD. We continue with our coverage of the Bible in light of the Bible Synod currently being held in Rome. And so far, the Bishops have summarized their proposals on the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church into 19 items. Check out the list here. Also, if you're one of the many who struggle with the Bible, we offer you one of the most powerful articles we've seen on how to understand the Bible. This is a must-read. From the Vatican, Cardinal Bertone offers "A Secret for Making the Youth Read the Bible." And here's an interesting Bible question you've probably heard from your Protestant friends, "Was the Blessed Virgin Mary a Virgin Forever?"

In other news, Pope Benedict clarified this week that the Church isn't a human association as he notes St. Paul's emphasis on God's role. Plus a most common question among American CAtholics is answered here: Are civilly married couples considered cohabiting if not married in church?

STORIES OF HOPE. When Catholic music composer Jon Niven let God in, his apostolate took off. "Getting a LIFT From the Blessed Sacrament" tells his story. "Awesome Caller ID" is a stirring story about a pastor who called his wife from work late one night and the unexpected blessing that followed.

Finally, if you're looking to download Christian music to your MP3 player, we found some online sites where you can load your device with songs for minimum cost.

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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