Thursday, January 15, 2009

“We have found the Messiah”

“We have found the Messiah”
Issue Date: January 18, 2009
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (2B)

BURNING QUESTION: What is Holiness?
FEATURED BLOG: 10 rules for handling disagreement like a Christian
VOCATION NEWS: A father and son swim the Tiber -- and become priests
PASTORAL HISPANA: Queremos conocer a Jesús

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 what is called Ordinary Time. In the Gospel reading, we are told about how John the Baptist points to Jesus and says, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’

As we begin Ordinary Time, Fr. Alex McAllister tells us it is appropriate that we start by reflecting on our own calling and mission in the world. Father Cusick tells us this week that the Church teaches that the faithful cannot be silenced, that the impulse to spread the Gospel, to proclaim Christ as Messiah, is not an option, but rather an obligation.

In the Gospel story this sunday, Jesus called two people and chose them to be his disciples. Fr. Phil Bloom says like a great director, selecting exactly the right person for a part, God chooses you or me. Do you sense in your insides a kind voice whispering your invitation? Fr. John Foley, S. J. says this voice is calling you by your real name, calling you to be best friends with the Christ of God. While Fr. Joseph Pellegrino preaches that all of us receive calls from the Lord. The question becomes: Do we recognize his number? Sometimes, like the disciples in the Gospel, we recognize the Lord and follow. Sometimes, we don’t recognize His number and can’t be bothered with answering.

The second reading of Sunday's Mass, according to Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B., shows us that a disciple's personal union with Christ through his Spirit is the foundation of choices about moral behavior. While Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio emphasizes this Sunday’s second reading from St. Paul makes clear that all Christians have a vocation. And the very first call we have is not so much to do something, but to be something.

Mark Shea says one of the most curious facts about prayer is that we do it at all. Believers often overlook this fact because prayer is such an integral part of life that it’s just part of our mental furniture. So "Why Pray at All?"

PARISH LIFE. When pro-life messages and actions are consistent and regular, pro-life fruits are sweet and abundant. The 4 1/2- year-old parish of St. Helena of the True Cross of Jesus Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, Texas, is seeing several ripen. Check out their story. And if you've seen tensions in your church about crying babies at Mass, check out this parent's " Open letter to the old men who glare at the loud baby at Mass." And for the occasions when conflicts arise among yourselves, Bishop Allen H. Vigneron of the Diocese of Oakland offers "10 rules for handling disagreement like a Christian."

More than 4,000 people gathered in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall to hear Pope Benedict XVI explore St. Paul's teaching on "the Church as Bride of Christ." And if there ever were times when you tell yourself you "don't get the Mass," remind yourself to get back into the Sacramental mind-set. The Mass, the Eucharist, is a sacrament. If you don't "get" the whole sacramental dimension of life , you're not going to "get" the Mass either, or any of the other sacraments, or Jesus, or the Church.

FAMILY AND LIFE. Pope Benedict said this week that "borders shouldn't split families" as he defended the personal rights of immigrants. As he continued his plea for an end to the Gaza conflict, he also said that "Children Have the Right to Security." And consultant for the Pontifical Council for the Laity, said this week that the Family is a School of Love and "Respect for Life Begins at Home."

The Bishop of Santa Rosa, CA urges Catholics to take action against the "Freedom of Choice Act." more commonly known as FOCA. He calls it “A bad and harmful law.” More on the family, Related to this, Pontifical Preacher Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa explains that the Christian idea of matrimony and family does not just need "defending." The most important thing is the task of Christians rediscovering it and living it with their actions, more than with their words.

STORIES OF HOPE. Here's a story that meditates on the word Guidance. One will see the word "dance" at the end of the word. I remember reading that doing God's will is a lot like dancing. Plus you will be moved by "The Folded Napkin - A Truckers Story." It's a story about Stevie, a teen with Down Syndrome and a cafeteria owner's apprehension at offering him a job despite the assurances of his placement counselor that he would be a good, reliable busboy.

FAREWELL, RICARDO MONTALBAN. Fr. Willy Raymond, National Director of the Family Theater Productions advised us this week that actor Ricardo Montalbán died Wednesday, January 14, at his home in Los Angeles at age 88. He was a longtime friend and supporter of the organization, His career was launched with musicals for MGM, but he will also be most remembered for his role as Mr. Roarke in TV’s Fantasy Island. And finally, here's a Scam Alert: How Safe Is Online Banking? Nearly half of Internet users bank online, enjoying the convenience of 24/7 access to their account and the ability — theoretically — to quickly spot fraudulent activity and protect against identity theft. Here's the real deal and tips on how you cna protect yourself.

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

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally P. Arida

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