Thursday, March 19, 2009

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son"

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son"
Issue Date: March 22, 2009
Fourth Sunday in Lent (L4B)

Dear Friends,

This Sunday's Readings contains the famous John 3:16 which speaks of how much God loved the world. Some ask that if He really loves the world how can He condemn anyone to eternal punishment? If you've ever stumbled trying to explain that to anyone, check out our issue this week starting with the Discussions Questions you can use for personal reflection or for your bible study group.

Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. says this Gospel refers to our Baptism and the simple fact that those baptized as infants must "claim" their own baptisms as adults. Fr. Orly Sapuay. MS says we were made “bearers of the light” by our baptism into Christ Jesus. With these in mind, Fr. Phil Bloom tells us that Jesus did not come to condemn, but to give life. That means returning to him, resolving to sin no more. Father Cusick echoes the same sentiment that in Christ "there is no condemnation."

"Listen to the Light..." is Fr. John Foley's message. Listen to God this Lent. Let love blossom and grow. Fr. Joseph Pelligrino says the Gospel makes us out to be "God’s Works of Art" and he prays that we "may be clearly seen as done in God.” Fr. Thomas Rosica explains how Jesus speaks to Nicodemus of the need to experience the presence of God and offer oneself to Him. Finally, Fr. James Gilhooley uses the gospel to tell us, "It is so much easier to become a Christian when you aren't one than to become one when you assume you already are." Appropriately, our Burning Question this week is "Do Catholics believe our salvation is a sure thing?" Dig deep into your soul on this one and join the discussion.

MIDPOINT OF LENT. We are halfway through Lent and Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik takes Lent's call for repentance to a new level in "I Am Sorry." From the Vatican, the preacher the the Pontifical household, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, delivers his first lenten sermon and highlights the Holy Spirit's role in the Creation. Lifeteen's Mark Hart talks about holiness through vegies with his "No Meat on Fridays." And as you might have noticed in your own parishes, church fish fries are still reeling them in every Friday of Lent. Even during this recession.

POPE IN AFRICA. Pope Benedict arrived this week on his first trip to Africa — the fastest-growing region for the Roman Catholic church. Once there, he offered the riches of God's kingdom to Africa, giving hope to the continent in its times of hardship. We offer a feature on Ethiopia, an astonishing Christianity on African soil. He also preached about St. Joseph's fidelity and total dedication. And how the saint lived his fatherhood fully.

ELSEWHERE IN The WORLD. A Philippine bishop lemented that corruption in his country has become family-based. He offers hope, "When fear of God is brought back to the family, we will be a better nation.” From Alaska we learn how its Catholics are learning to adopt practices that might seem odd to those who have never experienced being a Catholic in the far reaches of the Anchorage Archdiocese.

NUMBER CRUNCHING. Here's an interesting and detailed look at our true Catholic numbers over the last 225 years. For starters, there were over 1.2 billion baptisms in 225 years. And The estimate for new Catholics every 24 hours? 28,000. There's more where it came from. Check it out.

CATHOLIC MEDIA. The word is out that the Vatican is preparing another document on the Media - the first one in 17 years - to help the Church respond to the opportunities that the new medium of the internet offers the mission of Church. And from Hollywood, the 16th Catholics in Media Associates (CIMA) Awards will meet on March 29, 2009 at the Beverly Hills Hotel to honor Louis Gossett, Jr. with a lifetime achievement award. “Doubt” and “Without A Trace” are also being honored at the event.

STORIES OF HOPE. Bo Sanchez is back with great advise: "Do You Want to be Very Happy?" And here's a web-bouncing email that a website claims is a true story. "Tommy's Search for God" is one Fr. John Powell's narration of his years of friendship with one of his Loyola University Theology of Faith students named Tommy. It will move you.

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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