Thursday, March 5, 2009

"This is my beloved Son. Listen to him."

"This is my beloved Son. Listen to him."
Issue Date: March 8, 2009
Second Sunday in Lent (L2B)

BURNING QUESTION: Is Jesus and God the Same?
FEATURED BLOG: A Priest Who Transformed A Parish
VOCATION NEWS: Hard Times Boost Ranks of Religious Order
PASTORAL HISPANA: La transfiguración, testimonio de 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. It's the Second Sunday of Lent and since Lent is about sacrifice, it’s fitting that the first reading recounts one of the most famous sacrifices of all time - Abraham sacrifices his son Isaac. But what kind of parent would meekly comply with an order to kill his only child? What kind of God would ask such a thing? Disturbing questions arise from today’s first reading, which opens: “God put Abraham to the test.”

And in the Gospel, the story moves from the desert to the mountain. In the Transfiguration, Jesus the comfort showed himself as God the infinite fire. Fr. John Foley, S. J. explains this in "Light from Light." From the heavens, God's voice speaks of Jesus saying He is “the Father’s son, the Beloved.” Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS says we can say that as easily as we say our own name, but what does it really mean to you? Fr. Phil Bloom explains that there is a mystery inside each one of us - the mystery of the image of God. Open your heart to God. He can give a glimpse of the mystery of Jesus - and the human person.

From the heavens, God again speaks of Jesus, "Listen to Him." Fr. Demetrius R. Dummy, says we must realize that these words are directed to each one of us. We need to take very seriously the implications of such a command from God. God wants us to look at a meeting with Him as something out of this world. Fr. James Gilhooley tells us that we come to church to worship God before whom the angels are advised to veil their faces. But unfortunately, too many of us bring a laid-back air to our Sunday worship. Reminding us that the real mountain we have to climb is the mountain of faith, Fr. Joseph Pelligrino says We are called to trust in Jesus when we need him the most. And Father Cusick adds that "Holiness is the best defense." And the strength of a holy life is possessing and living Christ's own life.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE. From Los Angeles, comes a reminder about how easy it is to forget about those who are really are the heart of the Church's mission -- parish priests. Here's a story about a priest who transformed a parish. Plus we have an article about one woman who has had the rare, joyful and privileged opportunity to pastor a Catholic parish as a laywoman. The ministry is called by different names - pastoral administrators, parish directors, parish life directors - and they serve under the supervision of the diocese in parishes where priests are not readily available.

HEDONISM, MORALS AND MONEY. Pleasure is often sought in strange places, but even when it is not, hedonism is a hard taskmaster. Ralph McInerny tackles the issue in "The Hazards of Hedonism." Our Lord said, "Love God and love your neighbor. All the law and the prophets hang on these two." In "Morals and Money," Fr. Dwight Longenecker asks us to consider what if our money men loved God and loved their neighbors? Think how different things would be.

And from a parish in Northern California, Lionel Valdellon talks about how one day at morning Mass the priest brought up Jesus' question to his apostles, "Who do you say I am?" Then he poses the very same question to his congregation. There was a surprising number of people ready with heartfelt answers. All of them, sincere answers. Each of them, a homily waiting to unfold.

A POLL ON CONFESSION. Fr. John Zuhlsdorf talks about the hard realities that revolve around the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Then he invites everyone to join a poll: When was the last time you went to Confession?

VATICAN NEWS. Pope Benedict XVI released last week his Papal Message for the 2009 season of Lent. And it focuses on Fasting. Also this week, the Holy Father recalled the importance of angels in the life of Christ. He urged pastors to uphold the Faith's simplicity, saying their vocation enables them to have a profound knowledge of people. And speaking to the youth, he tells them, "The Church is counting on you." He urges them to be "Envoys of God's Love." The Bishop of Modena also urged all youth to give up SMS texting every Friday during Lent as part of their Fasting sacrifices.

SIGNS OF THE TIMES. The hard times are forcing many "From Executive Pay to Hourly Wage." One such person from Phoenix lost his $70,000 a year job as the security manager for a Fortune 500 company. Now he is grateful for the $12 an hour he makes at a friend’s janitorial services company. And since money doesn’t grow on trees, here’s 25 unique ways to earn quick cash when you need it right now. And if you're looking for the best job markets, here's "The 10 best U.S. cities to find a job in 2009." Madison, Wis., called ‘recession-proof,’ tops the list of places to get hired.

BE INSPIRED. Joshua Bell is one of the top classical violinists in the U.S. As part of an experiment, he dressed up like a down-and-out musician and played his heart out for alms at a Washington DC Metro station. Did his world class performance elicit generous donations from unknowing passersby? Read the story and find out. We also bring you the story of a young man named Kyle and the inspiring revelation he made during his valedictory address at Georgetown University's medical school. And be inspired by the New York Jets' quarterback Kellen Clemens who tells fellow men at a Catholic conference how he uses the "spiritual armor" of his faith.

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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