Thursday, April 23, 2009

"Peace be with you"

Issue Date: April 26, 2009
Third Sunday of Easter (Easter3B)

BURNING QUESTION: Is the Mass a Sacrifice or is it a Banquet?
FEATURED BLOG: Small Groups, Catholic Style
VOCATION NEWS: US Ordination Class Exhibits Cultural Diversity
PASTORAL HISPANA: Jesús Resucitado les da pruebas que está vivo

Dear Friends,

This Sunday, our Readings talk about the journey of the two disciples to Emmaus where they encounter our risen Lord. Why they set out on this trip is unclear. Our Discussion Questions this week will help you talk about this Gospel story in your family bible study sessions or at your small faith community groups.

Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS says it is likely that the journey for the two disciples was more a trying to get away from something than trying to get somewhere. Jesus appeared and walked with them. But they did not recognize Him until He broke bread with them. Father Cusick explains that at this point in Emmaus, Jesus gave his Body and Blood as he celebrated the Eucharist. There the disciples encountered the Easter Christ: "they had come to know Jesus in the breaking of bread."

BREAKING BREAD. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB says when we break bread, it is a means of sharing in the body of Christ. Fr. Joseph Pelligrino adds that this is why we come together on Sundays - to meet Christ in the Scripture and the Eucharist. We come because we enjoy being in His presence just as the disciples at Emmaus enjoyed His presence. As an aside, here's our related Burning Question for the week: Is the Mass a Sacrifice or is it a Banquet? And check out this interesting blog about "Small Groups, Catholic Style" and how it relates to our celebration of the Mass.

NOT A GHOST. The two disciples then ran all the way back to Jerusalem and the other apostles where Jesus again appears in their midst. As might be imagined, explains Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen, the disciples are spooked by the appearance of someone they buried just a few days before. "They were startled and frightened." Marcellino D'Ambrosio explains the gnostic mindset prevailing among Jews during the heyday of the Roman Empire and why Jesus had to insist that he was no ghost.

Jesus kindly pointed out to the assembled apostles that ghosts do not have flesh and bones. Fr. John Foley explains how our Lord showed them His hands and feet, with the wounds of the cross now overlaid by God’s healing love. He even asks for something to eat - ghosts can't do that. Abbot Philip Lawrence, OSB tells us that like the apostles, part of our Christian experience at times is about disillusionment and really wondering if God is indeed present in our lives. And Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, OSB explains why Luke's gospel together with his Acts of the Apostles may well be called the good news of the Holy Spirit.

CONVERSION & FRIENDLY PERSUASION. Here's a compelling piece which reminds us that the most powerful defense of the faith lies not in what we say, but in how we live. Abel Escobedo, who converted to the Church last Easter, is testament to this. He describes his old self thus, "I was the worst. I was a devil." Another convert in the news this week is well-known anti-Jesus British author A.N. Wilson who announced in the pages of The Daily Mail that he, after years of running from the Hound of Heaven, has come back to the Christian faith. "My own return to faith has surprised no one more than myself," he exclaims.

These conversions confirm Pope Benedict's affirmation this week about the continually relevant message of St. Anselm - that the journey in search of God on earth never ends. The Pontiff also said this week that Christian charitable action, more than mere philanthropy, is a form of evangelization, based on Gospel values and the desire to share them with others.

FIVE THINGS CATHOLIC & MORE. Here's an interesting list of "Five Things Every Catholic Should Know (and many don't)." What a great read. We also have a story called "Giving Jesus us a Hand" that tells how the devotion to the Infant Jesus of Prague began. And “To heal an open wound,” Vatican officials express hope that a new book will clear up “tragic and reciprocal misunderstanding” over Church’s treatment of Galileo several centuries ago.

MORE CATHOLIC NEWS. The Colorado House this week voted 33-32 to repeal the state's death penalty. And the lawmaker that cast the tie-breaking vote credits Archbishop Chaput for his vote. From Philadelphia, a nun who works with the homeless has made it to Time Magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world. And a survey reports that the U.S. ordination class of 2009 shows a wide diversity in culture and background, including converts and men of all careers and ages.

Here's good news. Many young Catholics are volunteering more of their time than their parents. "A lot of adults don't think we care and see my generation as just rebellious and self-centered," one teen said, "But there are a lot of teenagers who care." And if you've ever wondered “Where’s a good place to study theology?” This article will help you decide.

HOLLYWOOD FAITH & RED MEAT. Guided by his Catholic faith and inspired by prayer, actor Chris Kramer is quickly making inroads into Hollywood. “I think, first and foremost, I am a disciple of God. Second, I’m an actor who is trying to inspire people.” Really inspiring stuff. And if you like your grilled red meat burned or charred, U.S. researchers reports you have a 60 percent higher risk of pancreatic cancer. Food for thought.

RECESSION IN OUR PARISHES. Finally, American Catholic pointed out this week that during economic hard times, people traditionally turn to their faith. It means more people will be interacting more closely with the parish. And the parish Web site can be a relatively inexpensive way to strengthen the bonds of communication.

But the trick to having a successful parish Web site is to keep it fresh with content, maintained at least weekly. Also, Web donations are a growing area of online activity. And while many in the Church may recoil at an “online collection basket,” the fact remains that some of your parishioners are making online donations to other causes they support.

PARISHWORLD CAN HELP. Find out why 97% of all Catholic parish websites are based on a "failed model" with virtually no readership. Ask us how we can assist your parish with "A Superior Alternative to your Parish Website."

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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