Thursday, April 16, 2009

"Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them"

Issue Date: April 19, 2009
Second Sunday of Easter (Easter2B)

BURNING QUESTION: What is Conscience?
FEATURED BLOG: Why not just get rid of the Old Testament?
RECONCILIATION NEWS: "I don't want to revenge!"
PASTORAL HISPANA: Jesús nos revela su divina misericordia

Dear Friends, The Catholic Church celebrates Divine Mercy Sunday this weekend. And it couldn't have come on a better day because our Sunday Gospel and related Discussion Questions talks about the most famous apostle story of Doubting Thomas. The apostle was not there to receive the Spirit and so he could not trust the good news that the other disciples shared with him. However, when he met Jesus later, everything changed and he allowed Jesus to become thenceforth the center of his life.

Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm says, "We must at all cost learn how to trust." That is the lesson of this gospel Story. Fr. Joseph Pelligrino explains that human doubt has a positive aspect that can lead to a living, active faith. Abbot Philip Lawrence, OSB talks about Thomas being pushed into a corner before he actually believes. He said we should pray that God would also push us into a corner so that we too can believe. And Fr. John Foley, S. J. asks us all a direct question, "Do you believe?" If we do, then we believe that love is the foundation of life. And Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS reflects on the resurrected Jesus and wonders why are the wounds still visible on the transfigured body of Jesus?

DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY. During the eight days (which the Church views as a single day) from Easter to this Sunday, we reflect on one event: the resurrection of Christ - and the Divine Mercy that flows from him. Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio reflects on the relationship betwen Divine Mercy Sunday and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Father Cusick preaches that when we celebrate Easter, we celebrate Confession. And we bring you the story of how a vision of Christ prompted a Man to devote his life to the Divine Mercy ministry.

SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION. In the first paragraph of the Sunday Gospel, Jesus says to the apostles, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven them; and those whose sins you retain, they are retained." Fr. Alex McAllister tells us that this is generally regarded as the foundation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is during this event when Jesus breathes upon them the Spirit of mercy and commissions them to be instruments of His Divine mercy. They are at last truly “apostles” for they are “sent out” for the forgiveness of sins.

GOING TO CONFESSION. Fr. Dwight Longenecker talks to us about why we do and should go to Confession. And if you haven't been to Confession in a long time,or just need a primer on how to make a proper Confession, here's "A Guide to the Sacrament of Confession."

A CHRISTIAN NATION. President Obama made headlines last week when he declared in Turkey that the US is not a Christian nation. Benedict XVI countered rightfully that the Church will never sink. He points out that while many think the Church is dying, or ought to be dead already, it continues on, held up by the hands of Christ. And a new survey of US Catholics reinforces the Pope's thoughts. A majority of US Catholics are mainly optimistic about their religion according to the new study.

SUSAN BOYLE, NEWT & THE CAPTAIN. Catholics made news headlines this week starting with the former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, who converted to Catholicism last week. Watch him testify to the faith in this video. You also have heard about the ship captain who was held hostage by Somali pirates this past week. See how his daring rescue left his Vermont parish overjoyed. And if you haven't heard of it by now, a 47-year-old Catholic church lady is new internet sensation after surprising Simon Cowell and company during last weekend's episode of Britain's Got Talent. At over 9 million views and counting, here is why Susan Boyle matters: "The beauty that matters is always on the inside."

STORIES OF HOPE. This tailgating motorist's story of "A Case of Mistaken Identity" will hit you hard. Read it to the end. Wow. And we present a man's life journey he calls "How to be Awesomely Holy."

DEBTS, GERMS AND THE OLD TESTAMENT. "Help! My debts are killing me!" If that sounds like you, then this story is for you. Also, if you're worried about colds, flu and other germs, go ahead and touch those doorknobs and elevator buttons. They're cleaner than the telephone, fresh laundry and sinks, a top expert advises.

Finally, let's face it. The Old Testament can be hard to take sometimes. Parts of it are full of famines, wars, people who should have known better doing terribly immoral things, a God that seems to be angry a lot. So, "Why Can't We Just Get Rid of It?" It's a great article. Go ahead and read it.

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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