Thursday, August 13, 2009

"The bread that I will give is my flesh."

Catholic Living Today with
Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (20B)
Issue Date: August 16, 2009

BURNING QUESTION: Half a Communion?
FEATURED BLOG: Duty before Holiness
VOCATION NEWS: When your daughter becomes a sister…
PASTORAL HISPANA: Un Pan Que Resucita Muertos

Dear Friends,

"How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” One’s sympathies easily go with the people who ask this question in this Sunday’s Gospel, struggling to understand what Jesus meant by offering as “bread” his “flesh for the life of the world.” Our Discussion Questions will help guide your bible study sessions this week with your family, friends and church groups.

This week we come to the climax of John 6. John 6 is about sustenance. It is about eating. It is about nourishment. It is about the Eucharist. Fr. Thomas Rosica reminds us that "We are what we eat." We become what we receive in the Eucharist. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino calls it the Dynamic Presence. When we receive the Eucharist,Jesus transforms us. Instead of the food taking on our life, we take on the life of the Lord.

Dr. Marcellino d'Ambrosio reminds us that God didn’t create us simply to exist. This Sunday’s scripture readings tell us about the feast and urge us to “seize the day” and not let the festival pass us by. We can eat the bread which Christ calls “true food,” the blood which he makes “true drink.” Fr. John Foley, S. J. tells us that these are what will nourish the moment-by-moment course of our lives, if we let them. It is the Eucharist, according to Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B., which will certainly help us to be more thoughtful and compassionate and forgiving. But this cannot happen without our own serious commitment to love and service of others. It is the very same Jesus who alone, Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS adds, can lead us through the valley of the shadow of death into the joys of eternal life.

Fr. James Gilhooley tells us that it is not Jesus who needs us. It is we who need Him. And so Father Cusick preaches us that when some of his own beloved people rejected him, Christ did not change his teaching or water it down. He watched them leave with sadness. He made them free out of love, and out of love he preserved their freedom to reject him and lose their salvation. Jesus teaches that salvation involves baptism and reception of his Body and Blood. But, Fr. Phil Bloom strongly reminds us how we are to accept the Eucharist - in a state of grace.

Finally, in a reflection of the First Reading, Fr. Ron Rolheiser talks about the keys to the wisdom that Jesus revealed. In "The Jesus Code – Unraveling The Secret," he says the gospels tell us that we are “inside” or “outside” the true circle of love, depending upon whether or not we grasp this wisdom.

VOCATION STORIES. We are coming up to that time of the year when a small-but-growing number of young men and young women (and the not-so-young as well) hug their weeping family members and then step away joyfully into another world, the world of spiritual vocation. "When your daughter becomes a sister…" is a touching look into the lives of these special families. And according to a new portrait of Catholic religious life released this week, the newest and next generation of priests, brothers, sisters and nuns who belong to Roman Catholic religious orders in the U.S. are not only more ethnically diverse than their predecessors. They are also more tradition-bound.

HEALTH CARE & PRO-LIFE. The Health Care Reform discussions continue to rage nationwide. And Denver's Archbishop Charles Chaput says the whole meaning of “health care” would be subverted by any plan that involves mandated abortion access or abortion funding. He urges all Catholics to "act now to ensure health care reform respects sanctity of life." Also this week, Eunice Kennedy Shriver passed away at the age of 88. It is important to note that although other members of the Kennedy family abandoned their pro-life beliefs as their political stock rose, Eunice Kennedy Shriver never did. And for that, pro-life advocates are mourning the passing of the woman who founded Special Olympics.

DUTY OR HOLINESS? You've heard the stories of people in church ministry treating others with scorn in the name of getting more prayer time, parents hardly seeing their children and spouses spending more time with prayer groups than with one another. In "Duty before Holiness," one church-going lady found rest and peace in the knowledge that what God wants first and foremost is that she simply, lovingly fulfill the basic duties He's set in front of her as a wife and a mother. It's an eye-opener for all people in ministry work.

In other news, Catholic elementary schools aren’t letting the bad economy prevent them from pulling out all the stops to recruit and retain students. Whether it’s posting roadside billboards, hosting open houses or giving personalized tours, school leaders are engaging in creative marketing to spread the word about the value of Catholic education. From Mexico, a reknowned reasearcher and physicist concluded that the centuries-old image Our Lady of Guadalupe on the shirt of Juan Diego is ‘completely beyond' scientific explanation.

BACK TO COLLEGE. Finally, as you (or your child) head back to college, make sure you read "College Student Diet 101" and get a simple but useful crash course on what you can safely eat and what to avoid. Here's a sampler: Don't just cut off mold and eat the rest of bread or soft cheeses. Check out the rest of the diet guide.

Finally, do you have family or friends who are Fallen-Away Catholics? Reach them with videos. Three award-winning Catholic informational videos have now been made into a CD to share with others. Find out about the videos here.

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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