Thursday, August 27, 2009

"But their hearts are far from me"

Catholic Living Today with
Twenty-second in Sunday in Ordinary Time (22B)
Issue Date: August 30, 2009

BURNING QUESTION: Volunteer: "Who, Me?"
FEATURED BLOG: Tradition, Tradition
VOCATION NEWS: The Church Needs a Few Good Confessors
PASTORAL HISPANA: Tradicion, Tradicion
Dear Friends,

In this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus and his disciples were confronted by the Parisees for eating with unclean hands in contradiction with the Jewish tradition of their elders. Our Discussion Questions will be your guide as you reflect on the Sunday readings with your family, friends or church group.

Tradition, Tradition
The Protestant Reformers thought that the key to renewing the church was cutting it loose from dead traditions. But when Jesus criticizes the Pharisees in this Sunday’s gospel, was He really taking a swipe at tradition in general? Was he preaching “sola scriptura," the Bible as the ONLY authority? Dr. Marcellino d'Ambrosio explains.

Dangers of Careful but Superficial Observance
The Pharisees serve as clear examples of the grave danger of careful but superficial observance. Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm warns us about being scrupulously concerned with all kinds of pious practices. But at the same time we may be seriously lacking in compassion and forgiveness. Fr. Thomas Rosica likewise cautions us about being modern-day Pharisees who believe that salvation is ultimately up to what the sinner adds to Christ's work.

But Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS offers a more pointed admonition. No matter how much we do in God’s service, regardless of how active we are in our churches, God will not overlook a sinful heart. His desire is that we devote ourselves to knowing and loving Him with all our hearts. Father Cusick reminds us that there will be no forgetting on the day of judgment, for then the secrets of all hearts will be revealed.

To care for Those Who are Helpless
"Evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance and folly," These are the sins Jesus listed in this Sunday's Gospel. According to Fr. Phil Bloom, Jesus put folly at the end of the list because all sin leads to folly. It is the darkening of one's intellect, or as one writer put it, "Sin makes you stupid."

Jesus is telling the people that in order to give value to external, religious laws. they have to live also from the inner meaning of life, Fr. John Foley says this is the Gospel lesson this Sunday. Joseph Pellegrino explains further that all we have to do to be tied to God, to be religious, is to care for those who are helpless and avoid the defilement of the world. And God will do the rest. So who’s a real Christian and who’s not? Fr. Ron Rolheiser says the deepest answer in the gospels would be: The person who can love an enemy, bless those who curse her, and forgive everyone, even a murderer.

Sen. Edward Kennedy, Catholic
This Wednesday, August 26, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy passed away with his whole family praying around him. During his lifetime he championed some views that many have construed to be contrary to Church teachings. People have raised questions about his practice of the Catholic faith while alive as well as his remarriage, wondering if there was an annulment. The clan's priest said the senator died in peace with God, "The truth is, he had expressed to his family that he did want to go to heaven. He did want to die and he did want to go."

In light of his death, some may wonder what qualifies a person for a Catholic burial. Here is what Canon law says, if it helps the curious among you. We pray the good senator is in the hands of our Lord. Judgment is God's work, not ours.

New Mass Translations & More
In a few months time, the customary chorus of perfectly synchronized voices at Mass promises to be disrupted:A new translation is almost ready and various texts said by the congregation are set to change. To prepare U.S. Catholics for the word shifts, the nation's bishops have offered a side-by-side comparison chart of the liturgical changes.

From Denver, Archbishop Chaput reiterated that Health-care reform is vital, that's why America's bishops have supported it for decades. But he added that fast-tracking a flawed, complex effort this fall, in the face of so many growing and serious concerns, is bad and imprudent. From Sidney, site of last year's World Youth Day, majority of its attendees report a positive and lasting WYD impact on their lives. While in Oregon, the seal of teh Sacrament of Reconciliation goes on trial as the Church and the State face off in court about the secrecy of the Confession an inmate made to a Catholic priest.

Of Priests & Nuns
After seven years of prayer and discernment, a community of Episcopal nuns and their chaplain will be received into the Roman Catholic Church during a Sept. 3 Mass celebrated by Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien of Baltimore. And from the Vatican, the Pope said the Church needs "wise and holy spiritual teachers" who are able not only to hear confessions, but also to educate consciences.

Same-sex Attracted Catholic Puts Faith First
Homosexuality is a topic that's hard to discuss - or hardly discussed - in our Catholic communities. Last week a Catholic newspaper ran an interview ran about with same-sex attracted Catholic, John Heard, a 28-year-old Australian. He talked about his awareness of his own same-sex attraction, his conversion to the Catholic Church and how these affected his faith and perspective on God. Since his conversion, Heard has become a powerful voice for the culture of life. "Make Us Worthy of the Promises of Christ" tells his story.

Long marriage, Long Life and Sugar
Losing a spouse to divorce or death is bad for your health, according to new research. A study of 8,652 people ages 51 to 61 found that those who were divorced or widowed — and had not remarried — had 20 percent more chronic health conditions. Those who stayed married longer, do live longer lives.

A spoonful of sugar? Americans are swallowing 22 teaspoons of sugar each day, and it's time to cut way back, the American Heart Association says. Most of that added sugar comes from soft drinks and candy — a whopping 355 calories and the equivalent of guzzling two cans of soda and eating a chocolate bar.

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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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