Thursday, September 17, 2009

"If anyone wishes to be first"

"If anyone wishes to be first"
Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (25B), September 20, 2009

BURNING QUESTION: Has your Faith been under attack?
FEATURED BLOG: 9 Ways to Participate in Another's Sin
OCATION STORIES: Because It Takes Guts to Be a Priest.
PASTORAL HISPANA: Como lidiar con el escandalo

Dear Friends,

The Gospel passage in Sunday's Readings is the second of the Passion predictions of Jesus in Mark's Gospel. Jesus' announcement of his passion and death leaves the disciples without words. In the meantime, they argue who was the most important among them. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday bible study sessions with your family, friends and church groups. Click here to join our virtual Sunday bible study group.

"But they did not understand"

“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.” Jesus tried to break the news to his disciples. But they didn't understand. In fact, Fr. James Gilhooley says the apostles had no wish to hear of this dour subject. They wanted to hear only pleasant lines that promised them happy days, much like many of us do today.

The Pain of Envy

The disciples were were envious of each other and openly discussed who among them was the greatest. Jesus rebuked them, "If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all." Clearly, they still did not understand what true discipleship means. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino says Jesus was calling them - and us - to be his disciples, His true followers. He calls us to set aside our own desires for the sake of others.

Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS senses that the rivalry among the disciples still goes on even now amongst ourselves. He submits that we should take a second look at our parishes communities today and ask,“What are we arguing about?” Remember that it’s not what we do but what we are that is important. It’s possible, according to Fr. Jim KIrstein, SMA, to possess an attitude of self-worth and accomplishment regardless of what one does. After all, says Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Envy is no match for the heavenly wisdom of Love.

To Become Like Little Children

Children are apt symbols for powerlessness and total reliance on others. Jesus preaches that we are to become like them, recognizing our radical dependence on God and others. This, according to Fr. Phil Bloom, is the antidote for Envy. We are to welcome the powerless and the disenfranchised. And through this gesture, Fr. Thomas Rosica explains, Jesus illustrates the qualities of the little child within each of us. Fr. Alex McAllister SDS clarifies, however, that it was not Jesus’ purpose to give innocence a high value but to give high value to the acceptance of those without power. When you accept someone whom everyone else considers of no account, Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, OSB says, then you are welcoming Jesus himself.

Fr. John Foley explains what it means to be like a child. When they say the words “I love you,” they mean it to the full extent of their little hearts. It is however a continuing challenge for adults, according to Fr. Ron Rolheiser. How do we unlearn sophistication, undo the fact that we are adults? What kind of recessive journey can revirginize a heart? The answer lies in knowing that our relationship with God is inseparable from our relationship with each other.

Our God Within Us

There is a way to find out if God is living within us. Reflecting on the experience of Symeon the New Theologian, Pope Benedict XVI said it is when we respond to offenses by forgiving and to hatred with love. And for many people, the idea that God is with us and in control is a life-long evolution. But for one Nebraska man, this acceptance was accelerated when he survived the shooting spree at Omaha's Von Maur Department Store in December 2007.

For Tony Blair, the truth came a little bit slower. In the latest issue of L'Osservatore Romano, the former prime minister of England discussed his faith journey to the Catholic Church. adding his belief that Religion has a central and unique role in society and its development.

Our Individual Vocations

Carl Anderson, Grang Knight of the Knights of Columbus, noted in a recent speech that however different each of our vocations are -- priesthood, marriage, consecrated life -- they each have the same goal. All are different manifestations of the vocation we all have in common: the vocation to love. From the Vatican, a priest declared that the Christian family's role is to be the subject, not just the object, of evangelization, with a unique mission to reach out to people in their own circles.

And in response to the many questions why he chose to be Catholic, a man started a blog he calls "Why I am Catholic." This week he offered this reason why: "Because It Takes Guts to Be a Priest." While another Catholic blogger posted this - 9 Ways to Participate in Another's Sin. He asserts that's it's not enough to simply heed the Ten Commandments.

Bible Reading, Business Ethics & Home Sales

As Brazil celebrates the month of the Bible, Cardinal Odilo Scherer recommended to his archdiocese the exercise of prayerful reading of the Word of God, and explained how to do it. He offers four simple steps to "Lectio Divina." While from Oakland, CA, the local chapter of Catholics received from its Bishop Salvatore Cordileone a solid reflection on Business Ethics in the light of Catholic social teaching.

's interesting to note that the state of US home sales has seen the Catholic tradition of planting a statue of St. Joseph as a way to help a house sell is going like gangbusters online, in stores selling religious goods and elsewhere — even if home sales are not.

College, Holiness & Keeping Your Stuff

The Cardinal Newman Society is offering free online guidance to young people and parents who are looking for colleges that are Catholic in name and practice. Click here to view "The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College." In England, young pilgrims at a Catholic renewal festival were treated to an encouraging address by Hispanic actor Eduardo Verastegui. Known as Mexico's Brad Pitt, the actor told the youthful audience that they were called to holiness in their everyday lives. He also spoke about the importance of chastity.

Protect your stuff. There's a wealth of tips offered on locking down your data, but old-school, straight-up stealing is another matter entirely. Try these 10 tips on securing, disguising, tracking down, and hiding your goods so they don't get nicked.

Finally, we were reminded by a priest friend that this Saturday, Sept. 19, is the anniversary of the 1846 apparition of Our Lady of Lasalette, "The weeping woman," at Lasallete, France. Click here to learn more about her message to the world.

Another eventful world in our Catholic world. Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

P.S. Virtual Sunday Bible Study. The Gospel touches each of us in different ways. We pray that we be blessed by God's Word as lived out in your personal thoughts, inspirations and life experiences. Click here to share your Bible reflections.

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