Friday, September 11, 2009

"Who do people say that I am?"

"Who do people say that I am?"
Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (24B), September 13, 2009

BURNING QUESTION: Better to Pray or Learn the Faith?
FEATURED BLOG: Top 10 reasons to become a Catechist V
OCATION NEWS: How St. John Vianney defeated the devil P
ASTORAL HISPANA: La persona de fe

Dear Friends,

In this Sunday's Readings, Jesus and his disciples are in Caesarea Philippi when He asked them, "Who do you say that I am?” Then He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be killed, and rise after three days. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Ssunday bible study sessions with your family, friends and church groups. Click here to join our online Sunday bible study group.

"Who do you say I am?"

Mark makes this episode the centerpiece of his gospel. This Gospel story is about affirmation, identity and purpose of Jesus' mission. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB tells us that at some stage, we all must come to the Caesarea Philippi of our lives and answer that same question, "You, who do you say I am?" So Fr. Phil Bloom asks us to reflect on the very same question posed to the apostles: Who do you say that Jesus is? When you stand before a tabernacle, before whom do you stand? Who is Jesus?

Dr. Marcellino d'Ambrosio tells us that at the very heart of what God is saying to us through this Sunday’s readings and reveals the difference between authentic vs. phony faith. Fr. Alex McAllister SDS says Jesus is asking his disciples who they think He is in order to help them realise what a heavy price they will pay to be a Christian. He is also warning off any one who might be tempted to follow him in a light-hearted or casual way.

Father Cusick says Jesus himself interpreted the Scriptures for us, so that we might fully understand that His Lordship is established by His victory over sin in his suffering, Passion, death and Resurrection. He does not ask us to examine and evaluate his teachings. Fr. Orly Sapuay points out that Jesus asks us to accept them. He does not ask us to acknowledge him as the founder of a new religion. He challenges us to profess that He is God.

Take Up Your Cross and Follow Him

A love that carries someone into death is quite difficult to understand. It hides down there “beyond all thought and feeling and imagination.” But it is exactly what Jesus is teaching us about. It will take a while more for the apostles to understand what Jesus meant about his death, just as it will for us. Fr. John Foley tells us that just like the apostles,we will also run away when Christ has to actually “suffer greatly and be killed.” And Fr. Andrew M. Greeley says Mark's Gospel assures us that tragedy is part of the human condition and that faith in Jesus requires that one face it with courage and honesty.

Faith Without Works

he sacrificial love of Christians, the accepting of the cross is not for ourselves. It is for others. This is where the second reading from James comes in. All that we do by way of sacrifice we do for others. It is not that you have to add works to faith to be saved. It is that faith that fails to issue in changed lives is not true faith at all. It is, in fact, bogus faith – an illusion.

Pope Benedict uses the example of St. Monica to illustrate this point, referrring to how she guided her wayward son St. Augustine back to God. Another important way we can help pass on knowledge, faith and love is to becomea catechist. We frequently hear that too few Catholics know their faith and the temptation is to spend so much time assigning blame that doing something about it. We give you the top 10 reasons why you should become a catechist.

Life, Faith and Taking to the Airwaves

In the cyberworld, many Christian couples are beginning to adopt a simple suggestion to avoid temptation when going online: they're sharing a common email address. It's part of a growing trend towards marital fidelity online that is taking root among more and more Christian couples. Check out the rest of these internet fidelity pointers.

From Afghanistan, we bring you the story of Cpl. Andrew Roy Jr. and his spiritual journey that led him from being agnostic to a devout Roman Catholic. In a desert military tent, his spiritual fervor offers groups of soldiers from all denominations a regular oasis of religious discussion and dialogue about his Catholic faith and the church. While from California, the Diocese of Sacramento is thinking broader. They are taking to the airwaves to bring fallen-away Catholics back into the fold with a planned major Christmas advertising campaign.

From the Vatican, Pope Benedict used the example of St. Bonaventure to affirm that study and reflection alone were not sufficient to truly draw us nearer to God. Study must be accompanied by grace, St. Bonaventure taught, science by love, intelligence by humility. Also this week, a Vatican body pointeds out that when science meddles with Life, children become instrumentalized. For many years, the Catholic Church has pointed out the ethical problems related to in-vitro fertilization (IVF). The Vatican body explained, "The desire for a child cannot justify the 'production' of offspring, just as the desire not to have a child cannot justify the abandonment or destruction of a child once he or she has been conceived."

Confession & Forgiveness

eople have all sorts of reasons for not going to Confession. They are nervous, scared or worried about what the priest may think. A Catholic policeman - yes he's a true blue cop - says we these fears can easily be dispelled. So he decided to create his own Top Ten list. Its his ten top reasons for going to Confession. And here's a question one youth minister received by email: "If one is in a state of mortal sin, and makes an act of contrition and intends to go to confession as soon as possible but dies before it, what happens?" Check out the youth mnister's worthy response.

Finally, on the anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, the pope said the horrors and genocide of that war affirms even more that Religion must always promote Forgivenes.

Wet Pants, Healing & More

God is moving – in profound ways – all around the world and even in your own life. Check out "Do you see it?" and be moved. My friend Raoul Pascual of Pasadena, CA shared this touching story of a 9-year-old kid who accidentally wet his pants in class. Read "Wet Pants" and see how an embarrasing accident turned into an inspiring tale. And Bo Sanchez is back this week with"Do You Want God To Heal You?" Whether the affliction is physical or spiritual, he says the steps to healing are the same: locate the wound, clean the wound, and strengthen the body.

Food TV Throwdown and "Idol"

The Archdiocese of Miami is chasing at the heels of American Idol with their own Catholic version of the popular singing competition. It is hosting this year the third "Voice of an Angel" contest — patterned after television's immensely popular "American Idol" — and the first time it opened to contestants outside the Miami diocese. And finally, did you see the Sept. 9 episode of "Throwdown" starring celebrity chef Bobby Flay? In that episode, Bobby Flay challenged a Baltimore Catholic priest to a steak fajitas showdown. Father Leo is a great cook. He's also the author of the best-selling book, "Grace Before Meals."

New This Week: Online Sunday Bible Study

Our new Online Sunday Bible Study Group launched this week. We ask you all to click here and join us. Share your reflections on the Sunday Readings - anonymously if you wish. The Gospel touches each of us in different ways. With this new online bible study group, we pray that we all be blessed by God's Word as lived out by your personal thoughts, inspirations and life experiences.

Another event-filled week in our Catholic world. Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

P.S. If your parish is suffering from parish website blues, you're not alone. Click here to see how we can help.

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