Thursday, October 8, 2009

"Go, sell what you have"

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (28B), October 11, 2009

BURNING QUESTION: Does God want you to be rich?
FEATURED BLOG: On being Catholic and incarcerated
VOCATION NEWS: Confessions of a Basilica Confessor
PASTORAL HISPANA: Las riquezas nos pueden dominar

Dear Friends,

In the Gospel this Sunday a rich young man asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. But he is saddened by Jesus' reply to him, "Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor." Our Discussion Questions this week can guide you during your Bible Study journey with your family, friends and church groups. Click here to join our Online Sunday Bible Study.

Mark's Gospel story of Jesus' encounter with the man seeking eternal life is is the only story in Mark in which the individual called responds not by following, but by going away.

Attached to Wealth

The young man wanted God as a part of his life. But, as Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio points out, he wasn’t ready to give God control of his life. Simply put, explains Fr. John Foley, S.J., possessions can control one's life. And unless we can moderate our need for them, we will be halted in our journey to the highest value there is in life, God. The implication therefore, Fr. Joseph Pellegrino adds, is that the amount of one's possessions is not nearly as dangerous as is the degree of one's attachment to them.

Fr. Jim Kirstein, SMA homilizes that like many good Christians, the young man wanted God on his terms. But we cannot just have God on our terms. We must hear what God wants of us. This makes us recognize how many of us are more inclined to sacrifice our needs for our wants. But giving into temptation because of weakness or passion doesn’t make us bad, according to Fr. Ron Rolheiser. What does is when we deny, rationalize, excuse ourselves, and accuse others after we sin. That’s what hardens, warps, and embitters the soul.

The Good Steward

Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. postulates that to be liberated from the drugging influence of possessions is to be ready to put the needs of others before one's own comfort and convenience. This remedy, Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS explains, is called the life of faithful stewardship. A good steward is grateful to the Lord. He is responsible in taking care of those blessings and generouly shares God’s gifts in justice and in love.

So now we challenge you with this week's Burning Question: Does God Want You to be Rich? Think about it and share your thoughts with us.

"Come, follow me!"

In the story, Jesus does not simply say, "Do what I say." He says, "Come, follow me!" Fr. Phil Bloom uses St. Rose of Lima and St. Martin de Porres as the best exegetes to illustrate this point. These two saints show us that that Jesus' teaching is not just a beautiful idea. It is possible for weak human beings to sell all, give to the poor and to come, follow Jesus. Because in the end, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB explains, Jesus lovingly reminds us that life is to be had in its fullness not by accumulating things, honors, privileges, reputations, and prestige, but by letting go of things.

"Then who can be saved?"

Jesus made achieving eternal life look so hard for the wealthy - through the eye of a needle - that the astonished disciples had to ask Him, "Then who can be saved?"

Fr. Alex McAllister SDS says Jesus is plainly teaching us that only divine grace can enable us to enter the Kingdom of God. We are invited to take the plunge of faith and commit our whole lives to God freely and without thought of reward. We are called to follow the Him unreservedly, Father Cusick adds, as the young man was unable to do when he walked away in sadness from the Lord who beheld him with love.

Discovering Spirituality

Kathy Coffey has seen some of her friends leave the Church. So she asked herself, "Why do you stay?" This personal challenge led to an articulation of beliefs she has held so long and so deeply, that they had become almost dormant. Here's her "Ten Reasons to Be Catholic." And from the the Marion Correctional Institution in Ohio, we bring you the story of a prisoner who converted to Catholicism while incarcerated. A militant, anti-Catholic, he describes how after his conversion, his theology, dogma and ethics changed without warning.

Do you have a spiritual director? Every Catholic should have one. Not having a spiritual director is like building a house without the help of an architect. We will show you how and where you search for a spiritual director.

Stories of Priests

Why should young men enter the priesthood? A small diocese of only 121,000 Catholics seem to know the answer. 46 seminarians have stepped forward from the diocese - a number unprecedented in the USA. And after seeing two of her friends send off their sons to the seminary, Theresa A. Thomas noted that while God certainly is the one calling, the family is the fertile ground which prepares and allows a young man to say “yes”. That, she explains is the "Formula for a Vocation."

Then we bring you "Confessions of a Basilica Confessor." They have a fixed schedule, a day of rest, and a couple of hours for lunch. Their office is not a desk but a confessional. They are the full-time basilica confessors at the the four major basilicas of Rome.

Around the World

In a packed Sydney Opera House studio Sunday evening, Cardinal George Pell confronted the myth of modern atheism in the first ever Festival of Dangerous Ideas. He told the atheists, "Without God We're Nothing." From China, an American banker shares his "Reflections on a Beijing Mass." He notes that in many respects the Faith in Asia is alive, vibrant and deep. From India, we call it "The Kerala exception." There are ten times more Catholics there than elsewhere, but it is a miracle that they live in peace with the Hindus and Muslims.

From Rome this week, Pope Benedict XVI urged the European bishops to refrain from excluding the Church from social and cultural life, even while upholding its just distinction from the State. While from the USA, a new national survey by the Pew Research has found that fewer Americans express support for abortion now than in previous years. The poll also showed that 4 out of 10 don't know President Obama's position on abortion.

The Power of the Rosary

Venezuela's National Council of the Laity is encouraging children throughout the world to pray for peace and unity. The plea is part of the annual campaign "One Million Children Praying the Rosary," which is set to take place this year on Oct. 18. Back in the U.S., a blogger talks about celebrating the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary last October 7, by attesting to the great power that praying the Rosary had in his own life. The Rosary was the final step in his conversion to Catholicism.

Film, Lebron and Coffee

More Than A Game, a new documentary by filmmaker Kristopher Belman, tells the amazing story of five friends, more like brothers, really, and the coach whose memorable run to the 2003 high school basketball national championship made history. The movie open this weekend and Sr. Hosea M. Rupprecht, FSP offers a wonderful review. Whiel from Woilmington, Del., the head of its Catholic Youth Ministry has written a book, “Using the Remote to Channel Jesus: 50 Movie Clips for Ministry,” to help youth ministers and catechists find film scenes that dramatize moments of grace and inspiration and engage young people in conversations about their faith.

And if you've ever wondered exactly what is inside that coffee you drink everyday, we have the full report: Water, 2-Ethylphenol, Quinic Acid, Dicaffeoylquinic acid, Dimethyl disulfide, Acetylmethylcarbinol Putrescine, Trigonelline and Niacin. We tell you how - with every single sip - each one of these ingredients affect your body. It's an interesting read.

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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