Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Your faith has saved you."

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (30B), October 25, 2009

FEATURED BLOG: Recovering Stray Catholics
VOCATION NEWS: Confessions of a Gypsy Priest
PASTORAL HISPANA: El Ciego Bartimeo nos da Ejemplo

Dear Friends,

Last week, Jesus chides the disciples for failing to see that authority is for service, bitterly arguing instead who is the greatest in God’s kingdom. In this Sunday's Gospel, Mark seems to be laboring the spiritual blindness of the Twelve. 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.

his is the last healing miracle in Mark's Gospel. In Bartimaeus, Mark presents a trinity worth pondering. The blind fellow begins with a need. Secondly he offers a heartfelt thank you to his Healer. Finally in Mark's economic prose, "he followed Him along the road." That trinity is what Christian discipleship is all about - need, gratitude, and enlistment.

Affliction and Faith

As the Catechism teaches, Fr. Phil Bloom starts off, affliction often provokes a search for God. It makes a person mature, to help him discern what is not essential and to turn to what is. Fr. Ron Rolheiser explains further that it is our own crosses that can allow us to rip away the veil to see into the holy of holies. And oftentimes our spiritual blindness is plain hard-heartedness to face the truth about ourselves.

Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS reminds us that in order to be healed, we must sincerely desire to be healed. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB tells us that in the stories of those who "once were blind but now they see," the connections between seeing and believing are so strong that these miracles worked by Jesus are more about growing in faith than letting the scales of blindness fall away. So now, we ask you to reflect on this most basic but profound Burning Question: What is Faith?

What do you want?

Jesus says elsewhere in the Gospel that he who asks, receives. Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio emphasizes that had Bartimaeus just believed quietly, Jesus would have walked right by him. Fr. James Gilhooley adds that Bartimaeus did not wear the Master down with small request. He went for the whole nine yards. He said Mark's point is none too subtle. When you come to the Christ, do not bother Him with Lilliputian requests. Go for broke.

So, Fr. Jim Kirstein asks, what might be hindering you from going to Jesus? This may call for great honesty to face what we may not want to admit. But God will help us if we ask him in faith. Now, Fr. John Foley, S.J. challenges you.If Jesus asks us, “What do you want,” how would you answer?

Cynicism, Gratitude & Enlistment

The crowd around Bartinaeus was cynical and told the loud blind beggar to quiet down. Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. notes with wonder that they nonetheless respond to Jesus' command to call Bartimaeus. And we, likewise, are also called to offer this same encouragement to the people in need whom we meet every day.

Fr. Steve Porter, STL reminds us that whatever we have received, we have received it from God. So how many times have you received forgiveness for your sins, solutions to a problem, comfort and sympathy in our distress and turned to Jesus with thanks and a recommitment to follow him? We have been blessed. Therefore, Fr. Joseph Pellegrino tells us, we must join Bartimaeus and follow the Lord on a new path of greatness, a path of sacrificial love, a path that leads to a New World that is the Kingdom of God.

Struggling with Faith

In the US, we know of many who have lost jobs and homes. In Asia, we hear stories of friends who lost their homes, businesses and even loved ones. These crises have triggered a crisis of trust - in institutions, corporations, banks, and government. Some have even raised this deep question - Can God be trusted?

But we must have faith that "Every Storm Will End," Bo Sanchez writes in this very inspiring piece. Maybe it’s the moment when we need to reevaluate the Christian proposal and rediscover the value of authentic trust in God. Pope Benedict reinforces this by encouraging all men to have a personal relationship with God.

Recovering Stray Catholics

To know history is to become Catholic. We, along with the Orthodox are the only Churches that have a living Tradition of cherished teachings and memories going back to Chirst himself. Despite this, many have left. Not one of you does not have a friend, relative, colleague, or acquaintance who has fallen a way from the Church. We offer a plan you can use for recovering stray Catholics.

On the flip side, many are converting to the faith. But its puzzling to many of these new Catholics why life-long Catholics remain quite proudly Catholic despite the fact that much of what the Church insists we must believe is something they flatly reject. Mark Shea explores the world of converts and cradle Catholics. Plus we offer you some ideas from Cardinal Bertone how you can spark an interest in Scripture reading among the youth.

Anglicans, Tridentine Mass & History

An extraordinary event occurred this week in the Vatican - the celebration by Archbishop Raymond Burke of the first High Mass according to the old Latin rite in St. Peter’s Basilica in 40 years, since 1969. Also historic this week, the Pope announced that groups of Anglicans will now be able to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the Anglican spiritual and liturgical tradition.

Life & Family

In Madrid, one million people took to the streets to protest abortion reforms in Spain. From Phoenix, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput told a Catholic doctors’ group in that God will “demand an accounting” from Catholics and from societies who fail to welcome the poor, the weak and the unwanted unborn. Each of these people is “an icon of God’s face and a vessel of his love,” he said.

From the USCCB, the US Bishops declared that the "Church's Vision Can Sustain Spouses" as they voted to approve a Pastoral Letter on Marriage. While in his second article this week, “I Love The Perfection Of Your Imperfections,” Bo Sanchez shares the monstrous mistake we make in our relationships: We try to fix the people in our lives.

TV, Confession and Comedy

If you're Catholic and a fan of the TV series House MD, you had quite a treat in this week's episode. It featured the character Dr. Robert Chase - a Catholic and in the show's back story attended seminary for a year before deciding he wanted to become a doctor - going to Confession.

nd Sr.Hosea Rupprecht, FSP, said she thoroughly enjoyed "Thou Shalt Laugh 4," calling it a great piece of Christian comedy. Hosted by John Tesh, the good sister says it offers plenty of opportunities to giggle, groan, and outright guffaw.

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

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida Publisher & Editor in chief

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