Friday, November 13, 2009

"But of that day or hour, no one knows"

"But of that day or hour, no one knows"
Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (33B), November 15, 2009

BURNING QUESTION: Better to pray or learn the Faith?
FEATURED BLOG: Dear Congressman Kennedy
PRIEST STORIES: Priest donates kidney to parishioner
PASTORAL HISPANA: Jesús le da sentido al fin del mundo

Dear Friends,

This 33rd Sunday is the last of the Ordinary Sundays of the year and, perhaps appropriately, the Gospel is rather apocalyptic. It is taken from the most difficult chapter of Mark's Gospel and is often interpreted as announcing the end of the world. 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.

Only the Father Knows

When Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio tells us that the first big mistake we could make is to smugly deny this end-of-world talk as just apocalyptic hysteria. The other would be to preoccupy ourselves with speculation over the future battle while neglecting to engage in the battle at hand. Similarly, in a flashback article from 2007, we are reminded by Pope Benedict to avoid all doomsday speculations.

Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB explains the two realities of this Gospel Reading: Jesus himself will fulfill the Old Testament Scripture texts about the end; and the disciples are not to worry about the precise time of Jesus' second coming. The answer to the "when?" of the Second Coming, according to Fr. James Gilhooley, can be readily given. The Lord is present anywhere people treat each other with gentleness, generosity, and thoughtfulness. So we should turn our attention to the work at hand. And, Fr. Joseph Pellegrino says, that is preaching the Gospel through our words and deeds, even to those in darkness.

Upheaval and Fear

Fr. Jim Krstein, SMA says Jesus’ basic message at this time is ‘Fear not.’ The purpose of the Lord’s glorious coming will not be to execute judgement but to gather his elect and we too will be filled with joy. So, Fr. Orly Sapuay advises, we would do well to “Remember death daily.” And we must not put off for another day the task of doing good.

Fr. Ron Rolheiser reminds us of Jesus' assurance that in this upheaval, the one thing that will remain the same is God’s promise of fidelity. The one thing necessary therefore, according to Fr. John Foley, S.J., is for us to let God listen to us, and guide us.

Who are God's Elect?

Fr. Alex McAllister quotes Daniel who tells us that it is those whose names are written in the book who will be saved. The question is how do we get our name in that book? How do we ensure a favourable judgement? Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B. says the answer is very specific in Matthew's Gospel: "...whatever you did for one of these least brothers [or sisters] of mine, you did for me." Fr. Phil Bloom adds that if we humbly offer ourselves to Him - not just a few good deeds, but every aspect of our lives - God will transform us and make us like the stars forever.

Finally, we thought this Sunday's Gospel offers a good opportunity for us to talk about Rapture. Here's a Catholic understanding of what it is and what it isn't.

What it Means to be Catholic

This week we present a very frank and powerful statement by the Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island. It is a letter that he wrote to Congressman Patrick Kennedy. In this letter the bishop makes two very important points: Being Catholic is not a private "thing" and being Catholic actually means something more than just being baptized Catholic. From the Diocese of Arlington, Bishop Paul S. Loverde writes "Hope in life, even in the midst of despair," a reflection on the execution of the DC sniper by lethal injection this week.

Blogger Eric Sammons adds to the Catholic discussion by listing Ten Reasons. He says these are not reasons why he became Catholic. Rather they are reasons why he loves being Catholic. From the Vatican, the Pope pushed the bishops to make education a priority, urging them to give God to the world that has forgotten Him. And the Holy See reminded the United Nations of the essential contribution of Faith by saying that Religion raises the human spirit. L

Living & "Leaving" the Mass

Catholics have lots of bad habits that are just in plain bad taste. Leaving before the Mass ends is one of them. So to help enlighten our faithful, we are bringing back this article that explains how to participate more actively in the celebration of Mass. Plus an article that explains the "Top 10" reasons we should go to Mass.

And for those with friends who have fallen away from our faith, check this out: The case for Catholic Mass vs. Protestant services.

Stories of Priests

This week, we all watched with horror the tragic event that unfolded in Ft. Hood, Texas. What we didn't know at the time was that the Catholic priest who was in the middle of the fracas - consoling the survivors and blessing the dead - was only a few days at the new job. Arriving just a few days ago, he said he did not originally want to take up the assignment as senior chaplain for the Army Reserves but "something called him to accept the post".

And from Dallas, we have this moving story of true charity as a dying Catholic parishioner's prayers for a kidney donor was answered - by her own parish priest.

Dating, Children & Poetry

Bet you didn't know that Paul Dion, STL,'s Theology editor has a knack for poetry. As we delve deep into the month of November, he composed a few lines of prose to remind us what the Church celebrates on this eleventh month of the year. He calls it "Early November Musings." Enjoy it.

Does Having More Kids Mean More Happiness? It's one of those "Duh!" questions that had to be answered by a comprehensive new study released just this week. And for the youth, "The Limits of Dating" is exactly what it says. It is truly a wonderful experience to be attracted to someone. But it's best that you know your boundaries.

The TV series "Touched by an Angel" ran 212 episodes between 1994 and 2003 and literally touched the hearts and lives of millions of viewers every week. Now in a new collection of DVD’s just in time for the holidays comes Touched By An Angel: Inspirational Collection – Hope and Holiday. Our resident movie reviewer, Sr. Hosea Rupprecht, FSP, gives the DVD collection her thumbs up.

Finally, with winter just around the corner, it is best to know that blood pressure rises during this time of the year. Changes in eating and exercise habits during the cold season could contribute to hypertension. So it's best to be careful.

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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