Thursday, November 5, 2009

"This poor widow put in more"

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time (32B), November 8, 2009

BURNING QUESTION: What is Sacrifice?
FEATURED BLOG: Purgatory – Biblical and Reasonable
PRIEST STORIES: From devout Sikh to Catholic priest
PASTORAL HISPANA: La viuda pobre si sabe ofrendar

Dear Friends,

This Sunday our Sunday Readings tell the story of two courageous and generous widows - one in the First Reading and the other one in the Gospel. 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.

Last Sunday we heard Jesus telling us that the greatest commandment was to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, all our minds and all our strength and our neighbour as ourselves. This Sunday, the Gospel story talks about two simple but heroic women. And Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio says they call us to heroic virtue in the midst of everyday life.

Giving of Ourselves to God

In both stories, the widows gave their resources up abundantly and completely. Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS refers to their extravagant generosity as a challenge for us to strive to be good stewards of the blessings we have received from the Lord. Generosity from each, according to the capabilities of each, is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. And Father Cusick reminds us that St. Paul said those who are generous are laying up treasure in heaven. Fr. James Gilhooley also notes how many Catholics are more generous to waiters than to God. Our God deserves not a tip but a tribute.

Fr. Joseph Pellegrino tells us that the great fallacy of our age is that we believe money can solve our problems. The radical message of Sunday's readings is that we must place our confidence in God rather than in our material possessions. The widow in the temple tossed her only signs of independence - her last two coins - into the collection basket. But she maintained her complete dependence on God and neighbor. Fr. John Foleys says the question now turns to you and me. How much do we trust God?

When We Act Like Scribes

t is important to note that Jesus does not condemn the Scribes because they are more learned than most. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB says they deserve condemnation only because their pride leads them to unjust behavior. Fr. Jim Kirstein, SMA reminds that there's a bit of the Scribes in us all when we try to impress our friends by our achievements, by the car we have, the house we live in, and our educational degrees we speak about. What matters is not how much money one has but rather for what that money is destined.

So as we carry out ministries of service, Fr. Alex McAllister advises us to exercise them with intelligence, with great responsibility and in a self-critical manner. If we don't, we fall into precisely the same trap as the scribes and Pharisees. Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. says the simple, poor widow turned out to be the one who chose the path to supreme knowledge and wealth beyond measure.

The Gospel thus reminds us that we should give not only what we have but also what we are. And as Fr. Ron Rolheiser reminds us in his reflection upon the Second Reading, God never stops loving us even for a second, no matter what we do.

Dealing with Difficulties

ona Institute for Religion and Society reported this week that more people are going to Church more often during the economic recession. If you are dealing with grief, know that you can't get around it. You just have to go through it and experience it to its top. Grief can be good. It has something to say to you, something to give you.

Here are "Five Truths That Can Set You Free." They can help us to have more realistic expectations of our imperfect and limited world. Plus, here's an article that asks us to declare a war on Sloth. If you have teen-aged children who have tendencies towards laziness, it's best to nip the problem in the bud before it becomes a life-long problem. And if they ask "Why does the Catholic Church have so many rules?" Here's what they need to know.

Despite all our difficulties, however, know that our God is always willing to help. Benedict XVI asked us this week to let Christ into our lives and allow Him to influence the decisions we make on a daily basis.

Social Justice, Life & Politics

Vatican official reflects on the circulation of people and consequences of globalization and tells Catholics about the need for a new perspective on Migrants.

Back in the U.S., it is reported that a former director of a Planned Parenthood center, left the organization this week after watching a baby being aborted. She is now working with those who prayed for her conversion. And the states of Virginia and New Jersey elected a pair of Catholics to their individual governor's office. It is hoped that they bring to their respective offices a commitment to Life as dictated by their Catholic roots.

Evangelization & the Digital Media

Evangelization and Unity are two of the Church's all-time priorities. And Communication is key for both of them. The Vatican press office emphasized, however, that this must be done with all the passion and intelligence that arise from the conviction of having God's precious Word to communicate.

Pope Benedict XVI followed up on this by urging the Church to help communicate the teachings of Jesus upon the “digital continent” of the ever changing technological landscape. The bishops of Australia took the Pope's word to heart and organized a global e-conference that sent the Gospel message through the Internet to isolated places, even prisons.

Hollywood Prayers and Tech Trends

From Hollywood, the word is that prayer continues to make a headway among entertainment industry members. "Hollywood Does Have a Prayer" is the story of the Hollywood Prayer Network. Plus, Nov. 10 is the expected release date of a rip-roaring, side-splitting Cnristian comedy DVD. Hosted by radio personality and former Entertainment Tonight host, John Tesh, Thou Shalt Laugh 4 offers plenty of opportunities to giggle, groan, and outright guffaw.

Finally, some of the most innovative, interesting, and, well, strange tech has nothing to do with computing monoliths like Google or Microsoft. Here are "8 Tech Trends for 2010." It's just around the corner.

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

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