Thursday, January 28, 2010

"No prophet is accepted in his own native place."

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary time (4C), January 31, 2010

BURNING QUESTION: Is Passion good or bad?
FEATURED BLOG: How To Use Your Words To Create Your Reality
PRIEST STORIES: Why This Gen-Xer Is a Priest
PASTORAL HISPANA: Jesus es nuestro ejemplo que nos invita a ser profetas

Dear Friends,

In this Sunday's Gospel, the other shoe drops. Last week, Jesus spoke in the synagogue and now we will hear the people’s reaction to his message. A hint: they will try to throw him off a cliff. Our Discussion Questions will be your guide during your bible study sessions with your family, friends or church group.

Familiarity Breeds Entitlement

Jesus returns to his home town of Nazareth. In the town where so many knew him well, saw him grow, visited his home, a sin had taken root. Father Cusick explains that familiarity had bred a prideful sense of entitlement. Jesus spoke about the text being fulfilled at that very moment. Then he listed the poor, prisoners, and the downtrodden as the main beneficiariies of his mission.

His hearers most likely felt themselves excluded, that this message of hope was addressed to someone other than themselves. So, they turned against him. They got so angry they wanted to toss him over a cliff. Fr. Alex McAllister asks us to imagine this very same scene playing itself out at your own parishes this Sunday. Not many of the homeless and downtrodden are there either. Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. says the fact is that we are all tempted to reject the challenging initiatives of God in order to cling to our own more familiar and controllable vision of life.

Fr. John Foley, S. J. says this scene which is the the first one in our Saviour's public ministry life, forecasts Jesus' whole life. First loved and accepted, then dragged to his death. It shows how difficult it is for us to attain to a universal vision. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB tells us that when we are faced with someone like Jesus, someone with a generous heart, a wide vision and a great spirit, our reactions are very often filled with jealousy, selfishness, and meanness of spirit. So, Fr. Phil Bloom adds, this story illustrates the decision to love because how Jesus reacted to this rejection can teach us a lot.

Facing Otherness and Differences

Fr. Ron Rolheiser tells us that welcoming what’s other and different is, in fact, a key biblical challenge. We have the great tradition within which revelation from God is understood to come mostly through the stranger, the foreigner, the unexpected. For this reason the scriptures insist on the importance of welcoming strangers.

Thus, the Church invites us to reflect on the role of the prophet as one who is relevant in our world today. In Baptism, Fr. Jim Kirstein, SMA adds, we were all called to be prophets by the way we live our lives and by the example we give. And while the word that God commands us to share is sometimes comforting, sometimes disturbing, Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio says we must get over our fear of offending people and love them enough to tell them the truth.

The Greatest of These is Love

In Sunday's second reading, St. Paul speaks about the greatest gift. I think you know what it is. St. Paul say, "The greatest of these is love." Fr. Joseph Pellegrino calls this one of the most beautiful sections of the New Testament, the great Pauline reflection on love.

When reading it, one notes how the glorious language does fit our Leader well. But suppose, Fr. James Gilhooley says, that wherever St. Paul mentions love, we substitute our own names. Is there anyone here who thinks the language fits us? If anything, we should grow red in the face - all of us - and hopefully sigh our regrets. Yet, the exercise does tell us the direction we Christ followers should be heading.

Priests and blogging

Benedict XVI is encouraging Catholics, especially priests, to use new media technologies to reach new audiences with the message of God's love. The Pope said it's not enough that our parishes have a web presence. He said priests must "blog" and preach the good news in the digital world.

The same message was reinforced in Canada where youth ministers were urged to translate the tradition of the Catholic Church into a language that young people can understand. And they were told to start by going online to teach the tradition because that's where young people are. And no less than the Apostolic Nuncio in the Philippines invited the young Catholic faithful there to make their faith known and spread the Gospel through active participation in the internet, saying, "Christ can make cyber-space human space."

Catholic News

"The Pope Is the First Among the Patriarchs," was reinforced this week! With Benedict XVI, for the first time in history, the Orthodox Churches have agreed to discuss the primacy of the bishop of Rome, according to the model of the first millennium, when the Church was undivided. Also from the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI reflected on Francis of Assisi as an authentic "giant" of holiness, who continues to fascinate very many people of every age and every religion.

While The archbishop of Denver cautioned artists of the danger of pride and vanity, which can lead to a betrayal of their mission to manifest God's glory in the world. In his talk titled "The Prince of This World and the Evangelization of Culture," Archbishop Chaput affirmed: "Genius breeds vanity. And vanity breeds conflict and suffering."

Roe V. Wade Anniversary

Some 300,000 people gathered in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 22 to mark the 37th anniversary of the U.S. supreme court decision that legalized abortion. Half of the multitude that attended the annual rally and March for Life was under the age of 25. Another 75,000 participated in the pro-life demonstration through a Virtual March for Life. This as a new poll shows that majority of Americans think killing the unborn is morally wrong. 56% of Americans now consider abortion to be "morally wrong."

And in what the Catholic Vote calls a proud moment, a Pro-Life ad is scheduled to air on Feb. 7 during the Super Bowl. The 30-second ad that celebrates life and the family will feature the college football hero Tim Tebow.

Super Bowl, Faith Bowl, etc.

Mike Piazza, Mike Sweeney and Bobby Keppel will anchor Faith Bowl III, a half-hour, round-table discussion by sports celebrities about the challenges of living the Catholic faith and the challenges to family life amidst the public arena of professional sports. It will air on several Catholic television broadcast outlets and networks in conjunction with Super Bowl XLIV, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2010.

And here's amazing news from the Oakland A's. Grant Desme, the major league team's 23-year-old top prospect has chosen to retire from major league baseball to pursue the priesthood! He said he loves the game but he prefers to answer to a higher calling. The Holy Spirit is truly alive and well.

Healing Marriages & More

More marriages and families these days are affected by control and trust issues, says a Catholic psychiatrist. But, he added, through the sacraments and practice of virtue these problems can be overcome. Check out his advice in this extensive Q&A interview piece.

Bo Sanchez is back this week with "How To Use Your Words To Create Your Reality." If you're one of those who want to peek into you future, he says you're actually in control. And he tells you why.

Finally, our ParishWorld movie aficionado Hosea M. Rupprecht, FSP looks at "Extraordinary Measures" which opened in theaters last weekend. Is it good? The good sister said it's an inspiring story of the extraordinary measures the human spirit will go to triumph over those who say it can’t be done. She will be back next week with her review of the "The Tooth Fairy."

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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