Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing."

The Third Sunday in Ordinary time (3C), January 24, 2010

BURNING QUESTION: Is Jesus & God the same?
FEATURED BLOG: 5 ways to prepare for Mass
VOCATION NEWS: Late Haitian Archbishop remembered as a humble man
PASTORAL HISPANA: Buena Noticia, estamos llamados a ser

Dear Friends,

In this Sunday's Readings, two men unroll papyrus scrolls and read them to the people. In each case, their proclamations signal the beginning of a vast new era. One is Ezra the scribe, and the other is Jesus of Nazareth. Four centuries separate them. Jesus stands up in the synagogue of his hometown of Nazareth and proclaims the prophecy of Isaiah concerning the coming of the Messiah. Our Discussion Questions will be your guide during your bible study sessions with your family, friends or church group.

With the power of the Holy Spirit

It is worth noticing the phrase of Luke at the beginning of this text: "Jesus with the power of the Spirit in him returned to Galilee." With the Holy Spirit in him, Jesus declared that he was the Messiah, the "annointed" one. Fr. Jim Kirstein, SMA says Jesus did not merely announce the Good News and leave it at that. He began to make it a reality. He proclaims that the Lord has sent him to “bring glad tidings to the poor . . , to let the oppressed go free,” to proclaim a time of favor from the Lord. This is what Ezra and Nehemiah had done. But Jesus' mission - according to Fr. John Foley, S. J.- is much, much more. A far greater new era has begun.

Father Cusick explains further that Jesus knew exactly who he was, not simply because as a good Jew he reads Isaiah. But with every fiber of his divine Personhood, Jesus is the God-man, the divine Messiah foretold and exalted by the holy prophets. And Fr. Alex McAllister SDS tells us that is still being fulfilled today in your life and mine. Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B. notes how easy it is to overlook one life implication. The Spirit of the Lord comes upon Jesus and comes upon the Church in order to bring glad tidings.

This, according to Fr. Phil Bloom, is our great guarantee. And so from a faith viewpoint, the four Gospels have one author: the Holy Spirit. For that reason, we read the Gospels as a whole, together with the rest of the Bible - and our two thousand years of Sacred Tradition. For the Holy Spirit not only produced a book - he has guided a people.

The mystery of the incarnation goes on

Luke's work is a narrative of the creative, divine action of the Spirit beginning with Israel, continued through Jesus, and now through the Church. From a faith viewpoint, the four Gospels have one author: the Holy Spirit.

As Christians, Fr. Ron Rolheiser says, we believe that God took on flesh in Jesus, but we also believe that this was not just a one-shot, 33-year incursion, of God into human history. The mystery of the incarnation goes on. God is still taking on real flesh inside of us, the community of believers. Therefore, Fr. Joseph Pelllegrino explains, we all need to find the best ways that we can serve the Lord according to our particular talent and stage in life.

And so with the people gathered in the Nazareth synagogue, we too see and hear God's Word fulfilled in the person of Jesus, the Word made flesh. To this proclamation, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB preaches, our voices also cry out: "Amen." "I believe!" May the Spirit that anointed Jesus build us up into one body and send us forth to proclaim God's freedom and favor for all people.

Celebrating the Liturgy

Lionel Valdellon recently blogged about how sad it is to see people at Mass devoid of all enthusiasm and life. In this latest post, he thinks about it some more and noted down five things you can do to prepare yourself for the Eucharist which is "source and summit" of all we do, and which deserves attentive preparation (cf. Lumen Gentium, 11). And Deacon Greg Kandra notes that in our digital age, the old fashioned sermon seems to not only be surviving, it is actually thriving. According to a new study, fully 96.6 per cent of those surveyed "look forward" to the sermon, with 60 per cent saying it gave them a sense of God's love.

And as part of our ongoing series on understanding the Mass, we look at the Introductory Rites. Father Paul Gunter, OSB explains how at this early stage of the Mass, the rites seem to speak for themselves. We have neither arrived at the Liturgy of the Word, which proclaims the sacred Scriptures, nor have we prepared the altar for the sacrifice of the Mass. However, a sense in which we have done both of these things is in the inner disposition of the priest. Click here for the full discourse.

Catholic Bible Reading, Excommunication & more

There is a myth that we must lay to rest, once and for all - Protestants are all about the Bible, while Catholics are all about the Sacraments. Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio, PhD says both Scripture and Sacraments are precious gifts from the Lord, gifts we desperately need and are bound to use. From the Vatican, Pope Benedict seemed to signal his agreement with the good doctor by declaring that being a witness to Christ presupposes knowing him firsthand, not just being told of him by others.

From the Catholic Sentinel of Oregon, Bishop Robert Vasa reflects on "Excommunication: When It Must Be Done." It's a response to recent events involving several high-profile Catholic politicians who openly contradict Church teachings in their public lives. And from Minnesotta, a program proposes a new type of vocation formation. Explaining that humanity is currently in a "critical" moment "because people are not getting married and having children," the program said there is a great need "to minister to the only people who could marry -- singles."

Helping Haiti

Port-au-Prince has become a multi-denominational open-air church as differences between faiths collapse under the weight of tragedy in Haiti, the Washington Post says. Tens of thousands now live in the street together, scraping for food and water, sharing their misery and blending their spirituality. Carl Anderson, Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus, reflecting on the spiritual side of the suffering in Haiti, says the tragedy can lead to increased faith in God.

And we bring you a moving survival story of a Catholic deacon who was buried for 10 hours in the ruins before getting pulled out. Prayers filled his thoughts as Chuck Dietsch awaited rescue or death. He said, "I'm alive because of the grace of God." And the Haitian Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot who was killed in the earthquake is remembered in an article as a humble man who was close to the poor in the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince.

Youth On-fire for Christ

If anyone tells you that young people are apathetic or disinterested when it comes to the ig issues, point them in the direction of the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., where more than 17,000 teens and young adults will converge January 22 for the annual Youth Rally and Mass for Life on the 37th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. All 17,400 free tickets for the event were reserved within 45 minutes of going online.

From the Philippines, the Apostolic Nuncio in that country told the young Catholic faithful that ‘Christ makes cyberspace human space’ as he invited them to spread the Gospel through active evangelization in the internet. While Pope Benedict exhorted the youth to make this week's prayer for Christian unity turn into an attitude for life.

In closing, we offer you some tips for the kitchen. It's all too easy to spend hard-earned money on unitasking kitchen gadgets that aren't all that helpful in the long run. Use the gear you already own, and some cheap household staples, to make your kitchen a better place. Here's the "Top 10 Clever Kitchen Repurposing Tricks."

Another eventful week in our Catholic world. Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Puiblisher & Editor in chief

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