Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Blessed are you who are poor"

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary time (6C), February 14, 2010

BURNING QUESTION: Does God want you to be rich?
FEATURED BLOG: What Catholic women want for Valentines Day
VOCATION STORIES: Dominican Sisters go primetime on Oprah
PASTORAL HISPANA: Jesús nos explica en que consiste la verdadera felicidad

Dear Friends,

This Sunday's Readings present the Beatitudes as they are found in the Gospel of Luke. Matthew has nine beatitudes and no woes, Luke has four of each. Find out why they differ. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Bible Study sessions with your friends, family or church groups.

Why the difference?

The Gospel of Matthew is written for Jewish Christians. It speaks about the new attitudes, the new mind set necessary for the Kingdom of the Lord. The heart must be pure, the Spirit must be poor. Matthew presents some of the fundamental changes that the ancient Jews must make to become Christians. In Matthew Jesus gives the Beatitudes from a mountain, just as Moses gave the Law of God from Mount Sinai.

The Gospel of Luke is quite different from Matthew. It was written by a gentile convert, Luke, and addressed primarily to gentile converts to Christianity. Luke’s audience was poor. Many were slaves or low born. Their choice of Christianity only exacerbated their situation. They were persecuted, suffering.

Fr. Joseph Pellegrino explains that in presenting the Lord’s words to them, Luke places Jesus on a plain. He was on a level with them. He was poor, suffering and persecuted. And Fr. James Gilhooley points out that Jesus was willing to descend to their level. Would you and I be so willing also to put ourselves out?

A Blueprint to Life's Purpose

Fr. Jim Kirstein, SMA says Jesus does not intend for us to make a law of these Beatitudes. He is asking us to go beyond the surface to understand God’s unpredictable ways. Fr. Orly Sapuay, M.S. explains further that in them Jesus reveals a new kind of richness and a new kind of poverty. Jesus did not accept the designations of “rich” and “poor.” He seems to have reversed them.

Fr. John Foley, S. J. says if we want to love and be loved we need to have space at the center of who we are. A person has to be open and empty in order to let God and others come in. And Jesus is the poor in spirit, the meek, the persecuted, and the peacemaker. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB points out that He is the new "code of holiness" that must be imprinted on hearts, and that must be contemplated through the action of the Holy Spirit.

Is It Wrong to be Happy?

Marcellino D’Ambrosio, Ph.D. thinks otherwise. He explains that the beatitudes do not demand a morose Christianity. They are all about laying the foundations of an unshakable joy and a peace that passes understanding.

In a 2007 Lenten homily, Pontifical Household Preacher Father Cantalamessa dealt with the practical application of what the Gospel beatitudes relate about the poor and the hungry. He said indifference is a sin against the poor. And as a followup, now we ask you to try and address our Burning Question with all honesty: Do you think God wants you to be rich?

Valentines Day Sunday

This Sunday is also Valentines Day. Fr. Phil Bloom offers "Trust in the Lord" as a theme for married couples as we celebrate this special day - and also for all o f us as we enter the season of Lent.

An so as our thoughts this weekend turn to red and pink hearts, chocolates, and romance, we say “I love you” with more freedom and enthusiasm. However, it is essential that couples remind themselves that truly loving on Valentine’s Day is making your partner know he or she is a blessing to you.

And as more marriages and families these days become affected by control and trust issues, we bring you some thoughts from a Catholic psyciatrist who says through the sacraments and practice of virtue these problems can be overcome. Know that Trust is a very important factor for all relationships. Learn to enhance your relationships today and make make every day Valentines Day.

For you Men, this is an inside scoop by a woman blogger who asked women from across the country, about their plans and hopes for Sunday. Here's "What Catholic Women Want for Valentine's Day." And for you Women, understand that Valentines Day goes both ways. Here are some surefire tips to make sure your man doesn't forget the special day.

And here's a situation we hear about more frequently these days: "My Husband Doesn't Share My Passion for My Faith." Fr. John Bartunek, LC helps you deal with it with concrete suggestions.

Lent begins next week with Ash Wednesday

I can't believe it's upon us already. Lent starts next Wednesday - Ash Wednesday - and our Church embarks on forty days of reflection on the pain and suffering our Lord endured to save us from our sins.

But before Wednesday comes Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras. Although the drinking, revelry and debauchery associated with the festival may not seem to have any association with religion, the truth is that without one of the holiest of Catholic holidays, this highly festive celebration would not exist at all. Here's the true story of Mardi Gras.

To prepare us for Lent, we tought it timely to share the following 2010 Lenten Regulations and Admonitions issued by Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto. Quite simply, it's the Rules for Lent and the good bishop spells it our clearly. It's also the season when parishes will be holding Reconciliation Services. So we thought we should share a timely article from Msgr. Charles Pope: From Perfunctory Penitence to Compelling Confession In Four Easy Steps. And for good measure, we thought we'd also throw in this quote from one of J.R.R. Tolkien's letters. Many of you may have seen it before but it doesn't hurt to read it again: "The only cure for sagging of fainting faith is Communion." His full quote will give you a fuller appreciation of our most Holy Sacramaent.

And from Los Angeles, California, Cardinal Roger Mahony penned a blog about the new Roman Missal which will be implemented nationwide sometime in 2011. “More theologically correct,” he says about the new Missal.

Oprah, Dominican Sisters, & More

The Dominican Sisters of Mary went primetime on Oprah last Tuesday. And they did not disappoint. The sisters were well-spoken, intelligent, funny, good-natured and extremely forthright about their lives, and both Lisa Ling and Winfrey seemed to genuinely appreciate their comments on life, materialism, vows, sexuality, and so forth. We have the videos and transcripts here.

From Manhattan, we bring you the story of a Starbucks sidewalk musician and how a bystander who accomodated him with an impromptu hymn silenced everyone even the capuccino machines. While from the Philippines, the youth there have overwhelmingly made their voices heard. With the onset of the official presidential campaign season, Catholic Filipino youths are one in saying that they want a God-fearing President to be elected come May 10.

Finally, here's more Valentines Day ideas to make Sunday really special. If you have a honey, but not a lot of money, try these economical ideas. 10 tips for a fun — but frugal — Valentine's Day.

Another eventful week in our Catholic world. Have a great and blessed new week. Happy Valentines Day to all.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida

Publisher & Editor in chief

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