Thursday, February 18, 2010

"You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test."

First Sunday in Lent (1LentC), February 21, 2010

BURNING QUESTION: Must you believe the Church 100% to be Catholic?
FEATURED BLOG: Mass - Sobriety at the Sign of Peace
VOCATION STORIES: From Olympic Skater to Nun
PASTORAL HISPANA: Las tentaciones de Jesús son similares a las nuestras

Dear Friends,

This Sunday’s Readings presents us with the temptations of the Lord as related in the Gospel of Luke. The Gospel of Luke differs in the order of the temptations from the order found in the Gospel of Matthew. Our Discussion Questions will guide your bible study sessions this week
with your family, friends or church group.

The Temptation of Jesus

In Matthew the final temptation is when the devil led Jesus to the mountain and offered Him all the Kingdoms of the world if He worshiped him. In Luke, this temptation is placed second, the final temptation in Luke is the temptation from the parapet of the Temple in Jerusalem. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino explains this in more detail.

However, Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B. elaborates, we are confident that we will triumph in our trials of faith, not because of our own strength, but because Jesus has given us His Holy Spirit. And as Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB points out, the Holy Spirit did not lead Jesus into temptation. The Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness. The devil did the tempting, not the Holy Spirit!

Sin and Temptation

Fr. James Gilhooley preaches that we must learn to convince ourselves of the reality of sin. Clearly Jesus in Luke's Gospel accepted sin as sin in His dialogue with the Devil. He was certainly not passing evil off as "alienation, anomie, boredom, rage, ...peer pressure, inequality, or status anxiety" as many of us do today.

We need to recognize that Satan is harassing us all the time. We are all weak and prone to evil. Fr. Jim Kirstein, SMA warns us that it may be a disturbing truth, but it is one which we ignore at our peril. Fr. Orly Sapuay, M.S. reminds us that it is not a sin to be tempted, but it is a sin to invitingly respond to temptation. And so Fr. Ron Rolheiser urges us - like the saints of old - to learn the mantra:“Get behind me, Satan!”

Fr. John Foley, S. J. relates how Jesus answers the devil 's temptation with scripture (Deuteronomy 6:16), “You shall not tempt the Lord your God.” It means God the Father is first and above all. If you can bribe him to save you, then you will seem equal to him! But you aren’t. Do you sometimes think you are God?

Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving

They are the three ways the Church has given us for penance particularly during Lent. Fr. Alex McAllister SDS says if we are really serious about Lent and are prepared to undertake the task of re-conversion to Christ, then we will also take seriously these means the Church gives us. This primer on how and why Catholics observe Lent can be a good guide for you.

Jesus journeyed to Jerusalem to radically transform the world. Fr. Pellegrino adds that our Lord invites us to join Him on the journey during this Lent. And Fr. Phil Bloom offers more spiritual advice - when temptations come, Jesus shows us what to do: Exalt God.

Why Forty Days?

Ash Wednesday this week marked the start of forty days of our Lenten season. Fr. James Martin, S.J offers an Ash Wednesday reflection he calls "A Sorrowful Joy." While Msgr. Charles Pope of the Diocese of Baltimore asks us what really do ashes signify? He offers a brief tour of Scripture to explain its origins..

Catholic blogger Rachel Balducci relates how after receiving their ashes, she fondly watched as her young boys quietly compared the marks on their foreheads - as generations have done before them, all part of our rich heritage.

OK, we do penance for 40 days, Jesus fasted 40 days in the wilderness. Noah watched rain fall for 40 days and 40 nights. Moses was up on Sinai receiving the 10 commandments for 40 days. The Israelites wandered around the desert for 40 years. So why all these forties? Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio explains it here.

Justice, Suffering, Hope & The Magisterium

Saying Man must learn to accept his reliance on God, Pope Benedict has taken up Justice as the Church's theme for Lent. And reflecting on Ash Wednesday, he also said that human beings are fragile creatures destined to return to the earth -- dust, yes, but dust that is loved and molded by the love of God.

Also from Rome, a Vatican spokesman said suffering reveals God's love. Underlining the Pope's Message for World Day of the Sick, he explaind that the objective of miracles, as well as suffering and sickness, is to help man discover the love of God. And as several Catholic relics make their way to the many faithful around the world, a Vatican theologian said today that veneration of relics run the risk of replacing authentic faith with irrational superstition.

In an interview, Fr. Fabio Di Martino of the Tabor Community, said young people need to discover that Christianity is not a set of rules to be followed or broken. This as Pope Benedict urged prelates to call Catholics to complete fidelity to the magisterium, presenting Church teaching as a message of hope rather than a series of prohibitions.

While Patrick Madrid, Catholic author and father of 11 kids, offers great parenting advice: "You Can Keep Your Kids Catholic. Here’s How . . ."

The Mass in Slow Motion: More on the Eucharist

This week, Mark Shea explains how the book of Revelation reflects the shape of the Mass. It begins with a penitential rite, moves on to the Liturgy of the Word and is filled with thanksgiving. The final thing he notes is that it climaxes in exactly the same way that our worship on earth climaxes as described in Revelation 19:9. Reality, like the Mass, is consummated with the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

From the Diocese of Baltimore, discusses "Sobriety at the Sign of Peace." Some see it as a very gregarious moment and leave their pew and move through the Church. Others stay put and just nod at others. What of this disputed moment, the sign of “peace?” And Holy Cross College's Robert Kloska offers his "15 Reasons Why I'm a Huge Believer in Eucharistic Adoration."

From Olympic Skater to Nun

A U.S. speedskater has chosen to take a leap of faith. Twelve years ago at the Winter Olympics in Nagano, a 17-year-old speedskating prodigy named Kirstin Holum was tapped for future greatness.She gave it all up to become a nun.

From Hollywood, CA, the 17th Annual CIMA (Catholics in Media) Awards will honor "The Hurt Locker" and Fox Television's "Glee" at ceremonies in Beverly Hills on February 28, 2010. Also being honored is the Pauline Media Center's Sr. Rose Pacatte, FSP who will receive the CIMA Board of Directors Award. Golden Globe Award-winner Samantha Eggar will host the event.

And Deacon Greg Kandra asks you to check out the latest ditty by a Catholic comedian Nick Alexander -- dubbed by the National Catholic Register the "Catholic Weird Al." His music video is clever , pretty funny and it's called "There's a little black spot on your head..." Enjoy.

Finally, we pray that our Lent may be for each of us a journey of discovery, the discovery of the Life of Christ.

Another eventful day 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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