Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Father, into your hands I commend my spirit"

Palm Sunday in Lent (PalmC), March 28, 2010

BURNING QUESTION: What is Holiness?
FEATURED BLOG: Reducing Faith to a Flu Shot?

Dear Friends,

This Sunday the Gospel Readings commemorate the hour when Jesus entered the Holy City of Jerusalem for the last time. This Holy City was to be the place where his ministry on earth would be brought to its culmination, to its cataclysmic and glorious conclusion. Our Discussion Questions this week will guide your bible study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

The Passion of Christ

For the 1977th time the Church commemorates the entry of Christ into Jerusalem. We follow him every inch of the way from the gates of Jerusalem, to the Upper Room, to the Garden of Gethsemane, to the steps of the Praetorium, to the hill of Calvary and then to the tomb in the garden where he gloriously rose from the dead.

With the royal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, Father Thomas Rosica, CSB says, a new section of the Gospel begins -- the ministry of Jesus in Jerusalem before his death and resurrection. The way of the cross was the greatest fulfillment of his kingship. It is one of service and humility, Fr. John Foley, S.J., explains, not one of pride and competition.

In the Liturgy we notice that the Church actually expects us to participate in these dramas. She does so, Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS explains, for a number of reasons but the main one is to remind us that we are already personally involved in what is taking place. And we do so in a much more sober way than those people of Jerusalem whom we attempt to imitate, Fr. Alex McAllister SDS reminds us. The joy in our hearts however, is no less sincere since it is based in the knowledge of what came after - those earth shattering events whose consequences uniquely reverberate both backwards and forwards through time.

The heart and soul of the wisdom of Jesus, Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. reminds us, is found in this story of his passion and death. Careful, repeated meditation on the Passion of Christ is important because the Passion is the climax of the entire history of Revelation and Redemption. Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio calls it the ultimate Revelation of two intertwined realities: human sin and divine love.

Our Faithful & Compassionate Lord

The focus of Palm Sunday’s celebration and indeed for all the readings of Holy Week is on Jesus, the faithful one. Fr. Jim Kirstein SMA tells us that during all this week we are celebrating his fidelity not only when he was being praised and honoured by the crowd as a king but also during the terrible times of suffering and crucifixion. We look at the cross and know that the Compassionate One is looking back. He accepts the cross so our pain can become His pain, Fr. Joseph Pellegrino explains. He calls us to let go of all that is destroying us and trust in His Compassionate Mercy.

And Fr. Ron Rolheiser reminds us that one day, perhaps soon, we will, like Jesus in the Garden, have to make peace with the fact that we are soon to exit this life, alone, but for our hope in God. While Fr. Phil Bloom talls us that by meditating on the example of the good thief, we can overcome bitterness - and grow in humility.

More Reflections for Holy week

For the Catholic Church, Holy Week is a mini-theological retreat, divided by days and events that herald the Paschal Mystery. It is a magnificent week of remembrance and celebration. Hugh McNichol explains. Deacon Greg Kendra calls it the "Seven days that shook the world." While Pontiofical Household Preacher Father Raniero Cantalamessa asks us to reflect on the Passion of Christ with this thought: We Are All Responsible for Jesus' Death.

To helps us go through festivities of the coming week, Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M.offers "A Practical Guide to the Liturgies of Holy Week." And Maurice Blumberg offers this reflection to deepen the commitment of our lives to Christ and live out more authentically the new life we have received in him.

Holy Week at the Holy Land

A couple of years ago during Holy Week, Theology editor Paul Dion, STL, travelled to Jerusalem for further Theological studies. While there he shared his Holy Week spiritual journey with us as he walked the streets of Jerusalem while Christians worldwide celebrated the suffering and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We bring back his report this week so you may experience Palm Sunday amidst the crowds of Jerusalem. Celebrate the Holy Thursday Last Supper at the plavee where it actually took place. And experience the Way of the Cross on Good Friday with Paul as he walks the very same road Jesus took to his death. Here's his report: JERUSALEM! JERUSALEM! JERUSALEM! Holy Week in the Holy Land Series.

And as a final reflection piece for Holy Week, we hope this video moves you. It's "Deliver Me," by Sarah Brightman. If you were moved to the core by the movie, as I was, this will resonate with you.

Health Care, World Youth Day & More

Barack Obama hjsa signed the Health Care Bill into law. But his last-minute executive order to keep tax dollars from funding abortion confirmed what the U.S. bishops said all along about the health care reform bill: It allots federal funds for the taking of life. Unfortunately, an executive order cannot substitute for statutory provisions, the prelates are recalling. They continue to affirm that the new law is "profoundly flawed."

And as World Youth Day turns 25 this week, some 70,000 young people of the Diocese of Rome will celebrate the anniversary with Benedict XVI. The youth ministry department of the diocese has planned an event for March 25 at St. Peter's Square. Then on Palm Sunday, March 28, the Pope will continue celebrating Youth Day -- held this year at the diocesan level.

Also from the Vatican, the Pope reiterated that the true vocation of each person is to love, and man will find fulfillment in life only in the measure that he learns to love.

Amish Forgiveness Movie on Palm Sunday

On Palm Sunday, March 28, 2010 the Lifetime Movie Network will premiere a made-for-TV film about the October 2, 2006 shootings of ten Amish schoolgirls in Nickel Mines, PA: “Amish Grace”. Five of the girls, aged 6-13, died at the hand of an “English” milkman, that is, on-Amish, known to all the children. Charles Carl Roberts, 32, took his own life as state troopers prepared to storm the school. Then, in the immediate aftermath of such tragedy, the Amish parents and community forgave Roberts, astounding the media and people around the world who watched the story unfold on their televisions.

"Amish Grace: A Time for Forgiveness" is a television movie about this incident and it airs on Palm Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 8ET/5PT on LMN. Check local listings for reruns during the coming months of April and May. Sr. Rose Pacatte, FSP offers her television movie review here.

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

Keep the Faith. Peace.

WAlly Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

Follow us on Twitter
Click Here to view any of our previous weeks' issues
Click Here to receive a FREE SUBSCRIPTION to this weekly email

Thursday, March 18, 2010

"Go, and from now on do not sin any more."

Fifth Sunday in Lent (5LentC), March 21, 2010

BURNING QUESTION: What is the worst sin?
FEATURED BLOG: 100 questions Jesus asked and YOU must answer
VOCATION NEWS: Pope Says Priests Are More Than "Social Agents"
PASTORAL HISPANA: Encuentro de la miseria humana con la misericordia divina

Dear Friends,

Sunday’s Gospel is about the woman who had been caught in adultery. Enemies of Jesus bring her to him at daybreak while he is teaching people in the temple area. They ask Jesus whether he judges that she should be stoned. After Jesus exposes their malice, the woman's accusers are afraid to condemn her. Our Discussion Questions this week will guide your bible study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

“Let the one among you who is without sin throw the first stone.”

There is no other event in Jesus' life that more clearly illustrates the triumph of mercy over justice than this story. This scene could refashion the whole earth. The teacher lifts his head. He utters a sentence that sums up the Gospel and all Lent: “Let the one among you who is without sin throw the first stone.”

The Hypocrisy of the Pharisees

The brilliant way in which Jesus sprang the Pharisees' trap on themselves makes this one of the world’s great stories. We can all identify with any of the actors of this drama. We can easily identify with the woman's accusers.

Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B. reminds us how we also too easily take the name of God in vain when, under the guise of defending some orthodox doctrine or practice, we engage in destructive, personal attacks upon those who differ with us. Fr. James Gilhooley details how - like the Pahrisees of Jesus' time - as many as 80% of us favor capital punishment today. Do we really differ that much today from the antagonists of John's Gospel?

Fr. Jim Kirstein, SMA reflects upon hypocrisy as virtue that has nothing left but the external appearance of virtue. He then illustrates how Jesus could say repeatedly, “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” and then sit down to table with them and even became friends with them. Jesus always held open the door of hope.

From Misery to Joy

What about the woman caught in adultery? We also can all identify with her, in need of forgiveness - often fallen from the pure joy of living in harmony with God's truth and love. Jesus gives the woman another chance. Instead of allowing her to go to her death, Jesus gives her life. Fr. Phil Bloom explains how Jesus transformed her misery into pure joy. He assures us that Jesus also wants to give us joy now.

Fr. John Foley, S.J. preaches that through her Jesus is clearly telling us who God is and how he acts towards each one of us. And just like this woman, full of shame, full of sin, Fr. Joseph Pellegrino says we also need to depend on the Healing Power of our Merciful and Compassionate Lord.

God's Forgiveness

Jesus forgives sin. But, Fr. Alex McAllister SDS points out, our Lord doesn’t ignore it. Jesus knows sin for what it is — a fundamental and personal rejection of God. He is not shocked or upset. He forgives and invites the sinner to turn from their evil ways and embrace the good.

Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB rightly points out that none of us can say unequivocally that we have never sinned. To preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ without acknowledging the necessity of profound personal conversion and the free gift of God's mercy is to deny the central Christian message of conversion.

And no matter what our sins are, Fr. Jim Kirstein explains, each one of us has the capacity to change. However, our God from whom we receive total and absolute forgiveness expects us to do likewise for others.

100 Questions Jesus Asks in the Gospel

Among the many things Jesus did, he asked a lot of questions! To read scripture as a mere spectator looking on is to miss the keynote. So whenever you read the Gospels and Jesus asks a question, answer it! Do not wait to see what Peter or Magdalene, or the Pharisees or the crowd say for an answer. Answer them in your own words. This brings Scripture powerfully alive. Here are 100 of the questions Jesus asked in the Gospel.

If you're a Catholic man, Maurice Blumberg offers this Lenten reflection for you: Opening Ourselves to Jesus’ Call to Follow Him. If you're a woman, send this article to the men in your life. And let the Holy Spirit touch their hearts this Lent.

And now picture yourself as a member of the household of the Pope at the Vatican. And imagine further that he was a regular church-goer attending Mass with you. Your presiding priest will be Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, the Capuchin friar who is the official Pontifical Preacher to the Papal Household. And here's the homily you will hear him deliver to you and the Pope. It's his second Lenten reflection for this season: "Christ Offered Himself to God." You can find his other homilies in our library by enrering his name in our SEARCH page.

Reflecting on Sin

The Gospel story we read this Sunday on the adulterous woman and the hypocrytical Pharisees offer us an opportunity to reflect on Sin. Msgr. Charles Pope discusses "The Seven Deadly Sins: Memorize and Understand Them." The more we can know and distinguish them the more we can grow in self knowledge. And from the popular blog Why I am Catholic, Allison Salerno offers another reason why: Because We Don’t Celebrate Sin.

Fr. Longenecker offers bewilderment at those who consider repentance to be a gloomy and unhealthy exercise. He says it shopuld just be the opposite. Admitting our sins and going to confession is actually one of the healthiest and happiest things we can do. Apart from the spiritual graces of the sacrament, he offers several practical benefits to Penitence. And to cap off our reflection on sin, would you care to comment on our Burning Question for this week: What is the worst sin?

St. Patrick's Day

This past Wednesday, we celebrated St. Patrick's Day. And at many parishes across the country, including mine, the festivities stretch to this this weekend. So it might be appropriate that we explain to you "The St. Patrick You Never Knew." No, he didn't chase the snakes out of Ireland. And he may never have plucked a shamrock to teach the mystery of the Trinity. Yet St. Patrick well deserves to be honored by the people of Ireland — and by downtrodden and excluded people everywhere.

Plus we bring you priestly tales of brave Irish clerics clerics who left their misty, green Ireland to serve in dry, dusty Arizona. This is the story of the legacy that Irish priests have blazed in the United States.

US Health Care, Pledge of Allegiance & More

An appeals court in California today ruled that the phrase "one nation under God" in the pledge of allegiance to the flag recited by school children does not violate separation of Church and state. That's one in the win column for the good guys.

And as the Health Care debate rages in Congress and in kitchen tables across the country, he US Bishops issued this summary yesterday: "Regretfully, It Must Be Opposed." The statement from the president of the USCCB, Cardinal Francis George OMI of Chicago, says the cost is too high; the loss is too great.

From Chile, it looks like our Catholic brothers & sisters there will be celebrating ‘churchless’ Holy Week as a result of the recent earthquake. Numerous bishops in Chile are reporting that nearly 90 percent of Chile’s churches have been damaged or destroyed, including many historic national monuments. And from the Vatican, World Youth Day Turns 25 this week. And Benedict XVI is hailing the "abundant fruits" of the initiative launched by his predecessor 25 years ago as an "annual meeting of believing young people," coming together to "discover the beauty of the Church."

Connecting the Dots

Our Stories of Hope are compiled to move the heart, as well as the spirit. And we kick things off with the conversion story of 25-year-old Jonathan Tuttle who talks about his imperceptible and awkward conversion. And if you are suffering, or feel like the world is crumbling down around you, Bo sanchez asks you to "Allow Love to Heal You" becasue you are God's very own.

Plus, here's a video of a very moving story about a child who was conceived as the result of a rape. But his mother, despite her pain chose life. She brought him to term and the child, Ryan, was adopted by a large family of what became 13 Children, 10 of them adopted. Check it out.

Old-Car story and Kids Chores

If you have kids, Danielle Bean of Faith & Family Live says "Put 'Em to Work!" She says kids can do chores and she shares a list of things children can do- from the two-year-olds to the teen-agers.

Finally, here's the story of Rachel & Chariot. She's 90 years old. Her car, Chariot, is 45 years old. And they're both still humming around. I've heard about antique cars but this one wins the grand prize. This lady doesn't keep her car in some dusty garage, she actually drives it and has been driving it ever since she bought it in 1964. This is certainly something the car manufacturer should keep and use in an advertisement. This is quite a story.

By the way, the annual Religious Education Conference, the largest Catholic convention west of the Mississippi, is being held at Anaheim, CA this weekend by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. If you can't make it, we have the next best thing: Live coverage of the event by internet. Check it out.

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

Keep the Faith. peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

Post a comment below.
Follow us on Twitter
Click Here to view any of our previous weeks' issues
Click Here to receive a FREE SUBSCRIPTION to this weekly email

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"He was lost and has been found."

Fourth Sunday in Lent (4LentC), March 14, 2010

BURNING QUESTION: Why is it a sin to miss Sunday Mass?
FEATURED BLOG: Nine levels of Prayer
PRIESTS STORIES: Making Space for God in a Communication World
PASTORAL HISPANA: La parábola el Padre Misericordioso

Dear Friends,

Sunday’s Gospel is the famous story about the Prodigal Son. It is one touching story about two sons and their Father. And it's introduced in the context of the murmuring about the Lord Jesus because “He was accepting sinners and dining with them”. Our Discussion Questions this week will guide your bible study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

Chapter 15 of Luke's Gospel

Sunday's parable is found in the fifteenth chapter of St Luke's Gospel. Often referred to as the "Lost and Found Collection" of the New Testament, this chapter begins with the parable of lost sheep (vv 1-7), followed by the parable of lost coin (vv 8-10), reaching its crescendo in the parable of prodigal son (vv 11-32). For many people, this celebrated chapter is the summing up of the entire Gospel. This chapter offers to readers the very core of the wonderful message that the Christ came to preach.

Such a Human Story

The interesting thing about our gospel reading on the prodigal son is that it is such a human story. Many human emotions and desires that we know so well are clearly set out. Fr. Alex McAllister SDS points out that the story is primarily about reconciliation. It is a parable of the limitless love God has for us whether we identify with the prodigal son or the selfish older brother. The Son that started leaving home has come home and the son that stayed home ended up leaving home. Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS reminds us that we are all in this story.

And Fr. Jim Kirstein, SMA offers the notion that the parable is really about hearts: selfish hearts and generous hearts, closed hearts and open hearts, cold hearts and warm hearts, unrepentant hearts and hard hearts.

God’s incredible mercy

The readings this Sunday, according the Father Cusick, illustrates God’s merciful conduct toward sinners. They paint or reveal to us an excellent portrait or likeness of who our heavenly Father is. A clear theme runs through the three readings: God’s incredible mercy and forgiveness for sinners.

Fr. Ron Rolheiser says God is so rich in love and mercy that he can afford to be wasteful, over-generous, non-calculating, and big-hearted beyond our imaginations. He is not concerned with the hurt He feels when we reject Him. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino says God is concerned only about us, how we are hurting ourselves. Even when we join forces with evil in the world, Fr. John Foley, S. J. says God waits and prays and welcomes us back with open arms, sins and all.

If we want to receive God's forgiveness, we have to give God's forgiveness
. Can we be less patient with others than God is with us? The choice is ours, says Fr. James Gilhooley, who adds that forgiveness and reconciliation are the oxygen of Christianity. At the conclusion of the parable, only the Elder Son is excluded from the banquet. And he does this to himself. Father Phil Bloom offers this reminder: Heaven is not a reward for doing good things; heaven is a relationship with the Father in Christ - a relationship that makes one new creation.

Paul's Letter to the Corintians

Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB looks at the second reading (2 Corinthians 5:17-21) and how St. Paul attempts to explain the meaning of God's reconciling action by a variety of different categories; his attention keeps moving rapidly back and forth from God's act to his own ministry as well. And Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio reflects upon how St. Paul relates to the Prodigal Son and the important difference between the Passover Lamb and the Scapegoat.

Keeping the Lenten Season

The Latin word scrupulus means a sharp little stone. Those who experience scrupulosity experience this tiny, little, sharp stone, as it were, in their consciences, which keeps them constantly anxious, constantly concerned and afraid. Those of us caught up in scrupulosity honestly believe that forgiveness is impossible for us; even God's forgiveness. Are you scrupulous? John Cardinal O’Connor offers words of kindness in this Lenten homily.

So while human religions or philosophies tell a person what he must do to be saved, Christianity is different because it tells a person what God has already done to save him. This, explains Father Cantalamessa, the Pontifical Household Preacher, why Christianity is like no other. If anyone of you therefore has been away from the confessional for a while, Deacon Greg Kandra says now is a good time to make a return visit. Need help? Look no further.

Many of us dream of one day going on a tour of the Holy Land. So many places, so little time, and dare we say it, so little cash. But there is a way to go to the Holy Land this week right in your local parish. How? Via the devotional of The Stations of the Cross, also known as The Way of the Cross. And finally, Fr. Michael Monshau, O.P., takes a look at the old addage "The family that prays together, stays together" and sees what that might look like for families keeping the Lenten celebration in 2010.

Understanding the Mass & Prayer

In this illuminating article, Father Mauro Gagliardi, a consultor of the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, explains the importance of the Eucharistic prayer of the Mass. Check it out and be enlightened. We also bring you an interesting video footage of Saint Padre Pio celebrating Mass during the later years of his life. And ask yourself this importanmt burning question: "Why is it a sin to miss Mass on Sunday?"

From Rome, we share this story from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas of Aquinas where, nine years ago, students asked the rector for a chapel where they could pray in between their classes and study time. Now, Eucharist adoration has turned into a big part of this university’s culture. Watch the video.

The Catholic Tradition considers there to be nine levels of prayer. The explanations of these levels have been developed over the centuries by various Catholic spiritual writers and saints. Eric Sammons says although we are all called to live a life of prayer, most Catholics are not informed about these various levels. And it may be for this reason that they are unable to advance in prayer as they should. So he explains the different levels in this seven-part series.

For Catholic Teens

Joe Martinez is a student at the University of California-Riverside, a devout Catholic trying to survive in a highly secular school environment. And he laments one of the most common misconception about Catholics: that we worship the saints. In his debut article in, Joe tackles this topic for Catholic teens every where: So wait...You Worship the Saints? Check it out and the rest of our teen-oriented stories in our new ParishWorld
resource section called "For Catholic Teens."

Ecumenism, Social Teaching & More

John L Allen Jr. from the Natiopnal Catholic Reporter talks about Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, who illustrates yet another way a bishop can matter: As an evangelist, an opinion-maker, a writer and speaker. He’s consequential in somewhat the same way as politicians and pundits with bold views and the nerve not to pull their rhetorical punches: Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they’re hard to ignore.

From New York, Archbishop Timothy Dolan traced the roots and development of Catholic social teaching from the Old Testament to the present and laid out six "pillars" of Catholic social justice. And from a speech delivered in Ontario, Canada, the leader of the Vatican's faith congregation said the goal of ecumenism is union with the Catholic Church, a union that transforms the Church by enriching it.

And from Peru, Father Manuel Tamayo talked about "Making Space for God in a Communication World." He says the future is in the communications world. "Here is where the Church and priests have a place," he affirmed. "They must make a space for themselves in the world of communications with the healthy and clean merchandise that is Christian doctrine.

7 Google services you need to try

For a company that's synonymous with one product--the world's most popular search engine--Google is far from a one-product company. Actually, it's a veritable idea factory. Some Google side projects, such as Gmail and Google Maps, are blockbusters in their own right. The jury is still out on others, such as the Twitter-like Google Buzz. And then there are the hits-of-the-future, low-profile winners, and interesting works in progress. Here's the undiscovered Google - Seven Google services you need to try.

Another eventful week in our Catholic World. Have a great andf blessed new week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida

Publisher & Editor in chief

Follow us on Twitter
Click Here to view any of our previous weeks' issues
Click Here to receive a FREE SUBSCRIPTION to this weekly email

Thursday, March 4, 2010

"But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!"

Third Sunday in Lent (3LentC), March 7, 2010

BURNING QUESTION: Is salvation a sure thing for Christians?
FEATURED BLOG: What is sin? - a video by Fr. Larry Richards
PASTORAL HISPANA: Proposito de la Iglesia

Dear Friends,

Sunday's Gospel passage refers to two recent tragedies that were on people's minds. Jesus comments that the victims of these tragedies were no greater sinners than other people were. He says: "But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did." Then he tells them the parable about the person who had planted a fig tree that did not bear any fruit. Our Discussion Questions this week will guide your bible study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

An Even Greater Spiritual Tragedy

Jesus uses the experiences of the worst possible physical human tragedies in order to reveal the possibility of even a greater spiritual tragedy, explains. Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B. Unless we turn to God to be saved from our condition of spiritual death, Jesus warns us, all of us will remain in it and perish. Fr. Orly Sapuay, M.S. adds that Jesus gets to the real point as He sees it. Forget about whether others are sinful. No, worry about your own actions and repent now while you've got the chance.

But why is repentance such a difficult journey in the modern world? Father Stephen explains that it's because our psychologized culture has lost the language and the instinct of repentance. Also, history has clearly shown that the more we participate in evil, the less we notice its existence. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino presents Lent as the time for us to face up to our own failings as we recognize that God can and will heal us and help us. It is this repentance in the heart, Father Cusick explains, that leads to confession with the lips. Contrition is not something added to the Gospel as an option but is necessary if we are to love God and receive the gift of salvation.

And the salvation of souls, explains Fr. Phil Bloom, is why the Church exists. Like Jesus, its purpose is to call people to repentance.

Are We Productive Fig Trees?

Fr. John Foley, S. J. says Jesus is not the landowner but the gardener in the fig tree parable this Sunday. The gardener is asking mercy for the disobedient fig tree. Isn’t this exactly what Jesus is doing when he warns us we will perish if we don’t repent?

So, are we ready for Him? Are we a fig tree that is producing fruit, or would we have to be cut down with every other part of creation that has failed to serve its purpose? This short video by Fr. Larry Richards is a moving tool that can help us understand sin and place it in its proper perpective.

Fr. James Gilhooley reminds us further that the self-denial we attempt during Lent can make us feel virtuous. But what does it really accomplish? Swearing off something you like to eat means nothing when other people are hungry. Instead, he suggests, carry those sweets to a rest home, hospital or children's home. Or contribute to a soup kitchen. The list of possibilities is endless. And the blessings are boundless.

And you know the nagging feeling of tiredness we get even after we've rested?
Fr. Ron Rolheiser says it's because we didn’t forgive anybody and our hurts and bitterness are the deep roots of our tiredness. Reconciliation means setting ourselves right in our relationships with others, God first and then with His presence in His people.

And tying up the burning bush story of Abraham in the First Reading to the rest of the Readings, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB makes clear for us the lessons of Sinai: We too shall be truly free if we learn to obey as Jesus did. The encounter of God and Moses on Mount Horeb in the Sinai enshrines at the heart of our religion the mystery of the liberating obedience, which finds its fulfillment in the perfect obedience of Christ, by his birth in Bethlehem and his crucifixion in Jerusalem.

Repentance & Lent

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D looks to Lent not as a time for fasting, the goal is to save our appetite so that we can feast on other things such as the Word of God. When’s the last time you sat down and read an entire book of the bible, from start to finish? Or how about the Eucharist, the greatest nourishment of all? Lent is a great time to go more often, even daily. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament outside of Mass helps us derive more benefit from our Eucharistic feast.

Discussing this further. Msgr. Charles Pope explains that while one has abstained from things for Lent, it is possible to set it aside on Sundays in Lent. He says nothing, not even the Lenten season, can eclipse the joy of the resurrection that is meant to permeate every Sunday.

Also, if you've ever wondered how Lent was celebrated 200 years ago, here's “The Little Guide for Lent,” circa 1808. It seems only Google and the Lyon library have a copy of it. But a quick glance at its contents makes one feel like the book was talking about today. Check it out.

Videos: Sin & Confession

Many parishes are hosting Reconciliation services this Lent. If you're one of the many Catholics who are intimidated by the idea of confessing your sins to a priest, let the late Archbiship Fulton Sheen help you. In this video, the good archbishop reminds us of the overflowing abundance of God's love when he says, "If you have never sinned, you never could call Jesus, Saviour." Watch the video.

And Father Larry Richards delivers s similar moving message in this other video presentation we have prepared for you. He assures us, "You can sin a million times over. But God will never stop loving you." Watch the video.

Faith & Social Justice

"What Faith Looks Like" is an ongoing study of the Catechism by Pat Gohn. She explains that wWhile each believer experiences faith in a personal way, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) describes characteristics of faith common to all believers.

And Msgr. Charles Pope discusses how essential the Social Gospel is to our Faith. But he warns us that it cannot eclipse the Full Gospel. In the end, even serving the poor can become a kind of idol to which God has to yield. It is the strangest idol of all for it comes in very soft sheep’s clothing, the finest wool!

Catechesis, Public Service & US Anglican Conversion

The good monsignor also rightly points out that almost no one in the Church would claim today that we have done a good job of handing on the faith to our children. He offers the two critical keys for Catholic Catechesis: Discipline and Content. And the good folks at Catholic Aggies postulates that if we are to reform the Church, then we need reform to start where young Catholic students are going to school - at non-Catholic institutions. Why? 80% of Catholic university and college students go to non-Catholic schools.

And in a talk delivered at Houston Baptist University, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver delivered a talk that criticized President John F. Kennedy's historic campaign speech on his faith that impacted his possible presidency. He said the JFK 1960 speech on faith was “sincere, compelling, articulate – and wrong.” The archbishop called on his audience to get involved in the Christian “vocation” of being engaged in public service, at a time when religion is being increasingly ignored in the political sphere.

Plus we bring you some truly breaking news. The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in America has formally requested to enter the Catholic Church. All 99 parishes and cathedrals!

Pro-Life: A Raving Atheist & Baby Gianna

In December of 2008, the popular atheist blogger formerly known as "Raving Atheist" announced his stunning conversion to Christianity. He changed his blogging name to "Raving Theist" and dedicated his site "to Jesus Christ, now and forever." And it was the Church's teaching on Life that played a key role in his illumination.

We also ran into this Life story of Baby Gianna. Her mother, Rebecca, initially wanted an abortion but was talked out of it. When Rebecca's boyfriend learned of her decision, he repeatedly and savagely kicked her in the stomach. While examining her, the doctors advised her to terminate the pregnancy. She chose Life. And you can read the rest of the story here.

Oscar Awards & iPhone Apps

The Oscar Awards are this Sunday and Sr. Rose Pacatte, FSP shares with us that human connection, and therefore human dignity and justice, is a theme that runs through many of the films nominated. Using this as a lens, the good sister shares her views on some of the films that I have seen of the twenty-nine nominated as worthy of an Oscar. Her article is called "The Oscars 2010: Movies that Connect Us."

There has been a good deal of buzz in the Catholic blogosphere in the past few weeks about Catholic iPhone apps. If you're one of the lucky ones to own an iPhone, here's a little laundry list of iPhone Catholic updates you can download to your phone.

Still on the iPhone, the Vatican is launching an iPhone application. And it chose Wordnet TV's Fr. Mike Manning to deliver the app's daily inspirational message. Fr. Mike hosts a longtime show on Trinity Broadcasting Network, has authored several books and is recipient of a 2006 papal award. He also pens the ParishWorld blog "Catholic Q&A with Fr. Mike." The app's release is expected in early April.

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

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

Follow us on Twitter
Click Here to view any of our previous weeks' issues
Click Here to receive a FREE SUBSCRIPTION to this weekly email