Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Feed my sheep"


"Feed my sheep"
Third Sunday in Easter (3EasterC), April 18, 2010

BURNING QUESTION: Can we the sinful be part of Jesus’ mission?
FEATURED BLOG: Rediscovering the Sacramental Sense
PRIEST STORIES: Pope - World Needs Voice of Teacher-Priests
PASTORAL HISPANA: Dios llega adonde nos encontramos

Dear Friends,

When the curtain goes up on Sunday's Gospel, the apostles are back in Galilee, broke and hungry. They unknowingly encounter Jesus who helps them catch a boatload of fish. Later back on land, Jesus commissions Peter to lead our Lord's work among His people. Our Discussion Questions this week will guide your bible study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

The Origins of the Papacy

The Gospel this Sunday focuses on Peter and it is a most interesting one. The origins of the Papacy can be found in the dialogue between Jesus and Simon Peter. Jesus entrusts a specific authority to Peter. This authority given to Peter, explains Father Cusick, was to be handed on through the "apostolic succession".

This particular extract is also used in the ceremony of the installation of a Pope. It is solemnly read to the new Pope as a sort of warning at the start of his important new ministry. Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio explains that the pope, the successor of Peter, has a role that has not to do with privilege but with sacrifice. This, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB points out, is the key qualification for the Petrine ministry, and for all ministry in the name of Jesus Christ - a love for the Lord that is characterized by humility, dependence and obedience.

Imperfect but tasked to Evangelize

Peter certainly knew failure along the road of discipleship. The disciple who was called "rock" wept with regret after denying his Lord. Yet he is given an opportunity to repent and recommit himself to Jesus. Peter was to follow Christ and dedicate his whole life to him and work tirelessly for the spread of the Gospel.

Though imperfect, Peter was asked to serve God. The same applies to all of us today. We also are called to be apostles. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino says it would be wonderful if we could be ideal apostles like John, who stayed faithful at the foot of the cross until the end. But we are real people like Peter. And like Peter, despite our limitations, we can feed the Lord’s sheep.

"Do You Love Me?"

This was the question Jesus asked Peter three times in this Gospel story. Fr. John Foley, S. J. asks us to personalize this story. He says Jesus is also calling you by name and asking you, “Do you love me?” Let it echo inside you. Stay with it. Think about it. Pray about it.

It is this friendship with Jesus is the one essential thing of life. Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B. states. However, just like the apostles, we might not recognize Jesus everytime. So the next time you are asked to do something for somebody and you think it beneath your dignity, Fr. James Gilhooley says reflect on this Gospel. And then go out and do whatever the task is.

It is only by living according to this value system of Jesus, explains Fr. Jim Kirstein, SMA - attending Mass, by personal prayer, celebrating the sacraments and reading scripture - that we deepen our relationship with Jesus. While Peter was literally asked to give his life for Christ. Fr. Alex McAllister SDS tells us that not all are asked to be nailed to a cross like Peter. But we will all die. And at the moment of our death we can give ourselves to God, an ultimate surrender to the will of God.

And in a wonderful dissertation, Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS ably points out that this resurrections tory describes the four steps in the ministry of reconciliation: accompaniment, hospitality, making connections and commissioning. While Fr. Ron Rolheiser tells us that this Gospel story reminds us that Baptism means derailment. To submit to love is to be baptized, namely, to let our lives be forever interrupted. To not let our lives be interrupted is to say no to love.

Christ's Resurrection

We continue our Eastertide celebration with this great article from the Summa Theologica. St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the great Church scholars, reflects on the Resurrection and gives his five reasons Christ rose from the dead. And in response to a reader question, Fr.John Bartunek offers up "50 Days of Celebrating Easter," ideas that families may use to continue the Easter celebration for the entire season.

Youth minister Jerome Placido recalls the pastor from his old parish always urging people to continue living as an “Easter People.” As a young person back then, he said he never actually understood, nor tried to understand, exactly what it meant. Until this past week as he reflected on the Resurrection of our Lord.

In his "There is a Freedom in Holiness," Msgr. Charles Pope asks, "Is the Christian moral life just a list of dos and don’ts?" He said we should look at Church teachings as more of a description rather than merely a prescription, more as freedom rather than limits. Check out what he means.

Eric Sammons wrote previously that the Catholic’s proper response to Church scandals is to become a saint. Then someone asked by email, “How do you become a saint?” He says he doesn't see sainthood as something mysterious or ethereal. Here are the five steps he would recommend to becoming saints. And blogger Webster Bull offers yet another powerful reason in his blog "Why I am Catholic" - To Be an Old Man Who Goes to Mass Every Day.

It's Confirmation Season

It's going on in many parishes across the country. Our young - and old - are receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation. Here's a ParishWorld Confirmation Primer that offers several articles explaining this Sacrament.

And with Confirmation, comes sponsors or godparents. Have you ever wondered why some people have very involved godparents and sponsors, while others don't even know theirs? Perhaps part of the problem is that many godparents and sponsors were chosen for the wrong reasons, or because those same people don't really know what they're supposed to do! Do you? This update will help us to better understand these roles.

Sadly after Confirmation, many of our confirmed "graduate" and drop off from being active Catholics. So how do we keep our youth active after Confirmation? This parish in Minnesota says, "Try the Coffee Shop Approach." Does it work? With this program, 80% of their Confirmation students came back and assumed an active role in parish life.

On a deeper level, Russell Shaw points out that where people suppose that sacramental liturgy is only a symbolic act to which those who perform it assign its meaning, the devising of liturgical settings naturally emphasizes values like novelty and excitement. Practically speaking, as then–Cardinal Ratzinger has pointed out, they aim to entertain. But the more entertaining the celebrations become, the more support they’ll lend to the belief that what is going on is symbolic, nothing more. "Rediscovering the Sacramental Sense" is a must-read for all Catholics.

Lifestyle & Parenting

A national survey commissioned by the U.S. episcopal conference shows that parents are concerned about what their children see on TV. And they want more help to control the amount of sex, violence and drugs viewed by children. Also from U.S. bishops' conference, they are offering this month a series of tips to protect young people from abuse. April is designated as Child Abuse Prevention Month, and the staff of the various dioceses nationwide are renewing their programs and efforts to protect young people.

Have you heard of "Mary, Undoer of Knots?" Lori Hadacek Chaplinreports that it was the Blessed Mother who helped heal a rift between her and an extended family member that an apology would not easily mend. The devotion that came to her help is called Mary, Undoer of Knots.

In a best possible world, anyone who was called to the married life would find a faithful Catholic spouse. Yet, the reality is many Catholics end up marrying someone who does not share their faith. If you are in such a relationship, "One Love, Two Faiths" is for you.

Finally, how well do you think can a family of four eat on just $68.88 a week? That's the food stamp budget for a family of four. For more than 38 million Americans, it's more than a matter of conjecture. And "Eating well on $68.88 a week" offers great insights on how to make it work.

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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