CATHOLIC LIVING TODAY
Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (18C), Aug. 4, 2013
BURNING QUESTION: Does God want you to be rich?
FEATURED BLOG: The parish "shop and hop"
PASTORAL HISPANA: Aprender a usar los bienes materiales
The Readings this Sunday warn us not to place our trust in material things but instead to focus on the things of the spirit. While Jesus is teaching a crowd of people. someone asks him to settle a dispute about an inheritance. Jesus refuses to act as a judge in the dispute, and uses the occasion to warn the crowd against all forms of greed or covetousness. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.
Greed & the Prosperity Gospel Mentality
the Lord's purpose is take the moment to teach about the higher good of the kingdom which might be lost to those who sin by coveting the goods of this world. And why is Covetousness a deadly sin? Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B. says because it causes us to forget about God, at times to the point of idolatry. It also causes us to forget about other people except in resentment or envy.
When the Gospel of Jesus challenges the "prosperity gospel mentality," He is not speaking against material wealth but condemns being enslaved to and enchained by wealth. It's a concept that the Readings force us this Sunday to take a look at - what is a successful life, a successful career, a successful relationship? The desire for all these things can be good indeed. The question, though, is whether these desires and achievements are stepping stones on the road to God or disastrous detours. Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D. says it’s time for a gut-check.
And just how do you measure a successful Chrisian life? Fr. Joseph Pellegrino says success is not a present reality for the Christian, but a goal. And this goal will only be reached when every aspect of our lives reflect the Person of Jesus Christ. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB says it means relying on God as the source of our security. It means having a genuine and sincere relation with God who knows us, accepts us, and gives meaning to our lives.
Recognizing the Poor
“Nobody gets to heaven without a letter of reference from the poor!” That’s an axiom attributed to James Forbes, the pastor of Riverside Church in New York City. He’s right. If Jesus is to be believed, then we need to believe that the poor stand before us always at that place where we are judged.
Our material possessions come with responsibilities attached. The responsibility we have is to share with those who do not have the same advantages as ourselves. But the problem - the real danger - with wealth, Fr. Ron Rolheiser points out, is that when we are rich, we have a congenital incapacity to see the poor and, in not seeing them, we never learn the wisdom of the crucified. Fr. Alex McAllister explains that our greatest responsibility is to not enjoy our wealth at their expense. Greed causes our lives to become foul before God. It is the practice of generosity, explains Fr. Orlando Sapuay, M.S., that protects us from the deadly effects of greed.
And the truth is nothing you think you own is really yours. There is absolutely nothing that you now have that you will not be required at some point to give up. In "A Meditation on the “Curse” of Affluence," Msgr. Charles Pope tells us it is all God’s and you and I will give it all back.
This Very Night
Fr. Phil Bloom reminds us that none of us knows how or when we will die. Jesus reminds us to be prepared. This very day, this very night, God may require one's soul. And Fr. John Foley, S. J. challenges us with this one really pointed question. If death were on its way to you this very night, what would you take to God?
Saint Louis University, sophomore Catherine Stallings quotes what her late father - who recently passed away with cancer - wrote ins his journal: “Steps taken to change or cleanse past habits never feel good, but the benefits come later in an unexpected form.” She says he was correct in saying this because the “unexpected form” comes after we die, when we are with God. Putting our faith in this will never be easy, but we believe God will always reward our efforts.
The Didache & Our Current Moral Tenets
The Didache is one of the earliest written documents of the Church other than Scripture itself. It was written sometime between 90 and 110 AD and may been compiled from the Apostolic Teaching as a kind of early catechism and a summary of the essential moral tenets of the Faith. It’s existence demonstrates that many current teachings of the faith, often under attack by modernity, are in fact very ancient, going right back to the beginning. Msgr. Charles Pope takes a look at some excerpts from the Didache that are especially pertinent for today’s controversies.
Catholic blogger Eric Sammons tackles two of these controversies. In the first one, he explains that Satan’s greatest success is not when he gets someone to do something that they know is immoral; it is when he gets someone to do something immoral and be convinced that it is not wrong. Such is the case today with artificial contraception. In his second article, he discusses the parish “shop and hop.” Many Catholics today shop around for a parish that suits their needs and then hop to the one that they like the best. Is this allowed? What are we to make of all this?
From the guys at Aggie Catholics, we bring you their list of "10 Fun Catholic Facts." Here's a peek at No. 10: We have tons of friends. Not only are there more than 1.16 billion Catholics, but we also have the Angels and Saints. And No. 9: The Church's system of law, called Canon Law, is the basis of much of the law in the world's Western culture.
Miracles, Lessons from St. Martha and Jobs
Catholic preacher and blogger Bo Sanchez has noticed something: "The older I get, the more I believe in miracles. In fact, I believe I’m surrounded by an ocean of miracles." Check out the formula he lays out for a happy and fruitfil life.
Another eventful week in our Catholic world. Have a great and blessed new week.
Keep the Faith. Peace.
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