Thursday, August 22, 2013

"Strive to enter through the narrow gate"

In Sunday’s Gospel for August 25, 2013, Jesus speaks about the narrow gate.The question posed by a villager to Him was: "Will only a few be saved?" Jesus answers by saying that the invitation is open but the way into t he kingdom is narrow and demands more than casual interest. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

Who will be saved?

Father Cusick says every manner of person - Catholic or not, Christian or not - all want to know: Does life go on after this world? If it does, is there a heaven and a hell? If God is love and the Church is atholic or “Universal,” doesn’t that mean everybody is going to heaven? Not according to this Sunday’s gospel. If you’ve ever wondered how a loving God could send people to hell, and then stumbled trying to explain it, Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D. says the answers are here this Sunday.

It brings up the one matter that is more important than life or death. And that, Fr. Phil Bloom says, is the possibility of being lost - eternally. So, while the question of the villager - Who will be saved? - is as relevant today as when it was first posed, Fr. Alex McAllister SDS says there is the other important question we should ask behind the original question: Will I be saved?

Dare we hope that all will be saved? Fr. Orly Sapuay, M.S. quotes Hans Urs von Balthazar, one of the greatest 20th century theologians, who answered this question briefly, “We not only dare to hope, but we are obliged to hope that all be saved.

The narrow door is the way of Christ Jesus

Those who think that they have the heavenly seating chart arranged, are in for quite a shock. The fact that you were baptized Catholic is no guarantee that you are now on the inside. Neither is the fact that you once accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. At the narrow door, Jesus may not recognize everyone who bears the name "Christian." But, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB explains, God will recognize immediately all those whose lives bear the stamp of "Christian."

Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. says, we are warned this Sunday about the terrible disappointment in store for those who have not taken God's teaching seriously. God keeps the door open long beyond when we would expect, all the way to the end. But, Fr. John Foley, S. J. adds, if we are too busy partying and dancing, there is nothing our Lord can do. He has to accept our decision to stay outside.

So why are we in the Church? Fr. Joseph Pellegrino says the answer is far deeper than just “to go to Mass.” We are here because we need to be with our Loving Lord. And we need to be with Him always, not just one hour a week in a Church, but throughout our lives, wherever He can be found. The goal of our lives “to be with Jesus, at all times and for all eternity.

However, Fr. James Gilhooley advises, we should not grow discouraged as we attempt often with little success to put on Christ. "The only way to fail," says St Teresa of Avila, "is to stop." And, Fr. Ron Rolheiser adds, we should know that God sends angels to strengthen us precisely when God finds us lying prostrate, sweating the blood of duty - like Jesus in Gethsemane.

More on Mother Mary's Assumption

We bring you more reflections on last week's feast of the Assumption, starting with Pope Benedict's homily last Sunday. He reminded the world that the truth that awaits Christians, prefigured with Mary's assumption into heaven, should fill us with joy. While from Spain, Bishop Ignacio Munilla of San Sebastian, Spain, discussed the declaration of the dogma of the Assumption of Mary 60 years ago. He affirmed that the teaching points out that the ultimate goal is the resurrection of body and soul and therefore is an antidote to beliefs in reincarnation.

Meanwhile Msgr. Charles Pope reflects on his deep Marian devotion. He said it all began one day when he took Mary’s hand and let her lead him to Christ. And hasn’t that always been her role?

Our Greying Church & 'Wannabe Cool' Christianity

The Catholic Church now is realizing that the greater challenge is in its own back yard – and, it’s on a new mission. Three years ago the Boston Archdiocese signed on to the “Catholics Come Home” campaign, which calls on wayward and inactive Catholics to return to the family – and not just to warm the pews. And as Western demographics these days show, majority of these will come from a generational surge in greying baby boomers. They come with a deeper-seated faith in God than the young. And they bring millions of hours of potential stewardship work for the Church's many ministries. John L. Allen Jr. says Catholics will either have to rethink the current bias to cater to the young and/or lose out on this critical greying demographics.

A previous study determined that 70% of young Protestant adults between 18-22 stop attending church regularly. These trend shows that if the evangelical Christian leadership thinks that "Wannabe Cool Christianity" is a sustainable path forward, they are severely mistaken. To the leaders in our Catholic youth programs who feel the evangelicals have a better "hook" than our Church, we ask you to think again. It is the steak that sells, not the sizzle. And evangelical numbers are showing it.

Lost & found after 80 years

A remarkable odyssey has finally come to a close. In the annals of people who returned to their childhood faith after a time of alienation, few have had a longer sojourn than James O'Bryan. The Louisville native has reconciled with the Roman Catholic Church after being away from it for more than 80 years. Check out his story.

And you will absolutely love this moving story of hope. Unlike Carl Lewis, Derek Redmond is not a name that conjures up memories of Olympic gold medals. Redmond arrived at the 1992 Olympic Summer Games in Barcelona determined to win a medal in the 400. The color of the medal was meaningless; he just wanted to win one. Just one. Down the backstretch, only 175 meters away from finishing, Redmond is a shoo-in to make the finals. Suddenly, he hears a pop. In his right hamstring. He pulls up lame, as if he had been shot. And the rest is a testament to the essence of the human spirit. Make sure you watch the video that comes with it.

Finally, here's one for Life. To a world that often denigrates the large family, Steve Mosher offers 10 great reasons to cherish children and have more! "Ten Great Reasons To Have Another Child" will open your eyes to God's beautiful world among us.

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

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

BURNING QUESTION: Lukewarm Catholic or on-fire Protestant?
FEATURED BLOG: The Perils of 'Wannabe Cool' Christianity
PASTORAL HISPANA: La salvacion es para todos, pero requiere sacrificio
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1 comment:

  1. So nice to see a celebrity take a stand for Christianity, especially the Catholic faith!