Thursday, October 3, 2013

"If you have faith the size of a mustard seed"

This Sunday - October 6, 2013 (27C) - in the Readings, the apostles say to the Lord something so many still say until this day: “Increase our faith!” Our Discussion Questions for October 3, 2010 - 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time - will guide your Online Sunday Bible Study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

Faith in Times of Crisis

During the rough times in our lives, we often question God's will. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino reminds us how we demand to know how the Lord could be so unmoved to our sufferings. Oftentimes, we try to negotiate with God. We even try to make deals with our Lord. We know that God’s solutions are infinitely better than ours. And still we decide to take matters into our own hands.

Surprisingly, God answers in a lengthy and encouraging reply, “I understand your sorrow and I will make things better.” The big problem is that “wait for it” part. God will make things better but not yet. The way God is giving us faith is by delaying. Fr. John Foley, S. J. says our souls are not yet ready for the fullness of belief in and with Jesus, so he brings us along until we are.

"Increase Our Faith"

Habakkuk in the First Reading reminds us that in the face of human suffering, it is not wrong to question God. Fr. Phil Bloom says this is because honest questions can lead to faith. Fr. Alex McAllister SDS adds further that lack of faith is not a sin. However, the denial of faith certainly is a sin if it is the result of a deliberate systematic process of doubting.

We also learn this Sunday that faith is a gift and thus can be refused. Father Cusick says faith is something we can indeed lose. It is not something we can shelve until we need it. For then, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB explains, we will discover that it has grown weak and meaningless from disuse and will not sustain us.

So what then are we called to do? Pray for an increase of faith. Denis Dion says maybe we should "Stop Believing in Miracles and Start Counting on Them." And if you ask for faith, Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio writes, know that this means giving the Lord permission to put more weight on the bar. When he does, you’ve got to be willing to take a deep breath and lift. Because according to Jesus, it really does not matter how much faith you have, a car-load or a teaspoon-full. Stay in there and the rest will come.

Participation Not Spectating

The Church works best, we are advised, when we see ourselves not as spectators but as participants. However, Fr. James Gilhooley reminds us, many of us are less than useful servants - not from malice but from procrastination. Such a defect robs us of a get up and go spirit. It is something which this Sunday's Gospel would have us correct if we are to become useful people. Fr. Orlando Sapuay, M.S.. says it’s a matter of enacting all that we Christians were ordered to do, and doing so as faithful servants rather than as seekers for our own prizes and rewards.

When we achieve this, moving a mulberry tree, Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. explains, would be nothing compared to the radical transformation of the landscape of our lives that would come from generous faith. And, Fr. Ron Rolheiser points out, we will then see that what Jesus offers is a peace that is not fragile, that is already beyond fear and anxiety, that does not depend upon feeling healthy, secure, and loved in this world.

Sept. 29, Feast of the Archangels

On September 29, we celebrated the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. We know of them and their names mean something: Michael (Who is Like God?!), Gabriel (God is Strong) and Raphael (God Heals). Scripture consistently affirms the existence of the Angels. But just who are they? Msgr. Charles Pope writes a piece that leads to a better biblical understanding of angels.

We also ask you to read this excerpt from a homily by St. Gregory the Great, one of the most prominent Early Church Fathers & Doctors of the Church. It is used in the Roman Catholic Office of Readings for the Gospels of this feastday.

On Earth as It Is in Heaven

Our Lord teaches us to pray that God’s will be done “on earth as it is in Heaven”. But sometimes, Mark Shea fancies, we have seldom given any thought to what that means. So he tries to explain in this reflection. Also, Leon Suprenant talks about the sin of Sloth. He makes us aware that while the the couch potato lying on the sofa may be a more popular image of sloth, it is actually the workaholic - who’s on the job 24-7 and in the process neglects God and family - who is the more typical manifestation of this sin in our culture.

Then we bring you the story of Chiara Badano, a modern teenager: She liked to sing, dance, play tennis and skate, until cancer took her life at age 18, only two decades ago. Last Saturday. in the shrine of Divine Love in Rome, Chiara was beatified. She becomes one of the first modern teens to be beatified by the Catholic Church.

Catholics Score Lowest in Religion Quiz

Citizens of the United States might be among the most religious of the developed world, but when it comes to knowing about religions, U.S. atheists score higher than U.S. Christians. This is one of the results shown by a Pew Research survey released Tuesday. The survey asked 32 questions about religion. Catholics averaged the lowest score, getting 14.7 correct, below the national average of 16 out of 32 correct answers. Click here to take the quiz yourself. And see how you fare.

What about Confession, do you know enough about it? David Mills says Confession ought to be a great selling point for the Catholic Church. In confession, the Church can give her people something they will not get anywhere else, something that will make them happier in this world and better prepared for the next. It gives them something they really want, even if they don't know it.

And what about Holy Mass, wouldn't it be great if we learned more about it as well? Once you get to Mass, what do you do? Well, Busted Halo says it’s helpful to think of Mass as you would a dinner party. And they offer five tips that will make it go well. It's a simplistic but meaningful article called 'Mass Class.' And if you're struggling with teens who refuse to go to Mass, Tom and Caroline McDonald from the Archdiocese of Mobile, AL offers the best way to handle them: Encourage your big kids to make faith their own.

Now let's talk about the The Natural Law Tradition of the Catholic Church. It is often criticised by some Protestants and more often by secularists. Some think of it as merely an invention of the scholastic period. Others (esp. some of the Protestants) think we should limit our discourse to the Scriptures alone. But Catholicism has always seen God’s revelation in broader terms that Scripture alone. In light of the raging discussions about homosexual marriage, Msgr. Charles Pope delivers this premise: Natural Law Is Not New and Is Needed Now.

Jobs - Finding it & Keeping it

Persistent, double-digit unemployment has spared no industry, and with millions of Americans out of work, competition for a paycheck is fierce. The key to landing a job isn't so much what you do, says career coach Ford Myers, as what not to do. Read and learn: 'It's the 10 Mistakes Job-Seekers Make.'

And once you do land that elusive job, you better learn how to hang on to it. Whether it's dancing on top of the bar at the company holiday party, chewing with one's mouth open or falling asleep in a meeting, everyone is guilty of committing some kind of faux pas -- social, professional or otherwise. To avoid putting your career on the line, try to watch out for these while on the clock: 7 Work Taboos to Avoid.

Finally, Bo Sanchez shares a story he picked up one day, over a cup of coffee. His friend told him about his “Whistling Uncle”. He clearly was very proud of him. “My uncle was one of the happiest people on earth,” Bo's friend said. “I call him my Whistling Uncle because wherever he went, he was whistling.” Find out the valuable lesson we can all learn from this simple but happy whistler.

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: Is it Better to Pray or Study the Faith?
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