Sunday, September 22, 2013

"You cannot serve both God and mammon."

Sunday's Scripture readings for Sept. 22, 2013, the twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, see the proper use of material possessions as an essential ingredient in the life of faith. The three sayings of Sunday's Gospel suggest a contrast between worldly wealth and eternal wealth. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

Lessons on Stewardship

Commentators routinely remark that the parable of the Dishonest Manager stands among the most challenging texts in the New Testament, often regarding it as the most perplexing of Jesus' parables. The question is what should be our attitude towards making money?

Stewardship means more than just throwing five bucks in the basket and signing up to help with the Lenten fish fry. Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio says it means realizing that all we have is entrusted to us by God and that we have an obligation to grow it, making it as fruitful as possible for his glory. As Christians we are stewards of what God has given us. We don't own it.

Sometimes this means looking for ways to earn more money through employment, business opportunities, and investments - so that we can give more. In discussing the three types of gospels - prosperity gospel, poverty gospel & practical gospel - Bo Sanchez delivers his big message: Gain Big,Give Big. Jesus is telling us not to hide or run away, but to take bold action to help others, Fr. Phil Bloom explains.

God or Mammon?

Though it is impossible to serve both God and Mammon, it is very important to serve God by the way we use money. Recall the aphorism that teaches money can be your master or your servant? Luke does not condemn wealth. What he does condemn is a preoccupation or obsession with riches.

When the gospel says that we must choose between God and mammon, it is asking us to declare where we finally put our trust. Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. says wealth and talents can serve God's purposes, but they must never replace God as the center of our attention in life.

If you are shrewd in getting things to work for your advantage, does that mean you are un-Christian? Prudence suggests that a healthy and practical balance between the world of God and the world of mammon can be achieved. And that inner life of God shared with a baptized soul, Fr. Orlando Sapuay, MS explains, can animate a person's conduct in temporal affairs.

So like it or not, we must choose sides. Paul Dion, STL points out that "The Poor You Will Always Have With You." It's a street-level Catholic viewpoint on poverty as we experience them in our lives. And if we opt for the poor, Fr. James Gilhooley tells us, we will discover a wonderful thing happening to us. When love opens the heart, we will find it will also open our hand too. The good is served rather than evil. So, Fr. John Foley, S. J. reminds us, be clever when you do good.

Social justice anticipates the perfect justice In the kingdom of God, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB tells us. Rewards and responsibilities will be given to those who demonstrated a faithfulness in their earthly entrustments. With these little matters He entrusts to us now, Father Cusick reminds us that our heavenly Father is preparing us to inherit the treasure beyond all price: the reign of heaven. He is preparing us for the far greater good of eternal life.

Christ is further saying that we should put just as much effort into understanding our faith as we do into mastering the skills and fields of study we need to carry out our profession, Fr. Alex McAllister explains. We often demonstrate our intelligence. But Fr. Joseph Pellegrino explains that we don't apply this intelligence to the one thing that really matter: our eternal salvation.

Fr. Ron Rolheiser rounds it up by asking this: Have you ever done something simply on principle, because it was the right thing to do, knowing that you couldn’t explain it to anyone, without there even being a good feeling attached to your act? If you have done this, you have experienced God, perhaps without knowing it.

John Cardinal Newman

It has been 500 years since a Pope has visited England. This week three years ago Pope Benedict finds himself a guest of that country where he beatified England's John Henry Cardinal Newman in Birmingham, England. Beatification is the third of four steps leading to canonization in the Catholic Church. But for those of in Catholic higher education, Cardinal Newman already holds the highest place of honor.

In so many ways, Newman is responsible for the growth and development of the Catholic educational system. His writings and work in the mid-1800s still serve as the foundation for Catholic colleges and universities throughout the world. The fact that many Catholic churches in US universities today carry his name is a testament to his legacy to Catholic education.

But who needs Catholic schools? We all do, according to this must-read article by Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York.

JFK & the Politics of Hope

As the 53rd anniversary of John F. Kennedy's famous Houston speech on his Catholicism approaches, a legal expert dissects President Kennedy's famous campaign speech about faith and politics. He noted the way in which Kennedy reduced religious belief to accident of birth, or more specifically, to baptism. The question, he submits in his article, was not whether 40 million Americans baptized into a certain religion are excluded from the presidency, but whether however many millions of Americans who believe in the tenets of their faith are excluded from proper political participation.

For Christians, explains Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M., Cap., hope is a virtue, not an emotional crutch or a political slogan. Real hope is unsentimental. It has nothing to do with the shallow optimism of self-improvement programs or election campaigns. Hope assumes and demands a real, unbending spine in believers.

Faith, Family and the Largest Flock in the US

Across the country, Marriage Preparation programs are finding renewal. Ministers working in these programs are finding themselves at the forefront of the new evangelization, renewing their methods with novel yet traditional means. And speaking of Dads, how do you get a bunch of children under the age of reason (or above the age of reason) to pray 5 decades of the Rosary every day? Is it possible? Here are "12 Tips for Praying the Family Rosary daily."

A relatively new youth minister from Phoenix asked for opinions about his perceived solution to declining youth participation in his parish ministry - hot tub parties and pizza! Denys Powlett-Jones rightly replied that instead of the proposed steamy hot tub action, go for the soul, not the gut. How about offering them instead an hour of Eucharistic adoration? Why not try sung Sunday vespers—in Latin—in the church by candlelight? Every week? He offers the same message as the pastoral plan for the Madrid Archdiocese which will host the 2011 World Youth Day. Participants planning to attend the event in Madrid are urged to begin preparing now in prayer, sacramental growth and witnessing to the faith.

To Forgive and Be Forgiven

Elizabeth Esther talks about how the Sacrament of Confession brought the sunshine of hope back into her life. She knew she needed God’s forgiveness when she opened the door to the Confessional. What she didn’t know was that she was also opening the door to forgiving others. The truth was, she wanted forgiveness but she didn’t want to forgive.

This grace was epitomized by the shocking 2006 story of the lone gunman who had entered an Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., and shot 10 Amish girls aged 6 to 13. In a Christian move that shocked the secular world, the community decided to forgive the assailant - unequivocably. This moving story was captured in the film "Amish Grace" which originally premiered as the highest-rated movie on the Lifetime Movie Network. This moving and impactful story was made available on DVD. Sr. Rose Pacatte, FSP of the Pauline Medial Literacy Center shares her movie review. Catch it here.

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: Would you leave a job for moral reasons?
FEATURED BLOG: "The poor you will always have with you"
PRIESTS STORIES: Leading the Biggest Flock in the US
PASTORAL HISPANA: Seamos responsables con los dones recibidos

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1 comment:

  1. It is always good and very healthy signs of a good human being is to forgive and be forgiven.