Friday, September 27, 2013

"You received what was good during your lifetime"

The Gospel of Luke, the Gospel of God’s compassion, the Gospel of the lowly being raised up, challenges us this Sunday with the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

Noticing the Poor

Sunday's Gospel offer a very straightforward tale of the rich and the poor. Dives’ sin is that he simply does not notice the poor man at his gate. It is all too easy for us to fall into the same trap, to think that the poor are far away and we can do nothing for them except make a few token gestures. Ask yourself our Burning Question this week: Do you invite the poor to your banquet?

The New York Times chillingly reports that dogs and cats in the United States eat more nutritious food than do the homeless in refugee camps in the third world. Paul Dion, STL is of the opinion that world hunger is a sin against life that has “corporate” dimensions. We all participate in it. We all have a share in the death of the 40 to 60 million people who succumb to the ravages of hunger every year.

Fr. John Foley, S. J. asks us to reflect upon this. Are you and I helping to overlook the plight of the world’s poor as we stretch on our couches and gobble up our television shows? Do we as individuals turn a blind eye to the poor around us? Do we as a society see them? Are we afraid of the poor? But Fr. Alex McAllister sums it all up at the personal level. He reminds us that we have to go beyond simple charity. Each and every one of the poor is a human person deserving our respect and support. We must do what we can to enter into a real relationship with those less fortunate than ourselves.

Not Meant to Dump on the Rich

Luke 16 is not just about money or wealth. God loves cheerful givers. Do we think being rich means we are right with God? Fr. Joseph Pellegrino says this Sunday's parable is not meant to defame those who have worked long and hard for their financial position in life. It is not meant to dump on the rich. The parable is really meant to help us all to recognize the responsibilities our positions in life demand. And the key element in both of our Sunday parables is personal relationships, explains Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB.

For example, Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio tells us that almsgiving is good. But he reminds us that involvement is better. Ministering to the financially poor and the spiritually bankrupt develops our potential to enrich others as we are enriched in the process. Wealth without active mercy for the poor is great wickedness. Our focus must be on the well being of the poor and downtrodden. It is in giving that we receive.

Our Choice: Heaven or Hell

Hell is real. But many among us in today's world have conditioned our minds to think it is not. Father Cusick reminds us sternly that it does exist. Hell, the state of eternal separation from God, is a radical possibility for every man and woman, because every man and woman has been created by God in His image and likeness, with intellect and free will. Every choice man or woman makes is a choice either for or against God, according to or in denial of His will.

Though we may be too inhibited to speak of the last four things in life - death, judgment, heaven, hell - Jesus the Christ is not. Fr. James Gilhooley declares that Jesus desires the salvation of all. But, Fr. Phil Bloom admonishes us, you and I must make a choice where we will spend eternity.

It is riches, riches of all kinds--of money, intelligence, health, power, social or religious status that we need to watch out for. Though all good in themselves, explains Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B., these riches can lead you to forget about God and everyone else except yourself. Fr. Orlando Sapuay, M.S. warns us that if we close our eyes to the truth we are given, then we are doomed.

The Church’s Economic-Social Teachings

Most of us have been raised to believe that we have right to possess whatever comes to us honestly, either through our own work or through legitimate inheritance. By and large, this belief has been enshrined in the laws of democratic countries and we generally believe that it is morally sanctioned by Christianity. Fr. Ron Rolheiser says that this is all true, partly. But it needs a lot of qualification. From scripture - through Jesus, through the social teachings of the churches, through papal encyclicals - the right to private ownership and private wealth is mitigated by a number of moral principles. He lists a number of those principles as promulgated by the Catholic Church. He offers a good spritual reviewer for our secular times.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput follows it up with a dissertation on Catholics and the Next America. The Denver prelate says the the most important choice we can make is both terribly simple and terribly hard: to actually live what the Church teaches, to win the hearts of others by our witness, and to renew the soul of our country with the courage of our own Christian faith and integrity. There is no more revolutionary act.

Bible Priests, College Catholics & a Muslim Home

From Nigeria, we bring you the story of Fr. Bekeh Utietiang. He saw the story of the Heartsong Church, a Christian congregation in Tennessee that opened its church's doors for their Muslim neighbors to use for prayer service. This reminded him of how a few years back in Nigeria a Muslim family opened its doors for him to celebrate a Catholic Mass.

From Washington DC's George Washington University we bring you vack a story about how four young missionaries marketed 'Catholicism with Chipotle' to promote Mass attendance among Catholic students on campus. They are members of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) and they have been unafraid and outrageous in proving that it is possible to be young, Catholic, fun and devout.

Also, you've seen us on many occassions highlight posts from the blog "Why I am Catholic." Thsi week, contributor Frank Weathers, a former evangelical Protestant, puts up one more reason why: Because Catholic Priests Know The Bible, Backwards and Forwards.

Marital Infidelity & A Father's Letter

A few years ago, her husband committed adultery. Today, their marriage is new again. "Words Cannot Express My Gratitude" is this wife's story. And she offers the two-way spiritual road she and her husband took towards healing and forgiveness. They are turning the tables on the national statstic that says only 1/3 of marriages actually survive infidelity.

Also, on the occassion of his 44th birthday a few years back, Bo Sanchez penned a letter he wants to give to his son when he turns 60. Why? To remind himself the most important things in life. At the end of the day, he says always put your family first. This is our most important wealth!

Finally, how's your cholesterol? If you think that the normal reading you got back in 2004 (or earlier) means you're in the clear, think again: Levels of the artery-clogging substance often rise with age, and cardiologists say everyone 20 or older should be screened for high cholesterol at least once every five years. Got high cholesterol? Learn what you can do to lower it quickly -- starting today. Here's 11 Tips to Cut Your Cholesterol Fast.

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: Do you invite the poor to your banquet?
FEATURED BLOG: Catholics and the Next America
PASTORAL HISPANA: Las posesiones pueden ser un obstaculo para el Reino

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