Sunday, October 13, 2013

"Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!"

Nine of the 10 lepers healed in this Sunday's Readings, October 13, 2013 (28C), did not return to praise God for their healing. Nevertheless, they are healed, and the wideness of God's mercy is exalted even in their ingratitude, and ours. Both the stories of Naaman story and that of the 10 lepers teach us some powerful lessons about remembrance, gratitude, healing and salvation. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Online Sunday Bible Study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

A Saving Faith

The Luke Gospel text today opens with an insignificant little phrase that is easily overlooked: ‘On the way to Jerusalem.’ Let me suggest that this short phrase is  actually a summary of Jesus’ whole life. His entire life was a preparation, a journey towards the cataclysmic events that occurred in Jerusalem.

And these lepers must have had a tremendous faith in Him. They were asking for the cure of a disease they themselves considered incurable.  All ten lepers are healed. Nine are cured but not saved. But only the lone Samaritan is both cured and saved.

Father Cusick says the teaching of Christ here is not about the healing of the flesh. It is of a far greater and more precious gift: the grace of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B. points out that of the ten, the foreigner is the only one who recognizes the good thing that had just happened to him to be a gift of God, and acts upon that intuition. He glorifies God, and returns to thank Jesus whom he recognizes as an agent of God’s presence and compassion.

The Samaritan's response simply illustrates a saving faith, a faith that rests wholly on Jesus for salvation. The living God offers us the gift of eternity. God's gift of faith in the Son of Man is poured out freely for all, regardless of race, language, or place. Fr. Orlando Sapuay tells us that all we have to do is ask Jesus, to trust Him for salvation. And it is reassuring to know, says college student Amy Winkler, that it is God’s nature to be faithful. No matter how many times we may turn our backs on Him, He will always be there for us.  

Now here's an interesting burning question for you. Both the prophet of the Old Testament and Jesus of the Gospel give the persons about to be healed something to do. In both situations, the action is not difficult, but it has great meaning. Why did the lepers have to follow simple directions before being cured?

Remembering & Thanksgiving

Grateful hearts are the hallmark of authentic Christians, explains Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB. Those who possess the virtue of gratitude are truly rich. They not only know how richly they have been blessed, but they continuously remember that all good things come from God. When we say "Thank you, " explains Fr. Joseph Pellegrino, we realize that we are not the center of the universe. We acknowledge God as the center and source of our existence. Fr. Phil Bloom says then we realize that what we are and what we have are the result of a goodness and beauty beyond ourselves.

Yet, Fr. James Gilhooley illustrates, we live in a society in which the words 'Thank You' are coming to be used less frequently not only to God but to one another. The nine ungrateful lepers were like that. They were like infants, with need after need after need and tells you all about them. But as we grow to become adults, you would want to give back as well as receive. Yes, even to give to God. 

Fr. John Foley, S. J. asks us how we would react to this as adults. God has been seeking a mutual love relationship with us from the beginning of time. Do we ever sense this? Do we feel gratitude? Do we ever take time out to feel it? Do we even question why the act of going to Sunday Mass is an obligation?

We shall be Christians when we weep not because we have lost something but because we have been given so much. If we arrive at the end of our life-long pilgrimage of faith with an attitude of thanksgiving and appreciation then, according to Fr. Alex McAllister, we will be assured of a warm welcome and be received into the loving arms of the Lord.

Praying When We Don’t Feel Like It

“What is prayer?” asked the Baltimore Catechism of my youth. “Prayer,” it replies, “is the lifting up of the mind and heart to God.”  Prayer expands the heart and inspires action, adds Camille D’Arienzo.

But what’s so unfortunate is that, most often, because we misunderstand prayer. That's why most of us find it difficult to pray. We want to pray, make resolutions to pray, but never quite get around to actually praying.

Fr. Ron Rolheiser says the problem is not that our prayer is unreal or that the moment isn’t right. We are trying to lift thoughts and feelings to God which are not our own. We aren’t praying out of our own hearts and own heads. We only try to pray when we feel good, centered, reverent, and worthy of praying. We don’t try to pray precisely when we most need it, that is, when we are feeling bad, irreverent, sinful, emotionally and sexually preoccupied, and unworthy of praying.

But the perils exist even among the prayerful. As Msgr. Charles Pope rightfully explains, we also need to be reminded of the temptations common to believers and church-goers. Perhaps we could refer to these as the “Perils of the Pious,” or the “Risks of the Religious.” But in the end, God always wins. Pat Gohn writes that in the ultimate showdown between Divine Providence and evil, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that evil hasn’t got a prayer.
Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary

On October 7, we celebrated the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary. This feast was instituted to honor Mary for the Christian victory over the Turks at Lepanto on October 7, 1571. Pope St. Pius V and all Christians had prayed the Rosary for victory. And they were victorious despite overwhelming odds. If you were not able to celebrate the feast yesterday, here are some 'Things to Do' to commemorate this feast everyday.

The Rosary, or the Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is one of the best prayers to Mary, the Mother of God. And most Catholics say the Rosary. So why is it then that so few of them give up their sins and go forward in the spiritual life? Surely it must be because they are not saying them as they should. It is a good thing to think over how we should pray if we really want to please God and become more holy. From 'The Secret of the Rosary,' St. Louis Marie de Montfort offers thoughts on how to pray it well.

And in a fitting testimony to the power of the Rosary, Catholic blogger Eric Sammons explains how the Rosary was instrumental in the final step of his conversion to Catholicism and why it continues to be a powerful devotion in his life.

Catholic Living & Family Life

Stressing that Divine Love is transmitted through Marriage, Pope Benedict three years ago today stressed that the family is fundamental because it is the first place where people learn the meaning of Life.

The sanctity of marriage and family is the topic of this article we published from the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He commended evangelicals for their grave concern about the family. Then he warned them that their credibility on the issue of marriage is significantly discounted by their acceptance of divorce. He says, "Divorce is now the scandal of the evangelical conscience."

On another topic, many Protestants disagree with our Catholic practice of baptizing infants. They usually wait until a child is between 8 and 12 to baptize reasoning that the child will know and understand what is happening. But it is a simple historical fact that the Church has always baptized infants. Even our earliest documents speak of the practice. We offer and exhaustive explanation why Baptism should be celebrated very soon after birth.

Finally, if you're hooked on Latin or simply want to have a better understanding of some of the Latin verses you hear in church, Google comes to your rescue. Google Translate, a service that can instantly translate entire web pages or chunks of text in to another language, has added Latin to its list. Google Translate supports more than 50 languages, and the addition of Latin is sure to please scholars and traditionalists. Now go online and test it out with a quick translation of "Kyrie Eleison" into English. I tried it and it was quite a fun experience.

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: "Why the rituals for the lepers to be cured?"
Featured Blog: Praying When We Don’t Feel Like It

Pastoral Hispana: El agradecimiento es fuente de sanacion

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