Thursday, June 24, 2010

"No one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God"

"No one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God"
Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (13C), June 27, 2010

BURNING QUESTION: Does God want you to be rich?
FEATURED STORY: "Discovering" or "Recovering" Catholics?
PASTORAL HISPANA: Haganios siempre la voluntad de Dios

Dear Friends,

Jesus is on the march and will not be turned back. He is fierce in Sunday’s Gospel, and sometimes the readings startle us. He “rebukes” the disciples. A man along the way wants to bury his father and then follow Jesus. But Jesus shouts, “Let the dead bury the dead.” He is moving fast, and his mood is intense. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

Facing resolutely towards Jerusalem

Scholars call the first portion of Luke’s Gospel the “Galilean Ministry,” (Luke 3:1-9:50) which has been the subject of our scripture readings until this Sunday (except for the insertion of Lent and Easter). Now a new section of Luke begins, called the “Journey to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51-19:28).

In the opening words of today's Gospel, Luke clearly states where Jesus is headed. He is going up to Jerusalem where, as we heard predicted in last Sunday's Gospel, he will be put to death. Fr. Orly Sapuay, M.S. explains that going to Jerusalem for Jesus is, above all, the fulfillment of his mission as the one who brings peace to souls, beginning with his own.

"Follow Me"

Jesus calls to several people in the gospel story to follow Him. He is likewise calling us. At all costs, we must keep advancing. And, if we stumble and fall, we must like our Master pick ourselves up and move forward once again.

Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. says the first lesson for those who would travel with Jesus is to put aside all initiatives prompted by anger and prejudice. Fr. James Gilhooley points out that Discipleship is a total commitment, and Jesus wants us to know from the beginning that following him will lead to the crucifixion. If we would truly follow Him, says Father Cusick, then we must embrace His humility, expressed outwardly in His humble earthly circumstances.

Without a doubt, explains Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, Jesus speaks forcefully to us about the call to discipleship, of following him. Let us not mourn the impossibility of going back to the past, but eagerly move on to wherever Christ calls us. It is a challenge to be sure, suggests Dan Finucane, a student at Saint Louis University.

When Jesus speaks about those who are "fit" and those who are "not fit" for the kingdom of the God, Fr. Phil Bloom explains that our Lord will accept the tiniest step. But He will not rest until we have given Him all. Half-hearted discipleship simply will not be acceptable. Jesus is saying that Christianity (and Catholicism) are challenges, not just warm blankets. Jesus values God more than safe sleep, more than family funerals, even more than courtesy to family and friends, as Fr. John Foley reminds us.

And so as you walk the road of your life each day, Fr. Alex McAllister SDS asks us to be prepared. He says be ready for that day when Christ on that same road comes walking by and addresses you with those simple but deeply challenging words: 'Follow me!'

Second Reading: Paul to the Galatians

In this Sunday’s second reading, St. Paul says that the Flesh and the Spirit are directly opposed. Does that mean that he is squeamish about the fact that we have bodies? Are we to reject the physical dimension and try to live like angels? Dr. Marcellino d'Ambrosio explains.

And as the Fourth of July weekend approaches, Fr. Joseph Pellegrino saw in Paul's letter a reflection on our country and how we Americans give great weight to the law.

Understanding our Catholic Faith

Pope Benedict XVI pointed out this week that the doctrine of the Eucharist -- and its relevance for believers -- is not sufficiently understood and must be a catechetical priority. Echoing one of his predecessors, the Pope said all faithful children of the Church should be disciples of St. Thomas Aquinas, as he urged all to fall in love with the Eucharist.

Fr. John Bartunek, LC tackles the concept of indulgences and offers a most basic clarification: Salvation Is Not a Math Problem. It's one of the many Catholic beliefs that Protestants have had issues with. And Sacred Traditions is another one. Delving into the Protestant mindset, Mark Shea says that one basic rule of thumb to understand in Catholic/Protestant conversations is that it is not the case that Catholics rely on Sacred Tradition and Protestants don’t. Rather, Catholics rely on Sacred Tradition and know they do, while Protestants rely on (parts) of Sacred Tradition and (usually) don’t know they do.

Bringing Back our Fallen-away Young Adults

We also look into the generations-long exodus of our Catholic young adults away from our faith and how we can bring them back. A dissertation we encountered points out that most young adults who were raised Catholic don't experience choosing to practice the faith as "coming back" to something inherited from their parents at all. They experience it as a pioneer or convert does, discovering a new and amazing land for the first time. We'd be smarter to call these younger seekers "discovering" Catholics rather than "returning" Catholics. Because it is a difference that makes all the difference in how they approach the faith and what they ask of us.

Catholicism in the Middle East

In a recent, Bishop Joseph Coutts said it is increasingly hard to be a Catholic in a Muslim majority country. The bishop of the Faisalabad Diocese in Pakistan said Christians are often treated as second-class citizens in these countries.

But despite the discrimination, a new set of faces are reshaping Christianity in the region. The old communities may be becoming few and far between. But from Asia and Africa millions of new faithful are coming, mainly, to the Gulf and Saudi Arabia. Where, however, religious freedom is still a myth.

Sweet Surprises

Arwen Mosher lost her iPod Touch while we on vacation with her family. Then a sweet surprise came to her when she found it inside a FexEx box she received a few days later. A total stranger found it and returned it to her - even paying for the shipping. There's still a lot of good in our cynical world. The kindness of strangers prove it everyday.

And here's another sweet surprise: Toy Story 3. Fr. Longenecker is trained in film scriptwriting, thus he can be a harsh critic when viewing movies. But he says if you're going to see a movie this summer, go see Toy Story 3. For a Father's Day treat he saw it in 3-D at his local IMAX. It cost a lot, but he loved it so much he said he'd go again.

Finally, Danielle Bean tells us about a New Media Tool for Catholic Parents. She says the website helps parents navigate popular culture safelly and effectively. If you have children, check it out.

Another eventful week in our Catholic world. A blessed and happy Fathers Day to all dads.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

"But who do you say that I am?"

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time (12C), June 20, 2010

BURNING QUESTION: Is Jesus & God the same?
FEATURED BLOG: Awesome Dad Cheat Sheet
STORIES OF PRIESTS: Pope "Rethinks" Clerical Celibacy
PASTORAL HISPANA: Quien dice la gente que soy yo?

Dear Friends,

In this Sunday's Gospel story, Jesus asks a simple question. “Who do the crowds say that I Am?” All volunteer an answer, because describing other people’s opinions requires no personal commitment whatsoever. But then Jesus asks them a tougher question: “Who do YOU say that I am?” Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

This story is clearly divided into three sections: the first, where Peter answers the question, "Who do you say that I am?" with the reply "The Christ of God." The second section is a prediction of the passion, "The Son of Man is destined to suffer grievously." And the third is the news that those who want to follow Christ must take up their own Cross. From this moment onward in the Gospel, Jesus is on his way to Golgotha and the cross.

"Who do you say I am?"

Jesus' question had as much relevancy down the centuries as it did when it was first asked in the northeast corner of Palestine. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB explains how the replies of the disciples are varied, as are those of each of us today when Jesus, through someone else's lips, asks us the same question, and with increasing frequency and intensity.

In fact, each Christian of every age must give an answer. As Fr. James Gilhooley suggests, we must decide whether we are His disciples or just His fans. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino agrees that it is indeed serious business being a Christian. The enemy is the egocentricity of a world that thinks it does not need God. We must determine who Jesus is for us is, This, according to Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS, is the question and the work of a lifetime. It is the only question that matters.

"The Son of Man is destined to suffer grievously."

Notice that this statement echoes the First Reading for Sunday, written five hundred years before Christ. It describes a day of mourning because of “him whom they have pierced.” Fr. John Foley, S. J. says this text portrays Jesus’ divinity perfectly, one who would descend straight into our suffering and would stay with us all the way, not turning back, not forgetting to love us. Jesus tells us he must suffer and die - he must give his blood for us. Today it is in the celebration of the Mass, Fr. Phil Bloom reminds us, that we enter that mystery and receive the remedy for our sins.

As this gospel story ends, Jesus throws the disciples a curve ball. He strictly forbade them to tell this to anyone.” Why? Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio explains in "The Messianic Secret and the Cross."

We must take up our own Cross

Fr. Alex McAllister SDS points out that many regard Christ as the only person who ever lived who is really worth following - that is except for this teaching on suffering and the Cross. Unfortunately the Cross is not only part of the central message of Christianity. Accepting the Cross is its central requirement.

The litmus-test for Christian orthodoxy, Fr. Ron Rolheiser tells us, is not the Creed. Can you take in bitterness, curses, hatred, and murder itself, and give back graciousness, blessing, love, understanding, and forgiveness? That is the root invitation inside of Christianity. Being Christian doesn’t cause our human differences to disappear and vanish. Fr. Charles Irvin says it is the sharing in all of Christ’s Sacraments that makes our differences irrelevant when it comes to living together in the life of God given us in Jesus Christ.

The Church now proclaims the good news that the Risen Son of Man and Messiah is present among us to create us anew in His own image. We learn what that means in the unique circumstances of our lives through the life and teaching of Jesus. By doing so, Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B. preaches, we will be able to help fix the corruption and lawlessness that fills the earth, rather than adding to it. It is the very same message that Bretton DeLaria, a Junior at Saint Louis University, saw in the Readings. He was thirsting for Him, for that spiritual food that would reach the depths of his soul and fill that thirst for Christ Jesus.

End of Year of Priests & the Rosary

Pope Benedict presided over the end of Year of Priests last week. In his closing message, he said all the good of the Year for Priests cannot be measured, but that people will certainly see its fruits. He also used this event as an opportunity to "Rethink" Clerical Celibacy. He did this however, not to repeal it but to reinforce it. It is the sign, he says, that God exists and that one allows himself to be seized by passion for Him.

This Saturday, June 19, a worldwide rosary relay event will unite participants around the globe to pray for priests. The faithful are invited to participate by praying a decade of the rosary for priests at a scheduled time, thereby marking the end of the Year for Priests with a 24-hour prayer relay. We have the details here.

We also reflect on the Rosary in real life. Believing in the rosary’s power isn’t the same thing as knowing how to pray, is it? Even knowing literally how to pray it (which prayers on which beads) isn’t the same thing as knowing how to pray it, is it? Plus we share with you a soccer star's show of faith at the World Cup. When England lines up for the national anthems before every game at the World Cup, Wayne Rooney will perform a ritual of his own that has become increasingly familiar to television viewers. He will display a set of rosary beads to signify his Roman Catholic faith.

On the Social Justice front, the USCCB joins the call for the US to reform its immigration laws. The Bishops of the Western hemisphere are calling for the just and humane treatment of migrants, and urging the United States in particular to reform its immigration laws.

Happy Fathers Day, June 21

Sunday, June 21 is Fathers Day. And it invites us to ask a very important spiritual question – what does it mean to call God “Father?” Also, please do take a moment to share this special video message with the Godly Dads in your life as a reminder of what a blessing they are to us.

In another video, country music singer Kenny Rogers has a song called “Water and Bridges,” which highlights a father's pain after losing a child to abortion. Rogers said the song is not about him, but is "really about choices you make when you're young that you pay for when you're old." Plus, Fr. John Flynn, LC reflects on the growing number of children today are in the dark about the identity of their biological father. A recent report looked into Anonymous Parenthood - The Consequences of Sperm Donation.

As you move to Sunday, here's how you can really celebrate "father" on father's day rather than just by giving him more stuff. Also for all the fathers out there, check out the Awesome Dad Cheat Sheet, It's a list of 18 Fatherhood Tips they should’ve handed out at the delivery room. This is quite timely specially when you read this report from a Catholic group that says popular primetime television shows engage audiences daily for an hour. This is longer than the average child gets to spend with his parents. On average, parents spend only 49 minutes with their children every day.

Bo Sanchez reflects fondly on his relationship with his father. "Hug Someone Today While There's Still Time" is his story and it is very timely for all of us today. And finally, we bring back "I Can Only Imagine," one of those truly remarkable stories. Make sure you watch the video at the end. This gripping story of love will remain in your consciousness for a very long time.

Another eventful week in our Catholic world. A blessed and happy Fathers Day to all dads.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (11C), June 13, 2010

BURNING QUESTION: What is the Communion of Saints?
FEATURED BLOG: Seeking a Sign
STORIES OF PRIESTS: From Jewish boy to Catholic priest
PASTORAL HISPANA: La Fuerza del Perdon

Dear Friends,

In this Sunday's Gospel story, Luke draws a sharp contrast between the smug and self-righteous Pharisee who keeps all the rules but does not have the sensitivity to perform the basic acts of kindness toward a guest and the woman who has a reputation for sinfulness but who receives Jesus with loving service. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

June 11, Feast of the Sacred Heart

Today, June 11, we celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Dr. Marcellino d'Ambrosio shares with us a reflection by St. Bonaventure on the Sacred heart as "Source of Light and Life." You can also check out this article on "The Sacred Heart and the Eucharist." The Vatican has chosen this important feastday to cap the year-long celebration of the Year of Priests. Priests from around the world are gathered in Rome this week for the official closing of their year.

The Gospel of Forgiveness

Sunday’s Gospel passage comes to us from St. Luke’s gospel. None of the Evangelists speaks as frequently as he does about the forgiving spirit that motivates the Nazarene. That is why Fr. James Gilhooley call Luke's Gospel the Gospel of Forgiveness. It was by no accident that St. Luke in his gospel included Sunday’s episode about Jesus, the Pharisee, and the sinful woman with her tender affection.

Lauren Butler, a Junior at St. Louis University, talks about the many aspects of forgiveness that she finds revealed and spoken about in this Sunday’s readings. Love did not motivate the Pharisee. But it was love that motivated this sinful woman in the Gospel. Fr. Charles Irvin says it is so important for us to ask ourselves if we can capture some of the woman’s fervor, some of her love. If we think of the Pharisee’s house as representing the world around us as we find it in our day, can we see ourselves and see our Church as this womansinful and in need of healing and forgiveness?

Fr. Orlando Sapuay, M.S. points out how Religion brings out the best and the worst in people. This is very clear to us nowadays. Many religious people are not worshipping God but themselves. He says there is no ego quite so poisonous as the religious one. It is indeed laudable to attend Mass and to take seriously all the rules of good Christian conduct. But, Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, OSB. reminds us, all of this careful observance can be spoiled if it is not accompanied by a genuine spirit of love and forgiveness.

Treasuring Forgiveness

These lessons of forgiveness are also repeated in the story of King David in the First Reading. He had committed adultery with a woman named Bathsheba, then had her husband killed so he could marry her. The prophet Nathan confronted David who had to face the consequences of his sins. But that is not the main point. David received a further word. Nathan said to him: "The Lord on his part has forgiven your sin; you shall not die."

Fr. Phil Bloom tells us that like David - and like the penitent woman in the Gospel - we also must acknowledge our wrongs and turn to the One who even forgives sins. Jesus forgave the sinful woman immediately, no matter how bad she had been. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino says our Lord does the same for us. He does the same for those who have hurt us, and He does the same for those whom, in our arrogance, we would rather avoid.

But usually you and I have it backwards. Fr. John Foley, S. J. says we think we have to get rid of all our sins and turn into perfectly loving people in order for God to love us. But in reality we are already loved to perfection by the good Lord, and we begin to change as we slowly let that love in. Jesus makes clear that great love springs from a heart forgiven and cleansed. The reconciliation, peace and forgiveness that God wants are based on truth, justice and love, explains Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB.

Pondering the Great Reversal

Growing up, as part of their family prayer, Fr. Ron Rolheiser said they used to pray for a happy death - cradled in the loving arms of family, friends, and church, fully at peace with God and everyone around you. But not everyone gets to die that way. Too often we die with unfinished business, too much of it. As the old confiteor says: we need forgiveness for what we’ve done and left undone.

Msgr. Charles Pope adds that one of the strong traditions of Scripture is of the great reversal that will one day come for many. He ponders this great reversal with this thought: "Many Who are Last, Will Be First." This is the story being lived today by a dying Catholic businessman from San Diego, CA. "Life on earth is a test” for Shane FitzMaurice who is preparing for eternity as he battles the fatal Lou Gehrig's disease.

What Do you Expect From Holy Communion?

Msgr. Charles Pope tells of his observation that some people put more faith in Tylenol than they do in Holy Communion. That’s because when they take Tylenol they expect something to happen. But many people don’t really expect anything to happen when they receive Holy Communion.

He also talks about the consternation that more stress is not placed by many on receiving Holy Communion worthily. This issue needs to be approached carefully because two important goods are at stake that must be kept in balance. First, frequent reception of Holy Communion which is a great and necessary food for us as Jesus insists in John 6:50-55. And secondly, worthy reception which the Holy Spirit through Paul warns is also necessary in 1 Cor 11:27ff. He asks us to look at these texts briefly.

Prayer & Our Technological World

Like many Christians, we often struggle to discern God’s will in our lives. Faced with crucial decisions or worrying circumstances, we sometimes find the right relationship between action and trust, not merely difficult to attain but downright impossible to determine. When does resignation to God’s will become an excuse for laziness and passivity? At what point does careful planning morph into an anxiety-driven need to control outcomes and usurp God? Marion Fernandez-Cueto offers some answers in "Praying hard and trusting harder."

Our prayer life is even more challenging now with today's Internet, e-mail, and other digital innovations. Our increasing reliance on them is not just changing the way we relate to our families and friends, Rev. James Martin, S.J. says. It is even rewiring our relationship to God. In "Does E-Mail Make It Harder to Pray?" he explores how the Digital Age is changing our spiritual lives.

Even priests are not exempted from the challenges posed by technology. Fr. Robert Barron s one of the leading Catholic evangelical priests today and he uses technology to its fullest extent to bring God's word to the world. He offers words of wisdom and support to those struggling to understand the role of the priest amidst today's hardship and controversy.

Technology and the Magisterium was also the topic last week when the Catholic Media Convention gathered representatives from the US and Canada in New Orleans for its annual meeting. In front of media. USCCB Communications Director Bishop Gabino Zavala delivered a keynote address on what makes for a faithful Catholic media organization in the 21st Century. This is a must read for all Catholic writers and bloggers. Also speaking at the meeting was Republican strategist, editor and talk show host Mary Matalin. Raised Methodist, she joined the Catholic Church this past Easter, through RCIA.

Finally to round up this section on technology, we offer you "Five Tips to Purify Your Home From Inappropriate Content." Learn how you can protect your family from impure images, movies, and even predators.

Stories of Hope

Check out this blissful report from Washington DC where nearly 600 couples filled the nation's largest Catholic church last Sunday to renew their wedding vows in front of families and friends after 25, 30 or -- in some cases -- more than 60 years of marriage.

And just what do you think the world would have been like without Andrea Bocelli, Italian pop, opera, and classical singer? With millions of infants having been victim to abortion, the blind international music sensation has revealed that he too could have been one more abortion statistic.

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

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

"They all ate and were satisfied."

"They all ate and were satisfied."
Corpus Christi Sunday (CorpusChristiC), June 6, 2010

BURNING QUESTION: Do you REALLY believe in the Real Presence?
FEATURED BLOG: Spirituality without Spirits
PRIEST STORIES: 47% of clergy search online for weekly homily
PASTORAL HISPANA: El pan de vida eterna

Dear Friends,

This Sunday is Corpus Christi Sunday and our Sunday Readings celebrate the great gift of Communion. The Church seeks to reconfirm our belief in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in our liturgy. Let's humbly ask the Lord that we may receive him in a way that will lead to salvation.

The Real Presence of Jesus Christ

If there is any one Catholic doctrine that people have choked on over the centuries, it has to be transubstantiation – the teaching that, during the Mass, bread and wine become the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Have you ever met anyone who finds this a bit hard to take? If so, you shouldn’t be surprised. When Jesus spoke about eating his flesh and drinking his blood in John 6, the response was less than enthusiastic.

Marcellino D'Ambrosio explains further that in addition to the Eucharist, during Mass Christ is also present in the priest and in the congregation. People may arrive distracted and pre-occupied, but as they enter that church they’re members of Christ’s body. Second, Christ is present in the person of the priest. It’s not a question of whether the ordained minister is an exciting preacher or a particularly holy person. Christ’s presence doesn’t depend on the priest’s personal virtue.

Deacon Greg Kandra makes it very clear: "Look at the host, and you look at Christ." Fr. James Gilhooley points to the Bible as proof of this Real presence. There one finds a verbatim dialogue of what is called the longest running play in history. The play's title is Promise of the Eucharist. The playwright is John. The manuscript is the sixth chapter of his Gospel.

Our Burning Questions challenges you to offer a response from your deepest core: Do you REALLY believe in the Real presence of Jesus in Holy Communion? Reflect upon this and give an honest - albeit anonymous - answer.

The Sacramental Banquet

You might think it a bit strange that on this Feast of Corpus Christi the Church gives us not an account of the Last Supper for our Gospel text but focuses instead on the Feeding of the Five Thousand. But if you examine the text closely you will see that this miracle has strong Eucharistic overtones. The language used is the same as that used at the Last Supper: ‘took, blessed, broke, gave.’ These are words we are very familiar with and summarise the four movements within the Mass.

We are now the hungry multitude and we are reminded that Jesus offers us a nourishment that fully satisfies our needs. The point is there is a continuity between a family supper and the Eucharist. Fr. Andrew M. Greeley says both tell us something about each other. The Eucharist invades our home and sanctifies our regular meals. And our regular meals illumine the Eucharist as a family and community feast.

This is the significance of the feast today. In the sacramental banquet of Christ’s body and blood, Fr. Orlando Sapuay, M.S. points out, we are joined to Him and to one anotherin a bond of love that makes selfishness, greed, and complacency in the world’s afflictions unthinkable. And so explains, Fr. Charles Irvin, we should never simply “get” or “receive” Holy Communion. We "enter" into Holy Communion; we enter into the totality of Christ’s incarnate life among us. In this sense, “receiving Holy Communion” is a dynamic reality: we receive Christ and in so doing, Christ receives us, and by the power of the Holy Spirit presents us to the Father.

Feeding and Healing

The Church is stressing two important elements that are brought out in the feeding of the five thousand; namely feeding and healing. Fr. Alex McAllister SDS explains the two-fold feeding that takes place in the Eucharist. First the obvious feeding of our bodies with bread and wine, but secondly there is the sustenance of our souls that only this food from heaven can provide.

Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB also points out the two important lessons Luke teaches in Sunday's Gospel. First Jesus welcomes this vast crowd of common folk, even though "the Twelve" wanted to send them away. And second, Jesus teaches that the disciples are to share whatever they have. In the sharing there will be more than enough. Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. says the lesson is very clear. Jesus tells us to take what little we have and to do what we can with it. God will take care of the rest and with an abundance left over!

Thus in this Sunday's Gospel, we meet Christ the physician. But as Father Cusick points out, there are questions we must answer. Do we seek him as physician of our bodies only? Or has he become for us a mere earthly Messiah?

The True Center of Our Celebration

Even today, some Christian denominations never celebrate the Eucharist, some others only once a month or once a week. But in the Catholic Church we see the Eucharist in all its aspects and understand that it is the gate to heaven and therefore the central act of our worship. It is indeed therefore something for all days and for every day.

So think of the many times in the past when you've asked yourself, "Why Do I Have To Go To Mass?" Fr. Phil Bloom says the answer is simple - To worship and to receive Jesus - as Lord and Savior. Also as you attend Mass at different places, know that none of them will be exactly the same. But the heart of every Mass will be the same: Jesus Christ will be present at the Last Supper, on the Cross, and within each person who receives His Body and Blood. All the liturgical enhancements to our celebrations are wonderful, but none of them surpass the wonder of Jesus Christ, present in every Eucharist.

Now here's a most important question: Who May Receive Communion? While we cannot judge another person's soul, still we recognize that those involved in certain actions should not come forward for Communion. And in "Miracles Still Happen," Lenora Grimaud shares her account of an actual Eucharistic miracle she witnessed during a Mass she happened to be attending.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Eucharist

On the Thursday (or the Sunday) following Holy Trinity Sunday, many Catholics also celebrate the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. With this devotion, we recall that Christ's heart of flaming love finds its truest and most profound expression in the Blessed Sacrament of His love, the Eucharist, God's giving of Himself, whose feast, Corpus Christi, we celebrate this Sunday.

How appropriate this is, for devotion to the Eucharist and to the Sacred Heart are in fact one thing, inseparable — devotion to the mystery of Christ's human and divine love. Thus St. Peter Julian Eymard instructs us, "Let us learn to honor the Sacred Heart in the Eucharist. Let us never separate them."

Living a Catholic Life Today

"Spirituality Without Spirits" is a great reflection by David Mills. He calls it a great and self-serving mess, this claim to be “spiritual but not religious.” And he cites Lady Gaga, the pornographic songstress, as a great example when she tells a reporter that she has a new spirituality just before going out for a night at a Berlin sex club.

From Los Angeles, incoming Archbishop Jose Gomez discusses immigration, role of Hispanics in US Church, and his advice to Latino leaders. In this lengthy interview, the critical question he poses is “Will they keep the faith?

And we bring our attention to the Our Father. It is the best known of all prayers but it also bespeaks a challenge. For when something is so well known we can say it mindlessly and miss its message. Msgr. Charles Pope says Our Father should give us more than words to say. It should also gives us a structure for our prayer life, a basic plan for our spiritual life.

Priests, St. John Vianney and the Internet

The Vatican has announced that at the International Meeting of Priests that will be held in Rome this week, the Pope will proclaim St. Jean Vianney the Patron of all Priests at the closing Mass.

And speaking of priests in our New Evangelization, a new study about the use of digital technology by priests worldwide shows that the Internet has become a frequently utilized tool in homily preparation, evangelization and pastoral support. Some 42% of priests expressed the belief that the use of digital technology has improved their performance in their mission. And 53% of priests affirmed that the Internet is useful in presenting and spreading the Christian message.

And on another technology front, author Mary Eberstadt talks about "Apologetics for the Facebook Generation." She points out the many challenges the cyberworld discussions poses and highlioghts that Christianity has a lot more to offer the world than atheists give it credit for.

Finally, we close with a couple of articles, one for married couples and another for busy bodies. "The Seven Habits of a Happy Marriage" looks to the matrimonial lessons to be learned from the water jars in the Gospel story of the Wedding at Cana. And if you're too busy and your exercise program amounts to nothing, "Getting Moving, How to make time for exercise" is for you.

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

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

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