Thursday, March 13, 2014

“This is my beloved Son, listen to him.”

Last week we saw Jesus being tempted just like the rest of us. It was so human. This Second Sunday of Lent, March 16, 2014, we see Him transformed into dazzling light. Not so human. What is going on? Is He trying to teach us something? Our Discussion Questions will guide your Online Sunday Bible Study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

Abraham, Moses Elijah and Jesus

Fr. Alex McAllister SDS tells us that the readings this Sunday are all about calling. We hear about the call of Abraham in the First Reading, the call of Jesus in the Gospel extract and in the Second Reading St Paul speaks about the call of each Christian. By God's call Abraham became our father in faith. Fr. Phil Bloom reminds us that as "sons of Abraham" we continue his struggle against child sacrifice and for the dignity of each human life.

Fr. James Gilhooley explains that the history of God’s relationship with a chosen people begins in the story of Abraham. But it takes a new turn in the person of Jesus, the “beloved Son” in whom every human person is able to find salvation. Abraham listened attentively to God's voice, God's commands and God's promptings. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB asks us if we know how to listen to God and his Son, Jesus Christ?

During the Transfiguration, the apostles were witnessing Moses and Elijah passing on the torch to their Leader. Fr. James Gilhooley says the Father was saying to Christ's followers, "You have been brought up to listen to Moses, Elijah, and their peers. Up to this point, they were my advance men. But now it is my Son you will listen to."

Sharing in His Transfiguration

Suffering and death are not foreign to Jesus, the Messiah. Fr. John Foley, S. J. supposes that the Transfiguration was one way for Jesus to reassure us that such things would not negate his divinity. In fact they would fulfill it.

Transfiguration Sunday reminds us that evangelization requires that we listen to the Lord and allow Him to transform our lives and then be instruments of proclaiming His glory. When God's voice said, "Listen to him," we are being told - Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. explains - that Jesus is now ready to teach the ultimate divine wisdom of salvation through loving and self-giving.

The marvelous reality of our Christian life, Father Cusick explains, is that we share more and more in Christ's glory until, one day, we see Him face to face. We have been called to follow Christ in every aspect of our lives, until our part in the Plan is complete. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino reminds us that anything less is insufficient, inadequate, incomplete. Like the growth of a vine, college student Jimmy Starke writes, so too must we allow the grace of Christ to direct us along the lattice, nurturing some parts of our lives into flowers while letting go of others.

Preparing for the Sacrament of Confession

This is Lent. And Judith Costello reminds us that it's time for a tougher look at how cancer grows in the soul. She says we should be able to diagnose this “sickness” just like we diagnose the physical stages of a spreading cancer. One such sin is the mortal sin of masturbation. Mark P. Shea discusses how for some reason we remain oddly reluctant to discuss this one peculiar form of disordered appetite. But it is a mortal sin nevertheless.

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York agrees with Judith and Mark. He tells all Christians to experience liberation from sin. In a past pastoral letter on the Sacrament of Penance, he urged: Keep those confessionals busy! Fr. Philip Neri Powell's "Ten Commandments for a Good Lenten Confession" is a great tool to help us prepare.

Lent, Prayer & Choosing a Bible

OK, we do penance for forty days because Jesus fasted forty days in the wilderness. But did you ever wonder why he was out there for forty days rather than seven or ten or fifty?  Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio provides the answers.

Arwen Mosher discusses the Stations of the Cross, a lovely devotion that can be difficult to attend with children. Trying also to concentrate on the prayers becomes nearly impossible. She suggests that, with young children, praying the stations at home can be an excellent alternative. While Dr. Peter Kreeft offers "Lesson One in Prayer." He says the single most important piece of advice he knows about prayer is also the simplest: Just do it!

Need a bible? Walk into any bookstore and you’ll see entire shelves of Bibles. How can you tell which one is right for you? The Diocese of San Jose offers tips to Catholics on how to select a Bible.

St. Patrick's Day & Rel. Ed. Weekend

On Monday, we celebrate St. Patrick's Day. In America, we celebrate not only a great saint, but a put-upon people who immigrated to a new world, took the meanest jobs, endured prejudice and exclusion, and rose to prominence. Pat McNamara says this holiday is not just for the Irish, after all.

And this week, a good bit of American Catholicism's attention turns West as the largest fold on these shores hosts another edition of its marquee event: the Religious Education Congress. Starting yesterday with the traditional Youth Day, the weekend at the Anaheim Convention Center -- a stone's throw from Disneyland -- brings together over 40,000 catechists, clerics and kibbitzers from all corners for talks, liturgies, receptions and an all-around B12 shot for the work ahead.

Celebrate Catholic Sisters Week

March 8 through March 15th is Catholic Sisters Week. Cheryl Dickow reports that Catholic Sisters Week is the enterprise of St. Catherine University out of St. Paul, MN and is backed by over three million dollars from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. It is a vast undertaking and, according to Andrea Lee, IHM, president of St. Catherine University, it will essentially be “Fostering meaningful relationships between college-age women and accomplished American women religious will be a powerful inspiration for some to consider religious life.”

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 believe Jesus is Truly Present at Communion?
FEATURED BLOG: A Reflection on How the Lord is Restoring His Church
PASTORAL HISPANA: Transfigurarnos es convertirnos

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