Friday, August 8, 2014

"O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"

In Sunday's Gospel passage for August 10, 2014, while his disciples depart in a boat, Jesus goes up on a mountain by himself to pray. When a storm arises during the night, Jesus comes toward the boat walking on the water. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study sessions with family, friends and church groups.

Where is God?

Life as an Apostle of Jesus was certainly very eventful even dangerous. One minute John the Baptist is executed, right after that they are feeding the five thousand and before much longer Jesus hustles them into the boat and they find themselves alone out on the lake in a very rough sea.

Jesus was not with them. It's the same feeling we have experienced many times when we're drowning in our own problems. Where is God? Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB tells us to never forget this fact: We are on the waters with Jesus. He is in the boat with us, during the night and during the storms. The Lord does not abandon those who come seeking his mercy and his forgiveness. He walks upon the waters. He calms the storm.

The truth is that we find God not so much in great events but in stillness and silence. Fr. Alex McAllister SDS says every Christian must find room in his or her life for silence. But as Fr. Ron Rolheiser points out, not everyone gets so quick and clear an answer in prayer. And this is because sometimes, Fr. Joseph Pellegrino tells us, we look for the Lord with pre-conceived notions of how He should appear. Perhaps the problem is that we are deciding how God should be present instead of opening ourselves to however He is manifesting Himself.

The simple message of Sunday's Readings is that God is present for each of us. He speaks to each of us. We just need to do a better job listening to Him.

"O you of little faith, why did you doubt"

The Lord invites us to see his glory in a powerful way, but we hesitate and balk before this invitation. Our Saviour told us an astounding seventeen times in the Gospels not to be afraid. This Sunday, however, Fr. James Gilhooley tells us to notice that Jesus was not advising us. He is commanding us.

Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B. reminds us that as Christians we are not meant to be helpless victims when storms threaten to destroy us. The disciples, led by Peter, faltered because their faith was weak. As He walked across the wild waters, Jesus spoke the spine-chilling line, "Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid." Father Cusick singles out the mystery of this story. Our faith is a gift from God, but at the same time, our faith is a cooperation with God. We freely choose to believe. And we can also choose to doubt and fall into fear as did Peter.

“Faith is only real where there is obedience.”

Fr. Orlando Sapuay, M.S. says that realization must hurt a little. That is a little demanding of God, don’t you think?  Surely there is a way we can have faith in God and not have to obey him all the time. Can we not simply believe and that be good enough for God?

Not quite, adds Fr. John J. Ludvik. Trust is crucial for our discipleship and stewardship. Those who trust God use the same approach with their time and their talent. They have faith that they will receive what they need, so they are not afraid to share. The youth on the other hand, explains Fr. Phil Bloom, are tasked with two things: Discernment - what is God's plan for my life? And Confession - asking His help to order one's life, to climb God's mountain.

Of course God is always thrilled when we say "yes." Dr. Lilles says this is because our "yes" makes space for God's power to be manifest. Such space affords the world a glimpse, a foretaste of the final consummation of all things in Him. Trust, therefore, is not a sheer act of the will, not simply a blind decision. Fr. John Foley, S. J. says Trust is a quiet re-emergence of God’s faithful love.

Evangelization and Witnessing for Christ

When we think of evangelization there is a danger that we think first of biggie-wow projects, committees, and Church-wide efforts. Surely these are needed. But Msgr. Charles Pope reminds us to not miss the little and daily ways in our personal lives that evangelization must first take place. Eric Sammons explores one such place where Evangelization can be challenging - the workplace. He explains how one can navigate the minefields of living out your Catholic faith on the job.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver offers more insight by saying this week that true reform of the Church requires deep faith and repentance from all members of the faith, including clergy, religious and laity alike. While Matthew Hennessey brings this faith story home with his story about  the night they learned about their unborn daughter’s Down syndrome diagnosis. He said it was such a powerful moment that he believes he became prolife right then and there.

Toddlers, Mass & Adoration

In case you haven’t noticed, the traditional practice of Eucharistic Adoration is making a comeback. But just what do you do when praying before the Blessed Sacrament? Marcellino D'Ambrosio points out what not to do. He says there are two extremes to avoid. And he explains both of them in detail.

Stacy Trasancos has always been conflicted about bringing unruly toddlers to Mass. But fellow parishioners always reassure her that children are welcome, necessary even. Now that she's watched their babies grow with the Sacraments, she understands why it is necessary to persevere even when you spend most of the time outside breaking a sweat pacing to avoid a meltdown, of both parent and child.

Cheryl Dickow tackles the collection basket. Sure, it is about money and tithing, but money is only the beginning. Cheryl says that collection basket is a chance to empty yourself so that your gifts may be joined to those of Christ’s at the altar and used for God’s kingdom. Make a point to put in your joy. Share your praise and awe of the mighty God we serve. And put in your sorrow, grief or despair, as well.

When Life Seems Out Of Control

Did you suffer a loss recently? A job? A relationship? Material things stolen from you? Bo Sanchez has a message for you today: Believe that every storm will end. And after the storm, a new morning begins. In a separate piece, he also points out that "Failure Isn’t God’s Rejection But God’s Redirection."

College student Anusia Dickow admits that she cannot handle the storms of life on her own. So like Peter in Gospel story, she calls out for the Lord to save her. This, explains Msgr. Frank Wissel, is what faith in God means - accepting our human limitations and trusting God to manage the rest.

While Fr. Christopher Jamison OSB points out the real secret of true happiness - a happy death! He says it is better to plan a happy death rather than trying to feel good all the time. Yet the phrase “a happy death” is for most people today a contradiction in terms. But for the Church, it is the most desirable conclusion to a good life.

MLB, Faith and Organized People

Jack McKeon’s baseball days begin in a pew. Three years ago at 8 on Tuesday morning, the Florida Marlins’ manager attended Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, less than 12 hours after his team beat the Mets on a 10th-inning grand slam. Such games are testament to his faith in the saint he prays to every game during the national anthem. His is " A Career Sustained by Unwavering Faith."

Renae Reinardy is a psychologist who specializes in hoarding disorders. She offers a must-read list: 10 habits of highly organized people. If you, like most of us, are hopeless packrats, then you need to check out this list.

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Another eventful week in our Catholic World. A blessed and happy new week to all.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

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PASTORAL HISPANA: Dios es mas cercano de lo que nos imaginamos

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