Thursday, October 9, 2014

"Many are invited, but few are chosen."

This Sunday the Church presents for our consideration the wonderful parable of the royal wedding banquet. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study with family, friends and church groups.

Invite Everyone to the Banquet

The message of this parable of the royal wedding banquet is clear. God invites the people of Israel to his wedding banquet in heaven but despite the fact that they have enjoyed his favour over so many generations they do not come.

Jesus shed His blood for all. Fr. Phil Bloom affrims to us that our Lord invites all to the heavenly banquet. And this, Fr. Alex McAllister SDS says, is certainly good news for us. We are Gentiles and we have taken up God’s invitation and we are here at the great banquet he has prepared for us. In Christ, the abundance of the kingdom of grace and peace, the banquet of God's goodness, is poured forth for all: " must go out into the byroads and invite to the wedding anyone you come upon." For God, Father Cusick explains, there is no "A" list or "B" list. All are called to accept adoption as His sons and daughters, and to share the bounty of the wedding hall.

But one of the most dangerous temptations for traditional Christians, cautions Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B., is an easy assumption that they have responded to God's invitation and are now comfortably seated at the banquet waiting for their final and inevitable heavenly reward. This temptation is so insidious because it really is based on the fact of faithful religious observance.

Proper Attire for the Feast

Matthew's addition of the guest without the wedding garment can certainly leave the reader perplexed. As early as the second century, Irenaeus wrote that the wedding garment signified works of righteousness. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB tells us today that it signifies repentance and a change of heart and mind. This is the condition for entrance into the kingdom and must be continued in a life of good deeds. To illustrate this point, Fr. Joseph Pellegrino speaks about how Jesus took a man named Saul, a man who murdered Jesus’ first followers, and transformed Saul into Paul, the great apostle of the early Church.

The Lord does this for each of us. He takes each of us, with all our humanity, with all our weakness, and He uses us to make Him present to others. He does this, explains Fr. Orly Sapuay, M.S., because our faith is a love story, not a strategy. It is loving the greatest lover of all. He says now is the time to begin weaving our garments, to begin loving God with our whole soul, and heart, and strength, and to begin loving our neighbors as ourselves. Now is the time to seek that selfless love—to put on that spotless wedding garment—that will save us.

The Banquet of the Eucharist

Sunday’s readings also foretell a messianic banquet. Isaiah, chapter 25, describes the meal as both earthly (“on this mountain”) and heavenly (“he will destroy death forever”). Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. explains that Jesus did not just mean a kingdom located in heaven. He also meant a community of believers on earth who accept the rule of God and who hope to find a place eventually in heaven. And this kingdom, though only fully realized in the future, does have a present embodiment – the Mass.

Fr. John J. Ludvik reflects upon how Sunday Liturgy should permeate our lives. We can’t survive without the Eucharist. Every parish is a microcosm of the universal Church, deriving strength to carry on our mission and ministries from the Eucharist. But, Fr. Ron Rolheiser adds, Christians argue a lot about the Eucharist. What does it mean? What should it be called? How often should it be celebrated? Who should be allowed to fully participate?

Quite often the charge against the Church is it removes joie de vivre from life. But Fr. James Gilhooley is quick to point out that the early Christians got the point. They possessed a "certain holy hilarity." They went about their lives with a bounce in their steps and a smile on their faces. And they attracted millions of converts. And so Fr. John Foley, S. J. reminds us also that Jesus did both: He fasted and He feasted. This Sunday readings invite us to come in, to open up, eat, enjoy what is there. To receive as Jesus did. But when it was time to let go of it all—life, friends, peace and possessions—our Lord did that with love. Jesus wants us to receive his life and then give it out to the world.

October - Month of the Rosary

It’s not an overstatement to say that the family Rosary can and must play a pivotal role in the renewal of our society. For that reason, especially during this October month devoted to the Rosary, Leon Suprenant encourages families to make the Rosary part of their daily life.

Here's a question from a reader? Is it appropriate to recite the Marian prayers before the Blessed Sacrament? Fr. Edward McNamara responds that genuinely praying the rosary in any circumstance should always bring us closer to Christ and will never give more importance to Mary than to Him. If that were to happen, then it would mean that we have still to learn how to pray it as the Church, and indeed the Blessed Mother herself, desire it to be prayed.

Prayer, St. Jerome & Lectio Divina

Fr. Mark Daniel Kirby brings us the story of St. Jerome, the translator of the original Hebrew and Greek texts of the Bible into Latin, the tongue of the common folk. He was a lover of the poor Christ who sang the praises of monastic solitude, saying that “monks do on earth what the angels do in heaven.”

‘I’d like you to convert Chicago,” was how Francis Cardinal George, archbishop of Chicago tasked Fr. Robert Barron about nine years ago. The result may just be on a PBS station near you this fall. Father Barron has created a remarkable book and TV series called Catholicism. It is openly a work of evangelization and is done in a way that is welcoming to a wide potential audience.

And so how can we bring others, especially those we love, into a right relationship with Jesus Christ? And how can we ourselves come to know and serve Jesus better? Joe Heschmeyer talks about how almost every Christian struggles from time to time with at least one of these two questions. And how if we don't, we should. Then Dr. Lilles offers a nice followup regarding the gift of intercessionary prayer. He tells us that the more we love someone we also see how much they suffer, and the more we see this, the more their plight moves us to humbly seek God on their behalf.

Steve Jobs & John Wayne

Steve Jobs, the man who more than anyone shaped the technological landscape we live in passed away on three years ago. The word genius will be thrown around a lot about him, but that word genius misses the point. Many people have genius, but few geniuses have the kind of flexibility, endurance and ability to admit wrong turns, face them and correct them. The Secret to Jobs' Success? "Live Every Day As If It Were Your Last"

John Wayne, for many, was a Hollywood legend who symbolized true masculinity and American values. To Fr. Matthew Muñoz, he was simply “granddaddy.” This priest of Orange diocese reflects on the conversion of his grandfather to Catholicism.

Parents, Teenagers & Dating

For fifteen years Judith Costello has been a freelance writer. Before that she was a full-time artist. These are not the kind of professions with a guaranteed income! And lately, as the jobs and paychecks dwindle into meagerness, she finds herself staring at the neighbor lady as she drives off to work every day. And suddenly, she finds herself feeling jealous! Wow. Now that was a shock to her!

Here are a couple of sets of Catholic advices - one to teen-aged dating. And another for the parents of these very teen-agers.

Julie Rodrigues starts off with "10 Tips for Catholic Dating." She says if you are still single, know that a boyfriend/girlfriend is a gift, not something you can force or work for. Live your life focused on putting God first, investing in a deeper relationship with him and with others, but remaining OPEN. Open to whoever He puts in your path, whether a person or a religious community.  And then Patrick Madrid reflects on 31 years of parenting teen agers. He offers "Clever advice for parents of teenagers" compelte with an entertaining comic video.

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

BURNING QUESTION: Why is it a sin to miss Mass on Sunday?
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PASTORAL HISPANA: El amor de Dios para nosotros

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