Thursday, January 26, 2012

"What is this? A new teaching with authority."

In this Sunday's Readings, January 29, 2011, the Gospel finds Jesus going to the synagogue in Capernaum with four of his disciples where people are astonished that He teaches with such authority. And then he casts out a demon from a possessed person. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study with family, friends and church groups.

Jesus - The Holy One of God

What is particularly interesting in the Gospel account is the demon’s reaction to the presence of Jesus. While this is undoubtedly a great miracle of healing, Fr. Alex McAllister SDS makes the important point that Jesus is recognized by the demon as the Holy One of God. Now it is not just Jesus’ teaching authority that is recognized but his true spiritual stature.

Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B. says the cure of the demoniac represents the beginning of the messianic age. Jesus enters a world in which Satan reigns, teaches with the authority of God, and with compassion casts out evil spirits that hold people in bondage and fear.

Liberation From Our Own Demons

The possessed man was tormented by an unclean spirit which causes uncontrollable outbursts. Most of us also have that kind of experience during some stage of our lives. We may not identify it as an “unclean spirit,” but we find ourselves in the thrall of some power which seems beyond our control. Fr. Phil Bloom tells us that Jesus can also liberate you – and me.

This Sunday, Fr. John Foley, S. J. explains, we are asked to hear with our hearts the word of God, not to get distracted by interesting facts or anything else distracting. Fr. Ron Rolheiser says it is good to be humble, admit our struggle, and to go to those places that can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. We must see the moral life as a magnificent vision of transformation in Christ. We must see it, Msgr. Charles Pope explains, as a portrait of a soul set on fire with love. The love of God is something we receive, not something achieved.

Preaching with Authority

The Readings also remind us that Jesus gives the people listening in the synagogue -- and us -- something besides commentary and quotes about the Scripture. Jesus not only spoke with authority. Fr. John J. Ludvik says Jesus lived what He spoke. The authority of His teaching extended to the authority of His actions. Our Saviour didn't call us just to do some of the things He did. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino points out to us that Jesus called us to be His presence for others. We are called to destroy evil in our world. We cannot do this unless we are determined to be Christlike.

And this, according to Fr. James Gilhooley, is what St. Mark is saying to us, "If you want to measure what kind of a Christian you are, count up what you did for the crippled man today. You are either a Bible or a libel." This means each one of us should be God's letter of introduction to a despairing world.

But we should not just contribute to an already very wordy world with worldly words. Fr. Orlando Sapuay, M.S. highlights the fact that if religion penetrates the head only, it will only serve to divide people from one another. It becomes simple theology without spirituality and it tends to be unrelated to the lives of peoples. Everything that Jesus did is used to teach, to provoke and to re-examine our behavior and ways.

The HHS Ruling and & Faithful Citizenship

First posted on the website of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, this video response to the Obama administration move to mandate contraceptive coverage in benefit plans across the board was released by the body's president, Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan of New York. What the Obama Administrations Health and Human Services Department (HHS) has done is an attack, which is why Catholics need to be well-informed about what is going on so that they can tell their neighbors about it. So, here are the facts as presented by Omar F. A. Gutierrez.

E. Christian Brugger offers a parallel albeit different take on the issue. As easy as it is to blame the liberals for this appalling state of affairs, he thinks the problem to a certain degree is that none of us any longer believe in truth. The enemy is partially us.

Archbishop Charles Chaput reminds us that personal witness is always the best proof of what we claim to believe. And this year, like every other year, with or without an election, we need to apply the idea of Catholic witness in a special way to our public life as citizens. We might find it useful to remember 10 simple points as we move toward November.

Promoting Christian Unity

Calling for conversion at the personal and community levels, Pope Benedict this week said the path to Christian unity requires more than being nice to each other and cooperating. Full and visible unity will require transformation and being conformed to the image of Christ.

Last week we brought to your attention the viral video by a young man who said he loved Jesus but hated Religion. In a video response, Fr. Robert Barron explains that "Jesus Didn't Come to Abolish Religion; He Came to Fulfill It." Nevertheless, the overwhelming response to this young man's video proves that religion as it stands isn't serving the needs of a bunch of people. And the dozens of response videos shows that this is a conversation people are eager to have.

And so we bring back this Burning Question: Is it better to believe in God or believe in the Church?

The Youth are Turning to God

Sociologists haven't identified a conservative shift among Catholic youth as a whole, but those who work in Catholic youth ministries say that the style of devotion is changing for many of the most committed Roman Catholic youth. In some ways, that style resembles their grandparents' piety more than their parents'. As we mentioned last week, Pro-Life is becoming mainstream. Younger voters - especially women - are embracing a Pro-Life position in surprising numbers and in sharp contrast to attitudes that held sway 15 years ago. Even Generation-Y youth are now determinedly more Pro-Life. Are we at a tipping point?

Maybe the answer can be found in this "Why am I Catholic?" video we found on YouTube. It was prepared for a Confirmation retreat and offers six reasons for being Catholic: the Eucharist, the Church, the Sacraments, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Marriage (actual and spiritual), and the Communion of Saints. Enjoy this wonderful Confirmation retreat video.

And here's a question asked by a young reader: "I have been asked this by several of my friends and don't really know how to answer it: why is it a sin for non-Catholics to receive the Eucharist at a Catholic Mass?" Father J responds. Check it out.

God’s Plan Is Bigger Than Your Mistakes

Some of you may say, “I’ve messed up. I’ve missed God’s best plans for my life.” Bo Sanchez says No. Believe that the best is yet to come. And always remember, God’s plan is bigger than all your mistakes put together.

And why should we pray the rosary? Here's the most beautiful explanation ever from Father Gabriel Amorth, Chief Exorcist of the Vatican: "When you pray Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now..., the Blessed Mother comes instantly to your side to pray with you. And she does not come alone. Choirs of angels come with her. And she and Jesus are joined at the heart and cannot be separated so she brings Jesus with her. And Jesus cannot be separated from the Trinity so He brings the Father and the Holy Spirit with Him. And where the Holy Trinity is, all of creation is, and you are surrounded by such beauty and light as you cannot imagine in this life."

Diabetes, Coffee, Fried Food & Heart Attacks

Two interesting health related articles came up this week. The first is good news for coffee drinkers. Scientists have long known that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but researchers out of China may have figured out why. The second relates to the health risks of frying food. tephen Adams reports that it is a "myth" that regularly eating fried foods causes heart attacks, researchers have found, as long as you use olive oil or sunflower oil.

So throw out the vegetable oil and stock up on olive oil. And enjoy your coffee. It not only perks you up, it also keeps you healthy.

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: Believe in God or to believe in the Church?
FEATURED BLOG: Going to confession after many years
PASTORAL HISPANA: El mensaje de Jesus nos manifiesta su autoridad

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1 comment:

  1. Question:Why is it a sin for non-Catholics to receive the Eucharist at a Catholic Mass?

    Answer:The Holy Eucharist is the most important of the seven sacraments because, in this and in no other sacrament, we receive the very body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. Innumerable, precious graces come to us through the reception of Holy Communion.christian dating