Thursday, February 2, 2012

"He cured many who were sick with various diseases."

In this Sunday’s Readings, February 5, 2012, we are invited to reflect on the meaning of suffering in the life of the Christian. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study with family, friends and church groups.

Suffering in the Life of the Christian

Sunday's Scripture readings find poor Job saying that life is nothing but drudgery. Every so often, we also hear someone lament how life just seems like a series of problems. Do you ever feel this way? Perhaps this has been a particularly difficult week for you. Certainly, as a country, it seems as if we just move from one crisis to another. Perhaps we can gain some insight from the Sunday Readings on how to deal with these feelings.

Fr. Joseph Pellegrino says Jesus heals the pain not just of the people of the past, but the pain of the people of today. All who call out to the Lord are healed. Some are healed physically. Some are healed emotionally, able to accept their condition in life. All receive spiritual healing as they unite their pain to the Cross of Christ. The blessings we receive can fall away and be broken. We can starve instead of overeat. God knows this too. Fr. John Foley, S. J. reminds us that Jesus stays with us either way.

Fr. Ron Rolheiser chooses to reflect on suicide. In most cases, it is an illness not a sin. He says we shouldn't worry too much about how God meets our loved ones who have fallen victim to suicide. Jesus assures that He has a special affection for those of us who are too-bruised and wounded to be touched. For the Christian suffering is never without meaning. The pain we experience is not merely negative it is a part of the great struggle in which all mankind is engaged, it enables us to be united with Christ in the one great act of redemption.

Spending Time Alone with God

The Sunday Gospel's miracle occurred on a Saturday. Fr. James Gilhooley explains that since Jesus was a Jew, He had spent the whole morning in the synagogue at worship. Do you worship weekly? If not, Christ says to you, "Gimmeabreak."

Perhaps we can also gain more insight from this gospel passage in Mark. Jesus was deluged with people wanting to be healed. They presented Him with their problems. It is interesting indeed that with all the pressing needs and problems He faced, Jesus didn't go out and do more. Fr. Orlando Sapuay, M.S. points out for us that Jesus chose to withdraw to a lonely place and spent time alone with God.

Fr. Alex McAllister tells us that each one of us also needs to spend time in a lonely place of our own. Fr. Demetrius Dumm, OSB says this does not mean that we should not strive to achieve legitimate objectives. But it does mean that, ultimately, it is only prayerful attention to the Lord and sincere love of others that will heal the beautiful world that God has entrusted to us and bring the peace and harmony that Jesus came to offer us. We need to pray, we need to build up our courage to face the trials ahead and the best way to do this is to draw strength from the Father in prayer.

Lessons in Stewardship

Today's Gospel presents a fascinating example of stewardship. Fr. Phil Bloom points out that St. Peter's mother-in-law was in bed, sick, when her son-in-law brought unexpected guests. One of them, Jesus, went to her bedside, took her hand - and she sat up. The fever subsided and, quote, "she waited on them." St. Paul, in the Second Reading, also illustrates the joy of service. With no fanfare, he says that he is free - and few have greater inner freedom than Paul. Nevertheless, says Paul, I have become a slave to all. He knew that freedom is not license, doing whatever strikes a person's fancy. Real freedom means service, self-giving.

Father Cusick talka about the priesthood and the Stewardship they have been entrusted with. He explains that the priest of Jesus Christ is a man of God whose whole way of life proclaims that the Lord is his portion and his inheritance. The priest is an undeniable sign to the world of the calling of every creature to the eternal life with God that is threatened by man's sinful rejection of God.

Faithful Citizenship at the Forefront

The HHS contraception mandate of Obamacare remains a very volatile issue between Catholics and teh Obama administration. Rev. Robert Barron continues the discussion be reflecting on how the mainstream media has clearly identified the Catholic Church as the enemy. He does, however, find a back-handed compliment in this. Liberal totalitarians understand now that the Church is perhaps the strongest opponent that stands in their way.

And as political candidates focus their discourses the politics of envy that are purposely set to anger the 99% against the 1%. But just what exactly is envy? Most people use the word today as merely a synonym for jealously. But they are not the same. Envy is sorrow, sadness or anger at the the goodness or excellence of someone else, because I take it to lessen my own excellence. Msgr. Charles Pope explains however that the key difference with envy is that (unlike jealousy) I do not want to possess the good or excellence you have. I want to destroy it.

Which brings us to the prickly question of a "Just Wage." At a recent conference on the social doctrine, Omar F. A. Gutierrez realized that in a room full of some very bright people, they couldn’t figure out what the Church meant by a “just wage,” or a “family wage.” He delivers a report on the topic, beginning with the social encyclicals and how they do talk about this with some specificity.

From social doctrine, to contraception, to just wages, Catholicism finds itself very deeply intertwined in the current political discussions. And the conversations do get heated among friends. And we oftentime end up offending others. Simca Fisher offers a very timely topic -- What's Your Apology Policy? To those of you who never offend anyone, this is not the post for you. And Katie Sciba adds more wisdom by offers the humble pie challenge. She share a litany entitled “Mother Teresa’s Humility List.” She intimates that each time she reads it is like choking down humble pie. And it always leaves her starving for Christ, yearning to imitate Him. We should all do the same.

Building Vocations

This entire week is Catholic Schools Week. And I would like to point out one way in which every Catholic benefits from Catholics schools: Catholic schools produce vocations to the priesthood and religious life. It is particularly fitting that we consider this benefit this week on January 31, the feast of St. John Bosco – the schools which he founded produced over six thousand vocations to the priesthood during his life-time (and countless more since his death).

And what do you say when the firstborn in your brood of twelve tells you she wants to be a nun? John and Ruth Marsh of Bemus Point, NY, near Buffalo, were not at all surprised when 20-year-old Emily announced just that. She wanted to be a Daughter of St. Paul. This is her story.

Job's Lament is Ours

How can we make sense of the suffering we see around us? Sometimes we feel so overwhelmed. Sometimes we feel so weary just trying to make a difference in our small corners of the world. Bo Sanchez offers two reflections this week. In "Do You Want God To Heal You?" he offer three steps to gettng healed. And in "Do You Want Inner Peace?" Bo explains that nope, it doesn’t just come from being quiet, spa treatments, meditation, and breathing exercises. He talsk about how you can have inner peace no matter how busy you are.

Judith Costello is one who faced 2012 with a roar of challenges. With their faith, they know that endings are also new beginnings. Life and death are part of a woven fabric. So their family has made a collective resolution not to take the beauty and bounty of God for granted anymore. And she asks us all to promised to say, “Jesus, I trust in you” every day. Jesus our model and our Lord, is our hope for a future of promise.

Here's something for your young people - and also for the not so young. Fr. Gerard Monaghan explains that most people believe that being chaste means that one is not sexually active. Wrong! What does Chastity really mean? He explains it as a Catholic truth for Catholic youth.

The Technology of 1910

Finally, we go back 100 years to 1910 and look with amazement at the technology developed 100 years ago. One full century ago, the new technologies that had people talking were considered just as groundbreaking. Electricity led the charge of developments that were changing the way people lived every day, with transportation and chemistry not far behind. As the clocks of 1909 ticked towards 1910, more exciting inventions were just around the corner. Plus here's 50 thrifty ideas to help you save money in this tough econonmic times.

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: Is it a sin to believe in horoscopes?
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