Thursday, April 19, 2012

"Touch me and see."

Sunday’s Gospel for April 22, 2012 - Third Sunday in Easter - is “the rest of the story” about Emmaus. Well, here is the story that has the surprise ending in today’s Gospel. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study with family, friends and church groups.

We have all heard this tale. Several disciples, walking in sorrow to a small town, were joined by a stranger who began explaining to them the story of Christ as foretold in the Jewish Scriptures. When the three of them arrived, they ate, and the men knew in a flash who it was at the moment when he broke the bread.

Now here, Fr. John Foley, S. J.explains, is the rest of the story. The men ran to Jerusalem as fast as they could to tell the eleven apostles. Probably they were babbling and prattling, being so excited, but in the midst of the enthusiasm, suddenly, without warning, Jesus appeared. “They were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost.”

"See my hands and my feet! Touch me!"

Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D. points out how In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus makes it abundantly clear that He is not at all a ghost. Vampires are not real. Werewolves are not real. Zombies are not real. But Jesus is real. He is the Son of God become man, who died for us, but then rose from the dead. When the disciples saw Jesus, they did not see a ghost. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB says Jesus appeared to them as a living, solid form.

Jesus said, “Look at my hands and my feet. It is me. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have." The resurrected Jesus of today's Gospel is a flesh and blood person, says Fr. James Gilhooley. He speaks. He is even hungry. Why else would He eagerly ask, "What's for supper?" He even went on to eat something right in front of them, adds Fr. Joseph Pellegrino.

Abbot Philip Lawrence, OSB explains the message our Lord gives us with his apparition to the disciples. Even when we fall and sin, God is right there trying to help us walk in faith once more. It is as though Jesus Christ is standing right beside us each moment and saying: see my hands and me feet! Touch me! I am truly with you.

The Wonder and Awe of Emmaus at Every Mass

"Breaking of bread" is an ancient name for the Eucharistic Sacrifice of the Mass. At Emmaus Jesus gave his Body and Blood as he celebrated the Eucharist. Father Cusick says there the disciples encountered the Easter Christ: "they had come to know Jesus in the breaking of bread." (Lk 24, 25)

Jesus frequently referred to eating together as a sign of the peace of God’s reign. To eat with the disciples now showed not only that He had forgiven their lack of faith, but the reign He had promised was now coming into being. Fr. Orly. Sapuay, MS explains how Jesus chose to be remembered by eating and drinking together: the tradition of giving thanks, breaking bread, and sharing the cup we call the Eucharist. Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, OSB adds further that each Sunday we also listen to readings from Scripture in order to learn how the Spirit was with Jesus, and how the Spirit wishes to inspire us.

The HHS mandate and Freedom of Religion

One of the more disturbing aspects of this HHS mandate is knowing the degree to which our nation has profited from Catholics only now to have our consciences treated so shabbily. As an example look at the life of Fr. Edward J. Flanagan, the founder of Boys Town, and whose cause has recently opened. Many may remember the 1938 movie about the straight-talking priest played by Spenser Tracy, who won an academy award for his portrayal. Omar Gutierrez explains that under this over-reaching HHS mandate, even good Fr. Flanagan wouldn't have qualified.

We now live in an era of moral relativism, where womanhood has become a bit of a lightning rod and where religious views are shifting. Jennifer Fulwiler finds it ironic when contraception is said to allow anyone to live "freely." Women are handed contraception, and told to forget all about the possibility of parenthood. Then, when the contraception fails, as it so often does, they find themselves feeling trapped, perceiving that their only escape is through the doors of an abortion facility. This, to her, does not look like freedom. Let's look at five practical ways one can remain faithful in a hostile and confused culture.

And then let's look at how the life of Dorothy Day should be so terribly misunderstood and why this ought not to come to any great surprise to any of us. The case for canonization for this intrepid Catholic journalist from the 1930s is now open. So, you want to help the poor, convert your neighbor, be wildly attractive to those who come to know you? Go to Mass, pray the rosary, recite the hours, read on the saints, be like Dorothy Day and pursue sanctity. That, friends, is the antidote to hypocrisy and is the path to helping the poor and the ignorant.

Do Catholics Worship Idols?

The problem of Catholics leaving the Church, reports Fr. Robert Barron, is obviously, serious and complex. And anyone who would suggest an easy solution is naive. However, having listened to a representative sample of those who have left, he thinks parishes, priests, and church administrators might take some relatively simple and direct steps that would go a long way toward ameliorating the situation. The good priest tackles why Catholics leave the Church and what can be done about it.

Related to this, the alleged Catholic worship of idols is one bomb our Protestant brothers and sisters always throw at us. Fr. Dwight Longenecker explains that when we venerate an image of Jesus, Mary or the saints in our devotions we are honoring them, but we are also praising the God for the fact that through their physical lives, his glory is revealed.

Infant Baptism is another. Many Protestants (though not all) disagree with our Catholic practice of baptizing infants. Alas, Msgr. Charles Pope laments, the Protestant denominations (mostly Baptists (another irony), Pentecostals, Fundamentalist and Evangelicals) who refuse baptism to infants engage in a novelty unknown to the Church until recent times. It is a simple historical fact that the Church has always baptized infants.

The New Chivalry & More

Randy Hain tells the story of brothers gathered for a Catholic blessing of the early departed around the grave of their father who died unexpectedly from a heart attack. There's a lot of unfinished personal business that lingers. A familiar tale, perhaps? Click here for the story.

It is springtime, and weddings are aplenty. One of the traditions performed at many weddings is the garter toss. Matt Sciba finds it to be an utterly revolting tradition. One such event happened at the wedding of a couple he knew in college. Matt and Julie married last week, and when the time came for the garter to be removed, Matt did something unexpected. As Julie sat in her chair, Matt approached her with a water basin and a towel. With perfect tenderness, he humbled himself and made a beautiful gesture of his service to her. He washed her feet just as Jesus did at the Last Supper. Nice, huh? Food for thought for every groom-to-be out there who's planning a wedding soon.

Here's an interesting question. Is marriage a part of God's plan for everyone? By the way many married folks treat singles, it would appear the answer is "yes." I hear comments like, "What's a nice girl like you doing unmarried?" and, "What you need is a good wife!" Henry Harris opines that being Christian and single can be a very fulfilling alternative to married life.

Hiccups & Bottled Water

We've all been tormented by hiccups at some point in our lives. Melissa Jeffries takes on hiccups , how they work, what causes it and how to stop it. And now that the weather is starting to warm up again, many of us will naturally reach out for bottled water every chance we get. But did you know that many well-known brands actually come from public water? Phil Lempert says beware of bottled water because labels don’t tell the whole story.

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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 the Mass a Banquet or a Sacrifice?
FEATURED BLOG: Do Catholics Worship Idols?
PASTORAL HISPANA: La paz es el regalo de Cristo

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