Thursday, June 28, 2012

"Little girl, I say to you, arise!"

A defiled lady, a dead child, and our Compassionate Savior. In this Sunday's Gospel for July 1, 2012, Jesus' care, love and healing were far more powerful than the prohibitions of Jewish law, far more powerful than the forces of nature, and far more powerful than the forces of death. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study with family, friends and church groups.

Think of the woman cured of a hemorrhage in today's Gospel. And do not forget His kindness to the widow of Naim or bringing today's little girl back to life with His Aramaic command,"Talitha cumi." Isn't it amazing, Fr. James Gilhooley notes, how a large number of Christ's miracles are centered about women.

Death and Life

“God did not make death.” The First Reading says this. Then where did death come from? The reading also says it entered the world through the devil’s envy. This is a puzzling thought, Fr. John Foley, S. J. surmises. But why does death exist? Death exists because we can choose good. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino explains that the ability we have to choose results in the ability to love and be loved.

Fr. Alex McAllister SDS adds more to the mix. He says sickness and death touch us at our most vulnerable point. They strip us of our illusions and remind us that, no matter how important we are in the eyes of others, we are still human—still very limited and transient citizens here on earth. This thought caused Fr. John J. Ludvik to recall a sacramental call he once made to a dying child. Inside the memory of that day he realizes that any sacrifice of love in our own lives is nothing compared to the anguish of a parent in the presence of a child in danger of death.

Faith - Touching the Hem of Christ

Truly, nothing is possible without faith, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB reminds us. These Gospel stories reveal Jesus' power over disease and death. Jesus accompanies two peple to take that crossing over from sickness to health, from death to life, from doubt to faith and to deeper faith. Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS tells us how the people in the passage transfer their uncleanness to Jesus, and to each Jesus bestows the cleansing wholeness of God.

Father Cusick says these miraculous events are signs only of something far more marvelous: eternal life. We must be in bodily union with Jesus Christ if we wish to be raised from the dead to the glorified state of resurrection as he was. Jesus links faith in the resurrection to his own person: 'I am the Resurrection and the life."

Sickness and death truly have a way of shearing through the veneer of our self-importance and social status. Will power, while important, is not enough. In the end, Fr. Ron Rolheiser explains, the power to give life can only be restored to us through grace and community, through letting a power beyond give us something that we cannot give to ourselves. And that comes from the very same Jesus, now Risen Lord, who reaches out with compassion and with power to heal and to give us life. Gathered in his name, Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B. counsels us, we pray that in our moment of affliction, we too will hear his words, "Do not be afraid; just have faith."

The Compassionate Lord

Does it surprise you that Jesus was able to heal the woman with a bleeding sickness, even though He didn’t recognize that someone who had touched Him and had been healed through that touch until afterward? Does it surprise you that Jesus declared that the little girl who had died was not dead, only asleep. Encountering misery, passive resignation and distrust, Jesus exerted himself with a warm passion of love to heal the hurting and to reveal a God who is in love with life. Fr. Rich Lifrak, SSCC explains that Jesus was only concerned about those who hurt and who needed his healing.

If that's the case, why don't we see more miracles in today's world? Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio says if the Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of this supernatural miracle worker, why we don’t see more healing and sanctification going on in the lives of communicants? Maybe it’s because many who shuffle forward in communion lines each Sunday are like the nameless people who bumped into Jesus in the square but were too busy to notice and too jaded to expect anything.

Fr. Joseph Pellegrino says we are called to love as He loves. We are called to have compassion for the hurting. We are not called to judge the cause of their pain. How can we be any different and still call ourselves His followers?

Fortnight for Freedom

In these days before the Fourth of July, our bishops have asked us to pray, study and thank God for the gift of freedom - particularly religious freedom, which is under attack in our world and even in our own country. They launched Fortnight for Freedom, a national campaign of teaching, witness, and prayer against the abortifacient and contraceptive mandate and in favor or religious freedom.

Fr. Phil Bloom uses his Sunday homily to discuss the relationship between democracy and religion. We have a beautiful country, but he says we could lose it. He notes the need to return to religion because it primarily calls us to repentance and virtue. Second, it promotes solidarity - not waiting for the government but solving problems on the smallest possible level. And third -- in a message repeated this week by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. -- when government makes unjust laws, the task of the Church is to push back or resist.

Jesus came into the world to teach us how to use our freedom. Paul Dion, STL said our Lord even went so far as to teach us that choosing death over life is not always bad. Thus it was just appropriate that the Fortnight for Freedom started on the feast day of St. John Fisher, the 15th century English cardinal who was beheaded by King Henry VIII for defending Church teaching on the sanctity of Marriage. Taylor Marshall offers an intriguing article that lists parallels between St John Fisher and St John the Baptist. You'll remember that John the Baptist received martyrdom for protesting King Herod Antipas' adulterous marriage to Herodias.

Fourth of July and Independence

For this Fourth of July weekend, George J. Marlin gives us a little Catholic history lesson. After the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the vast majority of Catholics sided with the revolutionaries, because they considered themselves American, not British. Out of respect for the Catholic presence in his army, George Washington ended the the Fourth of July observance of the anti-Roman holiday known as “Pope’s Day.”

Yet, as Christians we cannot overlook that there are ways of understanding freedom today that are distorted, exaggerated and detached from a proper context. Msgr. Charles Pope advises us to ponder freedom on this 4th of July. Ponder its paradoxes, accept its limits. And ponder finally this paradoxical truth: The highest freedom is the capacity to obey God. But humans often interpret this freedom to mean that God will never force his will upon us. Lenora Grimaud says we think God will never violate our freedom and save us unless we choose to be saved. But, is this really true? Can we have “free will” if we are not truly free?

Freedom of speech is indeed a great thing. Unfortunately, when citizens are free to say what they want, they'll sometimes use that freedom to say some pretty silly things. And that's the case with the 12 most common myths people believe about the Catholic Church. While the proponents of these errors are free to promote them, we as Catholics have a duty to respond. Hopefully, this list will help you do just that.

Jesus, Religion and Photos at Liturgies

Consider the scene. The Bishop has taken his place at the entrance to the sanctuary. He is prepared to confirm some twenty children. It is a sacred moment. The parents are in deep prayer thanking the Holy Spirit who is about to confirm their children for mission….. Oops, they are not! Actually, they are fumbling with their cell phone cameras. Some even scrambling up the side aisle to “get the shot.” Msgr. Charles Pope tackles this quite common obsession for photos at Liturgies.

Some months ago Laurence Gonzaga was directed to the same viral video we had previously reported on as making its way through the social networking universes. Titled "Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus," it was a Christian attack on “religion”, or at least, how the author portrays religion. Laurence offers a point by point rebuttal to the video's claims. It's one of the best explanations in response to this video that we've seen so far. We know you will enjoy this.

Finally, as we prepare to celebrate Independence Day weekend, we turn to Brett & Kate McKay. If you’re looking for inspiration in creating an Independence Day to remember, they share how they do the Fourth of July in the McKay family, and the traditions–past and present–that make this holiday memorable for them. Here's their "10 Awesome 4th of July Traditions."

A Blessed and Happy Independence Day to you all.

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: Do you cry at funerals? Why?
FEATURED BLOG: 12 Myths Every Catholic Should Be Able to Answer
PASTORAL HISPANA: Jesus sana para instaurar el Reino

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