Thursday, September 27, 2012

"For whoever is not against us is for us."

This Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, the disciples thought that healing in the Lord’s name is reserved exclusively for them. Thus, they attempted to stop a “stranger” from casting out demons in Jesus’ name. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study with family, friends and church groups.

"Whoever is not against us is for us."

Christ's principle that “whoever is not against us is for us” is clearly stated in these Readings. It shows His open-mindedness and all-embracing attitude towards people. Fr. Omer Prieto says this is Jesus’ vision of God’s Kingdom, where all people of goodwill are invited to participate, because God is the Father of all.

But God is surely free to work outside of our familiar religious structures also. What it means, explains Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B., is that we should work in genuine humility to make our own religious structures as open as possible to the saving power of God. So what should our relationship be with authentic Christians who are not Catholic? We treat our non-Catholic brothers and sisters with deep respect because, as Fr. Joseph Pellegrino says, we recognize that God can and does speak through them as He can and does speak through us.

The Church is the Body of Christ and the other Christian denominations are an authentic part of the Church. Fr. Alex McAllister SDS tells us that the way ahead to a fuller unity is through friendship and dialogue. But while he says it is perfectly correct for us to join non-Catholics in prayer and in support, it is incorrect for us to reject our Catholicism. If we have been admitted to the Eucharist, and we have, we cannot reject the Gift of the Eucharist.

"Whoever causes one of these little ones to sin . . ."

Fr. Ron Rolheiser reminds us that our children are not ours, they are God's children. In the end, we are only their guardians, all of us. God is the real parent and God's love, care, and anxiety for them will always be in excess of our own.

Moreover, the “little ones” that the Lord was referring to here were the poor common folk, unsophisticated and often marginalized, who took great comfort in the message of the Lord and the hope it offered them. They were the “outsiders” during his time when Jewish culture was influenced largely by the rich and the powerful. Jesus Christ is declaring that humility, such is found in a very small child is a requisite for greatness.

Truly God’s blessing is upon the meek, Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS explains. But just how can we strike a balance between being humble and meek, and assertive enough to succeed in the world today? In living just and upright lives, we can do a good job as a humble leader. But, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB adds, that is different from being able to succeed and being placed in greater positions of responsibility.

"A great millstone were put around his neck..."

Cutting off hands and feet and plucking out eyes are basically self-mutilation. They are repugnant to believers. The point is not to take these sayings literally. John Bergsma points out that even the saints have not made a practice of self-amputation. It is because as our Lord's teaching from earlier in Mark says, the cause of sin is not in our physical appendages.

Fr. Rich Lifrak, SS.CC says Jesus' words, to be sure, were sharper, but perhaps that was simply a means to reach listeners who were stubborn and hardhearted. But, they certainly grab our attention. And, in doing so, they demonstrate how seriously Jesus took the issue of sin. Specifically with the sin of scandal - causing others to sin. It is, Fr. Jim Kirstein, SMA points out, a grim warning against those who would lead astray any of the" little ones" who believe in our
Lord. It is a discourse about the reality of Hell. And that, Fr. Phil Bloom admits, is a topic that most preachers would gladly avoid. Still, we cannot faithfully represent Jesus and not speak about Hell because He spoke about it often.

The Spirit of God chooses to dwell in our interior depths. Fr. John Foley, S. J. says this is because within the deep interior is a place in us that is made in God’s image. Jesus invites us to come to Him. But the one thing He will not do is to take away our freedom. That would destroy our essence. God does not want to fill heaven with robots. He desires souls.

Liturgy, Prayer and the Archangels

Benedict XVI this Sunday opened the next chapter in his ongoing catechesis on prayer, moving from reflections on prayer drawn from Scripture to another "precious 'space,' another precious 'source' for growing in prayer, a fount of living water in close relationship with the former": the liturgy.

Dr. Scott Hahn shares a very important video discourse on the liturgy, why we call the Cross a sacrifice and the implications of Christ’s command to “Do this” at the Last Supper. Listen closely and you’ll never view the New Testament the same way again. If you want to understand the Crucifixion of Jesus, you first have to understand this. Meanwhile, Sr. Theresa Noble posits that in order to really live the power of the indwelling of the Trinity within us, it must become something we know on a deeper level. Here are some things that she suggests we do to grow in our understanding of this mystery.

And this Saturday, September 29, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the three Archangels who have been venerated throughout the history of the Church. They are Michael (from the Hebrew Who Is Like God?), who defends the friends of God against Satan and all his evil angels; Gabriel (the Power of God), chosen by the Creator to announce to Mary the mystery of the Incarnation; and Raphael (the Medicine of God or God Heals), the archangel who, in the book of Tobit, takes care of Tobias on his journey.

Abortion, Marriage & Contraception

As Catholic Christians we understand a “hierarchy” of sins. We know the difference between venial and mortal sins. So when the Church invokes such language as “intrinsic evil” when referring to abortion, we are supposed to sit up and take note. It can’t be thrown in the same pile as a lack of social justice or the ways we may be failing some of our brothers and sisters.

Paul Dion, STL notes how these days, we talk about abortion with such a cavalier attitude and such a "health-care" detached tone, as though abortion was nothing more than tonsillitis. He discusses the issue in light of thalidomide, rape and God. Also, our related Burning Question this week is relevant to the currently swirling political discussions: Does the Church allow abortion if the mother's life is at risk?

Also, nobody is pretending that hordes of Catholics don’t dissent from their Church’s “thou shalt not” regarding contraception. What we don’t know is why practising Catholics who do go to Mass—and even, if only occasionally, to confession—also feel entitled to reject Church teaching. Carolyn Moynihan explores. Meanwhile Archbishop John Joseph Myers, Archdiocese of Newark, offers "A Pastoral Teaching on the Definition, Purpose and Sanctity of Marriage." He urged Catholics to vote "in defense of marriage and life," and warns that the passage of same-sex marriage laws might lead to a government crackdown on their religious freedoms.

Catholics and Election 2012

Cheryl Dickow thinks it is a tremendous responsibility to be a Catholic woman voter this year. And I say her statement applies to us men as well. She shares Bl. John Paul's insight that we all rise confidently and compassionately to the challenge that is before us and, imbued with the Gospel, do our part to aiding humanity in not falling.

Let's talk now about the two traps that Catholics often fall into when talking about politics. They are: (a) acting as if their own candidate is immaculate, or (b) acting as if all the candidates are equally bad, from a Catholic point of view. Neither of these are true. Every candidate is flawed, but some flaws (like support for abortion and euthanasia) are objectively worse, and simply indefensible.

Related to this, Joe Heschmeyer presents from a Catholic (rather than a partisan) perspective, is what the Church actually teaches about when it is, and isn’t, okay for a Catholic to disagree with a Church teaching. Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio aptly reminds us that God is not political. He will welcome virtuous action by anyone, regardless of how imperfect their doctrine, how flawed their character and who they hang around with. But, while many may assert that they will answer to no one, the truth is we will all answer to God. Yes, Msgr. Charles Pope tells us, we will render an account for what we have done.

Girls and LOLz

Girls Just Want to Have Fun! A gorgeous jacket caught Cheryl Dickow's eye as she was flipping through an issue of a fashion magazine. Covered in an animal print, the jacket caused the 54-year-old Cheryl to rediscover that fun isn’t just for the young but, as they say, for the young at heart.

And finally, Micah Murphy remembers distinctly from her time at Steubenville one particular phrase used by Professor James Pauley: “Always hit up the LOLz.” Students would ask, "What?” And he would reply “The Little Old Ladies. They pray. A lot. Make them pray for you.” And it was a recent conversation on the Facebook wall of a priest friend reminded her of this quote and the many types of LOLz she has encountered over the years. So why not make a catalog? She prepared an amusing and light-hearted outline of several different categories of LOLz in the Church today.

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: Does the Church allow abortion if the mother's life is at risk?
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Thursday, September 20, 2012

"If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all."

When the Apostles in Sunday's Gospel for Sept. 23, 2012, giving in to pride, begin to argue among themselves as to who among them is the greatest, the Lord calls a child into their midst and thus begins to teach them the contradiction of the Christian life: "If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all." Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study with family, friends and church groups.

"But they did not understand what He said..."

Jesus tells His people that He must suffer and die. But, as Fr. James Gilhooley points out, the apostles had no wish to know about this dour subject. They wanted to hear only about happy days. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB explains that Mark uses these scenes to explain all the ingredients of Christian wisdom. Three features of the disciples that are revealed. First, even after failure, the disciples are singled out for special instruction. Second, the disciples find Jesus' message baffling. The third thing that happens to the disciples is that they learn a profound lesson about what it means to be servant.

Our Understanding of Greatness

Sunday’s Gospel reading makes us wonder what on earth possessed Jesus to choose the ones he did to become his disciples? Self-seeking calculation had them quarrelling about which of them was the greatest. Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS says it is the ego that has the stake to claim to being the greatest. And the way the ego works is portrayed by St. James in the second reading. It breeds “jealousy and ambition” that brings about “discord and all that is evil.” Jealousy is the capital sin of envy, Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio points out. And it often employs ingenious strategies to bring down its nemesis.

Fr. John Foley finds the whole episode quite comedic. Just after Jesus tells them the most intimate fact of His life, the disciples start fighting for the best toys, like children. They are truly small time glory seekers, adds Fr. Jim Kirstein, SMA. They didn’t really know what greatness really means, says Fr. Joseph Pellegrino. They were driven by selfishness and false ambition.

But Jesus did not abolish ambition. Rather he defined it. For the ambition to rule others He substituted the ambition to serve others. Jesus, who as God's servant would soon give up his life for us, said to them, "If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all." Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, OSB says this reveals that our relationship with God is inseparable from our relationship with each other. To give oneself to God as Jesus did means to be in complete harmony with God's creative love for every human being and for all creation.

The Lowest, Poorest & Most Despised

Later on in the story, Jesus takes a little child as an example. Unless you change and become like little children you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. How can we do that? Fr. Ron Rolheiser asks how do we unlearn sophistication, undo the fact that we are adults? What kind of recessive journey can revirginize a heart?

But what Jesus is pointing to when he places his hands around the shoulders of that child is the child’s lack of status. Fr. Alex McAllister SDS  explains that in those days, children were simply disregarded. To show favour to a child was worthless. They represent the lowest, the poorest and most despised. This means, Father Cusick adds, that every one who would be saved must welcome and love the smallest unborn child, the least of the poor, the abandoned, the rejected.

Now is the time to take the antidote for envy. And Fr. Phil Bloom says it is to become like a little child, recognizing our radical dependence on God and others.

Fathers. Delayed Marriages & Contraception

When it comes to marrying, perfect is the enemy of good. Some people want their marriage to be ideal, and if there is any ordeal, they want a new deal. Come on now, Msgr. Charles Pope exhorts young people. Lets get those marriage numbers up. It’s time to leave mother and father, and just mixing it up with friends, and find a spouse and cling to one another. And when you get married, have lots of babies and raise them Catholic!

And why do Catholic women reject their Church’s teaching on contraception? Carolyn Moynihan says the HHS mandate may be a blessing in disguise. By forcing the issue of contraception to the top of the Church’s public agenda it has created an opportunity for the Church to have an internal conversation on the subject. And the “What Catholic Women Think…” study shows that such a discussion is long overdue.

Meanwhile, Thomas J. Neal, Ph.D.shares some breaking news for families: the father’s role in a child’s life is crucial. Having ‘face time’ with the ones you love is an irreplaceable dimension of being human, of fostering communion — and it is an irreplaceable means for forming the mind and heart of your child.

Dogma, Doctrine & Year of Faith

Dogma, doctrine, and theology--what's the difference? Many people are curious about the difference between dogma and doctrine. Jimmy Akin is asked about it surprisingly often. It would be nice if the Church had an official dictionary we could use to answer this question, but it doesn't. So he explains.

Meantime, Marc Cardaronella reminds us that the Year of Faith is starting soon. And, Pope Benedict has asked everyone to study the Catechism of the Catholic Church. But you’ll never do it. So marc challenges us all to prove him wrong! Read the Catechism this year! You can do it if you take it in bite-sized pieces. Go now. Your soul will thank me later.

At the Los Angeles Catholic Prayer Breakfast on Sept. 18, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said Catholics must take responsibility for the evangelization of the country, and pursue this goal through humility and spiritual discipline. “The task of preaching, teaching, growing and living the Catholic faith in our time, in this country, belongs to you and me. No one else can do it.” This message was mirrored by Pope benedict to the bishops of the world: “Every believer is called to the challenge of the new evangelization” and bishops must “boldly invite the people from every walk of life to an encounter with Christ and to render more solid the faith”.

Fear, Failure & Adoration

Dealing with fear? Simcha Fisher says we will never get anywhere if we simply try really, really hard to stop being afraid. Fear needs to be replaced with something, not just beaten down or chased away. Replace fear with the image of a strong and joyful God who loves us, and who will not leave us alone forever. And Elizabeth Scalia says she found this peace. When she goes to Adoration, she finds it to be such a privilege and such a humility. She goes there in poverty — unworthy of anything, but willing to be open, because she trust that all God wants of us is our willingness.

Randy Hain observes that ours is often unfriendly and challenging world. If we want our children to cope successfully, they need to learn these lessons from us in the early years. The world, especially the business world, is not going to nurture, coddle or protect our children when they are old enough to have real jobs. If we truly love our children, can we love them enough to let them learn valuable lessons from their struggles? For their sake, I surely hope so.

Jeanette Mulvey points out to the so-called dead-end jobs at fast-food restaurants as an example. Working at McDonald's has been the launching point for many a successful career. Andie MacDowell, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and comedian Jay Leno all once worked at the fast-food chain.

Finally, a kid walks up to a demo karaoke machine in a department store, and… the world discovers that rarest of things: a pure singer. This girl can sing. Totally surprising and totally unrehearsed.

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: More noble to volunteer for secular or church work?
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Thursday, September 13, 2012

"But who do you say that I am?"

The restoration of the blind man's sight in last Sunday's Gospel must surely set the scene for Peter's confession of faith this week, Sept. 16, 2012. Jesus' nature is now gradually revealed to the disciples. He also relates the first of His three prophecies of His passion, death and resurrection. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study with family, friends and church groups.

This Sunday we begin a series of seven Sunday Gospel readings from Mark’s account of the journey of Jesus and his disciples from northern Galilee to Jerusalem. This story consists of two sections: the messianic confession of Peter and Jesus’ prediction of His Passion, death and resurrection, followed by His clear teaching on discipleship. From this point on, everything in Mark's gospel moves toward the crucifixion.

“Who do you say I am?”

We see the centrality of the cross in today's Gospel. Jesus sets the stage by asking his disciples who He is. They have many different opinions - just like people today. Some people see Jesus as a powerful prophet, others as a noble teacher, still others as kind of guru. Fr. John Foley, S. J. relates that Jesus will have none of that. Our Lord doesn't care about public opinion. He cares about the human person.

So He asks Peter what Fr. Alex McAllister SDS says is the very same question Jesus seems to be asking each of us today: "But who do you say that I am?" Fr. Phil Bloom asks us further. Who do you say that Jesus is? When you stand before a tabernacle, before whom do you stand? Who is Jesus?

Peter responds, “You are the Christ.” Then Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about Him. So why the secret? If Jesus was the Messiah as Peter proclaimed in today’s Gospel from Mark, why be quiet about it? If Jesus healed people like He did throughout the Gospel of Mark, why keep it a secret? The reason is simple. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino tells us that we cannot understand Jesus’ Work or His Messianic mission, unless we understand and embrace the cross.

Jesus' Invitation to Follow Him

Peter’s messiah, as we find out a few verses later, was not going to be beaten raw by the Romans, suffer and die. Jesus Himself didn’t think of being the Messiah in the triumphal and nationalistic way that His early disciples did. The Good News He preached was ultimately about love. And at the heart of His teaching is a great irony. Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS points out that one actually gains one’s life by losing it. However what one loses is really not life at all, but the obstacles to real life.

Father Cusick urges us to look to the Scriptures where the Lord reveals Himself so as to nurture our relationship with Him. Jesus was not a social revolutionary. He did not denounce injustice, but confronted it with love. Still, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB reminds us, those who lived by injustice made no mistake when they recognized in Jesus and in those who followed Him a fundamental challenge to their way of life. In the Gospel reading, the disciples never fully understood what Jesus taught. Let us not commit the same mistake, Fr. Omer Prieto advises.

The basis of our faith as acceptance of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God and our Lord and Savior. It also tells us that Christ Jesus became our Savior by His suffering, death and resurrection. Fr. Finally, John J. Ludvik tells us, it also outlines the three conditions of Christian discipleship -- denying oneself, taking up one’s cross and following Jesus.

The Four Last Things

Catholic teaching identifies the Four Last Things as Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. These topics are very important that Catholics need to understand. In the first installment of this series -- What Every Catholic Must Know About “The Four Last Things” -- Deacon Mike Bickerstaff examined what every Catholic needs to know about Death. In the second installment, he looks at the Particular and Universal Judgments, the second of the Four Last Things.

And then he talks about Heaven and Hell. Heaven is what awaits the souls of the Just after death where they will enjoy perfect joy and beatitude in the Beatific Vision -- seeing God face-to-face. Hell is the place of everlasting punishment that awaits the souls of the Damned after death. In both places, the soul will be reunited with the resurrected body after the Universal Judgment.

Piety, Forgiveness and Nice Churches

Msgr. Charles Pope discusses the sins of the pious and how the devil can hijack holy practices. He explains that we ought to acknowledge that there are certain temptations common to believers and church-goers. Perhaps we could refer to these as the “Perils of the Pious,” or the “Risks of the Religious.” What are some of these? He explains.

Meanwhile Fr. John McCloskey answers a sincere question from a reader: Why does God only forgive after we repent and turn back to Him, while we are asked to forgive regardless of whether or not the “offending” person asks for our forgiveness and repents?

And at some point Every Catholic finds himself obliged to defend against the modern axiom: The Catholic Church has gold and refuses to sell it, thus the Church lets the poor starve. In response, Marc Barnes says faulting the Cathedrals and Basilicas of the world for containing “too much” wealth is an awkward denial of the fact that the Cathedrals and Basilicas of the world are explicitly for the use of the poor, and to steal from them is to steal — not merely from the Church — but from the poor themselves, who — despite the perceptions of Hollywood — do not merely need bread, cash and contraception, but beauty, ritual, and God as well.

Life, Ten Commandments & The Year of Faith

So you're Pro-Life? Try this one on for size. Two Sundays ago Paul Dion, STL saw the Pro-Life cake get some icing. During the homily, the priest took pro-Life out for a ride over deep, deep waters. If you are pro-life, the pastor exclaimed, then you owe it to yourself and to others not only to prevent abortion, but to love, respect and enhance the lives of the humans around you.

And as the Year of Faith approaches, Elizabeth Scalia finds noteworthy ideas beginning to make headlines, the most recent being the notion by Kieran Conry, the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, who would like to see the faithful take a scheduled “moment for prayer” on the first Friday of every month and silently meditate on the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross out of love for you and everyone.

From the Vatican, Benedict XVI preached that the 10 Commandments are a sign of the love of God the Father. Without the guidance of the Commandments, he explained, man would be left to himself, proud in his own autonomy. In doing so, man “ends up by following the idols of egoism, of power, of dominion, polluting the relations with himself and with others, and following paths not of life but of death.” Meanwhile Jimmy Akin also uses the teachings of Pope Benedict to explain the "dark passages" in the Bible. The question of how these are to be interpreted has been with us for a long time, and apologists and Bible scholars--not to mention Church Fathers and theologians--have made many suggestions. Recently the pope provided some guidance.

Marriage After 40, ex-Playboy Playmates, Kids & Politics

Should little kids hear from you the parent that Obama is a crumb-bum who should lose, and that we should pray for him to repent. But! you will protest. That's indoctrination! That's brain washing! To which Simcha Fisher replies, Duh, that's her job. She says it's perfectly fine for parents to present their image of the world, painted in broad brush strokes, to their children. You tell 'em what you think is true, in ways that they can understand. When they're older, you can fill in more details, and they can figure out whether they believe you or not.

Also recently, Jennifer Fulwiler was having a conversation with a lady about treating infertility who said she was interested because she got married when she was over 40 and hoped to have a family. The conversation then turned into a great discussion about her experience being single longer than she'd hoped to be, as well as the benefits of marrying later in life. Jennifer blogs about the interesting chat.

Elsewhere, Donna D’Errico's reputation for being a wild girl isn’t exactly a secret. Being featured in Playboy was, by some accounts, not the greatest of her indiscretions. But that’s what makes this story so compelling. That she now goes to Mass every Sunday is impressive enough, but there are plenty of Sunday Mass-goers who then go out campaigning for pro-abortion Democrats. (For the record, D’Errico is a die-hard Ron Paul fan.) But the fact that she prays the rosary every night with her kids, that’s what really told me this is a woman who has turned her life around.

What To Do With Your Old iPhones

Millions of people will likely buy new iPhones once Apple announces the new iPhone 5 as expected this week. That leaves the question: What should you do with your old one? We offer you 11 things to do with your old iPhone, including things you never imagined as possibilities.

Another eventful week in our Catholic World. Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief


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Thursday, September 6, 2012

"Ephphatha!"-- that is, "Be opened!"

The Gospel on Sunday, Sep. 9, 2012, is about the healing of a man who was deaf and suffered from a speech impediment. Jesus’ liberating action on this double ailment calls our attention to the close connection between “hearing” and “speaking” – two essential faculties for proclaiming the Good News of salvation. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study with family, friends and church groups.

Physical and Spiritual Deafness

In the First Reading, Isaiah's Old Testament prediction of this miracle underlies Mark's understanding of Jesus' cure of the man in the Gospel. Abbot Philip, OSB outlines how Mark's story of the healing of this hearing and speech impaired man invites us to consider some important points about sickness and suffering in the New Testament.

The healing stories in the Gospels reflect Jesus' intimate, powerful relationship with God and His great compassion. He healed with words, touch and physical means. He worked so many cures that people were mobbing him. And that was the trouble. Fr. John Foley, S. J. says Jesus was in danger of becoming famous as a wonder-worker. The people were thinking their lives would be saved if only if only they got their health back, if only they could find relief in daily life, or if only—well, you name it.

But Jesus was concerned not only with physical infirmity but also spiritual impairment and moral deafness. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB explains how our Lord He confronted one type in the man born deaf, the other type in the Pharisees and others who were unreceptive of his message. These miracles were meant to be signs, confirmations of the truth of His teachings, and invitations to trust and obey him. Unfortunately, Fr. John Bartunek points out, many people were willing to be cured by him but few were willing to suffer with him. And that became clear at the time of his passion.

"Ephphatha, be opened!"

The Lord continues to open our ears by preaching the Word of God to us. By listening to Him, He in turn calls us to proclaim his Word with the witness of our lives. Fr. Omer Prieto stresses that our ability to proclaim depends entirely on our capacity to listen. And we don't pray to make God present to us, Fr. Ron Rolheiser explains. We pray to make ourselves present to God. The secret to prayer is not to try to make God present, but to make ourselves present to God.

And when we read the Bible, do we "hear" what it says? The Bible does not tell us to read the Word of God, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB explains. The Bible tells us to hear it, to listen to it. That is the great Jewish prayer: "Shema, Israel," "Hear, O Israel." Someone else must read the Word so that we may hear it and truly understand it.

And at our parishes, Fr. Phil Bloom adds, that is Faith Formation. It is about listening to the Lord. And he encourages us to take it seriously. For the purpose of God’s Word, after all, is not just to challenge us towards charity, social justice, morality, or even to the worship of something higher or to form community among ourselves. Fr. Ron Rolheiser tells us that Christ came, as God’s incarnate Word, to bring us life, light, and love.

Evidence of the Sacramental System

The Gospels are filled with the evidence of the sacramental system initiated by Christ. This miracle is one of them. As incarnate God he uses physical reality, the gifts of God's creation, as signs to bear the grace of supernatural life. All of creation is wrapped up in the proclamation of redemption.

Father Cusick illustrates how in the Baptismal ritual the priest continues this ordering of creation as a sign of salvation when he repeats the blessing "Ephphatha! Be opened!" over the ears and mouth of the newly baptized child. At this point too in the Baptism, Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS, points out that healing is best expressed. The priest says, “The Lord Jesus made the deaf hear and the dumb speak. May He touch your ears to receive His word and your mouth to proclaim your faith, to the praise and glory of God the Father.”

The power of faith's hearing and seeing enables us to realize that the only way to share Christ's resurrection is through sharing Christ's love. And at our Eucharist, Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, OSB reminds us, we pray for the gift of sharing the faith and compassion of Christ in the particular circumstances of our own lives. We become a community whose unity is due to divine power, the power of the Spirit. And it is not just a spiritual club for those who look alike and dress alike. It is instead comprised by people from every tribe, tongue, people, language, occupation, and lifestyle. Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio says it is the universal family of God, the Church Catholic

When We and God Say “No”

We’ve all experienced those occasions when our prayers seem to have gone “unanswered.” Gary Zimak. asks given the many comments in the Bible regarding the Lord hearing our prayers, could there really be such a thing as “unanswered prayer”? While the obvious answer is “no”, why is it that we sometimes ask but don’t receive?

And we oftentimes also say "No" to God. Brent Stubbs offers three reasons why Jesus would be rejeceted by the Jews of His time. And they are the same three reasons why people reject the Church today. They can be summarized in three distinct yet overlapping categories: ontological, moral and epistemic.

Salvation and Heaven

Fr. Alexander Lucie-Smith says the Church must challenge the idea that life on earth always ends with heaven. He explains how there has been in our society an almost complete loss of any sense of the “drama of salvation,” namely that the eternal outcome of our lives is an open question. If you ask churchgoers today what they think happens to them when we die, many of them will say that we go to heaven, not judgment.

Benedict XVI refers to it as "false religiosity." It as entrusting our joy and security "in material goods, power or other 'gods'." In this way religion "loses its true meaning which is found in listening to God, in doing His will" and external practices which "instead satisfy the human need to feel right before God."

Evangelization in the Workplace

We criticize the Church a lot for lagging when it comes to its use of technology. Should we, the champions of communion, also be the foremost champions of the latest communication methods? Of course! But in the end, Matthew Warner says these are not what we should be known for most. The opportunity for us is a much greater one. And it's one that is deeply and directly connected with the core mission of the Church in the first place.

These offer us opportunities to spread our faith in places like our workplace. Randy Hain shares five thoughts on how to overcome our fear of what others may think of us, be more courageous and go about setting a good example. But often times we hear from the culture that Catholics and other Christians come off as pushy, annoying, and extremist. Jerome Placido says sometimes we are even perceived as hypocrites. Ryan Eggenberger says the best way to overcome this is to “make a friend, be a friend, and bring a friend to Christ.” He offers four “Non-Churchy” tips to open up opportunities for evangelization.

Stories of Hope

LaChita Calloway tells the story of his wayward son. When twelve-year-old son, Donnie became involved with drugs and alcohol, as far as she could tell, he was still the same obedient and kindhearted son he had always been. They had been close during his childhood but she failed to recognize the changes he was going through. And strayed - badly. But friends and family never gave up and they kept praying for him.. Today Donnie is a faith-filled Catholic priest. And LaChita is a modern day St. Monica.

Simcha Fisher talks about her summer adventure. Because they haven't suffered enough this summer, she and her husband took their nine kids camping this week. Last time they went camping, they were single, fit, and owned sneakers. They are not really the outdoorsy type. But this was their summer for just going ahead and doing things, whether they made sense or not. So there they were, camping. This is what they learned.

Hot Jobs in a Cold Economy

Technology, business, retail and service industries rank among the other fast-growing careers in the rapidly and profoundly changing American workplace, according to employment experts and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What follows is a list of some of the 10 hottest industries for jobs over the next decade, as determined by NBC News based on government and private data.

The hottest opportunities remain in the health care industry, where demand is fueled by new technology, new treatments, our increased longevity and the reality that bedside care is one commodity that just can’t be outsourced.

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: What are 5 major reasons we pray?
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