Thursday, May 30, 2013

"They all ate and were satisfied."

This Sunday, June 2, 2013, is Corpus Christi Sunday and our Sunday Readings celebrate the great gift of Communion. The Church seeks to reconfirm our belief in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in our liturgy. Let's humbly ask the Lord that we may receive him in a way that will lead to salvation. Our Discussion Questions this week will guide your bible study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

The Real Presence of Jesus Christ

If there is any one Catholic doctrine that people have choked on over the centuries, it has to be transubstantiation – the teaching that, during the Mass, bread and wine become the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Have you ever met anyone who finds this a bit hard to take? If so, you shouldn’t be surprised. When Jesus spoke about eating his flesh and drinking his blood in John 6, the response was less than enthusiastic.

Marcellino D'Ambrosio explains further that in addition to the Eucharist, during Mass Christ is also present  in the priest and in the congregation. People may arrive distracted and pre-occupied, but as they enter that church they’re members of Christ’s body. Second, Christ is present in the person of the priest. It’s not a question of whether the ordained minister is an exciting preacher or a particularly holy person. Christ’s presence doesn’t depend on the priest’s personal virtue.

Deacon Greg Kandra makes it very clear: "Look at the host, and you look at Christ." Fr. James Gilhooley points to the Bible as proof of this Real presence. There one finds a verbatim dialogue of what is called the longest running play in history. The play's title is Promise of the Eucharist. The playwright is John. The manuscript is the sixth chapter of his Gospel.

Our Burning Questions challenges you to offer a response from your deepest core: Do you REALLY believe in the Real presence of Jesus in Holy Communion? Reflect upon this and give an honest - albeit anonymous - answer.

The Sacramental Banquet

You might think it a bit strange that on this Feast of Corpus Christi the Church gives us not an account of the Last Supper for our Gospel text but focuses instead on the Feeding of the Five Thousand. But if you examine the text closely you will see that this miracle has strong Eucharistic overtones. The language used is the same as that used at the Last Supper: ‘took, blessed, broke, gave.’ These are words we are very familiar with and summarise the four movements within the Mass.

We are now the hungry multitude and we are reminded that Jesus offers us a nourishment that fully satisfies our needs. The point is there is a continuity between a family supper and the Eucharist. Fr. Andrew M. Greeley says both tell us something about each other. The Eucharist invades our home and sanctifies our regular meals. And our regular meals illumine the Eucharist as a family and community feast.

This is the significance of the feast today. In the sacramental banquet of Christ’s body and blood, Fr. Orlando Sapuay, M.S. points out, we are joined to Him and to one anotherin a bond of love that makes selfishness, greed, and complacency in the world’s afflictions unthinkable. And so explains, Fr. Charles Irvin, we should never simply “get” or “receive” Holy Communion. We "enter" into Holy Communion; we enter into the totality of Christ’s incarnate life among us. In this sense, “receiving Holy Communion” is a dynamic reality: we receive Christ and in so doing, Christ receives us, and by the power of the Holy Spirit presents us to the Father.

Feeding and Healing

The Church is stressing two important elements that are brought out in the feeding of the five thousand; namely feeding and healing. Fr. Alex McAllister SDS explains the two-fold feeding that takes place in the Eucharist. First the obvious feeding of our bodies with bread and wine, but secondly there is the sustenance of our souls that only this food from heaven can provide.

Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB also points out the two important lessons Luke teaches in Sunday's Gospel. First Jesus welcomes this vast crowd of common folk, even though "the Twelve" wanted to send them away. And second, Jesus teaches that the disciples are to share whatever they have. In the sharing there will be more than enough. Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. says the lesson is very clear. Jesus tells us to take what little we have and to do what we can with it. God will take care of the rest and with an abundance left over!

Thus in this Sunday's Gospel, we meet Christ the physician. But as Father Cusick points out, there are questions we must answer. Do we seek him as physician of our bodies only? Or has he become for us a mere earthly Messiah?

The True Center of Our Celebration

Even today, some Christian denominations never celebrate the Eucharist, some others only once a month or once a week. But in the Catholic Church we see the Eucharist in all its aspects and understand that it is the gate to heaven and therefore the central act of our worship. It is indeed therefore something for all days and for every day.

So think of the many times in the past when you've asked yourself, "Why Do I Have To Go To Mass?" Fr. Phil Bloom says the answer is simple - To worship and to receive Jesus - as Lord and Savior. Also as you attend Mass at different places, know that none of them will be exactly the same. But the heart of every Mass will be the same: Jesus Christ will be present at the Last Supper, on the Cross, and within each person who receives His Body and Blood. All the liturgical enhancements to our celebrations are wonderful, but none of them surpass the wonder of Jesus Christ, present in every Eucharist.

Now here's a most important question: Who May Receive Communion? While we cannot judge another person's soul, still we recognize that those involved in certain actions should not come forward for Communion. And in "Miracles Still Happen," Lenora Grimaud shares her account of an actual Eucharistic miracle she witnessed during a Mass she happened to be attending.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Eucharist

On the Thursday (or the Sunday) following Holy Trinity Sunday, many Catholics also celebrate the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. With this devotion, we recall that Christ's heart of flaming love finds its truest and most profound expression in the Blessed Sacrament of His love, the Eucharist, God's giving of Himself, whose feast, Corpus Christi, we celebrate this Sunday.

How appropriate this is, for devotion to the Eucharist and to the Sacred Heart are in fact one thing, inseparable — devotion to the mystery of Christ's human and divine love. Thus St. Peter Julian Eymard instructs us, "Let us learn to honor the Sacred Heart in the Eucharist. Let us never separate them."

Living a Catholic Life Today

"Spirituality Without Spirits" is a great reflection by David Mills. He calls it a great and self-serving mess, this claim to be “spiritual but not religious.” And he cites Lady Gaga, the pornographic songstress, as a great example when she tells a reporter that she has a new spirituality just before going out for a night at a Berlin sex club.

And we bring our attention to the Our Father. It is the best known of all prayers but it also bespeaks a challenge. For when something is so well known we can say it mindlessly and miss its message. Msgr. Charles Pope says Our Father should give us more than words to say. It should also gives us a structure for our prayer life, a basic plan for our spiritual life.

Priests, St. John Vianney and the Internet

Speaking of priests in our New Evangelization, a new study about the use of digital technology by priests worldwide shows that the Internet has become a frequently utilized tool in homily preparation, evangelization and pastoral support. Some 42% of priests expressed the belief that the use of digital technology has improved their performance in their mission. And 53% of priests affirmed that the Internet is useful in presenting and spreading the Christian message.

And on another technology front, author Mary Eberstadt talks about "Apologetics for the Facebook Generation." She points out the many challenges the cyberworld discussions poses and highlights that Christianity has a lot more to offer the world than atheists give it credit for.

Finally, we close with a couple of articles, one for married couples and another for busy bodies. "The Seven Habits of a Happy Marriage" looks to the matrimonial lessons to be learned from the water jars in the Gospel story of the Wedding at Cana. And if you're too busy and your exercise program amounts to nothing, "Getting Moving, How to make time for exercise" is for you.

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 REALLY believe in the Real Presence?
FEATURED BLOG: Spirituality without Spirits
PASTORAL HISPANA: Cuerpo y Sangre de Cristo, fiesta de adoracion
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Thursday, May 23, 2013

"I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now."

This Sunday, May 26, 2013, we celebrate the revelation that He is three persons in one GodFather, Son and Spirit. This wasn’t handed down from the mountain in tablets of stone like the Ten Commandments but it was revealed directly to us by God himself in the person of Jesus his Son. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

The inner mystery of God himself

The Trinity has always been a difficult doctrine to swallow. Some charge that we call this doctrine a mystery because we want to cover up how illogical and preposterous it is. The Triune God is not some kind of brainy speculation by scholars. Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio postulates the thinking that three equal but distinct persons in one divine being strains the brain too much to have been concocted by a bunch of theologians or politicians.

As Jesus tells the disciples, “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now,” Saint Louis University student Caroline Seroka reflects on how difficult it was for her to hear that said to the disciples and how much she herself does not know. Fr. John Foley, S. J. explains that it is simply the way we experience God in this world. Christian living is the Trinity in action. The Blessed Trinity is the highest model for our Christian life —three distinct persons, yet one God; each living in harmony and perfect unity with each other. Fr. Alex McAllister SDS tells us that the three persons of the Trinity have their own roles and function but there is no disunity only perfect harmony.

Faith in the Holy Trinity is revealed not to baffle us with mysterious doctrines but to show us a God who is loving and ever close to us. Fr. Orly Sapuay, M.S. says the mystery of God is His outrageous love, a love that covers all our sins and offenses. And Jesus - who has always existed as the Wisdom at the Father's side - has much more to tell us, says Fr. Phil Bloom. He alone can satisfy our desire to know - by bestowing the Spirit of truth that makes possible an eternal relation with the Trinity.

Where is the Holy Trinity in the Bible?

How about during the Baptism of the Son of God. A close reading of the Scriptures shows that the Trinity was revealed when Jesus met his cousin John the Baptist in the wilderness. While John baptizes his superior, the voice of the Father resounds over the waters: “This is my beloved Son on whom my favor rests.” At that very moment, the Holy Spirit descends upon him in the form of a dove.

Thus, Fr. James Gilhooley adds, our own Sacrament of Baptism drops us not only into water but also into the Trinity. The Trinity in turn is delighted to take up residence in us. So, just as the triune God is in us, so too are we in the triune God.

The Way We Begin and End Our Prayers

Though we may struggle with the Holy Trinity, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB reminds us that we nevertheless take it into our very hands each time that we mark ourselves with the sign of the cross. We begin our prayers in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. We begin our prayers in the name of the Father who loves us unconditionally, and of the Son who made this love concrete by becoming one of us and dying for us and bringing God’s forgiveness to us, and the name of the Holy Spirit, who is God dwelling within us, empowering us.

The sign of the cross is an affirmation of our faith, explains Fr. Joseph Pellegrino. It is a declaration of whom we are: people God loves, forgives and empowers. Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, OSB, asks us to pay special attention to what we do and pray every Sunday at Mass so that we may realize more deeply that every Sunday is Trinity Sunday. Let us reflect in the church, in our families, and in our world the communion of love, which is the true nature of God. This is the glory and the joy for which we are created.

Appropriately, Fr. Ron Rolheiser offers a timely and challenging question for us to ponder. How do we speak of God inside a culture that’s pathologically distracted, distrusts religious language and church institutions, and yet carries its own moral energy and virtue? And here's an interesting discussion. How about we consider the topic of how both men and women should dress when going into God’s house? Let's explore some background issues and enunciate some principles.

Stories of Hope

It was a beautiful day and Susie Lloyd was out and about among the "Rocks, Leaves, Flowers, Treasure." As she paused to play in nature's playground, nature was missionary, in her violets, in her leafy boats, in her muddy rocks. God’s in his heaven. All’s right with the world.

Rebecca Teti reflects on the recent spate of celebrity infidelity cases and asks what causes marriages to fail. She rejects most pop psychology explanations in favor of something much simpler. Couples just don’t spend enough time together.

And Jerome Placido talks to the young. He asks you to take a moment and imagine all the planning that had to be done to bring you into this world and understand it was not by chance that you were created.

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: Should Christians perform the sign of the cross?
FEATURED BLOG: On Proper Dress for Mass
PASTORAL HISPANA: La Trinidad nos ayuda a entender nuestra experiencia con Dios
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Thursday, May 16, 2013

"As the Father has sent me, so I send you."

This Sunday, May 19, 2013, our Readings celebrate Pentecost Sunday - the culmination of the fifty days of Easter, the day when Jesus sent the Holy Spirit upon the disciples. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

A Contradiction in Sunday's Gospel?

There seems to be a contradiction between the coming of the Spirit as recorded in this gospel and in the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles. In the gospel of John, the Spirit is given by Jesus himself on Easter day, whereas in Acts the Spirit comes upon the disciples at the Jewish feast of Pentecost which occurred fifty days after Passover.

Fr. Alex McAllister SDS tells out that the essentials of the two accounts are the same, but the emphases different. Luke and John provide us with distinct but equally rich theological perspectives on the birth of the Church. They point up the significance for the world of the birth of the Church and the task given to us to enable all mankind to experience the Good News of salvation. What matters most, says Fr. Demetrius Dumm, is to understand the implications of this out-pouring of God's Spirit. This is clearly presented in Sunday's gospel where the new presence of Jesus in the Spirit is expressed in terms of peace, mission and forgiveness.

The Birth of the Church

Do you know what the largest Pentecostal Church in the world is? If you are Catholic, you belong to it. Pentecost is sometimes called the "birthday of the Church." On that first Pentecost, the party was smaller, only 120, but the attendees themselves became the birthday candles when the Spirit crowned each of them with fiery tongues.

The meeting with the risen Lord in John's account is the humble yet powerful beginning of a new age. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB explains how fear was transformed into joy; pain was changed to peace and trust; flight and hiding become courage and mission. Division and hatred are vanquished by the gift of the Holy Spirit. For Christians, the 2000th year after Christ's birth marks the renewal of life in the fullness of the Holy Spirit and renewed commitment to the true faith bestowed in Jesus Christ. Father Cusick tells us that both are gifts of God the Father to the Church in these "last days" before Christ comes again.

"As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

The mission and the power of Jesus are entrusted into the poor, limited and fragile hands of his apostles. And just like the apostles, we also are sent by the Lord to go outside, out to the people made in the image and likeness of God. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino says we are called to be who we are - committed Christians, dedicated Catholics - and then to simply let His Spirit, the Holy Spirit of the Father and Son, work the wonders of God in the hearts of His people.

And you and I wonder, rightly so, how it is that we can lead others to Christ. How can we train our children, our Teens, our grandchildren, our neighbors and co-workers to treasure the Lord? What should we say? Fr. Phil Bloom says this Sunday God wants you and me to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit. How our world would change if we allowed Jesus to enter our hearts! The Holy Spirit can energize us, give us a new life.

The Holy Spirit in the Upper Room

What should we be doing in the face of declining church attendance, the emptying and greying of our seminaries and convents, the growing agnosticism of our world, and the ecclesial indifference of so many of our own children? Fr. Ron Rolheiser offers our biblical answer: Return to the city and remain in the upper room! If we stay united to God, God will work His wonders through us.

We are called and empowered to be signs of the presence of God. Fr. Orly Sapuay, M.S. says answering that call can be as simple as looking in the eyes of the man who is asking for money on the street and taking the time to learn his name. When we think we don’t have the energy to listen to someone else’s problems, we might find out that it only takes just a few minutes to let someone know that he or she matters.

This is the Holy Spirit’s holiday. Fr. John Foley, S. J. tells us to call out to God and tell him where your heart is. Maybe God will give you a sense of who the Holy Spirit is in your personal daily life, in your progress from day to day. Do remember, as somebody has put it, we do not need more of the Holy Spirit. Rather, Fr. James Gilhooley reminds us, the Holy Spirit needs more of us.

So do stand out like a sore thumb this Pentecost season. Pope Benedict shares this very same message from Rome with the world's youth. Noting the Novena of Pentecost that began last Friday, he encouraged young people to be docile to the Holy Spirit's work. And as one who is a graduating senior, college student Sarah Waninger talks about how this message of peace and accompaniment means so much more now than ever before in her life.

Pentecost & the Charisms of the Holy Spirit

Alfred McBride, O.Praem. offers a literary interpretation of the the Story of the First Pentecost. He presents it from the point of view of a Greek traveler who stood bewildered in the Jerusalem crowd. What was happening? All about him Jews from many nations milled excitedly and pointed to a group in the center of the square - the apostles preaaching about jesus and speaking in tongues.

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio offers a timely reflection on the meaning of the Feast of Pentecost and the person, gifts and charisms of the Holy Spirit. He also offers a second reflection on the "The Charisms Of The Holy Spirit For Service." While this second article is helpful for all Christians at all stages of development, it is especially valuable for those preparing for or teaching about the sacrament of confirmation.

And from a parish in Palmyra, MO - Saint Joseph's Catholic Church - we share with you a simple, powerfully effective method for families and parishes to recognize the gifts of the Holy Spirit within their children. "Making Pentecost Come Alive for Kids and Parents" is worth a look.

Quotes from the Saints & More

Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890) was a convert to Catholicism from the Church of England, and one of the great minds of the 19th century. As a Roman Catholic priest he became one of the greatest Catholic apologists in the history of the Church. Cardinal Newman will be beatified by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI on September 19, 2010. We bring you "41 Famous Quotes from Cardinal Newman."

Plus here's a list of the top 50 Saints' quotes, in an arbitrary ranking. St. Jerome starts things off with "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." There are many others that not on the list that are great. So feel free to add your other favorites in the comments section.

And here's another list to ponder. Traditionally, there are 4 "Marks" of the Church that tell us about the character and nature of what the Church is - One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic. Yet, there are more "marks" that St. Robert Bellarmine came up with. He lived from 1542 - 1621 during the time of many of the Protestant Reformers. Thus, he was battling against some of the false understandings of the Church by coming up with these additional " 15 marks".

Stories of Hope

Allison, a blogger from "Why I am Catholic," writes about this boy, let's call him Michael, who lives with his mother and brother in a small apartment in their neighborhood. When she picks up her son from school. he usually gives him a lift home, too. Recently, she had a conversation with a schoolmate of the fifth grader, a conversation that reminded her how blessed we are that God is always with us.

And Heidi Bratton talks about this thing she calls the “Economy of Prayer Heresy.” In a nutshell, it proposes that we really shouldn’t “bother” God by praying about the small details of our everyday lives. We should, instead, wait until we have a need that is big enough or special enough for God to get involved. Here’s the problem. Where does that leave us and our relationship with God in the meantime? Pretty powerful stuff.

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: Can non-Catholic people go to heaven?
FEATURED BLOG: Because we might be entertaining angels
PASTORAL HISPANA: La fiesta del Espiritu Santo

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

"You are witnesses of these things."

Some dioceses will be celebrating the Feast of the Ascension, on Thursday and therefore on Sunday, May 12, 2013 will use the Readings from the Seventh Sunday of Easter. Others have the Readings for the Ascension feast on Sunday. We provide both set of homiletics for you in this week's edition. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

The Lord Ascends--His Power Descends

This Sunday, we commemorate a crucial point in the story of our salvation. Christ having done all that he came to do now ascends to the Father. This gospel story is the last of the Resurrection appearances.

Fr. James Gilhooley says that among the deeper mysteries in life, perhaps the one we struggle with the most is the mystery of the Ascension. It's not so much that we misunderstand it, we simply don't understand it. The Resurrection of Christ is not about a dead body getting up and walking about. Fr. Orlando Sapuay, MS explains that it was an appearance of the risen transcendent Body of Christ as he is in heaven.

Sometimes only someone's absence can deepen and cleanse his presence. Fr. Ron Rolheiser says that is part of the mystery, the theology, and the psychology of the Ascension. Although Jesus has disappeared from our sight, Fr. Phil Bloom points out that our Lord did not leave us. Fr. John Foley, S. J. adds that that Jesus would now be within us. Our lives are now a quiet immersion in the Trinitarian reality of Christ. His great work is now handed on to his disciples to bring to completion in His Spirit and with His Spirit.

"You will be my witnesses."

Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB highlights the the meaning of the Resurrection and the Ascension of our Lord. It is not one of divine abandonment of the human cause, but divine empowerment of the Gospel dream!

And He tells us, "You will be my witnesses." The role we undertake as members of the Church is to spread the Good News throughout the earth and to live our lives in such a way that they give glory to God. Fr. Alex McAllister SDS says our ultimate goal is that all nations and people will come to worship the one true God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent.

That All May Be One

In Jesus, the Future Has Already Begun! He continues to pray that all may be one just as the Father and he are one in order that the world may come to believe. Father Cusick explains that this radical unity of the Church, "one, holy, Catholic and apostolic" is not incidental to the Church but is rather constitutive, of absolute necessity for the identity of the one true Church of Christ.

Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, OSB adds that in Jesus' mind, the unity and love among his followers will draw all people to believe in him. He believes that the separation and hostility among Christians surely is a scandal in the strictest sense -- an obstacle to belief. And so Fr. James Gilhooley poses a challenge to all of us. Is not today a good time to begin our self-reformation? In a world full of bad news, should we not be good news?

Jesus' Priestly Prayer

As an added note, we point out the priestly prayer found in the Readings for the Seventh Sunday from John's Gospel. This is the longest prayer that we have from the lips of Jesus. No doubt there were others. But unhappily they were never recorded. It is only John who took the pains to leave it to us. We all owe him a serious debt. The only other prayer that we have of the Nazarene is of course the Our Father. And we have two versions of that.

Why Evangelize?

The answer to this question, according to Mark Shea, is severalfold. But the primary reason is because Jesus Christ commands it and our business is to do his will. Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio says we are to forget about the idea that just the witness of our lives is enough. It is not. You may not called to preach on street corners, but Vatican II and subsequent popes, echoing 1 Peter 3:15, say that we all must be ready to articulate what Jesus has done for us, what he means to us, and why he is the answer to the world’s problems.

Msgr. Charles Pope observes how many if not most Catholics are more passionate about their politics than their faith. Instead of being the light by which we see all things, the Faith tends to get “tucked under” our worldview and political view, our careers and preferences. He says Faith ought to trump Politics. The world should be on trial by the Word of God and the teachings of the Church.

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: "Are you a Christian?"
FEATURED BLOG: Why Evangelize?
PASTORAL HISPANA: Jesus sube al cielo poder enviarnos 
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Thursday, May 2, 2013

"Whoever loves me will keep my word"

In Sunday’s Gospel, May 5, 2012, the Sixth Sunday of Easter, Jesus tells His disciples that He is leaving them and returning to the Father. They are going to experience loss, they are going to miss Jesus who has been their teacher and guide and who has changed them so much. But he reassures them by saying that he is going to leave them the Holy Spirit to be their advocate. Our Discussion Questions this week will guide your bible study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

John's Gospel obviously displays a much more developed theology then the three synoptic gospels. However, it was still written early in the so-called sub-apostolic time. The remarkable fact is not that there is a strong theological slant to it. Rather it is surprising how relatively early in the history of the early Church a strong Trinitarian perspective has emerged.

A Church in Turmoil - Then and Now

The early Church community in Jerusalem was not without its problems! Several of the controversies are evident in Sunday's first reading from Chapter 15 of the Acts of the Apostles. The people addressed in the first reading were absolutely convinced that since salvation came through the Jewish people, a person could not become a Christian unless he or she first became a Jew, became circumcized. The same could be said about the second reading.

Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB says this Council of Jerusalem left us a model for dealing with difficult situations in the Church. Both the theological issues and the feelings of people were very important for the apostles. Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio explains further that this Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 brings up a very interesting point -- in discerning the proper interpretation of the Scriptures and of the will of God, where do we turn for guidance, the teaching authority of the Church, or to the Holy Spirit?

Today, our Church - from the Vatican to our local parishes - still has its own share of troubles. The recent sexual abuse cases by clergy are still in the news. Speaking about it, Salesian Father Enrico dal Covolo noted that priests are not immune to temptations. And like the Apostles, they can fall. And in our local parish ministries, petty quarrel never cease to manifest itself.

But despite that, the Catholic faithful remain steadfast. A new poll says 86% of Catholics have not allowed the abuse scandal to shake their Faith. And hundreds of thousands of fallen-away Catholics, and even non-Catholics, continue to find their way home to Rome, thanks to an apostolate in the New Evangelization started by a former advertising executive who is spearheading The bottom line, according to Fr. Phil Bloom, is that disunity, criticism and complaining can destroy faith, but unity - working for a common vision - can lead others to faith.

"The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name"

Father Cusick explains how Jesus the Lord sends the Holy Spirit, and Jesus and the Father are also revealed and made present to us by the Holy Spirit of love. Fr. Andrew M. Greeley says this truth is revealed to test our faith, not to provide theologians with raw material for their speculations (though there is nothing wrong with that), but to dazzle us with the brightness of God's glory, the power of God's knowledge and the passion of God's love. If you and I say yes to this Spirit, Fr. John Foley, S. J. explains that in knowing Jesus we will know the Father. We will find him in the Mass, in the Great Eucharistic Sacrament, in prayer, in the people around us.

Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. says the Holy Spirit is given to us as one who stands at our side, in bright days and dark, to help us understand the reality of this love of God that Jesus offers to us. Fr. Alex McAllister SDS says we need to turn to the Holy Spirit and ask him to be our consoler. We need to tell him our story and explain our troubles and unpack our feelings. We usually call this prayer, the name isn’t important but the time and the frequency are.

"Peace I leave with you"

Fr. Joseph Pellegrino says it takes a huge step to trust God to bring us happiness. When we accept in faith the testimony of Jesus about the love of God for us, we are liberated from the need to worry excessively about ourselves and are thus enabled to become more aware of others and more ready to share our love with them.

Fr. James Gilhooley reminds us that to profess love for God and forget His commands may be our idea of bliss, but it is not Christianity. Rather, it is the Gospel according to you and me. It is decaffeinated Christianity. And one comes up with a faux Jesus. If we believe in the resurrection of Jesus, explains Fr. Ron Rolheiser, we can stare the empirical facts in the face, no matter how bad, and know that injustice, selfishness, violence, loneliness, chaos, and death are only an interim chapter in the story.

Fr. Orlando Sapuay, M.S. tells us that what Jesus promises is peace brought about by full harmony with God - for salvation. It is a peace that surpasses understanding, according to college sophomore Colleen Corcoran. She explains the stark contrast she feels between nominal peace and the spiritual peace that Jesus offers. Although not as tangible, God’s peace always seems more substantial.

The Price of Our Faith

It is too easy to take our faith for granted. Msgr. Charles Pope reminds us how we can complain about the Mass being “too long" or boring. Perhaps the air conditioning or PA system is less than ideal. Perhaps the Church’s moral teaching seems too demanding or “out of touch.” But have you recalled that the apostles died in torture so you could have this faith? He shows us exactly how they suffered.

Catholic blogger Webster Bull is one who appreciates it. He said one of the reasons he is Catholic is that no matter what happens to us - drink too much last night, argue stupidly with the spouse, thrashing over a problematic relationship or a financial problem - the church door is unlocked somewhere near you and Mass is about to begin.

And here's a reader question many will find quite useful. How does one peacefully handle telling fallen away Catholic family members, that they should not receive the Eucharist while attending the Sacrament of First Holy Communion? Fr. John Bartunek, LC responds with some practical and kind suggestions.

The Month of May & Mothers

The month of May is the time when we Catholics traditionally celebrate our Blessed Mother. Here are a few of our favorite May Marian feasts, perfect if you’re looking for a special way to honor Mother Mary this month. And next Sunday is Mothers Day. Cheryl Dickow shares a reflection about the blessings she has received from her now 70-year-old mother through the years. Chastity Brown talks about the happiness and challenges she went through as she celebrated her very first Mother's Day. Then my friend Raoul Pascual shares a special Mothers Day list of reflections he calls "Somebody said..."

And to all the mothers out there, you know that you are priceless in the eyes of your family. However, you are also valuable. According to this one study, the services you provide your family is worth a lot of money if you were actually compensated for them. And what's the magic number? A full-time stay-at-home mother would earn $134,121 a year if paid for all her work, an amount similar to a top U.S. ad executive, a marketing director or a judge.

Another eventful week in our Catholic world. Have a great and blessed new week. Happy Mothers Day to all mothers out there.

Keep the Faith Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief 

BURNING QUESTION: What does the Holy Spirit do in your life?
FEATURED STORY: Because I can always go to Mass
PASTORAL HISPANA: Jesus nos da el Espiritu que nos recuerda todo

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