Thursday, June 13, 2013

“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

In this Sunday's Gospel story, June 16, 2013, Luke draws a sharp contrast between the smug and self-righteous Pharisee who keeps all the rules but does not have the sensitivity to perform the basic acts of kindness toward a guest and the woman who has a reputation for sinfulness but who receives Jesus with loving service. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

The Gospel of Forgiveness

Sunday’s Gospel passage comes to us from St. Luke’s gospel. None of the Evangelists speaks as frequently as he does about the forgiving spirit that motivates the Nazarene. That is why Fr. James Gilhooley call Luke's Gospel the Gospel of Forgiveness. It was by no accident that St. Luke in his gospel included Sunday’s episode about Jesus, the Pharisee, and the sinful woman with her tender affection.

Lauren Butler, a Junior at St. Louis University, talks about the many aspects of forgiveness that she finds revealed and spoken about in this Sunday’s readings. Love did not motivate the Pharisee. But it was love that motivated this sinful woman in the Gospel. Fr. Charles Irvin says it is so important for us to ask ourselves if we can capture some of the woman’s fervor, some of her love. If we think of the Pharisee’s house as representing the world around us as we find it in our day, can we see ourselves and see our Church as this womansinful and in need of healing and forgiveness?

Fr. Orlando Sapuay, M.S. points out how Religion brings out the best and the worst in people. This is very clear to us nowadays. Many religious people are not worshipping God but themselves. He says there is no ego quite so poisonous as the religious one. It is indeed laudable to attend Mass and to take seriously all the rules of good Christian conduct. But, Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, OSB. reminds us, all of this careful observance can be spoiled if it is not accompanied by a genuine spirit of love and forgiveness.

Treasuring Forgiveness

These lessons of forgiveness are also repeated in the story of King David in the First Reading. He had committed adultery with a woman named Bathsheba, then had her husband killed so he could marry her. The prophet Nathan confronted David who had to face the consequences of his sins. But that is not the main point. David received a further word. Nathan said to him: "The Lord on his part has forgiven your sin; you shall not die."

Fr. Phil Bloom tells us that like David - and like the penitent woman in the Gospel - we also must acknowledge our wrongs and turn to the One who even forgives sins. Jesus forgave the sinful woman immediately, no matter how bad she had been. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino says our Lord does the same for us. He does the same for those who have hurt us, and He does the same for those whom, in our arrogance, we would rather avoid.

But usually you and I have it backwards. Fr. John Foley, S. J. says we think we have to get rid of all our sins and turn into perfectly loving people in order for God to love us. But in reality we are already loved to perfection by the good Lord, and we begin to change as we slowly let that love in. Jesus makes clear that great love springs from a heart forgiven and cleansed. The reconciliation, peace and forgiveness that God wants are based on truth, justice and love, explains Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB.

Pondering the Great Reversal

Growing up, as part of their family prayer, Fr. Ron Rolheiser said they used to pray for a happy death - cradled in the loving arms of family, friends, and church, fully at peace with God and everyone around you. But not everyone gets to die that way. Too often we die with unfinished business, too much of it. As the old confiteor says: we need forgiveness for what we’ve done and left undone.

Msgr. Charles Pope adds that one of the strong traditions of Scripture is of the great reversal that will one day come for many. He ponders this great reversal with this thought: "Many Who are Last, Will Be First." This is the story being lived today by a dying Catholic businessman from San Diego, CA. "Life on earth is a test” for Shane FitzMaurice who is preparing for eternity as he battles the fatal Lou Gehrig's disease.

What Do you Expect From Holy Communion?

Msgr. Charles Pope tells of his observation that some people put more faith in Tylenol than they do in Holy Communion. That’s because when they take Tylenol they expect something to happen. But many people don’t really expect anything to happen when they receive Holy Communion.

He also talks about the consternation that more stress is not placed by many on receiving Holy Communion worthily. This issue needs to be approached carefully because two important goods are at stake that must be kept in balance. First, frequent reception of Holy Communion which is a great and necessary food for us as Jesus insists in John 6:50-55. And secondly, worthy reception which the Holy Spirit through Paul warns is also necessary in 1 Cor 11:27ff. He asks us to look at these texts briefly.

Prayer & Our Technological World

Like many Christians, we often struggle to discern God’s will in our lives. Faced with crucial decisions or worrying circumstances, we sometimes find the right relationship between action and trust, not merely difficult to attain but downright impossible to determine. When does resignation to God’s will become an excuse for laziness and passivity? At what point does careful planning morph into an anxiety-driven need to control outcomes and usurp God? Marion Fernandez-Cueto offers some answers in "Praying hard and trusting harder."

Our prayer life is even more challenging now with today's Internet, e-mail, and other digital innovations. Our increasing reliance on them is not just changing the way we relate to our families and friends, Rev. James Martin, S.J. says. It is even rewiring our relationship to God. In "Does E-Mail Make It Harder to Pray?" he explores how the Digital Age is changing our spiritual lives.

Even priests are not exempted from the challenges posed by technology. Fr. Robert Barron s one of the leading Catholic evangelical priests today and he uses technology to its fullest extent to bring God's word to the world. He offers words of wisdom and support to those struggling to understand the role of the priest amidst today's hardship and controversy.

Finally to round up this section on technology, we offer you "Five Tips to Purify Your Home From Inappropriate Content." Learn how you can protect your family from impure images, movies, and even predators.

Stories of Hope

And just what do you think the world would have been like without Andrea Bocelli, Italian pop, opera, and classical singer? With millions of infants having been victim to abortion, the blind international music sensation has revealed that he too could have been one more abortion statistic.

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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