Thursday, July 11, 2013

"And who is my neighbor?"

The Parable of the Good Samaritan this Sunday, July 14, 2013, says more than "It's good to help people in need." The parable is also about excuses, about self-justification, about letting oneself off the hook. If we listen carefully to this story and the other two Readings this Sunday, we will hear the whole Christian, Catholic life very gently stated. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

The Commission of the Good Samaritan

Marcellino D’Ambrosio, Ph.D. explains how this parable reflects a curious phenomenon observable in every age. Good, religious people, who you’d figure to be most likely to help, are often the very ones who use piety and family obligations to excuse themselves from the responsibility of charity. “Someone else will have to do it – I don’t have time.” “I’d like to help, but my budget is already maxed out.” On the other hand, it is often those you’d least expect who actually go out of their way to lend a helping hand.

"What must I do to inherit eternal life?"

The lawyer in today’s Gospel asks a perfectly reasonable question: ‘What must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Fr. Alex McAllister SDS says it is a question we all want the answer to. Thus it is good to remember that Jesus keeps working us, trying to get us to see the simple answer inside us. Go help those in need, because God has given you an open heart. Fr. John Foley, S. J. laments that if only we would let our heart receive God's love and then pass it on to his other beloved people.

Fr. Orlando Sapuay, M.S. explains that the question from Jesus is not so much “who is my neighbor?”, rather ”How can I be a neighbor?” Certainly, there is no written law detailing what to do if we come across someone in dire need of our help. But, as Fr. Joseph Pellegrino aptly reminds us, we know in our hearts what we need to be doing and what we need to be avoiding. Christianity is not a spectator sport.

Christ is saying to us, "Stop talking. Just do it." And still we can be silent spectators, explains Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, afraid to involve ourselves and dirty our hands. Compassion demands that we get our hands and even our reputations dirty. Indifference is worse than hostility. But if we work according to the plan of Jesus, Fr. James Gilhooley tells us, we will change our priorities. We will become participants with people in trouble and cease being merely onlookers.

“Go and Do Likewise”

When it comes to imitating the Good Samaritan, we all have a long way to go. University junior Adrienne Edson tells those who seek something more to know that the word of God is in your heart. In what you say and do, you need only to carry out his law. As Fr. Phil Bloom wisely highlights, this Sunday we hear Jesus' encouraging words, "Go and do likewise."

Fr. Ron Rolheiser highlights another quote for this Sunday's Readings: “Be in the world, but not of the world!” Great advice, but not easy to follow. The world needs mature Christians who, like Jesus, have the strength to walk inside the world, right inside the chaos of sin itself, without sinning themselves.

And finally, Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. clarifies that such Christian behavior does not mean that we should become doormats or must cater to obsessive-dependants. It does mean, however, that we should be sensitive to the often-hidden needs of others and ready to help in any way we can. Real love will know how to do this wisely and effectively.

Pride, Hope & Magic Sacraments

Msgr. Charles Pope takes on the topic of fruitful reception of the Sacraments. And he emphasizes that the Sacraments are not Magic. How fruitfully a person receives them is quite dependent on the openness and disposition of the recipient. The Sacraments are not magic as though they zap us and change us independently of our disposition. Read more about it here.

Blogger Webster Bull explains another reason why he is Catholic: Because Living in Hope Beats Living in Fear. Why does he experience hope instead of fear? Because he really, ruly believes that the Lord will provide. Give us this day our daily bread, we ask, and He does.

We also discuss One-ups and Put-downs. They are hilarious — when you’re a stand-up comic. But even then, I bet even they don't find it funny when they're the target. Who would? It’s a full-face slap to your pride. Susie Lloyd discusses "The Pains of Pride" and offers an answer: “Offer it up. It’s a gift!” Ego stings can and should be offered up to God. Very sound advice specially for husbands and wives, specially when you consider the latest reasearch findings - Divorce is contagious for family and friends. Researchers say break-ups within friendship groups could cause couples to question their own relationships.

Last week, we brought you the "Top 50 Most Popular Phrases From The Bible." This week, we bring you the "Top 15 Phrases Not Found in the Bible." These quotes are either frequently misquoted from the Bible or not there at all. Here's a teaser: "Money is the root of all evil." Now go ahead and check out the rest on the list.

An Australian Angel & Noah's Ark 
Here's a story about an Australian 'angel' who saves lives at a suicide spot in that country. For almost 50 years, Don Ritchie has lived across the street from Australia’s most notorious suicide spot, a rocky cliff at the entrance to Sydney Harbour called The Gap. And in that time, the man widely regarded as a guardian angel has shepherded countless people away from the edge. Read about him here.

Plus a Bible Lesson that will put a smile on your face. In "That woodpecker will have to go!" an anonymous writer explains that everything he needs to know about life, he learned from Noah's Ark. Here's some samplers: One : Don't miss the boat. Two : Remember that we are all in the same boat. Three : Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark. Keep reading, This is one list you will be forwarding to your email list.

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

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

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