Wednesday, July 3, 2013

"The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few"

This Sunday, July 7, 2013, both Isaiah's Reading and the Gospel speak of the rejoicing that characterizes the return of exiled Israel to Jerusalem and the return of the disciples after a successful mission. In Luke's Gospel, Jesus, like Israel, is also journeying toward Jerusalem. It is in the holy city of Jerusalem that Jesus will inaugurate the new kingdom of God by his passion and death. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

Vocations and Priesthood

When we read this Gospel about Jesus sending out the seventy-two disciples, our thoughts naturally turn to vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Make no mistake about it, Fr. Alex McAllister SDS tells us, God is calling people to the priesthood and to the religious life. But He is calling them through the words and actions of you and me. So let us join Father Cusick who asks us to pray that young people are encouraged to pursue vocations to the priesthood. And let us work hard to create the kind of atmosphere most conducive to the answering of that great call.

The Catholic Church, the communio founded by Christ

In the sending of the seventy-two, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB says Jesus confirms that through his disciples - and those who would come to believe in him through their word - His peace and the news that "the kingdom of God has come near to you" would be proclaimed to the world.

Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, OSB preaches that the kingdom of God has indeed come upon us if God reigns in our hearts, if God's will is done in us, if God acts through us. Fr. Orlando Sapuay, M.S.says it takes guts to preach this kingdom of God. It is where the hungry are fed and the wounded are healed. Where humanity chooses to become the image of a creative God rather than a selfish force for greed and destruction.

And while it is the Catholic Church where one finds the embodiment of this Kingdom, Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio explains that to some, being Catholic means simply giving up chocolate for Lent. For those however who explore their Catholic heritage, they discover thousands of years of meaning, insight, and life-giving resources.

The Call to Discipleship

Have you noticed how we at our parishes expend so much enthusiasm on cake sales, carnivals, etc that we have little strength left to get His message out to people. His life is called the greatest story ever told. But we have no time to tell it.

And, if anybody is anxious to take a guilt trip, it is estimated that two million Seven Day Adventists give more money to their church - plus two years of their individual lives - for the missions than 800 million Catholics around the globe.

Thus, Fr. John Foley, S. J.says, it is just fitting this Sunday that we concentrate on the duty we all have to go out and spread the good news of the kingdom. Not a flat duty imposed by guilt or command, but by gratitude for the great goodness of God to each of us and all of us. It is this joy that St. Paul speaks about in Sunday’s second reading. It is a joy that can be found only in the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not merely a memory of an event that took place two thousand years ago, that is too simple, too convenient. Our joy is in our sharing the Cross of the Lord.

We are afflicted with the result of following Jesus Christ. Fr. Ron Rolheiser tells us that Jesus wants imitation - not admiration. Christian discipleship invites us, like Jesus, to become a purifier that helps take tension out of our families, communities, friendship circles, churches, and work-places by holding and transforming it - rather than simply give it back in kind.

"Carry no purse, no backpacks, no sandals." Many people like to think that Jesus was endorsing poverty for His missionaries. Fr. James Gilhooley explains that is not the case at all. Rather, He is telling them that those among whom they labor will supply them with purses, backpacks, and sandals. In a word, He was encouraging His followers to be generous to those working among them.

The "Five Disciplines of Discipleship" by Msgr. Charles Pope - a carryover from last Sunday's Gospel - effectively rounds up this chapter on Discipleship. Jesus is serious about the call and He sets forth sober principles that He expects to be followed.

The Bible, Rosary, Values & More

Well, it seems that more Catholic men are finding spiritual sustenance in praying the rosary. There's no way to know whether the number of men praying the rosary is increasing, but nearly 9,000 people have indicated they like the "Real Men Pray the Rosary" on the group's Facebook page. Check them out. Plus we bring you the "Top 50 Most Popular Phrases From The Bible." These are the most commonly used phrases in our modern culture and most of us didn't even know their origin.

Now here's more food for thought. Msgr. Charles Pope challenges us to think about "What Do We REALLY Value?" Often times we answer the question the way it should be answered rather than the actual and truthful answer. Ask a believer who is most important in their life and they will usually answer, “God.” Others who are unbelievers will often say, “My spouse” or “My children” and so forth. That is the expected answer but is it really the truest answer?

Happy Fourth of July!

Independence Day was yesterday. University student Amy Winkler reflects on the Sunday's Readings and the National Holiday that they accompany this year. She was drawn to think about independence and dependence. Check it out.

This year, like all others, we celebrated the 4th of July in the United States with the usual parades, ceremonies and display of our American flag. However it dawns on me that part of the celebration for Catholics should be the participation in the Mass. "Red, White, Blue and Catholic too!" explains how Catholics have been involved in the creation of American history from the very beginning. Peggy Noonan also offers us a reminder of what it means to be an American. And it involves a story about Brooklyn and a Catholic priest. She calls this Fourth of July reflection "The way it goes in America."

Fourth of July weekend is as good a time as any to think about what it means to be an American -- even if there are those who insist you're not qualified for the job. So, as the Immigration Debate rages in our communities, we thought it timely to share this article titled "Why I'm an American, a Spanish-surnamed Yankee Doodle Dandy."

Another eventful week in our Catholic World. Have a great and blessed Fourth of July weekend.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

BURNING QUESTION: Who is the Church?
PASTORAL HISPANA: Toda la Iglesia es misionera
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