Pastoral Sharings: Fr. Mike Phillippino

WeeklyMessageBy: Fr. Mike Phillippino
Third Sunday of Easter
April 14, 2013  

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 
 
As we have seen from the various readings of the Gospel in the past three weeks, the disciples had a hard time getting around the incredible shock of the passion and death of our Lord. At first they believe the appearance of Jesus to be a mere apparition, a ghost. But they gradually come to believe it is really him, that he is not a ghost, but that he has truly risen. The catechism tells us that: “Given all the testimonies, Christ’s Resurrecion cannot be interpreted as something outside the physical order and it is impossible not to acknowledge it as a historical fact” (CCC.643).   
  
Furthermore, the idea that the disciples produced this faith is ridiculous since the gospels show them as discouraged and despairing after the crucifixion. The Church teaches rather that: “Their faith in the Resurrection was born, under the action of divine grace, from their direct experience of the reality of the risen Jesus.”   
 
Our faith too, sisters and brothers, is born by the witness of those who came before us as well as the action of God’s grace. But who are we witnessing to? St. Peter and the apostles were laying down their reputations and their lives every time they witnessed to the Resurrection of Christ. St. Peter said, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).   
  
The Gospel comes to us through the Church as St. Paul taught in his letter to Timothy: “I am writing these instructions to you so that…you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:14,15). St. Paul is teaching here that the Church exists to support the edifice of gospel truth. When we criticize or rebel against the teachings of the Church, we are not criticizing the Church, but Christ. As our Lord said to his apostles: “He who hears you, hears me, and he who rejects you, rejects me, and he who rejects me, rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10:16).  
 
Sisters and brothers, if we are to call ourselves true followers of Christ, then we must be willing to witness to our faith by living the Gospel and all the obligations that flow from it. Witnessing to the Gospel by our lives and by our words is not only an act of faith in the risen Christ, but also an act of justice establishing His truth in the world, that we might all know His love and peace in our hearts.  

SaintJohnChurchMiddletown.com

Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
April 14, 2013

Third Sunday of Easter
Simon Peter and his companions after fishing all night catch nothing. At dawn as they approach shore, someone on the shore whom they do not recognize directs them to cast out their net. When the net is filled with a large catch, the beloved disciple recognizes Jesus, now risen from death, and says to Peter, “It is the Lord.” When they reach shore, they see a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus invites them to eat with him. He takes bread and gives it to them and in like manner the fish. Jesus then asks Peter three times if he loves him, and says to him in turn, “Feed my lambs…Tend my sheep…Feed my sheep.” Jesus then speaks of the kind of death Simon Peter will undergo, and says to him, “Follow me.”
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3rd Easter: “Father, He is Risen!”
The man who entered the Church last Sunday was old, very old. He was stooped over. He carried an oxygen pack. He had a cane, but he could barely walk. His face was thinned and his hair was a distant memory. He had to have been in his late 90’s. He saw me and looked up, and with a smile said, “Father, He is risen.” He said all that needs to be said.
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The Origins of the Papacy — Peter do you Love Me?
The origins of the Papacy can be found in the dialogue between Jesus and Simon Peter in John 21, a gospel traditionally read during Eastertide. The pope, the successor of Peter, has a role that has not to do with privilege but with sacrifice.

On many occasions I’ve heard non-Catholics object to the papacy. Often, they say something like this: “I just can’t believe that one man on earth, the Pope, is holier than everyone else.” So who ever said that being sinless is either a prerequisite or a consequence of being named Pope?
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Never Despair in God’s Mercy
A few years back while I was on retreat, I received an emergency phone call. A teenage girl who volunteered with us had committed suicide while at home. I had to ask twice, Are you sure? She was vivacious. Pretty. Friendly. Intelligent. Loved. At the funeral, we learned from her parents that their daughter struggled for years with depression and had attempted to take her own life several times before. This time she succeeded, and the parents were left with unanswered questions. They tried therapy of all sorts to help her, and although she seemed to love life, when not with her friends, the darkness would overwhelm her. But why? What could cause her to want to take her own life?
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Colorado miracle spurs German nun’s beatification
The Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration are thrilled at the approved beatification of their German founder, Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel, after a Vatican-recognized miracle in Colorado.
 
“We are enthusiastically surprised,” Sister Clarice Gentrup, the congregation’s vicar general, told CNA April 2.
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How is your Prayer Life?
“Accustom yourself to pray this way and, God grant, soon you will nurture true prayer in yourself. Then there will be no need for rules. Labour, or nothing will come of you. If there is no success in prayer, then there will be no success in anything. It is the root of everything.”
                                                                                                                             – St Theophan the Recluse
When I was working in youth ministry, we used to suggest to our young people that a good question to ask other young Christians is “how is your prayer life?”
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The Secret to Life
I wish I could say that I said prayers with my children every morning, prayed the rosary with them every day, and remembered nightly prayers at bedtime. I know I should have this routine, but time passes and before I know it each day, breakfast is served and cleared (okay, well not always cleared) school work has begun, boo-boos have been kissed, dogs have been cared for, and various millions of other things have distracted me (usually on the internet); and then with a twinge, I realize as I am putting away the lunch left-overs that it’s too late to say morning prayers.
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Conquering the World from a Cross
I tried to make some sense of things that came undone in Jesus’ life from the night of the Passover leading up to his death on a cross, as I stood with the crowd partaking in the Good Friday services at the church. I always had a hard-time understanding the Crucifixion as God’s way of redeeming the fallen humanity. Crucifixion, though a horrible punishment, might not be the worst way to die – I have heard of worse and many have suffered it. This year God gave me the grace to realize what I was doing wrong all along – I was only seeing the act of crucifixion rather than being astonished by an act of God. What I failed to understand was that it was not the ridicule, the humiliation, the torture, or even the death on the cross that mattered. What mattered was who suffered it, for what and for whom.
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Five Senses in which the Eucharist is the Host
Ever wonder why we refer to the Eucharistic species as “the Host”? The Latin hostia means “sacrifice,” and it is from this definition that the Eucharistic Host takes the name, as a reminder that in the Eucharist, Christ is the Sacrifice for our sins.
 
But the Latin word hostia comes from hostis, which has a fascinatingly wide range of meanings, from “victim” to “guest,” from “host” to “enemy.” Why this range of opposing (even contradictory) meanings?
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The Conceit of Denying God
I read the news–all bad it seems–and invariably, I think about God. This predilection, not practiced for most of my adult life, now gives me great comfort. And compels me to tell a story.
 
Once upon a time…
 
I was in New York City on business visiting some bigwigs––a great address on Park Avenue for those that care. The meeting was to be an important one. As I entered the magnificently designed elevator on the ground floor, there’s another man, smartly dressed, already inside. As we start our upward journey, the perfunctory nods out-of-the-way, we’re jarred by a sudden lurch and we stop.
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Brutality in a Brave New World
In his seminal work, Nichomachean Ethics, the philosopher Aristotle begins his meditation on the subject of morality and the ultimate end of human life with an observation that certain first principles of ethics are self-evident to a person who has been raised up in a virtuous manner. A good man simply “knows” certain things to be good and others evil. A person raised up in vice, however, has a distorted sense of the Good. He is incapable of reasoning towards ethical ends because his moral foundation is corrupted.
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Pope: The struggle to reject gossip
May the Holy Spirit bring peace to Christian communities and teach its members to be meek, refusing to speak ill of others. With this hope, Pope Francis concluded his homily at Mass Tuesday morning with staff from the Vatican medical services and office staff of the Vatican City Government. “The first Christian community is a timeless model for the Christian community of today, because they were of one heart and one soul, through the Holy Spirit who had brought them into a “new life”.
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Holy Father’s Wednesday Audience: Living like God’s children [full text]
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good day!

in the last Catechesis we have focused on the event of the Resurrection of Jesus, in which women have played a special role. Today I would like to reflect on its meaning for salvation. What does the Resurrection mean for our lives? And why, without it, is our faith in vain? Our faith is based on the death and resurrection of Christ, just like a house built on foundations: if they give in, the whole house collapses. On the Cross, Jesus offered himself taking sins upon himself our and going down into the abyss of death, and in the Resurrection he defeats them, he removes them and opens up
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The Francis Effect: lapsed Catholics lured back by new pope
It’s a phenomenon I know a lot of clergy have reported at their parishes: a dramatic uptick in Mass attendance over the last few weeks, and not just because of Easter.
Is it the “Francis Effect”?
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Lessons in Spiritual Warfare
W
e pray with our children before bed each night. John was getting a bit distracted during the Hail Mary, so I thought I would try something new. I thought, what could be better for a little boy than praying to St. Michael the Archangel? I enthusiastically asked John if he knew who Saint Michael was, and I told him with great animation that he fights the devil with a sword!
 
I began the prayer, and it was when I got to the part about the snares of the devil that I realized I had opened up a huge can of worms.
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What Difference Does Heaven Make?
If a thing makes no difference, it is a waste of time to think about it. We should begin, then, with the question, “What difference does Heaven make to earth, to now, to our lives?”
The answer to the question is only the difference between hope and despair in the end, between two totally different visions of life; between “chance or the dance.”
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The Moral Insignificance Of Death
For years, unethical ethicists have tried to define more and more broadly the definition of death so that they can get at your valuable organs a little quicker.
Now, an –ahem– ethicist has decided that we would not even wait for death. Death, says Walter Glannon, a Canada Research Chair in Medical Bioethics and Ethical Theory and professor at the University of Calgary, is morally insignificant.
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Sorrowful Mysteries and Relationships
Each of the sorrowful mysteries relates to what it is like to be in a relationship, what relationships call us to, and how to unite ourselves more deeply to Christ. For the purposes of this particular post “relationship” is limited to the context of dating and courting.
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Robert Hugh Benson Helps Explain How the Catholic Church Sees Jesus and Infallibility…
Which also helps explain why when the Catholic Church holds a teaching as being true, there will be no modification of it. I’ll discuss a few examples of this in the near future.
But first, Monsignor Benson, a convert from the Church of England, helps make it clear for Christians of all stripes how the Church interacts with the Deposit of Faith. Especially in terms of when She speaks as the voice of Christ to the world.
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Letter to a Young Discerning Catholic
Dear Discerning Young Catholic,
 
Underachieving in the realm of morality has become so commonplace in our world that we have begun to pretend that sin is transcendent behavior just to make ourselves feel better. There is nothing transcendent about sleeping with someone on the first date, but these days an astounding number of romance movies begin “romance” with a couple sleeping together shortly after meeting. If we wanted to live out of our most base desires, what better way than to pretend that transcendent values, like love, support doing whatever we feel in the moment, rather than assuming the agony and predictability of daily sacrifice?
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                                                                                                                                SaintJohnChurchMiddletown.com

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