Father Cusick

Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time,
September 11, 2011

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Church, the Body of Christ on earth, is one. Christ prayed that “they all be one” in his priestly prayer in the Gospel according to St. John.

Today, in the Gospel according to St. Matthew, chapter eighteen, verses twenty-one to thirty-five, Christ teaches that this oneness among his faithful is the authentic witness to His Lordship. Such unity comes about among all the Church’s members through forgiveness. Peter asks the Lord, “How many times must I forgive my neighbor?” A good student of the Old Testament, he proposes the number seven. The Lord then reveals what true perfection will be among the men and women who truly seek the kingdom. They will forgive not seven times, but seventy-times seven times. They will forgive time and time again, time without numbering, without counting. Just as the Church of Christ is the reign of peace, so the kingdom is lacking where there is violence.

Lack of forgiveness is at the root of the abominable murders and warfare that have afflicted the world from the time of Cain and Abel. We are sickened by the stories of angry violence, of murder, of beatings, even within families. Media relentlessly reports parents murdering children, and children murdering parents. We confront now the horrors of partial-birth abortions, and abortifacient contraception, where the unborn child is not forgiven for being alive. Our bishops have asked that we fast from meat on Fridays for a year in reparation for this particular form of violence.

In so many cases today, the unhappiness and horrors in the world exist because the key to a peaceful life remains a hidden treasure. As we pray in the Our Father: “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” The forgiveness of the Lord, made possible through his passion, death and resurrection, and the peace which is its fruit, becomes something we experience, in a powerful and continuing way, through our practice of forgiving each other.

The witness of the Church is this forgiving love: “see how they love one another.” The peace of God between neighbors is interconnected with the peace among men who love God. The Catechism reminds us: “Thus the Lord’s words on forgiveness, the love that loves to the end (Jn 13:1) become a living reality. The parable of the merciless servant, which crowns the Lord’s teaching on ecclesial community, ends with these words: ‘So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.’ (Mt. 18:23-25) It is there, in fact, “in the depths of the heart,” that everything is bound and loosed. It is not in our power not to feel or to forget an offense; but the heart that offers itself to the Holy Spirit turns injury into compassion and purifies the memory in transforming the hurt into intercession.” (CCC 2843)

We are freed from passion and anger, with which we allow our injuries to imprison us, by the transforming power of forgiveness. We forgive in Christ, and in Christ we regain the peace and serenity that were robbed from us when we failed to forgive. Let’s pray for each other until, again next week, we “meet Christ in the liturgy”, Fr. Cusick
(Publish with permission.)

A Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
September 11, 2011

Forgive Us Our Trespasses

Just about everyone can recite the Lord’s Prayer from memory. That’s precisely the problem, though. We often rattle it off without really thinking about what we are saying.

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Whenever we pray this line, we are asking God to forgive us exactly in the same way as we forgive those who hurt us. In other words, if we are harboring un-forgiveness in our hearts as we say this prayer, we are calling a curse down upon ourselves.


24th Sunday: Freedom from Hatred

Today is the tenth anniversary of one of the worst days in the history of the United States. It still makes our blood boil to think of all the innocent people who will killed by the terrorists in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania. Many in America, sadly, have responded to hate with hate, to anger with anger. We do need to defend ourselves from terrorists. But we also need to realize that anger can often be misguided. It can turn into hatred. It often can be responsible for people acting in ways that certainly are not the ways of the Lord.


How to Forgive

Bottom line: We need to take our sins to the cross. The fact that Jesus cancelled our debt should inspire us to forgive others.

Sometimes people ask me how to forgive. Perhaps a family member or in-law has hurt them. They find themselves thinking about what that person did, even wanting in some way to get back.


Groundbreaking Series on Catholicism to Hit PBS

Inspired by Kenneth Clark’s 1969 BBC television series Civilization, Father Robert Barron always dreamed of doing something similar to showcase the beauty of the Catholic Church.

More than two years and 12 trips to 16 different countries later, the result is an ambitious 10-part documentary series called Catholicism. Parts of the unprecedented documentary will start to air nationwide on PBS at the end of September through the fall.


Even Demons Believe and Tremble – A Story about the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist

It was almost 15 years ago. I was At Old St. Mary’s here in D.C. celebrating Mass in the Latin (Extraordinary Form). It was a solemn high Mass. I don’t suppose I thought it any different than most Sunday’s but something quite amazing was about to happen.


Magisterium Part 4: Attitude Towards Teaching of the Magisterium

Infallible? Yes, Catholics believe that certain teachings of the Magisterium are infallible due to the guidance of the Holy Spirit given to the successors of Peter and the apostles.

The response due by Catholics to such teaching varies based on the nature of this teaching. Sometimes the Magisterium engages the fullness of its authority to define a dogma. That means it declares that a teaching is part of the deposit of the faith.


Science Came From Catholic Doctrine

I read the first part of St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica the other day for a course I started, Norms of Catholic Doctrine. I didn’t even know what that meant. It’s a course that teaches how doctrine was developed from the three integrally connected foundations of Catholic theology – Sacred Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium over the last 2,000 years. I always am amazed at how coherent the Faith is; solid, logical and consistent however far you dive into it.


The Catholic priest praised by Einstein for explaining the universe

Mgr George Lemaître, the Catholic priest and physicist, was told by Einstein “Your calculations are correct, but your grasp of physics is abominable!” when he proposed his theory of a homogeneous Universe of constant mass and growing radius accounting for the radial velocity of extragalactic nebulae. The observations of Lemaître gave rise to the understanding of the universe as having a beginning in what is now known generally as the big bang.


Did Jesus Christ really exist? How best to answer this question

“Did Jesus really exist?” This accusation is not very common, but you do occasionally hear it. Someone told me that it was recently explored on the History Channel.

How do we know that Christ existed? We have the four Gospels and the other day we established how these four books are the most historically attested documents in human history.


Are the Four Gospels Historically Verifiable?
(Arguments in Favor)

Some claim that the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are not historical or are later documents not actually written by St Matthew, St Mark, St Luke, and St John.

Here are some quick facts demonstrating the historicity of the Four Gospels:


The Breakdown on Bible Translations

The Bible, as we all know, is the most popular book throughout history. The Bible has has been translated into more languages than any other book. Furthermore, the Bible is a composition of writings, letters, and other books which means that as older and more accurate copies of those texts emerge so must new Biblical translations emerge as well. The problem comes down to this:


It Takes Guts to Be Healed: A Meditation on the Difference Between Healing and Relief

I recently came across the following dialogue. I do not know the source, though it is in the form of the sayings of the desert Fathers:

To a distressed person who came to him for help the Abbot said, “Do you really want a cure?” And the man replied, “If I did not, would I bother to come to you?” “Oh yes” said the Abbot, “Most people do.” “If not for a cure, then for what do they come?” asked the distressed man. And the Abbot said, “They come not for a cure, that’s painful. They come for for relief.”


The Importance of Dad

The importance of fathers in their children’s lives has been underscored by Canadian research. Hands-on parenting by the dad tends to make kids smarter and better behaved, the study published in the Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science found.

Lead researcher Erin Pougnet says:


Reflections on Conversion

In thinking about what to write for this blog post I came up with two ideas: natural law theory as proposed by Pope Benedict in his book “Truth and Tolerance” and Josef Pieper in his book “Living the Truth” or reflections on my conversion. Luckily for you I opted for the latter. Hopefully these tips will be helpful with either Protestants or non-Christians who are curious about the faith.

It is important to always remember that we can’t convert someone. Guided by the Holy Spirit a person will convert himself.


Your Guardian Angel (What you need to know)

The concept of “guardian angels” is thoroughly Jewish. Moses records human interaction with guarding angels in the Torah, and Daniel frequently mentions the powerful role of angels as guardians (see Daniel 10 for details).

Christ our Lord explicitly teaches the existence of guardian angels in Matthew 18:10: “See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”


Mother Teresa and Calcutta in Our Midst

What struck me the most about Mother Teresa when I saw her for the first time was her diminutive size and the rounded hump on her back. It actually startled me for a moment. I had not known she was so short. I immediately attributed the hump to her constant stooping to care for the poorest of the poor and the dying that lie on mats in her Homes for the Dying. I remember thinking; here is this world-renowned peacemaker, lover of the world’s poor and a Noble Peace Prize recipient – a GIANT – but in the body of someone not much taller than my young daughter! God sure does lift the “lowly.” And, I mean that with the utmost respect for dear Mother Teresa.


Apologetics toolbox: Sunday worship

“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath” (Mk 2:27-28 NIV).

With these words, Jesus reminded the Pharisees that the Sabbath, the Jewish day of rest, was commanded not for the benefit of God, who can be — and ought to be —worshipped any and every day of the week, but for the benefit of his creatures doomed to eat their bread in the sweat of their face (Gen 3:17-19), to give them a day of rest (Ex 20:10; cf. Ex 23:12, 31:15, Dt 5:14). Indeed, the English word holiday is a contraction of “holy day”, a fact G. K. Chesterton played on when he remarked that, in creating holy days for their gods, the ancients found they’d created holidays for men.


2,000-Year-Old Biblical Burial Box Reveals Clue About Death of Jesus

Rare inscriptions on a 2,000-year-old burial box may provide fresh insight to the death of Jesus Christ, researchers said.

Called an ossuary, the limestone box could reveal the home of Caiaphas, the high priest involved in the crucifixion of Jesus. The Israel Antiquities Authority, which confiscated the ossuary from looters three years ago, passed it along to Prof. Yuval Goren of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Archaeology who led the authentication effort.


The ‘Gospel’ of Tolerance: You Must Approve

The Gospel of Tolerance really only has one rule: thou shalt tolerate any action, belief, lifestyle, agenda, and person except the person who believes a certain lifestyle, action or agenda is wrong and has the gall to say so out loud. The real goal here is not acceptance but submission. It’s not enough to “get along” or tolerate quietly. You must approve. You don’t dare disapprove publicly. Those who don’t tow the line will be punished.


A Glimpse of Sweet and Welcome Death

God prepares us for death by making everything strange to us. I lived in New York City for twenty years and spent most of that time exploring every inch of the city and hanging out in saloons. The lesson of it all never occurred to me at the time.


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