“And With Your Spirit”

WeeklyMessageHomilist: Fr. Michael Phillippino

Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time,
October 31, 2011

It is hard to believe that we are only about thirty days away from the first Sunday of Advent, which means we are only about thirty days away from using the New Roman Missal. Quite frankly, I got a little nervous when I realized that we have so little time, and there is still so much to explain. I do plan to offer a workshop called “A Biblical Walk Through the Mass” and Bryan Cosham is going to offer the parish a workshop on the new music very soon.

But since the time is getting short, I think another article is in order about the new translation. Soon you will be changing the responses that you use in the Mass. One response will be “And with your spirit” instead of “And also with you.” Those of you who were around from 1966-1970 will probably remember using this response.

I remember using this response, but also thinking Why do they insist on only wishing salvation to my soul, what about the rest of me? At the time I did not realize that the greeting was straight out of scripture. Paul uses it in at least four of his letters, see for example Galatians 6:18, Philippians 4:23, 2 Timothy 4: 22, and Philemon 25.

In the context of Paul’s letters, he is explaining to the individual or to the community receiving the letter that the grace of the Lord be “with your spirit.” In Pauline theology the “spirit” is said to be the part of the human being that is directly influenced by the “Spirit’s” action.

So when the priest says “The Lord be with you” and you respond with “and with your spirit” this little dialogue is actually a prayer to God, the priest praying that God’s grace be given to the people, that they receive God’s gift of peace and salvation, that the Holy Spirit be rekindled in their hearts and minds. The people’s response “and with your spirit” is their prayer for the priest and a reminder to the priest that the sacrifice of the Mass is not done by his own power but by God. It is by the Spirit of God who penetrates “the spirit” of the priest that enables the priest to obey Christ’s command, “Do this in memory of me.”

It is by God’s Spirit of truth and love that not only are the bread and wine transformed into the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ, but we ourselves who are transformed and made one body with Christ, as it says in the book of Genesis, “the two shall become one.” Nourished by this food we are sent forth to proclaim the word by our example and way of life the healing and saving messages of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Lord be with you.


A Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
October 30, 2011

Pride of the Pharisees
A hundred and fifty years before Christ, they were the good guys. The Greeks were in charge and decided that, if they were to unify their kingdom politically, they needed to unify it religiously. So they imposed Greek ways on the Jews, including worshiping idols and eating pork. You can read about the Jew’s military resistance to this tyranny in the two books of Maccabees.

Against All Forms of Idolatry
Bottom line: Jesus uses dramatic language to warn against all forms of idolatry – including making a person into an idol. And he reminds teachers, doctors, fathers that our purpose is to lead others to the one Teacher, the one Doctor, the one Father.

What Is Our Lord Saying to American Catholics?
America is going through hard times economically, socially, and politically. Does Jesus have a message for Christians in America? And if so, what is it? The best place to look is the word of God.

In some respects our situation resembles that of Israel in the late sixth century B.C. whom the LORD addressed through the prophet Haggai:

Why Be Catholic?
“What does being Catholic mean to you?”

That may sound like a corny question asked of high-schoolers at a church youth group… because it is, in fact, a corny question recently asked of high-schoolers at my church’s youth group… but how would you answer it?

God’s Men Versus the Yes Men
This week my brother priests are gathered for our annual Fall Retreat. Our subject this year is the Biblical Prophets and we are being led through a set of reflections by Sister Timothea Elliot. Sister Timothea has a wealth of knowledge on the Scriptures and is doing an excellent job of bringing the prophets to life for us.

I would like to share a few of her thoughts from earlier this morning in which she addressed “the function of the prophet”. The first thing that struck me in her reflection was the description of the prophet as a man of God. She contrasted these men of God such as Elijah and Elisha as those standing against the false prophets of the Canaanites, otherwise known as the prophets of Baal.

Discovering God in Silence
God cannot be found in noise and agitation. His true power and love are revealed in what is hardly perceptible, in the gentle breeze that requires stillness and quiet to detect. In silence, God listens to us. In silence, listen to Him. In silence, God speaks to our souls and the power of His word is enough to transform our very being. We cannot speak to God and to the world at the same time. We need the sacred space that silence creates in order to turn our undivided attention toward God even if it is only for a few precious moments of our day.

How to Help the Holy Souls in Purgatory
Susan Tassone won’t admit it, but she is one of the experts on the souls in purgatory.

Her credentials speak for her. She has written six books on the subject, among them one co-written with Father Benedict Groeschel of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. Cardinal Ivan Dias, former prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, wrote the foreword to her latest book, which has an imprimatur, Praying With the Saints for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

What Faith Is and What It Isn’t
The Protestant theologian Paul Tillich once commented that “faith” is the most misunderstood word in the religious vocabulary. I’m increasingly convinced that he was right about this. The ground for my conviction is the absolutely steady reiteration on my Internet forums of gross caricatures of what serious believers mean by faith.

Satan, etc.
In Freedom: To do What?, Georges Bernanos, the great French Catholic writer, observes:

There is in man a secret, incomprehensible hatred, not only of his fellowmen, but of himself. We can give this mysterious feeling whatever origin or explanation we want, but we must give it one. As far as we Christians are concerned, we believe that this hatred reflects another hatred, a thousand times more profound and lucid: the hatred of the ineffable spirit who was the most resplendent of all the luminaries of the abyss and who will never forgive us his cataclysmic fall.

He is referring of course to Satan.

Don’t just know Christ: Love him
Scripture tells us that after the crushing sadness of the crucifixion, the joy felt by the disciples in recognizing Jesus at Emmaus was intense. But as deep and personal as their joy was, it also compelled them to act. Their joy was alive; it was restless; it made them run back to Jerusalem through the darkness to bring the Good News to other disciples.

The Emmaus disciples embodied what the Prophet Jeremiah meant when he said: “(God’s) word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot” (Jer 20:9).

Turning the Problem of Evil On Its Head
Atheists are fond of using the argument from evil to debunk the notion of God. It goes something like this:

1.If God is all-powerful (omnipotent), He could stop evil.

2.If God is all-loving (omnibenevolent), He would stop evil if He could.

3.Therefore, if an omnipotent, omnibenevolent God existed, evil would not.

4.Evil exists; therefore, an omnipotent, omnibenevolent God does not.

Another variation of the argument was put forward by the Greek philosopher Epicurus, centuries before the time of Christ:

361 Mothers and Babies Saved From Abortion During 40 Days …So Far
People praying at the 40 Days for Life vigil in Columbus had a bad feeling when a young woman arrived on an abortion day. They had seen her previously – and tried to convince her not to abort her child. But here she was once again.

She went in – but a short time later she left … calling out that she had changed her mind. The volunteers put her in touch with the local pregnancy help center and promised to keep her – and her baby – in their prayers.

2 November indulgences coming up. Have a plan?
During November Holy Church promotes prayers for the souls in purgatory. The souls in Purgatory are members of the Church just like we are but of the Church “Suffering”. We are members of the Church “Militant”, and we are like soldiers on the march through the world on the way with our Great Captain towards our heavenly home to join the members of the Church “Triumphant”. We can help the souls in Purgatory through our good works as assigned by the Church, who has the authority from Christ to apply to them the merits of His Passion and death, and the merits of the saints.

Why Two Judgments? One calls individuals to account; the other will pronounce God’s final word over all of history

Question: I know that when we die there is an immediate judgment, but when Jesus comes again he calls us all to another judgment. But for what purpose? We were judged once after death. Could you please explain why we must be judged twice? I am confused. …more

The Fortress
When I envision a fortress, it invokes thoughts of strength, security and protection. The image is comforting, particularly when used in relation to one’s faith. I was speaking with someone I met recently about my faith and learned that he, too, was Catholic. After hearing my story, he explained to me the role faith played in his life. He described it as a fortress in that it made him feel safe and served as the foundation of his life.

If You Quit, You Can’t Blame God
We all feel tempted to quit sometimes. Whether they are related to relationships, parenting, or work, there are moments in life when we simply want to throw up our arms in frustration and give up. And, sometimes, we want to blame God.

After all, God allowed circumstances to be so hard. Obviously, God doesn’t want us to accomplish whatever it is we are trying to accomplish. Otherwise, the road wouldn’t be so full of potholes and mountains.

A Priest’s Airport Encounter
It was only the third time it had happened to me in my nearly thirty-five happy years as a priest, all three times over the last nine-and-a-half years.

Other priests tell me it has happened to them a lot more.

Three is enough. Each time has left me so shaken I was near nausea.

It happened last Friday . . .

Don’t Look Down
As the great English Catholic G.K. Chesterton once wrote, “Angels can fly because they take themselves so lightly.” Chesterton was trying to be witty, of course, but his point was that humility is a hallmark of holiness- both for angels, and for us.

St. Joseph hailed as model for upcoming ‘Year of Faith’
The author of a landmark work on Saint Joseph says Christ’s foster father offers believers a model for building trust in God during the newly-announced “Year of Faith.”

“This was a man of faith, like Abraham. He was being asked to believe the impossible,” said Father Joseph Chorpenning, an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales who compiled two decades of research and lectures in his book “Joseph of Nazareth Through the Centuries”

Reformation Day – and What Led Me To Back to Catholicism
October 31 is only three days away. For Protestants, it is Reformation Day, the date in 1517 on which Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to that famous door in Wittenberg, Germany. Since I returned to the Catholic Church in April 2007, each year the commemoration has become a time of reflection about my own journey and the puzzles that led me back to the Church of my youth.


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