Fr. Michael Phillippino
Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
July 1, 2012
The readings today invite us to reflect on what it means to be a prophet, and how we can be “content with…insults…and persecutions.”
At our baptism, we were declared, we were declared to be “Priest, Prophet, and King,” like the Lord Jesus, into whose Body and mission we were baptized. A “prophet” does not primarily tell the future; rather, a prophet tells the present, declaring to the people what the Word of the Lord says about our current circumstances, culture, and lifestyle. The prophet declares the next good step for God’s people to take on their constant road of repentance and growth in holiness. As the People of Life livings amidst a culture of death, we are all prophets regarding the sanctity of life; we are prophets who declare that the only appropriate response to life at all stages, especially when most vulnerable, is a generous and loving “Yes”. We are prophets as we teach our children about the dignity of life; we are prophets when we share the pro-life message with friends and co-workers, with the community through letters to the local papers or over the internet. We are prophets when we enter the voting booth, as we have an obligation to do at each election, and elect candidates who are committed to protect the unborn.
Because a prophetic stance calls us to change and to repent of sin, the prophet will often be rejected. The readings tell us that this is par for the course. It is easy to think that the rejection or persecution that accompany the prophetic role mean we need to go back to the drawing board or perhaps hire a public relationship firm to refine our message. But in fact it doesn’t mean that at all. We are called to be faithful, as Mother Theresa noted, whether or not we are successful. “They shall know that a prophet has been among them.”
This is also what Paul means by being “content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints.” Sometimes this passage is related only to moral weaknesses. But he clearly means persecutions and insults – the very things that we try too hard to avoid.
A Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
July 1, 2012
Thirteenth Sunday: The Compassionate Lord
Jairus, the Synagogue official was in a panic. His little 12 year old daughter was dying. The worst possible thing a parent can experience was about to take place. He pleaded with Jesus. Jesus rushed with him to care for the girl.
But there is a crowd he had to get through. In Mark, there is always a crowd pressing on the Lord. The lady with the hemorrhage was there. She touched Jesus in faith, and Jesus felt power flowing out of Him to heal the woman. Jesus was not put off by her condition. The pharisees and Temple leaders would consider her unclean and anyone who touched her, or was touched by her, defiled. Jesus wasn’t interested in that. Mark emphasized that the poor woman had suffered for years at the
Jairus’ Daughter & The Enlightenment
In the days when states were still “The Colonies” and men wore powdered wigs, a new way of thinking captured the intelligentsia of the western world. “The miracle stories in the Bible and the lives of the saints may be quaint, entertaining, and even have symbolic meaning. But certainly we should not take them literally! Oh, God exists, for sure. But if the Creator made such a marvelous world, humming along according to the laws of nature which he designed, why would he ever step in and work against those rules? So let’s not be naive.”
Seven Reasons to Return to Confession
During the Fortnight for Freedom, the Gregorian Institute at Benedictine College is offering resources for promoting Catholic identity in public life in the simplest, most high-impact ways possible.
Today’s suggestion: Promote confession.
But don’t take our word for it.
“The renewal of the Church in America depends on the renewal of the practice of penance,” Pope Benedict told us at Nationals Stadium in Washington.
How can I forgive someone when they do not repent? Part I of II
Q: Dear Father John, I have had this question regarding forgiveness ever since my husband filed for divorce and treated me terribly during the process. He never acknowledged his treatment of me nor repented and asked for forgiveness, yet, in confession I was always told that I still must forgive him. Fortunately, eventually God gave me the grace to forgive him, as He made me see that, sinner that I am, in God’s eyes who am I to feel so self-righteous over the hurt my ex inflicted, when I myself am guilty of many hurts also.
Where Do Unbaptized Babies Go When They Die?
The question of where unbaptized infants go after death is one that has vexed the Church for centuries. Some of Her greatest Saints have disagreed on this issue: St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, for example, came to different conclusions. And every possible answer is fraught with problems. If we say that the unborn and unbaptized infants automatically go to Heaven, there’s a serious risk of presumption (or worse, thinking of abortion as assisting these poor souls). It also seems to undermine the Church’s teaching on the necessity of infant baptism.
“To Be Absent from the Body Is to be Present with the Lord”?
There is a common argument used against the idea of purgatory in some circles which goes like this: “St. Paul says that ‘to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord’ (2 Cor. 5:8). It’s that simple: If you’re a Christian and you aren’t in your body then you are with Jesus in heaven. There is no room for purgatory in St. Paul’s view. Purgatory is just a Catholic fable–a ‘man made tradition.’”
Is this true?
Where the Bible came from: the Roman Catholic Church
Many people simply do not know where the Bible came from.
They think it was “always there”.
Some even think that only the King James Version (KJV) is the real, authentic version, the ONLY one to be inspired by the Holy Ghost.
Some even seem to think that the Evangelists and Apostles actually produced the KJV (presumably in English!).
5 Interesting, Forgotten Things About the Bible
As summer rolls on, I’m starting to prepare lessons for the coming academic year. Here are a few fun and interesting things most people either didn’t know or simply forgot about the Bible.
1. Adam and Eve didn’t eat apples. Well, probably not, anyway. The reason tradition (lowercase ‘t’) tends to give us apples is that, in Latin, apple and evil can both look like the same word, malum. Check out the actual biblical account of Genesis 3. I doubt they ate the forbidden fruit and then, realizing they were naked, ran all over the garden looking for an apple tree just to accommodate a language that wouldn’t exist for at least many centuries. What’s more likely? The forbidden fruit was probably fig and our first parents covered themselves in fig leaves. Fig leaves are not only fashionable, they’re penitential – fig leaves contain latex, which has a tendency to make some people itch.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen Becomes “Venerable”
Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen is now “Venerable” after the Vatican announced today that Benedict XVI had signed a decree recognising that the archbishop heroically lived Christian virtues.
The announcement of the decree marks a significant step in the canonization cause of Peoria, Ill.-born Archbishop Sheen (1895-1979), the Emmy award-winning televangelist whose program, “Life is Worth Living,” was broadcast from 1951 to 1957.
The Sons of Caesar, Still Pulling Peter Down
In the first chapter of Father Robert Barron’s remarkable book Catholicism, he discusses the utterly revolutionary fact and idea of Jesus Christ, son of Mary, son of God, as communicated in the “fighting words” that open Saint Mark’s Gospel, and through the subversive teachings of Saints Paul and Peter: “Fighting” because the gospel states baldly that human authority is illusory in the face of creator and sustainer of life; subversive because their teachings took notions of freedom, defeat, and victory and turned them on their heads.
So, You Want to Be a (Catholic) Rebel?
Come on, we know better than the Church, don’t we? After all, this is the 21st Century and times have changed. Modern man is fully capable of deciding what is moral on his own, right? All the really smart people in the media, government and academia who encourage us to embrace abortion, contraception, euthanasia and gay marriage can’t be wrong, can they? After all, everyone knows that new and fresh ideas must clearly trump over two millennia of Church teaching. Right?
Abortion Defies Common Sense
I doubt there are many readers of this magazine who are pro-choice. Why, then, do I write an argument against abortion for its readers? Why preach to the choir?
Preaching to the choir is a legitimate enterprise. Scripture calls it “edification,” or “building up.” It is what priests, ministers, rabbis, and mullahs try to do once every week. We all need to clean and improve our apologetic weapons periodically; and this argument is the most effective one I know for actual use in dialogue with intelligent pro-choicers. I will be as upfront as possible.
Levantine DNA in Ethiopia May Support Biblical Story
Genetic researchers believe they’ve found evidence that people from Israel, Egypt, or Syria mixed with Ethiopians 3000 years ago. The timing of this appearance of the new DNA coincides with the historical period in which the Queen of Sheba visited King Solomon. According to legend, the queen returned to Ethiopia bearing Solomon’s son.
Professor Chris Tyler-Smith of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, UK, a researcher on the study, told BBC News: “Genetics can tell us about historical events.
“By analysing the genetics of Ethiopia and several other regions we can see that there was gene flow into Ethiopia, probably from the Levant, around 3,000 years ago, and this fits perfectly with the story of the Queen of Sheba.”
A Divine Miracle For Skeptics Who Do Not Believe In Miracles
Next to the Pope my authority on all things Catholic is my devout 89-year-old father-in-law, a long retired “government worker” from an agency that shall go unnamed. He possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of physics, history, politics and religion with a special interest in “supernatural” miracles of the Bible and Divine miracles in general.
So recently, after my husband and I had watched an interesting documentary on the making of the atomic bomb known as “The Manhattan Project,” we both agreed that Dad would also enjoy the program and the next time he came over we would replay it for him.
Today was that day.
What is Happening at Medjugorje?
Last week I received a mailing from Caritas of Birmingham, in Sterret, Alabama. It was an invitation to come to the four-storey Tabernacle of our Lady’s Messages at Caritas, where a visionary, Marija Pavlovic Lunetti, is slated to receive five messages and apparitions during the 2012 gathering from July 1 to July 5.
Caritas is a group devoted to the Medjugorje Marian apparitions in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It is a continuation of international devotional interest in a phenomenon beginning on June 24, 1981, when six young people said they had received apparitions from the “Gospa” (Madonna). I’m not sure how we got on to their mailing list. Possibly a relative submitted our name and address.