Pastoral Sharings – 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time



Fr. Michael Phillippino
26th Sunday In Ordinary Time
September 30, 2012

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

When Pope Benedict XVI announced 2012-2013 as a “Year of Faith” to honor the anniversary of Vatican II he said, “This year will provide a new impetus to the mission of the whole Church to lead men (and women) out of the desert in which they often find themselves to the place of life, of friendship with Christ.

Next Friday, October 5th, is the First Friday of the month and I invite you to celebrate with me in this special way. First, dedicate the First Friday as a day of special prayer and fasting for the spiritual renewal of St. John’s Parish and our Diocese. Pray and fast for this intention. Secondly, join me Friday evenings on this First Friday for a special Holy Hour. We will pray a Litany to the Sacred Heart for this intention and then reflect and discuss the events leading to the Second Vatican Council, specifically the spirituality of Blessed John XXIII, what prompted him to call a council, and why this can be helpful for our own spiritual renewal. Finally, we will close with Benediction.

When Blessed John XXIII announced the council he said, “Throughout the history of this Church, such renewal has always yielded wonderful results. It produces greater clarity of thought, solidarity of religious unity, and abundant spiritual riches in people’s lives. So now, trembling a bit with emotion, I announce to you my intention to hold a twofold event: a diocesan-wide meeting for this city and an ecumenical council for this universal church.” (Huebach, Bill, Vatican II in Plain English: The Council. Allen, Tx: Thomas Moore, 1997, “Pope John XXIII Announces the Second Vatican Council”, pp 69.)

Below is a prayer for renewal that I hope you will pray every day this year:

Prayer for Spiritual Renewal

Heavenly Father, author and inspirer of all things Holy, hear our prayers for our parish, our diocese, our nation, and our world. Send forth your Spirit that we may be guided by your Divine Will. Convict our hearts of any sin we need to repent of, that confessing our sins we may be filled with the grace of your Holy Spirit. Inspire and renew our parish and all your faithful, and all in need of your redemption.

“Teach us to love those who hate us; to pray for those who despitefully use us; that we may be children of your love, our Father, who makes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. In adversity grant us grace to be patient; in prosperity keep us humble; may we guard the door of our lips; may we lightly esteem the pleasures of this world, and thirst after heavenly things; through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Prayer of Ansel, 1033-1109 AD).

Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
September 30, 2012

26th Sunday: Spiritual War
Bottom line: We are in a spiritual battle and we need all the help we can get.

We are involved in a spiritual war – and we need all the help we can get. Today’s Gospel underscores the need for allies. The Apostle John complains about an exorcist using Jesus’ name to drive out demons. Since he doesn’t belong to the apostolic band, John tries to prevent him.

Jesus, however, takes a different approach: “Whoever is not against us is for us,” he says. “Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.”

Homily from Father James Gilhooley – 26 Sunday in Ordinary Time
A college chaplain told me of a distressed student who came to him. He carried in his hands a desecrated crucifix. Some tormented person on campus had broken off the arms and legs of Christ. The student asked, “Should I burn the corpus?” The priest replied, “No, put it on your wall. Let it remind you that you must be the arms and legs of Christ. If anyone needs a glass of water, you must give it. Jesus will be reaching that person through your hands. If anyone needs a visit, you must go. The Christ will be using your legs.” The student understood.

The Pope on the Sacred Liturgy and Sacrosanctum Concilium: altare Dei est cor nostrum
In recent months we have made a journey in the light of the Word of God, to learn to pray in a more authentic way by looking at some great figures in the Old Testament, the Psalms, the Letters of St. Paul and the Book of Revelation, but also looking at unique and fundamental experience of Jesus in his relationship with the Heavenly Father. In fact, only in Christ is man enabled to unite himself to God with the depth and intimacy of a child before a father who loves him, only in Him can we turn in all truth to God and lovingly call Him “Abba! Father.” Like the Apostles, we too have repeated and we still repeat to Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Lk 11:1).

Will Many Be Saved? A look at an important new book by Ralph Martin
I was very pleased last week to get a copy of Ralph Martin’s new book Will Many Be Saved? The subtitle of the book is What Vatican II Actually Teaches and Its Implications for the New Evangelization.
As the title suggests Ralph Martin explores the modern struggles related to evangelization, showing how many of these difficulties are related to the flawed interpretation of The Second Vatican Council. Critical to the question is the understanding of the Council document Lumen Gentium, in particular L.G. # 16 which deals with the possibility of those who have not explicitly accepted Christ, being saved.

Christianity Hurts – Meditations on Suffering Inspired By a Photo of Bl. John Paul II
In my view, Christianity is not “cool”, it is not a great way to feel comfortable about death, it is not a big friend in the sky who is busy making sure nothing bad ever happens to you. Christianity hurts. Our life is supposed to be in emulation of our Lord, and His life ended in suffering, torture, humiliation, abandonment, and death. Thomas a Kempis was prophetic when he wrote that “Jesus has now many lovers of His heavenly kingdom, but few bearers of His cross.”

How Do We Know To Whom We Are Praying?
Today, more than ever, we must ground our prayer in the truth. Many techniques and methods made available in contemporary spirituality direct us towards either psychological comfort and the pursuits of psychic states. In and of themselves, comfort and enlightenment are not bad. But if we pursue these more than God, if we rest in experiences rather than in faith, we are vulnerable to dehumanizing deception. God does not want us to compromise our integrity in our pursuit of Him and that is why He has revealed the truth to us – so that through prayer rooted in truth we might find a deeper integrity, a deeper foundation for our lives.

What is better than an exorcism?
What is better than an exorcism? Hint: Using it makes you cleaner, and fills you up?
Give up? Confession! Also called Reconciliation or Penance, your soul is cleansed of sin and filled with grace with every trip to this sacrament.
Did you just glaze over? Yeah, yeah, confession…I know all about it. Well, maybe you do and maybe you don’t. Too many Catholics don’t.

The Boy They Couldn’t Kill
Go read Sports Illustrated’s “The Boy They Couldn’t Kill.” It is far and away the best magazine story I’ve read all year and I’m pleased that we get to talk about it here at GetReligion. It’s long and I can’t begin to excerpt it in any way that gives it justice but the subhed to the piece is “Thirteen years ago, NFL receiver Rae Carruth conspired to kill his pregnant girlfriend and their unborn son. The child has not only survived but thrived—thanks to the unwavering love of his grandmother.”

Intelligent Design – Utterly Brilliant
Many years ago, Lisa Miller––Newsweek magazine’s religion editor––wrote an interesting piece titled “Let’s Talk About God.” A new book redefining the faith debate had inspired her article. Her introduction began as follows:

“The atheist writers Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens have presented us with a choice: either you don’t believe in God or you’re a dope.” She went on to write: “Their brilliance, wit and (general) good humor have made the new generation of atheists celebrities among people who like to consider themselves smart. We enjoy their books and their telegenic bombast so much that we don’t mind their low opinion of us. Dopey or not, 90 percent of Americans continue to say they believe in God.”

Did the Authors of the New Testament Know They Were Writing Scripture?

You’d think that the answer would be an easy, “yes,” but a startling number of people–including New Testament scholars–say “no.”
I’m always taken aback when I’m reading along and suddenly encounter a statement like, “Of course, the authors of the New Testament didn’t know that they were writing Scripture. Their writings only came to have this status later.”
How do you know that?
Let’s take a look at the issue . . .

A brief meditation on the truth thatwe will all answer to God.
Earlier this week at daily Mass, we read from the Book of Proverbs and among the Proverbs we read was this one:
All the ways of a man may be right in his own eyes, but it is the Lord who measures hearts. (Proverbs 21:2).

And in this Proverb we see an important reminder for our times. For an increasing attitude of our times it says, in effect, “I will do what I want to do, and I will decide whether it is right or wrong.” In other words, “No one is going to tell me what to do, I answer to no one.”

Winning the Battle Against Temptation
Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich once quipped that if we could really see, that the fallen angels that surround us would blot out the sun. I am no skeptic – I believe it.

Sometimes I wonder if we realize the real struggle going on in the spiritual realm in our day to day lives. Unlike monastics and hermits, we most often do not notice the struggle as intensely as they do. And yet, for those of us living “in the world”, the struggle can be just as intense in a different way. I think we are all somehow afflicted.

Can we have any influence on the standard with which God will judge us?
In yesterday’s blog post, there was a reflection made on the fact that we will all, one day, answer to God. And that day, as Scripture repeatedly teaches, it is a day about which we should be sober. Sadly, there are many who give little thought to this truth, and some who outright scoff at it.
But with all that in mind, the question may arise for us, is there anything that we can do to have influence on the manner in which God will judge us, or on the standard he will use?

Well Said: Why Praise God?
As a kid I used to wonder why we were supposed to praise God so much. Was the Lord eternally fishing for compliments? So egotistical that He needed us telling him how wonderful he was all the time? Would his feelings get hurt if we didn’t remember to commend him for goodness regularly? I knew God couldn’t be like that, and figured it was just one of those mysteries, like the Trinity, that we would only completely undesrstand in heaven.

Twelve things to know about angels” by Peter Kreeft
As today is the Feast of of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels, here is a popular post years I am “recycling” for those who missed it before. It is an excerpt from Angels (and Demons): What Do We Really About Them? (Ignatius Press; 2004, sixth printing) by Peter Kreeft:
The Twelve Most Important Things to Know About Them

1. They really exist. Not just in our minds, or our myths, or our symbols, or our culture. They are as real as your dog, or your sister, or electricity.

2. They’re present, right here, right now, right next to you, reading these words with you.

How to Respond to ‘the Last Acceptable Prejudice’
As an anti-Islamic video fuels deadly unrest in northern Africa and the Middle East, and a 15-year-old exhibit mocking Jesus Christ reopens in New York, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) points out that Catholics are frequently the targets of anti-religious bigotry in art and popular media.
His organization condemns the violent Muslim reactions to The Innocence of Muslims, but spokesman Ibrahim Hooper wonders why Christians, and Catholics in general, don’t make more effort to peacefully defend against attacks on Jesus, Mary, the Eucharist and the Church.

When Two Become One: A Pastoral Teaching on the Definition, Purpose and Sanctity of Marriage
by Archbishop John Joseph Myers

Marriage is as old as humankind. From the beginning, God created the human race in his own image and likeness; male and female he created them (cf. Gen 1:27). Sexual difference and complementarity have been present from the beginning as part of God’s creative plan. Equal in dignity but complementary in their sexual difference, men and women who are called to marriage are intended to form one-flesh unions: “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Gen 2:24).

15 Tips To Help Your Prayer Life
I once asked a class of college students to rate their spiritual lives on a scale of 1 to 10. Most were very hard on themselves and gave themselves a 5 or less. I then asked “how would you describe your relationship with God?” and again, most were not very positive. These were devout and good Catholics.

Most of the comments from the class were about difficulties in prayer. Why do we have such difficulties? Simple – we are human. But, before I spell out some tips on how to overcome difficulties, we ought to talk about why we pray.


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