Pastoral Sharings – Seventh Sunday of Easter

WeeklyMessage Sr. Patricia McCarthy, CND
May 12, 2013
Seventh Sunday in Easter

The last words spoken by our Blessed Mother that are recorded in Scripture are from the wedding feast at Cana.  Jesus, His mother, and His disciples are celebrating a young couple’s new phase of their lives together.  They must have been having a good time since the wine ran out.  Mary notices.  Her mother’s instincts are stirred.  Lacking wine will be a great embarrassment to the families of the bride and groom.  Mary goes to her Son and nudges Him towards His first public miracle.    
Knowing her Son, Mary doesn’t hover or badger Him.  She simply makes known the need and trusts Him to fill it.  For those who aren’t as familiar as she is to total trust in Jesus, she assists: “Do whatever He tells you” (Jn 2:5).  Then she leaves the matter in His hands and Heart.  We know the wonderful ending – huge jars of great wine to continue to the celebration.  
Of all the events in Jesus’ life, it is interesting that this one was recorded.  Surely, there were far more significant miracles that didn’t make it into the Gospel story.  Perhaps because it was the first of the signs, it rated special mention.  Or perhaps it was because God knew that we would need to reflect on the intervention of Mary for our own daily risings to grace.
The process is so simple.  By the grace of God, we see beyond our own concerns to the needs of others, as Mary did.  We respond as we are able; we seek God’s help; and then we do what God tells us.    When we face the crises of our lives, we follow the way of Mary.  First, we make our needs known to Jesus Christ.  Then we keep ourselves alert to see if He is showing us “jars to fill,” a way to meet the crisis.  We wait in love until we see the next step.  The key is to wait, not to jump in with solutions that are contrary to the Gospel.  So often in today’s society when we struggle with serious problems for which we see no easy solution, we want to settle it immediately by using means contrary to the ways of Jesus: getting even, revenge, war, violence, injustice.  
Rather than doing what Christ has told us, we try settling things according to our own will.  And we end in calamity.  We feel the pain of the violence, in ourselves and in others.  We sincerely mourn lives lost in the violence of our homes, schools, and world in our attempt to fix things.   
In all circumstances, we can choose to respond as Mary did at Cana.  We can turn to her Son, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, make known our needs and then act in the way He taught us.  It is the way of filling jars of peace, the way of lookin g at one another as Jesus looks – in love and service and forgiveness.  
The good wine awaits us, but we can’t get to it by force.  It will only come through the nonviolent, loving ways of Jesus.  There are many devotional ways of honoring Mary this month.  None surpass the honest, sincere effort to “Do whatever he tells us.”

Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
May 12, 2013

Seventh Sunday of Easter
Gospel Summary

This Sunday’s gospel passage contains part of the prayer Jesus addressed to his Father following his Last Supper discourse with its the promise of the holy Spirit. Jesus prays for his disciples and for all who will believe in him through their words. The depth and poetic beauty of Jesus’ prayer defies making an adequate prose summary. Principal elements of the prayer are listed here merely as an aid to memory for the reader — communion in the life of Father and Son, desire that the world come to believe in him, desire that all may see his eternal glory, desire that the Father’s love be in all who believe.

7 Easter
The preacher told a story of the GI in New Guinea during World War II. A retired headhunter showed him with pride his well-used copy of the New Testament. The soldier dismissed the Gospels as “yesterday.” The tribesman said with no trace of a smile that before they discovered the Gospels, they were cannibals. He said to the overweight soldier with just a hint of regret, “Lucky for you that we don’t consider the Gospels `yesterday.’ For without them you would have been our delicious supper tonight.”

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
“Freedom of choice” is a mantra, a rallying cry that rings from one corner of our earth to the other. This freedom to choose whatever we want has brought millions of aborted babies, the deaths of many women on abortion tables, millions of broken marriages and homes, partial-birth infanticide, disregard for the marriage laws of Christ and many other evils. Freedom is good, but freedom comes from God and is given to us so that we may freely choose to be like God. Freedom is for choosing good, not evil. Jesus Christ took on our flesh and our freedom to choose what is holy so that we can do likewise, with the constant help of his grace in the Gospel and the sacramental life.

Is Veneration of Angels Forbidden?
In the Book of Revelation, two encounters between an angel and the Apostle John end in what Protestant reformers claim is an admonition against the veneration of angels—something the Church certainly still teaches and practices to this day.

Here is the first encounter, in Revelation 19:10, as rendered in the New American Bible translation:

My Encounter with God
Invariably, before reading the various news sites in the morning, I first scan the Drudge Report. Generally, the headlines are not toasty fuzzy to say the least. Yesterday, for instance. Murder––suicide––animal cruelty––Iran being Iran, that’s bad––Israel being Israel, not good but understandable––GDP and durable orders in freefall––politicians tap dancing on semantics––social unrest in socialized Europe––and even a drunken horseman leading police on a slow-speed chase, which is sort of funny in contrast.

Pope Suggests Invoking Holy Spirit at End-of-Day Conscience Examination
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis said people should ask themselves what the Holy Spirit did in them at the end of each day.

“We should get into the habit of asking ourselves before the end of the day, ‘What did the Holy Spirit do in me?’ and ‘What witness did he give me?’” he said during daily Mass on May 6.

Was Christ Assumed into Heaven?
Catholics sometimes make the claim that while Christ “ascended” into Heaven, our Blessed Mother was “assumed” into Heaven. The difference, they say, is that Christ ascended by His own divine power; but that Mary was raised by the power of God. The apologist using this argument usually seeks to show Protestant objectors that Mary’s assumption is categorically different than Christ’s ascension.

7 things Pope Francis wants you to know about Jesus’ Ascension
Whether your diocese celebrates the Ascension of Christ on Thursday or Sunday, the time is upon us.

Recently, Pope Francis gave an explanation of the Ascension, what it means, and how it affects our lives.

Here are 7 things he wants you to know.

Is the Big Bang Church Teaching?
The basic theory behind the Big Bang (although he didn’t call it that) was first proposed by Fr. Georges Lemaître, a Belgian priest and physicist who combined Einstein’s mathematical description of space and time with astronomer Edwin Hubble’s observations of galaxies, which showed that all of space was expanding. Fr. Lemaître proposed that the entire universe had once in the distant past been in a smaller, unimaginably compact state from which it had energetically expanded in something like an “explosion” of all of space itself. The cosmic microwave background itself, considered the first major empirical evidence for the theory, was first detected (inadvertently) in 1965.

Do you practice gaining Indulgences?
An all too often forgotten immemorial Catholic practice is that of gaining or ʻwinningʻ indulgences.

In order to do what we can (while in this earthly life) to engage in reparation for the temporal punishment due to our sins we ought to know what indulgences are and the necessary conditions for gaining them.

Are You Engaged in a Relationship With Your Guardian Angel?
This question was posed for me by Madame Linen whilst discussing a certain young man of our acquaintance.

“His trouble is that he is not engaged with his Guardian Angel” was Madame’s comment and, the more I thought on it, the more accurate she was in her assessment.

But Mme had also struck pure gold in touching upon a topic that is often close to my heart; that of my own relationship with my Guardian Angel (or GA for short).

On the Spaciousness and Silence of Deeper Prayer
One of the graces of deeper prayer, if we persevere through the years, is that the Lord to turn us upward and outward. And, gradually our prayer turns more toward God and is less anxious about our own aches and pains. For now, it is enough to give them to God and trust his providence. Gradually, we simply prefer to experience the Lord quietly, in increasingly wordless contemplation. God draws us to a kind of silence in prayer as we advance along its ways. But that silence is more than an absence of sound, but instead results from us being turned more toward God. An old monastic tale from, I know not where, says:

Would God Really Send Someone to Hell?
As a speaker with Catholic Answers, I fly a lot. Part of what I love about flying is meeting those sitting next to me.

On a recent flight I had an opportunity to share my faith with a woman who seemed to believe in everything except the law of non-contradiction: fairies, God, heaven, reincarnation, Catholicism, the law of attraction.

One thing she didn’t believe in was hell.

Sanctify Your Day
As Catholics, we should have the desire to be saints. But how do we do it? One may think that it’s extremely difficult to become a saint, but let us just follow St. Therese’s method, sanctifying each day in the little things. Here is a list of things to keep in mind to make becoming a saint easier every day.

Science Shines New Light on Shroud of Turin’s Age
PADUA, Italy — Just in time for the current Easter season, news emerged from Italy that a new approach to dating the Shroud of Turin has located it squarely in the time frame necessary for it to have wrapped the crucified body of Jesus Christ.

Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry? A Catholic Mom’s Guide to Trusting God
“Forgive me, Father, for I have worried.”

Even when I’m behind the screen, I am sure that my priest knows that it’s me – that parishioner with N.A.P.S. (Nutty, Anxious Parent Syndrome).

Worrying is my hobby. I worry about the economy, politics and toy recalls. I practically obsess over germs and the weather, especially during tornado season. Let’s not even mention unemployment rates and grocery prices. As a mother of three boys, Joseph (5), Nicholas (3) and Richard (12 months), my worries naturally turn to my babies. Then I worry about my worries.

Learning to love Heaven – It’s not as automatic as you think
It is generally presumed, at least among those who believe in God and the afterlife, that everyone naturally wants to go to heaven.

But of course, “Heaven” is usually understood in a sort of self-defined way. In other words heaven is a paradise of my own design, the place is perfect as I think perfect should be. Yes, for most people, their conception of heaven is merely what they think it should be, and this usually includes things like: golf courses, seeing my relatives and friends, there are my own self-selected pleasures, and the absence of struggles such as losing a job or saying farewell.

The Uniqueness of Christianity: Twelve Objections Answered
Ronald Knox once quipped that “the study of comparative religions is the best way to become comparatively religious.” The reason, as G. K. Chesterton says, is that, according to most “scholars” of comparative religion, “Christianity and Buddhism are very much alike, especially Buddhism.”

But any Christian who does apologetics must think about comparative religions because the most popular of all objections against the claims of Christianity today comes from this field. The objection is not that Christianity is not true but that it is not the truth; not that it is a false religion but that it is only a religion. The world is a big place, the objector reasons; “different strokes for different folks”. How insufferably narrow-minded to claim that Christianity is the one true religion! God just has to be more open-minded than that.

My Inheritance
The great 20th century novelist Chaim Potok wrote, in his novel, My Name Is Asher Lev, “You have a gift, Asher Lev. You have a responsibility.” My Mom had a gift of 89 years, 89 years to live her life; 89 years to meet her goals; 89 years. This gift of time, for Mom, for all of us, is also a responsibility. “You have a gift. You have a responsibility.”

Why it’s harder to become a Catholic than a Protestant
Taylor Marshall, chancellor of a Catholic liberal arts college in Texas, a convert and a former Episcopalian priest, writes a stimulating blog called “Canterbury Tales.” Recently he included on his website a thought-provoking article: “10 reasons why it’s hard to become Catholic.” They are worth reproducing because they have the ring of truth about them and because the situation is not so different over here.


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