Pastoral Sharings: Priests for Life

Fr. Michael Phillippino

June 9,2013
Tenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Both the first reading and the Gospel speak to us today about a mother, with no husband, who loses her son, and then a man of God – in this case, Jesus, the Son of God – gives the child back to his mother, alive. In both cases, this victory of life over death for a woman’s child is a sign of God’s favor. God is in the business of destroying death and restoring life, which, in the end, he will do for us all.
This is a key characteristic of the mission of the Church and of each member of the People of God: be a sign of God’s preference for life over death, a sign of the power of life over death. We cannot raise the dead as Elijah and Jesus did, but we can save children from death through our involvement in the pro-life movement. The witness, the words, and the compassionate intervention of the pro-life works of the Church bring to pass each day the words of today’s Psalm, “You preserved me from among those going down into the pit,” and the words of the Gospel, “Jesus gave him back to his mother.”
A further application of this theme is in the whole arena of healing after abortion. Each day, through ministries like Rachel’s, parents who have lost children to abortion are experiencing what it means that “Jesus gave him back to his mother.” They are led, by the Word of God and the sacraments, to life-giving repentance, to reclaiming their responsibility for their children, and to experiencing the hope that both they and their children are in the hand of God and will be reunited one day. The hope given by today’s readings can be the opportunity to call people to healing and to be witnesses both to live and to mercy.

Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
June 9
, 2013

Tenth Sunday in Ordinary time
Luke 7:11-17

Gospel Summary

As Jesus was about to enter a city called Nain, a man who had died was being carried out through a city gate. He was the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. Jesus, moved with compassion, touched the coffin, and said, “Young man, I tell you arise.” When the young man came back to life, Jesus gave him to his mother. All who witnessed the event glorified God, and exclaimed, “A great prophet has arisen in our midst,” and “God has visited his people.”

Tenth Sunday: The Compassion of the Lord
Many years ago I was a part time chaplain at a Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.  Some of the children I visited were terminally ill, usually with some form of cancer.  I will admit, to my shame, that at first I found it difficult to visit these children.  But after a few weeks, I stopped seeing their sickness and started seeing the precious boys and girls that they were.

Understanding the Mass Part V – A Meal Like No Other
The Eucharist is a meal. It’s the Lord’s Supper, as well as a holy sacrifice. It has to be both. Christ becomes present so that we can not only see Him under the appearances of bread and wine, but also receive Him into ourselves. Very tangibly, He becomes our food.

Food is very important in Christianity. I’m happy about that, because as an Italian, food is important to me! But even those of us who deeply appreciate food might wonder why the Lord chose to make Himself present in this particular way. Why bread and wine?

The Three Loves of Jesus
As we prepare for the month of the Sacred Heart, Pope Pius XII’s encyclical on the devotion, Haurietis Aquas, offers us an opportunity to contemplate the depths and dimensions of Christ’s love for us.

In his encyclical, issued in 1956 on the centenary of the Feast of the Sacred Heart, Pius XII offers us several metaphors for the Sacred Heart. It’s the “mystical ladder” which we climb to “embrace God Our Savior.” It’s also a “most precious shrine” which contains the “unlimited treasures of His merits.” The encyclical itself takes its name for yet another metaphor for Christ’s heart in Isaiah 12:3: “You shall draw waters with joy out of the savior’s foundations.”

Pope Says Lamenting Suffering Is Form of Prayer
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis, during a daily morning Mass this week, said lamenting suffering is a form of prayer and is not a sin.

“A priest I know once said to a woman who lamented to God about her misfortune, ‘But, madam, that is a form of prayer; go ahead with it,’” Pope Francis said in his June 5 homily.

“To lament before God is not a sin,” he added.

Sympathy for the Devil
Some years ago, The New Yorker ran a cartoon that perfectly lampooned the loopy ideology of “inclusion” that has come to characterize so much of the Christian world. It showed a neat and tidy church, filled with an attentive congregation. The pastor was at the podium, introducing a guest speaker. “In accordance with our policy of equal time,” he said, “I would like now to give our friend the opportunity to present an alternative point of view.”

Sitting next to him, about to rise to speak, was the devil, dressed perfectly and tapping the pages of his prepared text on his knee.

10 Reasons Why Pro-Lifers Will Eventually Win
Reason #1 – We have truth on our side. The pro-abortion crowd continues to come up with different arguments. Depending on who you talk to you might hear that babies are clumps of cells or even humans without rights of more developed persons. They are all over the place, because they don’t have the objective truth about the human person and life.

Reason #2 – Death isn’t attractive and doesn’t sell. Who wants to be on the side of those that advocate for killing?

Turning the Problem of Evil On Its Head
Many 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
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:

Church to Beatify Father of Seven Who Saved 100 Lives
Odoardo Focherini will be beatified in the Italian city of Carpi on June 15 for his life of faith and dedication to helping those in need, including 100 Jews he helped escape the Nazis.

“One of the Jews whom he saved said, ‘we are the miracles of Odoardo Focherini,’ and they saw his as their savior and angel,” said Focherini’s grandson, Francesco Manicardi.

I converted to Catholicism after being surprised by what Catholics were actually like
Three years ago when I announced to my family that I had followed my Latin American husband’s lead and converted from Protestantism to Catholicism, my intellectual-atheist brother immediately proclaimed that I had joined “the Evil Empire”. The jokes and ridicule have never stopped coming. Just yesterday he sent me the Epicurean paradox and asked how my priest and I intend to explain it. (“When there is evil in the world, how can God be good?” – To put it simply).

Personal Freedom and the Common Good
On June 5th 2007 George Delury (74) committed suicide. For those readers who don’t remember him, Delury gained notoriety for the 1995 assisting the suicide of his wife, Myrna Lebov (52) at their Manhattan apartment. Although euthanasia advocates initially expressed confidence that Lebov had not been coerced, nothing could have been further from the truth. That’s exactly what happened! Delury let his wife know, in no uncertain terms, that she was a burden on him. Four months before his wife’s death, Delury made the following entry in his diary (which he let Myrna read):

Is the Catholic Church the one true Church?
(7 things to know and share)
In today’s brave new world of ecumenism, the Catholic Church no longer claims to be unique, right?

After all, Vatican II didn’t say that the Church of Christ is the Catholic Church.

It merely said that the Church of Christ “subsists in” the Catholic Church.

So that means the Catholic Church no longer views itself as the “one true Church,” right?

Not so fast . . .

Peter or Judas: Hanging or Hope?
“Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings Rabbi!” and kissed him. Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came for.” Matthew 26:49-50

“Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night you will disown me three times.” But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same. Mark 14:29-31

Peter and Judas are not all that different, it seems. They are almost the same story, but for two very different endings. It could be our own story… which end will we choose?

At the Service of Truth
Someone once asked me to explain the difference between an apologist and a theologian. This person was considering a career as one or the other and needed a distinction to be made:

Mommy, Why Do We Pray?
“Mommy, why do we pray?” That seems like an easy question to answer, but I wanted to give her something to hang on to later in life. Satan tempts us not to pray. Someday she may feel she doesn’t have time to pray, she may be too hurt, angry, or afraid to pray, or she may feel that prayer is futile because suffering and hatred never seem to end.

Known by their Fruits
In today’s world, little is heard about the good fruits of mankind.  Instead, more often than not, we find splashed across daily headlines the negative fruits brought forth across the world.  There are the fruits which stand in direct opposition to God, in opposition to the sanctity of life and the sacredness of marriage.  There are fruits which protest righteousness, goodness, compassion and peace. We regularly witness the fruits of presidents and politicians who proudly endorse laws which support the killing of the innocent unborn, suppress religious freedom, and who encourage dissention over unity.

“I Am Not Getting Married in the Church. But I Want My Religion In Our Ceremony…
This happens three or four times a year: someone I don’t know drops me an e-mail asking if I can perform a Catholic wedding in some place other than a church. Outdoors, maybe, or a catering hall.

The presumption seems to be that if a priest can’t do it, maybe a deacon will.

So it was that I got this query about  two weeks ago from a young woman in New York:

John Henry Newman on the Psychology of Faith and Reason
To understand Cardinal Newman well, you need to know that he was a master psychologist who had great insight into the complexity and richness of the human mind. The three books where Newman writes explicitly about philosophical psychology are Newman’s The Idea of a University, Fifteen Sermons Preached before the University of Oxford, and An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent.

Today I would like to explore Newman’s psychological writings to help us all understand a little better the Church’s ongoing reflection on the relationship between faith and reason. This delicate relationship was as much of a concern to Newman in his day as it is to us today, and Newman’s fresh take on this topic is one of the many reasons given for his Beatification in 2010.

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