"The Reign of God is at Hand"

WeeklyMessagePriests for Life
July 7, 2013
Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

“The reign of God is at hand.” This cry from today’s Gospel is what our preaching is all about: a Kingdom has already arrived, created by God and having its own characteristics established by God. The fact that it is among us, that it is “at hand,” forces a crisis. We must decide today to join it, or more accurately, to let it take hold of us. If that is our decision, or has been already, then we are called to live accordingly.
 
This reign, or kingdom, is described by the Church’s liturgy on as “A kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love, and peace” (Preface, Feast of Christ the King). These characteristics all hold together inseparably and integrally, because they are all aspects of the one God, who is the Kingdom. They can all be summarized by any of the individual words, and today’s first reading and Gospel passage summarize them by the word “peace.”
 
The apostles are sent to proclaim “peace,” just as Isaiah proclaimed to Jerusalem (representing God’s people blessed with the Covenant). This is not a peace we construct with our diplomatic, political, military or creative skills. It is a peace we receive from on high. But there is, the, an appropriate response that follows from us. We are to prepare the way to receive this peace by repenting of what destroys it, and then we are to live in accordance with the demands of that peace.
 
Respect for everyone’s right to life, beginning with the unborn from fertilization, and including all the disabled and terminally ill, is absolutely essential to peace. Peace is not lost when guns are fired or bombs dropped. Rather, peace is lost as soon as the human rights of even a single individual are violated. Our neighborhoods may seem “peaceful,” but if an abortion clinic is operating in our midst, there is no peace, because the human rights of those unborn children are violated as they are dismembered. Moreover, anywhere in a nation where an unborn child is not protected is a place where there is not yet peace. To pursue and preserve peace means not only that we do not participate in abortion; it means we do not tolerate it. It means we work vigorously to restore respect and protection to every human life.
 
The sixth chapter of Jeremiah is a passage that contrasts with today’s first reading. It speaks of the siege of Jerusalem. God says that some prophets spoke falsely because “They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace’ they say, when there is no peace” (Jer. 6:14). So it is today if God’s people seek justice, mercy, and peace, while failing to see how serious is our wound when we allow abortion. There cannot be peace in the world if there is no peace in the womb. There cannot be peace between nations if there is no peace between a mother and her own children. As Mother Teresa said in her 1994 National Prayer Breakfast speech, “If we say that a mother can kill her own child, how can we tell people not to kill each other?”

The reign of God is at hand, and it is a culture of life.

SaintJohnChurchMiddletown.com

Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
July 7
, 2013

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 10:1-12,17-20

Gospel Summary

Earlier in his gospel Luke tells us the intention of Jesus as he begins his ministry: “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God because for this purpose I have been sent”(4:43). Later when he was accused of driving out demons by the power of Beelzebul he responded, “But if it is by the finger [power] of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you”(11:20). Now Jesus appoints seventy-two others whom he sends out with the same mission and purpose as his own. The disciples receive instructions about how they are to carry out their mission: for example, they are to “carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals.” There is also an ominous word of warning. Jesus says, “I am sending you like lambs among wolves.” He assures them, however, that Satan has fallen. Yet the disciples are to rejoice, not because the evil spirits are subject to them, but because their names are written in heaven — they belong to God.
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14th Sunday: Boasting in the Cross
“May I never boast save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Galatians 6:14.  

This is quite a change.  St. Paul is speaking positively about boasting. I thought boasting was bad.  I thought we were never supposed to boast.  I mean, I know that last year I was conceited and that this year I’m perfect, but I also know that it is wrong to boast about it.  Is there ever a time when boasting is OK, even good?
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Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
If you feel that God is calling you to become a member of the Roman Catholic Church you should speak to one of the priests or the Pastoral Assistant.

There is a programme of preparation that normally begins in the autumn and leads to reception into the Church at the Easter Vigil. It involves regular meetings with other enquirers and their sponsors so that you can explore the Catholic faith in an atmosphere of reflection and prayer with other people in a similar situation to yourself.
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Romans 1:17ff A Prophetic Interpretation of Reality for Our Times?
Scripture is a prophetic interpretation of reality. That is, it tells us what is really going on from the perspective of the Lord of History. As an inspired text it traces out not only the current of the times, but also the trajectory, the end to which things tend. It is of course important for us to read Scripture with the Church and exercise the care the Church would have us show and, at the end of the day, to submit our understanding to the rule of faith and the context of Sacred Tradition.
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Lumen Fidei: A Summary on Pope Francis’ First Encyclical
Pope Francis has released his first encyclical along with some help from Pope Benedict XVI who completed most of the draft before he resigned from the Papacy.

[For more basic facts on the release of this encyclical, see 7 Things You Need to Know about Pope Francis’ First Encyclical]

First, this encyclical is fantastic. I think the Church will be thinking, praying, and quoting this one for a very long time. The Church, especially in the West, is hungry for a renewal of the faith. During this Year of Faith, this encyclical on faith is a tremendous addition to the conversation that is going on throughout the world.
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14 things you need to know about Pope Francis’s new encyclical
Pope Francis has just released his first encyclical, Lumen Fidei, or “the light of faith.”

The first encyclical of a pope is always closely watched, because it frequently signals the way in which he intends to govern the Church.

This new encyclical is even more intriguing because much of it was actually written by former Pope Benedict.

Here are 14 things you need to know . . .
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Facing Death as a Catholic: We who Remain
One of my favorite scenes in Return of the King is Sam and Frodo sitting together as Mt. Doom erupts around them. When Frodo says, “I am glad you’re with me Samwise Gamgee, here at the end of all things,” my heartstrings are always tugged because Frodo is reaching for the soul friendship. Love ‘till death. Boundless loyalty despite suffering and sacrifice because love is sacrifice. But, what about after death?
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Give Without Taking
When I worked at a Missionaries of Charity home for the dying, one of the AIDS patients who had been involved previously in prostitution said this: “This is the first place in my life where people did nice things for me and didn’t want to take something from me; they give but then they don’t take.” That experience was, by her own account, the most freeing and healing experience of her life.
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5 Things Parishes Can Do To Stop Losing Young Families
Matthew Warner recently discontinued his blog at the National Catholic Register. In his second-to-last blog post, Why the World Doesn’t Take Catholicism Seriously, he charged that the Church has gotten bad at making saints. “We Catholics don’t look or act any different than non-Catholics. It’s that simple.” How many of us really lead lives so compelling in holiness and joy that, by our very witness, others want to know what we have that they don’t?
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Not Ready For Heaven: Things I’m Embarrassed to Admit
When Roger Ebert died of cancer a few months ago, I came across this article he wrote about his wife, whom he adored, and their frequent wanderings and adventures.  Maybe it was just my pregnancy hormones, but I couldn’t stop crying.  It was her second marriage and his first, late in life, and he says, “this woman never lost her love, and when it was necessary she forced me to want to live. She was always there believing I could do it, and her love was like a wind forcing me back from the grave.”  The image of a woman essentially caring for her terminally ill husband as a full-time job, with patience and fortitude, and even calling him out at times,  just does me in.
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Those who seek to eliminate faith for the sake of freedom, get only tyranny
On the Fourth of July, in the United States of America we celebrate freedom. In particular we celebrate freedom from tyranny, and a government that is not representative; freedom from unchecked power and unaccountable sovereigns.

Distorted and faithless notions – Yet, as Christians we cannot overlook that there are ways of understanding freedom today that are distorted, exaggerated and detached from a proper context. Many modern concepts of freedom treat freedom as something that faith limits, not enhances.
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We Seek Freedom from God, But We Have Freedom Because of God
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Our Founding Fathers understood that our rights come from God. Without our rights coming from our Creator our rights are only allowed to us by those stronger than us for as long as they choose not to take them away from us.
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What is the “Last Judgment”?
What is the Last Judgment, and why do we call it “Last”?

Are there other judgments?

When do they occur?

And, if there are other judgments, why do we need the “Last” one? What is its purpose?

Let’s look at the Bible indicates about all this . . .
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Why Confirmation?
In this column I have frequently referenced findings about the dismal way in which many Catholics look at the sacraments.  I think the problem is more than just the usual ranting and ravings about a liberal church, how horrible things are after Vatican II, true as all these clichés are.  Instead the problem stems from a lack of clear purpose in our understanding of the sacraments.  We can talk with great eloquence about the grace which flows from the sacrament, but seldom spend time talking about why the sacrament exists in the first place, beyond pious bromides about how we are all sinners and in need of sanctifying grace.
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Catholicism and the American Founding
There are two ways to look at Catholicism and the founding of the United States of America. The first, and most obvious, would be to inquire about the actual participation of Catholics in the founding. The second, which is the focus of this article, is to view the gifts the Catholic Church gave to the American founding long before there was a U.S.A.
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When Was the Book of Revelation Written?
It’s an interesting question.

Today most scholars date the book of Revelation to late in the first century, during the reign of the Emperor Domitian.

According to this view, it was written around A.D. 96.

But there is very good reason to think that the book was written earlier than this—quite a bit earlier.

Here’s why . . .
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Fighting the Culture of Death, One Katie At a Time
Belgium is a troubled country on any number of levels. Its unity has been tenuous for decades, it is increasingly challenged by an Islamic immigrant community that rejects European virtues, and just like its neighbor, Holland, it is clumsily eager to embrace the latest in eugenics and social engineering. Only last month the Belgian Federal Parliament seriously considered legalizing euthanasia for children and it now appears it is “about to expand its controversial ‘right to die’ policies to include access to euthanasia for some gravely ill children.”
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Top five regrets of the dying
A nurse has recorded the most common regrets of the dying, and among the top ones is ‘I wish I hadn’t worked so hard’. What would your biggest regret be if this was your last day of life?
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SaintJohnChurchMiddletown.com

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