Pastoral Sharings: "If We Ask, We Will Receive"



Priests for Life
July 28, 2013
Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time


Jesus told us that if we ask, we will receive. That is what Abraham also knew and carried out in the first reading. His prayer called upon the mercy of God. Jesus says that the greatest good we can ask for is the Holy Spirit. The Spirit brings that mercy, and enables us to say “Our Father.” When we pray in that way, we are (like Abraham) calling down God’s mercy on all our brothers and sisters. We are in fact defining ourselves as brothers and sisters because of the fact that we all have one Father.
This has implications. No longer can we exclude any person from our love. Love is indivisible, and must be extended to every human being. This is the basis of our pro-life convictions. In its broadest sense, the acknowledgment of God as Father extends to his role as Creator and affirms the responsibility we have to every human being (whether Christian or not) because he/she was made by and is loved by God.
Hence, the unborn and the terminally ill cannot be excluded from personhood, from prayer, from protection, or from practical help.
When we ask, we receive. We should invite our people to join the ongoing worldwide novena to end abortion, at What we receive, furthermore, is not simply an answer to our prayer in the form of God doing something. What we receive is part of the heart of God. He makes us compassionate as he is, and he gives us the grace to live out that compassion as true brothers and sisters united in the Holy Spirit with one Father.
“Priests for Life represents a family of ministries that reach and enrich every aspect of the pro-life movement, for clergy and laity alike, in a wide variety of activities. This has come to pass precisely because priests are not ordained for themselves, but for the people. So in activating clergy, we are activating all the segments of the Church, the pro-life movement, and the wider society in the defense of life.”

Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
July 28, 2013

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 11:1-13
Gospel Summary

Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer is shorter than the more familiar version found in Matthew’s gospel. However, all the essential elements are there. We are asked to address God as “Father” because that word, in normal circumstances, suggests to a child both strength and love. This leads us to the rather astounding conclusion that God’s supreme power is made available to us through his love.

Ask and You Shall Receive-The Gospel of the Widow and the Unjust Judge
I’ve often heard people say that they don’t want to trouble God with their petty needs and concerns.  After all, he has more important things to attend to, like running the universe. 

Yet, the New Testament makes God out to be a glutton for punishment.  Not only does Jesus often urge us to ask for what we need, (“Ask and you shall receive” Luke 9:11), but he praises the people, like  Bartimaeus, who ask in the loudest, most obnoxious of ways (Mark 10:46-52).  And to top it off, he tells stories in which he showcases rude, relentless people who wake up their neighbors in the middle of the night (Luke 11:5-8).  My all-time favorite is the story in this Sunday’s gospel of the nagging widow who won’t give the judge a moment’s rest till she gets what she wants (Luke 18:1-8).

Seventeenth Sunday: Prayer
In this Sunday’s second reading from Paul’s Letter to the Colossians, Paul speaks about a mystery, “a mystery that has been hidden for ages is now manifested to God’s Holy Ones.  The mystery is this: Christ is in you.” 

Usually when we use the word mystery, we think of a story that has an ending we try to solve before we get to the last page of the book or last five minutes of the movie.  When the Church uses the term mystery, it goes much deeper.  For the Church a mystery is a truth that is incomprehensible to the reason and knowable only through divine revelation.  The Early Church referred to the sacraments as the mysteries.  When adults are about to come into the faith they are anointed with the Oil of Catechumens so they may have the strength and the grace to be open to Mystery.

Proclaim Gospel boldly and freely, Pope tells clergy
Pope Francis on Saturday urged Catholic clergy and consecrated religious to share the Gospel with young people boldly “so that they may encounter Christ” and then form a better world.

“We are indeed here to praise the Lord, and we do so reaffirming our desire to be his instruments so that not only some peoples may praise God, but all,” the Pope preached July 27 at Rio de Janeiro’s St. Sebastian Cathedral during a morning Mass for bishops, priests, seminarians and religious.

God Acts, and He Surprises Us,’ Pope Tells WYD Massgoers
Openness to being surprised by God is an attitude that marks the life of a Christian, Pope Francis said in his homily at Brazil’s National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida during his first World Youth Day Mass.

“God always surprises us, like the new wine in the Gospel we have just heard. God always saves the best for us,” Pope Francis said at a Mass July 24, after he had venerated the shrine’s image of Our Lady.

Do Faith and Science Contradict? – Interview with Catholic Physicist Dominique Lambert
Prominent atheists such as Richard Dawkins have consistently chastised religion for thwarting scientific research. But Professor Dominique Lambert, a respected expert in theoretical physics and the philosophy of science at the University of Namur, Belgium, believes not only does the Catholic faith, when correctly applied, not hinder science, but gives it vital intelligibility, meaning, and purpose.

A Little Faith Goes A Long Way!
How important is faith? According to Jesus, it’s VERY important:

“Whatever you ask for in prayer, you will receive it if you have faith.” (Matthew 18:22)

“Daughter, your faith has made you well.” (Mark 5:34)
“Rise and go on your way; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:19)
We often become uncomfortable when we read Jesus’ words, fearing that the reason our prayers aren’t answered is due to a lack of faith. This can result in anxiety because we don’t know how to increase our faith. In fact, doesn’t the Church teach that faith is a gift? If that’s the case, is there ANYTHING that we can do to increase it? Interestingly enough, the apostles had the same concern and took it up with Jesus:

Be the Man God Is Calling You to Be
G.K. Chesterton once responded to a newspaper’s solicitation of articles responding to the question, “What’s wrong with the world?” with the reply, “Dear sirs, I am. Sincerely yours, G.K. Chesterton.”

It was, perhaps, the most incisive, comprehensive and challenging thing he ever wrote.

Sorry, You’re Not Allowed to Do That
You are not the arbiter of Christian doctrine. You don’t get to decide the tenets of Christianity. You don’t have permission to reverse or negate Christian teaching. You don’t have the authority to define Christianity. Neither do I.

If you are a Catholic, you don’t get to pick and choose which parts of the moral law and the Creed are valid. If you are a Protestant, you don’t get to personally interpret the Bible and tell us what you are sure Christ meant. If you are a secularist, you don’t get to remake Jesus in your own image, i.e., a New Agey, non-threatening guru who fits neatly into your own worldview.

Mercy and Confession: 10 Tips on How to Confess Well
In the context of an Ignatian retreat it is always beneficial to prepare oneself to make an excellent Confession. To make a good confession demands prior preparation!  The better the prior preparation, the more abundant the graces and the more overflowing the river of peace in your soul! Following are ten short helps to make the best confession in your life!

How to Spring a Soul from Purgatory in 4 Steps
According to the current Enchiridion of Indulgences, one can apply a plenary indulgence to a departed soul by the “visitation of a cemetary” {Coemeterii visitatio} from November 1st till the 8th (i.e. the octave of All Saints).

Here’s the text:

Catholics Stop Too Soon In Evangelizing
Last week I was blessed to be asked, once again, to teach at the St. John Bosco Conference at Steubenville. It is a conference that helps campus ministers, youth ministers, DREs, catechists, and others learn how to impart the faith more effectively to those we serve. I enjoy myself immensely, because I get to work with my peers who are also in the trenches doing the work of the Church – evangelizing and catechizing.

Among the many wonderful conversations I had, I noticed something interesting. Catholics stop too soon when they evangelize. Here is what I noticed:

Four Common Tactics of the Devil
One of the key elements in any contest is to understand the tactics of your opponent and to recognize the subtleties of the strategy or moves they may employ. In the spiritual battle of life we need to develop some sophistication in recognizing, naming, and understanding the subtleties of common tactics of the Devil.

Satan For Choice
Let me begin this commentary with a warning: I’ll be quoting statements from abortion activists in Texas, who were hell-bent opposing a bill banning late-term abortions. Their words (and actions) were highly offensive.

The battleground was the Texas capitol. On one Tuesday during a round of protests, pro-lifers broke into a spontaneous rendition of “Amazing Grace.” Abortion activists responded by chanting “Hail Satan! Hail Satan!”

What’s Natural Law got to Do With It?
Article 3 of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), which affirmed the federal definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman, was overturned last month, further paving the way for “gay marriage” to become the law of the land.

Here’s the catch, and why I’m not overly distressed: the gay marriage movement can’t really “win.” That’s because the definition of marriage isn’t rooted in bigotry or in some antiquated religious ideal. It’s rooted in natural law, and natural law isn’t going anywhere.

Hell: Oppression or Justice?
An argument about the existence of hell broke out, and I couldn’t help inserting myself into it. Something interesting, however, struck me about how arguments were phrased.
Formulations (from theists) of the belief that hell either does not exist or does not contain anyone seemed to be based on a need to avoid thinking of God as on oppressor:
“I refuse to believe that a just and loving God would condemn anyone to eternal suffering.”

Will There Be Pains of Sense in Hell?
A reader writes: Hail oh magnificently bearded one,

Wondering if you could help with an issue that’s been bothering me. I’ve been noodling the question of Hell for a little while – while I’ve never had any problems with the doctrine that those who die in mortal sin separate themselves from God forever, I do have problems with the formulation of Hell as a place of punishment for sin.

When Gay “Marriage” Affects Your Family
Many people are rightfully concerned about the redefinition of marriage and its negative consequences on society but the issue is still removed from their personal lives. For others, gay “marriage” hits very close to home as gay family members get “married” and look for the support and acceptance of their relatives.

But what if you’re against same-sex “marriage”? What if your Catholic Christian beliefs cause division in your family? What if you choose your religion over family harmony?

Lourdes Records 69th Official Miracle
LOURDES, France — The famous Marian shrine in Lourdes, France, has received an official declaration from the bishop of Pavia, Italy, stating that the 69th confirmed miracle has taken place there.

“I have the joy of reporting to everyone my healing, which just a few days ago was approved as a miracle by my bishop, which is a beautiful thing,” said Mrs. Danila Castelli, an Italian woman who experienced the miracle on May 4, 1989, after visiting the baths in Lourdes.

The Beauty of Worn Rings
One Saturday not long ago, I was sitting in my living-room and Colin, my 5-year-old grandson, was on my lap. I don’t remember what we were doing — watching “Peppa Pig” on TV or reading a Dr. Seuss book or playing out another episode of “Good Guys vs. Bad Guys,” I’m sure. Colin grabbed my left hand.
“Pops,” he said, “why do you have two rings on your fingers?”

I Saw What I Saw With Catholic Eyes
When I was a child, I moved through life as if I was on a five-lane freeway. I traveled fast, full of confidence, and feeling very secure that my lane was designed just for me. I looked forward to life. There were no obstacles, wrecks, or detours. I knew where I was headed and I had no reason to think anything would change.

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