Pastoral Sharings: "14th Sunday in Ordinary Time"

WeeklyMessageHomily from Father Cusick
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 6, 2014 

Zechariah 9, 9-10; Psalm 145; Romans 8, 9.11-13;
Matthew 11: 25-30

“Father, Lord of heaven and earth, to you I offer praise.” Christ calls upon God, His Father and ours, in today’s gospel according to St. Matthew, Chapter 11, verses 11 to 13. God our heavenly Father is the source of all fatherhood, both natural fatherhood within the families into which each of us are born, and the spiritual fatherhood of the priesthood. It is God the Father Himself who is attacked whenever earthly fathers and mothers and the family are attacked. From the beginning it was God’s fatherhood over each of us that the Evil One sought to destroy in tempting Adam and Eve and he does so still.
These times in which we live have made genuine motherhood and fatherhood an endangered species. In this month of July each year we celebrate a foundational modern document for the truth of marriage and family life: Humanae Vitae. In this papal encyclical his holiness Paul VI of blessed memory, declared as a matter of faith and morals that every use of artificial contraception is a moral evil. He prophetically declared that once the unitive and procreative aspects of the one marital act were separated by aritificial means of contraception that marriage itself would be threatened. Is it any more in doubt that that he was absolutely right? 
Many children will never draw their first breath, or be able to come to know the love of our Father God through their earthly mothers and fathers. We continue to legislate, fund and promote ever more vicious attacks against human life at all stages, from the newly conceived to the elderly. Everyone in society is culpable, whether by active promotion of these evils, or by failing to do more to stop abortion, contraception, euthanasia or infanticide through partial-birth abortions. 
From the abortifacient contraceptives which are pushed on our young people in pervasive physiological sex education, to the doctors who pervert their profession in support of life into one of taking the lives of the elderly, the so-called “useless” and the unwanted, our society embraces more and more the godlessness of sin and death. Now, in a Hitlerian turn, we are judging who among the living has no ”quality of life” and are therefore liable to legally-sanctioned murder by starvation and dehydration. The most recent assault against the innocent unborn is the presidential veto of the partial birth abortion ban. 
Our bishops and Catholic people are called by Christ to take the strong stand necessary to stop the violence and bloodshed of the holocaust around us in the culture of death. Our bishops have called upon us to write, call and lobby our leaders to stop the attacks upon the sacred gift of human life and have established a national day of prayer and fasting for life. Every Friday is a perfect opportunity to pray and sacrifice for the sanctity of human life as we meditate upon the offering up to death for our salvation of the perfect and holy life of Christ, God and man. 
Let us preserve and protect God’s plan for the family: fatherhood and motherhood within the lifelong commitment of marriage. Let us encourage chastity and self-control for the unmarried, rather than condemning them to the error and unhappiness of promiscuity and births out of marriage that come with fornication. When our Catholic faith is no longer simply a label, or only an identity for us, but instead a way of life in Christ, then we will be able to sincerely call upon God in prayerful praise as does our Lord. 
The Catechism of the Catholic Church directs us: “Before we make our own this exclamation of the Lord’s Prayer, we must humbly cleanse our hearts of certain false images drawn ‘from this world.’ Humility makes us recognize that ‘no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him,’ that is ‘to children.'” (CCC 2779) 
God has existed in His divine eternal splendor from the beginning. We have been called to share His own wonderful light in and through our Savior Jesus Christ. We must encounter, accept and love Him as He is, not as we would have him be. Christ founded the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church to enable us to know and live the truth, already now, in this world that will one day end, and forever in the glory of heaven. Let us become like children so that we are always able to humbly receive the truth from our ever-living, love-giving heavenly Father.

Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
July ,6 2014

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)—July 6, 2014
Gospel (Read Mt 11:25-30)

Today’s reading is best understood in its context within Matthew’s Gospel. In the preceding verses, Jesus upbraids some of the cities of Galilee for refusing to repent and believe in Him as Israel’s Messiah, even though they had seen Him perform many “mighty works.” Their proud resistance to Jesus, the carpenter’s Son, brought them spiritual blindness. Because He had revealed so much to them without a response of repentance and faith, He warned them: “…it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you” (Mt 11:24).

Fourteenth Sunday: He is Meek and Humble of Heart
Today’s Gospel tells us about the Heart of Jesus. It gives us these words of comfort: “Come to me all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy and my burden light.”   

What do these words tell us about the Lord?  What do they mean for us?

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A — Classic
Matthew 11: 25-30

Gospel Summary

This Sunday’s gospel is brief but exceedingly rich in meaning. It has two distinct, though related, parts. In the first, Jesus expresses profound gratitude to the Father, source of all being and goodness, because he has freely chosen to take note of the little ones. He has done so by giving them a share in his divine wisdom, while withholding it from the “wise and learned.” This certainly does not mean that God despises learning but rather that the learned are too often tempted to pride, and thus closed to God’s gift.

Reflections for Sunday, July 6, 2014
Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion(Zechariah 9:9-10; Psalm 145:1-2,8-11,13-14; Romans 8:9,11-13; Matthew 11:25-30)
Following Jesus with Greater Zeal and Excitement.

You have revealed them to the childlike. (Matthew 11:25)
Life is an adventure for little children. If you give them a present, they might play with the wrapping paper or the box it came in as much as the gift itself. Give a young boy a small fire engine, and he’ll imagine himself putting out a giant fire. Give a young girl a doll, and she’ll treat it as her own child. Children are also curious and imaginative, capable of intently focusing on the task at hand—especially when it comes to playtime!

Seeing With God’s Eyes
Some gifts are a mystery to me, to the point that people blessed with those gifts inspire me. I’m thinking of two in particular: People who build houses and artists.

They convince me to look at others in a whole new way.

A Burning Heart
There are many and varied images that we see of Jesus Christ. One that seems to cause the greatest curiosity may be the Sacred Heart image. This is the image where Jesus is pulling back his cloak to reveal his heart which is flaming and surrounded by a crown of thorns. Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Alacoque and said this to her, “My Heart, loving passionately mankind, can no longer contain the flames of its charity; it is necessary for it to manifest it to them, in order to enrich them with the treasures it contains.”

10 Arrows to Launch Us to Heaven
We offer you ten short counsels to help you in your daily battle to arrive at spiritual maturity and eventually in the loving embrace of your Heavenly Father. Prayerfully meditate upon these ten fiery arrows that if used well, launched at the proper time and place can serve to raise you up on high.

The Lord Through a Looking Glass
I remember the day I discovered the joy of playing with a prism and the power generated by a magnifying glass. I was sitting on the windowsill of our fifth grade classroom and chatting with friends. We were looking at Mrs. Grace’s plants and goofing around with the magnifying glasses and prisms. I was fascinated by the rainbows appearing on our notebook paper when we held a prism just so between our fingers and thumb. What an amazing thing, this ray of sunlight! I studied the spectrum, trying to figure out just where one color ended and another began.

Prepare Your Heart to Pray
Prayer is, as it were, being alone with God. A soul prays only when it is turned toward God, and for so long as it remains so. As soon as it turns away, it stops praying. The preparation for prayer is thus the movement of turning to God and away from all that is not God. That is why we are so right when we define prayer as this movement. Prayer is essentially a “raising up,” an elevation. We begin to pray when we detach ourselves from created objects and raise ourselves up to the Creator.

I’ll Forgive You If…
Have you ever held back from forgiving someone because they hadn’t met your conditions?

That happened to me once. I inadvertently offended someone and I sincerely apologized three times. I noticed that the person did not accept my apology or offer forgiveness.

I finally said, “You know, I have now apologized to you three times very sincerely. I really am sorry for what I have done. However you have yet to offer me even the slightest token of forgiveness.”

Plague of Darkness
It has been man’s tendency since the fall to worship created things instead of the Creator. There are different kinds of light and by replacing God’s light of truth with the apparent created light, we voluntarily plunge ourselves into an imperceptible darkness. The author of The Book of Wisdom explains that we come to mistakenly believe that those things upon which the created light cannot shine, such as our secret sins, remain “unobserved behind a dark curtain of forgetfulness.” Though these hidden transgressions may be darkened and forgotten to us, they remain ever in the plain sight of God.

Thinking Liturgically: God’s Justice
When the priest begins Mass in the Extraordinary Form, he does so by praying Psalm 42 (or 43, depending on your bible’s translation.)  The priest asks for God to judge Him (and all present), and to distinguish his (and all of our) causes from that of the unjust.

When we attempt to understand what this passage means, we must begin by eliminating any attempt at being self-referential.  Some will see this as a priest asserting his and his congregations holiness before God.  Yet such is a failed understanding of the Gospel.

Are You Too Busy to Pray?
The length of your prayers should be measured by the amount of your work, and inasmuch as it has pleased our Lord to place you in the kind of life in which you are perpetually distracted, you must accustom yourself to making short prayers, but you must also make them so habitual that you will never omit them except upon the rarest occasions.

In the morning, when you rise, you should bend your knees before God to adore him, make the Sign of the Cross, and ask him for his blessing for the entire day; this can be accomplished in the amount of time it takes to say one or two Our Fathers.

‘Fastest Nun in the West’ on path for sainthood
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —  The Archdiocese of Santa Fe announced Wednesday it is exploring sainthood for an Italian-born nun who challenged Billy the Kid, calmed angry mobs and helped open New Mexico territory hospitals and schools.

Treasures of Tradition: St. Clement’s Letter to the Corinthians
When beginning a consideration of the Church Fathers almost everyone will begin with Clement. Considered the second, third or fourth pope after Peter (depending on whose list you agree with), he marks the first post-apostolic writer whose text remains with the Church today.

What Attachments are, and what they are not
For most of us, attachments to this world are THE struggle that most hinders our spiritual growth. 80% of the spiritual life is a battle about desire and the fundamental question, “What do you want most, the world and its pleasures, or God and his Kingdom?” So easily this world gets its hooks into us and we become attached to it. It is hard to break free from inordinate desires.

Fallen away family member – What can I do?
Dear Father John, how can I convince family members who have fallen away from the faith to come back to God and the Church?

You can’t. Only God can do that. But you can help. Here are some thoughts about how.

Religion is Meant to be Used
Many years ago I was active in the Legion of Mary, the largest apostolic organisation of lay people in the Catholic Church, with over 3 million members in almost every country of the world. One of the tasks our praesidium (local group) undertook was weekly home visitations assigned by the parish priest.

What were typical homes like in Jesus’ time?
In Jesus’ time, the smallest homes of the very poor might be little more than a square, stone structure covered with a whitewashed sort of stucco. There would typically be one larger multipurpose room and a smaller back room for the animals. Some houses in hilly regions were partial cave dwellings, built up against the limestone rock face, perhaps with the front section built onto it. The traditional site at the house of the Annunciation in Nazareth seems to have employed this strategy.

Hell: Vacancy or No Vacancy?
“I am and always will be the optimist, the hoper of far-flung hopes and the dreamer of improbable dreams.”—The Eleventh Doctor
The above passage is one of my favorite quotes from Doctor Who. There’s nothing exactly profound about it, but that’s often what’s so genius about The Doctor.
In the past, I struggled with being an optimist. I always preferred to see myself as a realist. Life is what it is, and it’s best to accept it and deal with it.

Sin is Sexy – Isn’t It?
Since talking about hell has become embarrassing for most Christians, you won’t often find discussions about the eternal consequences of sin.

But look at the temporal consequences of sin: addiction, misery, spiritual blindness, compromising our relationship with the truth in order to rationalize our behavior, etc.  Sin causes so many obvious problems this side of the grave that one wonders why we all habitually engage in it.

llluminating the Word: The Saint John’s Bible
“This is a work of art, a great work of art … a work for eternity.”
Pope Benedict XVI in praise of The Saint John’s Bible

Opening on June 2 and continuing through October 2014 at the Knights of Columbus Museum, Illuminating the Word: The Saint John’s Bible showcases the first handwritten and hand-illustrated Bible to be commissioned by a Benedictine monastery in 500 years.

Facebook: 5 Ways It Can Bless Your Life
Facebook is a vastly overused, much maligned facet of social media. Of that there can be no denial. We’ve all read stories of mothers neglecting their children to play some inane game. Dinners burn or go uncooked and families fall apart because a virtual ‘relationship’ got in the way. Other, smaller, proofs of the downside of extreme usage are most likely evident on a daily basis, somewhere in the world. There’s another, more worthy side to the Facebook coin, however.

Rudyard Kipling’s “If–”: A Lesson In Manhood
For a particular poem to retain its power across years and generations, it must give expression to something that transcends the passing of time, and do so in such an exquisitely memorable manner that it simply cannot be imitated or remade. Competitors and critics may sally forth and give it battle; lesser authors may adopt its theme or mimic its style; but its image will remain—an image somehow more perfect, and more captivating of a deeper truth, than any other that belongs to the civilization which holds it dear.

Unlikely Apostles
To: Jesus, Son of Joseph
Woodcrafter’s Carpenter Shop
Nazareth 25922

From: Jordan Management Consultants

Dear Sir:
Thank you for submitting the resumes of the twelve men you have picked for managerial positions in your new organization. All of them have now taken our battery of tests; and we have not only run the results through our computer, but also arranged personal interviews for each of them with our psychologist and vocational aptitude consultant.

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