Monday, September 28, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Some think that the preaching of the Church should not include the mention of hell. The Church requires the priest or deacon to preach on the text of the Scriptures, and in our Gospel not only does the Lord mention the existence of hell, he goes on to describe this state of final and everlasting separation from the love and goodness of God.
The Church, in faithfulness to the Lord, teaches about the existence of hell and preaches about it because the Lord himself spoke of its existence. To have a distaste for the discussion of hell or the reality of evil is the choice of the individual. We are called, though, not merely to be good such that we have a distaste for evil or for speaking about it; we are made to be holy as God is holy, and therefore to be satisfied not merely with being good but, much more, to long to be saints.
The saints faced the reality of hell by taking responsibility for their moral choices and for availing themselves of Christ's mercy in Confession and the Eucharist on a frequent basis. The Lord teaches the people in our Gospel about the reality of hell in order to inform them that they must take responsibility for their actions and realize that they can choose to be eternally separated from God and all that is good. He teaches that free and wholehearted service to the poor, the hungry and the thirsty are the good works which reflect interior holiness. He teaches that scandalizing those whose faith is weak is a mortal sin, punishable by the greatest of penalties. We are to avoid sin and scandal by rejecting the near occasions of sin. And if we fail to root sin out of our lives, it is by our own choice that we "go to hell, to the unquenchable fire."
Jesus often speaks of Gehenna, of "the unquenchable fire" reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost. (Cf. Mt 5:22, 29; 10:28; 13:42, 50; Mk 9:43-48) Jesus solemnly proclaims that he "will send his angels, and they will gather...all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,"(Mt 13:41-42) and that he will pronounce the condemnation: "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!" (Mt 25:41) (CCC 1034) There is no middle way: we either go to heaven, perhaps by way of a purification from our attachment to sin, called purgatory, or we are consigned to hell "where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.
I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy" -Fr. Cusick
(See also paragraphs 1034 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.)
Friday, September 25, 2009
Jesus often draws apart to pray in solitude, on a mountain, preferably at night. He includes all men in his prayer, for he has taken on humanity in his incarnation, and he offers them to the Father when he offers himself. Jesus, the Word who has become flesh, shares by his human prayer in all that "his brethren" experience; he sympathizes with their weaknesses in order to free them. It was for this that the Father sent him. His words and works are the visible manifestation of his prayer in secret.
-- CCC 2602
(Christ in the Garden of Olives, after Francesco Albani, oil on canvas, Musee des Beaux-Arts, Chambery.)
Thursday, September 24, 2009
and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying,
“John has been raised from the dead”;
others were saying, “Elijah has appeared”;
still others, “One of the ancient prophets has arisen.”
But Herod said, “John I beheaded.
Who then is this about whom I hear such things?”
And he kept trying to see him.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary's real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man. In fact, Christ's birth "did not diminish his mother's virginal integrity but sanctified it." And so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the "Ever-virgin".
Against this doctrine the objection is sometimes raised that the Bible mentions brothers and sisters of Jesus. The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, "brothers of Jesus", are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls "the other Mary". They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression.
-- CCC 500
Saturday, September 19, 2009
When the Apostles, giving in to pride, begin to argue among themselves as to who among them is the greatest, the Lord calls a child into their midst and thus begins to teach them the contradiction of the Christian life: "If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all." Every one who would be saved must welcome and love the smallest unborn child, the least of the poor, the abandoned, the rejected.
This humility and selflessness is a necessity of life in Christ because authentic charity will never fail to inspire it. One cannot love others in the proper way unless one is first prepared to disregard oneself enough to care for and love others by serving them before one serves oneself, by seeing to others' needs before one seeks to satisfy ones' own needs.
Christ died out of love for us, while we were still"enemies." (Rom 5:10) The Lord asks us to love as he does, even our enemies, to make ourselves the neighbor of those farthest away, and to love children and the poor as Christ himself. (Cf. Mt 5:44; Lk 10:27-37; Mk 9:37; Mt 25:40, 45)
The Apostle Paul has given an incomparable depiction of charity: "charity is patient and kind, charity is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Charity does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Charity bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." (1`Cor 13:4-7) (CCC 1825)
Meeting Christ in the Liturgy (Publish with permission.)
they are the ones who, when they have heard the word,
embrace it with a generous and good heart,
and bear fruit through perseverance.”
To obey (from the Latin ob-audire, to "hear or listen to") in faith is to submit freely to the word that has been heard, because its truth is guaranteed by God, who is Truth itself. Abraham is the model of such obedience offered us by Sacred Scripture. The Virgin Mary is its most perfect embodiment.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Missionary endeavor requires patience. It begins with the proclamation of the Gospel to peoples and groups who do not yet believe in Christ, continues with the establishment of Christian communities that are "a sign of God's presence in the world," and leads to the foundation of local churches. It must involve a process of inculturation if the Gospel is to take flesh in each people's culture.
There will be times of defeat. "With regard to individuals, groups, and peoples it is only by degrees that [the Church] touches and penetrates them and so receives them into a fullness which is Catholic."
Thursday, September 17, 2009
hence, she has shown great love.
But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”
It is impossible to keep the Lord's commandment by imitating the divine model from outside; there has to be a vital participation, coming from the depths of the heart, in the holiness and the mercy and the love of our God.
Only the Spirit by whom we live can make "ours" the same mind that was in Christ Jesus. Then the unity of forgiveness becomes possible and we find ourselves "forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave" us.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
- ... in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth. Undeniably great is the mystery of devotion, Who 7 was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed to the Gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory.
- -- 1 Tm 3:14-16
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Throughout her life and until her last ordeal when Jesus her son died on the cross, Mary's faith never wavered. She never ceased to believe in the fulfillment of God's word. And so the Church venerates in Mary the purest realization of faith.
(See also CCC 495, 2605.)
Monday, September 14, 2009
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
Jesus accepted Peter's profession of faith, which acknowledged him to be the Messiah, by announcing the imminent Passion of the Son of Man. He unveiled the authentic content of his messianic kingship both in the transcendent identity of the Son of Man "who came down from heaven", and in his redemptive mission as the suffering Servant: "The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Hence the true meaning of his kingship is revealed only when he is raised high on the cross. Only after his Resurrection will Peter be able to proclaim Jesus' messianic kingship to the People of God: "Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified."
The Word became flesh so that thus we might know God's love: "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him." "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The Church has pored over the Holy Scriptures for nearly two thousand years, and has received the Old Testament from the Jewish people, who themselves have loved and studied the Word of God from the time of Abraham around 1700 BC. Jesus himself interpreted the Scriptures for us, so that we might fully understand that he is Messiah and Lord. His Lordship is established by his victory over sin in his suffering, Passion, death and Resurrection.
"The Church remains faithful to the interpretation of 'all the Scriptures' that Jesus gave both before and after his Passover: 'Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?' (Lk 24:26-27, 44-45) Jesus' sufferings took their historical, concrete form from the fact that he was 'rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes,' who handed 'him to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified.'(Mk 8:31; Mt 20:19)" (CCC 572)
Faith can therefore try to examine the circumstances of Jesus' death, faithfully handed on by the Gospels (Cf. Dei Verbum 19) and illuminated by other historical sources, the better to understand the meaning of the Redemption." (CCC 573)
Our openness to the word of the Scriptures determines how the Lord might reveal himself so as to nurture our relationship with him. Read and ponder the Scriptures daily, particularly hearing with care their proclamation in the sacred Liturgy where Christ truly speaks to us again and again with the desire that we might truly know him.
I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy".
For every tree is known by its own fruit.
Friday, September 11, 2009
No disciple is superior to the teacher;
but when fully trained,
every disciple will be like his teacher.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary: "those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son"
among many brothers.
The Holy Spirit prepared Mary by his grace. It was fitting that the mother of him in whom "the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily" should herself be "full of grace." She was, by sheer grace, conceived without sin as the most humble of creatures, the most capable of welcoming the inexpressible gift of the Almighty. It was quite correct for the angel Gabriel to greet her as the "Daughter of Zion": "Rejoice." It is the thanksgiving of the whole People of God, and thus of the Church, which Mary in her canticle lifts up to the Father in the Holy Spirit while carrying within her the eternal Son.
Monday, September 7, 2009
and there was a man there whose right hand was withered.
The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely
to see if he would cure on the sabbath
so that they might discover a reason to accuse him.
But he realized their intentions
and said to the man with the withered hand,
“Come up and stand before us.”
And he rose and stood there.
Then Jesus said to them,
“I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath
rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?”
Looking around at them all, he then said to him,
“Stretch out your hand.”
He did so and his hand was restored.
But they became enraged
and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
"And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech...And taking him aside from the multitude privately, he put his fingers into his ears , and he spat and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, "Ephphatha," that is, "Be opened." And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly." (St. Mark 7. 32-35.)
The Gospels are filled with the evidence of the sacramental system initiated by Christ. As incarnate God he uses physical reality, the gifts of God's creation, as signs to bear the grace of supernatural life. All of creation is wrapped up in the proclamation of redemption.
In his preaching the Lord Jesus often makes use of the signs of creation to make known the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. (Cf. St. Luke 8. 10.) He performs healings and illustrates his preaching with physical signs or symbolic gestures. (Cf. St. John 9:6; St. Mark 7:33 ff.; 8:22 ff.) He gives new meaning to the deeds and signs of the Old Covenant, above all to the Exodus and the Passover, (Cf. St. Luke 9:31; 22:7-20.) for he himself is the meaning of all these signs. (CCC 1151)
In the Baptismal ritual the priest continues this ordering of creation as a sign of salvation when he repeats the blessing "Ephphatha! Be opened!" over the ears and mouth of the newly baptized child. May the Lord open our ears to truly hear the Gospel and our mouths to proclaim our faith to the glory of God the Father.
“Why are you doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Have you not read what David did
when he and those who were with him were hungry?
How he went into the house of God, took the bread of offering,
which only the priests could lawfully eat,
ate of it, and shared it with his companions?”
- Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work.
The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.
Friday, September 4, 2009
To prepare for worthy reception of this sacrament (of the Eucharist), the faithful should observe the fast required in their Church. Bodily demeanor (gestures, clothing) ought to convey the respect, solemnity, and joy of this moment when Christ becomes our guest.
Art: Paolo Veronese, The Wedding at Cana. Musée du Louvre, Paris.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak
because they knew that he was the Christ.
Satan or the devil and the other demons are fallen angels who have freely refused to serve God and his plan. Their choice against God is definitive. They try to associate man in their revolt against God.