National Catholic Reporter
A lay Catholic weekly, bi-weekly during the summer, that contains global up-to-date coverage of news of interest to thinking Catholics.
Bread for the World
A national faith based organization founded to lobby Congress on behalf of the hungry throughout the world.
Road to Recovery, Inc
Road to Recovery, Inc is the initiative of advocates for victims of sexual abuse. Advocacy is two-fold: 1. To provide a path for the healing of victims; 2. To confront perpetrators and those who cover up the sexual assault of minors and vulnerable adult.
A timely Catholic weekly published by the Jesuits. American keeps us up to date on both news and opinion relevant to timely issues and events.
This link will keep 'parishioners-at-large' in touch with current creative liturgy sources and resources that respect a variety of 'traditions' within the Church.
Voice of the Faithful
A 'movement' of lay Catholics 'inspired' by the abuse scandal calling for greater accountability of bishops to 'Catholics in the Pew.'
Survivos' Network for those Abused by Priests or Religious
A National Network of self-help support groups for people abused by clergy or religious.
Vital information about the disclosure of sexual abuse and related issues affecting Catholics in the pew and the manner in which Bishops continue to exempt themselves from accountability
A 'lay' Catholic weekly publication with an accent on an intelligent analysis and commentary on curent issues, trends and concerns of interest to Catholics.
Bill Moyers and Company
A must link for all who desire to be kept informed of the truth about 'truths' communicated by the commercial media and the political pundists who hsve another agenda that makes truth a precious commodity.
+ Second Week of Advent
What is to become of us?
Readings: Isaiah 41:13-20 Psalm 145:1, 9, 10-11, 12-13ab Matthew 11:11-15
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. I will open up rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the broad valleys; I will turn the desert into a marshland, and the dry ground into springs of water. I will plant in the desert the cedar, acacia, myrtle, and olive; that all may see and know, observe and understand that the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it. [Isaiah 41:17-20]
All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah, the one who is to come. Whoever has ears ought to hear. [Matthew 11:13-15]
As our global awareness increases almost exponentially, so too our anxiety increases about what is to become of our nation and its heritage. Indeed, what is to become of us?
In the light of yesterday’s announcement by Time magazine that Pope Francis is their choice for this week’s cover, the world took note. Only a year ago, the Church seemed to have slipped into the margins of public life for both Catholics and non Catholics alike.
Francis has brought to light the true meaning of the gospel. In fact his first Apostolic Exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel” has brought new impetus to the Second Vatican Council.
In the right pastoral setting with a genuine openness to the Holy Spirit, we will move forward despite the efforts of some to bind us with the burdens of the past.
Today’s gospel text may be wrongly interpreted to support violence as a way into the kingdom or as a means to bring about the dominion of God. On the contrary – as William Barclay suggests in his commentary – Matthew is suggesting that true believers may indeed suffer violence through persecution for the sake of the kingdom. This is quite a different interpretation indeed. “It may well be that this saying of Jesus was originally at one and the same time a warning of violence to come and a challenge to produce a response would be even stronger than the violence.”
In other words, the response of Christ!Daily Scripture Archive»
A Command Performance
For the average believer, faith is multi-dimensional and incorporates a variety of expressions. The line between authentic religious devotion and superstition is very thin indeed. We may laugh at pagan good luck charms such as the rabbit’s foot but take very seriously the security provided by a St. Christopher medal, no matter what the speed of the motor vehicle.
But the Scripture lessons today are more than a diatribe against religious superstition. The gospel message was intended by the liturgical editors to be understood within the context of the reading from the description of the law given to the Israelites through Moses.
The commandments are not harsh rules and regulations to make life difficult for our Jewish ancestors and for us but expressions of concern for their wellbeing and the assurance of God’s providential care.
In his book “The Sinai Myth” Andrew Greeley elaborates on the religious nature of the Ten Commandments describing them more than an ethical formula. They are “a religious event,” he said, an encounter of man (sic) with God.” In essence, they were intended to be signs of God’s embrace of humanity. In other words, the God of the universe is the same God who activated life on this planet and who continues to be in relationship with us on a daily basis.
The Commandments are a guide for healthy living. Healthy living is what salvation is all about. The words health and salvation come from the same Latin root word, ‘salus’ which means health or care. If you want to be healthy and/or saved, then live the commandments. Don’t just abide by the rules but live them in spirit and in truth.
But the Israelites engaged in moral casuistry and found ways to circumvent the commandments with interpretations that in fact exempted them from the law and in effect alienated them from God. It was their manipulation and rationalization of God’s directives rather than the directives themselves that became the occasion for Jesus’ confrontations with religious authorities. Church law and moral theology have also engaged in similar rationalizing to circumvent the Church’s obligation to internal justice even on moral issues that pertain to the rights of the faithful. This was particularly evident in the handling of the sexual abuse issue. Church law favors the rights and privileges of the clergy over those of the faithful in the pew.
At the conclusion of the Gospel story, Jesus was challenged by the officers of the Temple to explain on what authority he acted. Jesus’ response seemed at first disproportionate to the challenge. However, it was John’s intent to use the temple as the symbol of the old law and Jesus as the prototype of the new law summed up in his sacrificial commitment to life unto death.
Jesus is the new Temple; his body his faithful followers—the New Jerusalem. But Jesus continues to insist that he did not come to do away with the old law but to re-institute it in spirit and in truth.
Though many of his words and deeds seemed revolutionary, Jesus was into reform, not revolution.
Jesus demonstrated in his life how to live the commandments, which he said were summed up in the love of God and neighbor. This was not an abrogation of the commandments but a formula guaranteed to fulfill them.
This is how they might sound in a more contemporary idiom:
I am your God — the God who has loved you from all eternity and in fact the God who loved you into existence. I see myself in you — I created you in my image and likeness.
Use my name in prayer but don’t use it lightly or disrespectfully. I treasure your uniqueness and I reverence your name. So I ask you to reverence me in return and know that I will always be there for you.
Because I am there for you every day, take time to acknowledge my presence in your life not only as the unique individual you are but also as a community bonded in my love. Keep my day holy! And let your entire life be an act of worship.
Honor those who have been life-giving to you — your parents and grandparents; your aunts and uncles; your teachers and mentors; everyone who has loved you and cared for you despite their human inadequacies and failures.
Don’t kill anyone—neither the body nor the spirit. But more than this, be life-giving yourself. Be a conduit of God’s life and grace for others even though it cost you your life. Let your love be sacrificial.
Don’t commit adultery. Don’t allow yourself to be deceived by the attraction of false love and don’t prostitute yourself by succumbing to the glamour of status, wealth and money.
Don’t steal or rob others of their rightful possessions or their reputation or exploit their interest and their talents. Don’t give in to greed and consumerism for the sake personal or political gain. Don’t allow yourself to slip into ‘me first’ thinking.
Tell the truth at all times and don’t envy the good that exists in your neighbors or covet their possessions.
This is the protocol for true religion. This is the formula for life, the path to eternal life – sort of ‘command performance.’
And in honor of the feast:
May soft be the grass you walk on.
May fair be the skies above you.
May true be the joys that surround you.
Ma dear be the hearts that love you.