News Category: In Step with the Readings

Gospel Meditation

July 5, 2020
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

We are all familiar with the refrain, “You have put on Christ. In him you have been baptized. Alleluia, alleluia!” In Baptism, we “put on” Christ. In putting on Christ, we put on all that Christ is and represents: hope, faith, and love. We are no longer bound to the sins and failures of the flesh, that part of us that resists God and relies exclusively on human means. It also means that we are not in debt to our past, complete with its sins, failures, regrets, fears, and unfulfilled dreams. There is always hope. In putting on Christ, we put on God’s vision for the world, for all of His children and for us. We have been given a road map to guide our paths and a blueprint to follow for our life’s journey.

There is no need for regret, and we are not tethered to our past. Is there anything in your past that you regret? Any decision or memory that continues to haunt you? We have all made mistakes, and we have this uncanny ability to continue beating ourselves up over things we can no longer do anything about, except learn from them. To put on Christ means that I can now bring God’s unconditional love to my hurtful memories and sinful choices. With each new moment and every new choice, I can start clean and live in freedom.

Imagine adults when the disciples were preaching and baptizing. They came to baptism not really knowing who they were, with pasts that were broken, seeking to live the joy of the Gospel they heard spoken to them and wanting the love they saw witnessed in the lives of those who believed. What tremendous celebrations their baptisms must have been! They could now have the support of a community, full participation in the sacraments of the church, focus for their disordered lives, consolation, healing, and an understanding of what life is really all about.

Our lives are meant to be celebrations of the Spirit we have received in Baptism. How does that joy get expressed in and through you? When we truly understand that we have put on Christ, our burdens can become much lighter. It is odd that so many Christians look like they are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if those weights could be lifted and joy experienced!

©LPi

MEDITACIÓN EVANGÉLICO

5 de Julio de 2020
14º Domingo del Tiempo Ordinario


El domingo pasado, la lectura del Evangelio retaba al creyente a tomar la cruz y seguir a Jesús, ahora, la invitación es reposar en quien podemos confiar y profundizar en amistad. Es el amigo íntimo que nunca falla, está ahí en las buenas y en las no tan buenas. Ahora, Jesús nos invita a ir a él. “Vengan a mí los que van cansados, llevando pesadas cargas, y yo los aliviaré. Carguen con mi yugo y aprendan de mí, que soy paciente y humilde de corazón, y sus almas encontrarán descanso. Pues mi yugo es suave y mi carga liviana”. (Mateo 11:28-30). La palabra yugo significa sujetar y dar dirección, ya sea a mulas o bueyes para trabajar.

Muy distinto es el yugo del que habla Jesús en esta ocasión. Muchas manos trabajando juntas por la justicia logran grandes cosas. Juntos, para hacer tareas maravillosas en la misión del Evangelio. Cuando nos unimos a Jesús es que la carga es ligera y suave, porque la cargamos todos y él nos sostiene. En una enfermedad, en familia juntos lo podemos todo. El ministerio no se hace aislado, se trabaja en equipo, nadie es número uno.  En la familia los esposos están atados al yugo de la mancuerna de su sí el día de su boda. Esa mancuerna es lo suave del matrimonio para dar dirección y apoyo a los hijos. El trabajo es duro, demandante y a veces imposible de hacer. Entonces, aprendamos y tomemos el yugo de Jesús. Él es el único camino, el da a lo difícil un nuevo comienzo y se logra con la oración y la intimidad con Jesucristo.

©LPi

Live the Liturgy ~ Inspiration for the Week

The flesh is our old self of yesterday and the one we left behind in baptism. It is the self of doubts and fears, sin and error, reluctance, untamed passion, and errors in judgment. It is also the self of missed opportunities and roads untraveled. Although we were baptized many years ago, every day is another day to live, not according to the flesh of yesterday with its regrets and misgivings, but rather to live the life of the spirit of today and tomorrow. The burdens of our personal baggage and of life itself can weigh us down. The love of Jesus Christ and the life of the spirit can pick us up, refresh us, and provide us with the hope for new opportunities and discoveries. Because we have been baptized in Christ, we need not be anxious about what we did or did not do yesterday or anxious about what will come tomorrow. We need only to seek out the love that is before us, around us, and in us and learn.

©LPi

VIVIR LA LITURGIA ~ INSPIRACIÓN DE LA SEMANA

La carne es nuestro viejo yo de ayer y el que dejamos atrás en el bautismo. Es el yo de las dudas y los temores, el pecado y el error, la renuencia, la pasión indomada y los errores de juicio. También es el yo de las oportunidades perdidas y los caminos sin recorrer. Aunque fuimos bautizados hace muchos años, cada día es otro día para vivir, no según la carne de ayer con sus remordimientos y recelos, sino para vivir la vida del espíritu de hoy y de mañana. Las cargas de nuestro equipaje personal y de la vida misma pueden pesarnos. El amor de Jesucristo y la vida del espíritu pueden levantarnos, refrescarnos y brindarnos la esperanza de nuevas oportunidades y descubrimientos. Debido a que hemos sido bautizados en Cristo, no necesitamos estar ansiosos por lo que hicimos o no hicimos ayer o ansiosos por lo que vendrá mañana. Solo necesitamos buscar el amor que está delante de nosotros, a nuestro alrededor y en nosotros y aprender.

©LPi

Everyday Stewardship ~ Recognize God in Your Ordinary Moments

Faith Like a Child

If you Google Search recommendations on how to raise generous children, almost every list of ideas begins with — or at least contains — the directive for adults to be good models of generosity themselves. Our children learn from our actions much more than from our words. Of course, when I think back over the years while my children were growing up, I think I may have learned as much from them as they learned from me. There is a time between early childhood and middle school where a child seems to be freer to give and share than at any other time in life. It is around the age of First Communion when the cries of “mine” turn to laughter and smiles, and the urge to be a part of something bigger than oneself leads to sharing. Before you know it, the child hits the pre-teen years, and once again, he or she becomes the center of the universe.

I believe that the previous paragraph is all true, however, the stages described seem to repeat themselves throughout adulthood. Don’t you agree? Sometimes we fall into seeing ourselves as the center of the universe, or we become consumed by our state in life or with what we have acquired. Also, we at times are generous and loving people. It is sin that draws us back into ourselves and away from any meaningful life of stewardship and generosity. In order to be freed for love, we need role models to help us see what really matters. We need to reflect on the example of many of our brothers and sisters in Christ. And, yes, we need to look to children who may be at the point in their lives where sharing is fun, and love is something in abundance.

— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

©LPi

LA CORRESPONSABILIDAD DIARIA ~ RECONOCER A DIOS EN LOS MOMENTOS ORDINARIOS

Fe como un Niño

Si buscas en Google las recomendaciones sobre cómo criar hijos generosos, casi todas las listas de ideas comienzan con, o al menos contienen, la directiva para que los adultos sean buenos modelos de generosidad. Nuestros niños aprenden de nuestras acciones mucho más que de nuestras palabras. Por supuesto, cuando pienso en los años mientras mis hijos crecían, creo que aprendí tanto de ellos como ellos aprendieron de mí. Hay un tiempo entre la infancia temprana y la escuela secundaria en el que un niño parece ser más libre para dar y compartir que en cualquier otro momento de la vida. Es alrededor de la edad de la Primera Comunión cuando los gritos de “mío” se convierten en risas y sonrisas, y la necesidad de ser parte de algo más grande que uno mismo lleva a compartir. Antes de que te des cuenta, el niño llega a los años de la preadolescencia y, una vez más, se convierte en el centro del universo.

Creo que el párrafo anterior es todo cierto, sin embargo, las etapas descritas parecen repetirse a lo largo de la edad adulta. ¿No estás de acuerdo? A veces caemos en vernos a nosotros mismos como el centro del universo, o nos consumimos por nuestro estado en la vida o con lo que hemos adquirido. Asimismo, a veces somos personas generosas y amorosas. Es el pecado lo que nos atrae de nuevo a nosotros mismos y nos aleja de cualquier vida significativa de corresponsabilidad y generosidad. Para ser libres para amar, necesitamos modelos a seguir que nos ayuden a ver lo que realmente importa. Necesitamos reflexionar sobre el ejemplo de muchos de nuestros hermanos y hermanas en Cristo. Y sí, tenemos que mirar a los niños que pueden estar en el punto de sus vidas donde compartir es divertido y el amor es algo en abundancia.

— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

©LPi

Weighted Down

For Sunday, July 5, 2020
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Hope

 Zechariah 9:9-10
Romans 8:9, 11-13
Matthew 11:25-30

There’s a Christian drama called Baggage. In the course of this monologue, the main character carries more and more (empty) luggage, slings, and backpacks, explaining how, through this and that scene, he collects baggage. You can see the actor start to be weighed down by what he’s carrying, but it’s so understandable why he does it: we all do the same. He tries unsuccessfully to unload that baggage onto others, but to no avail. In the climax of the script, the actor drops all of the bags with a huge sigh of relief. This image, while slightly kitschy, can be a helpful image for us as we consider this all too familiar Gospel text.

A myriad of scenarios can explain the weight that we hold deep within: it can be the confusion and anxiety about the current events we see on the news and social media; it can be discouragement about being furloughed; it can be the frustration from our children making poor life choices; it can be the shame from our secret, hidden addictive behaviors; it can be a powerlessness in confronting a tense relationship with a family member; it can be the regret we bear for failures or unresolved conflict from our past. The older we get it seems as though the more baggage we tend to collect. I think that’s normal, but I also think that we have yet to learn how to let the baggage go … just like the actor in the skit.

I remember distinctly a time when it seemed as though my heart was suffocated by the full weight of my sin history. I remember distinctly a weight on my chest that made it difficult to take a deep breath of fresh air that morning. I also remember walking into the Confessional with sweat beads coming down the side of my face. That morning, in Alma, Michigan, I made what seems to have been the confession of a lifetime! Ten minutes later, I walked out of that room, and I remember noticing that the pressure on my chest was gone! There was a lightness in my heart that I had long forgotten. I knelt in a pew to say my penance, but I had to hold my giggles back because a joy was erupting from my heart and I didn’t want to disturb the other people in the chapel.

So, when Jesus says, “Come to me … I will give you rest,” I learned to take him at his word. I took a leap of faith and laid my heart bare that morning … and the rest that Jesus talks about was not threatening to me; it was actually inviting. The burdens that I was carrying … he took them off my shoulders and emptied them on his cross. He replaced my burdens with the yoke of discipleship; in essence he said to me, “You’ve tried it your way; now try mine … it will work out better for you in the long run.” He has been true to his word ever since.

Maybe you’ve seen the picture on social media too … it’s a cartoon sketch of Jesus kneeling in front of a young kid. The young kid is holding his teddy bear tightly, and Jesus is hiding a much bigger teddy bear behind his back. Jesus is gesturing with his hand outstretched, but the response of kid is so poignant: “But I like mine ….”

Again, the same is true for us.

Our baggage has become our comfort and definition. We don’t experience what Jesus promised because we fear, or we doubt. But Jesus is patient as he is persistent. The invitation will always be there. Grace is always available to us … but it is “hidden” (cf v 26) because we have hidden our faults, thinking that Jesus isn’t “God enough” to know about them, let alone to forgive us for them. So, we go on living our lives of quiet desperation, hoping for relief, lacking the gumption to grasp for it. Weighted down, we lose our balance often, blaming this person or that scenario. We’d like to “rejoice heartily,” but we think erroneously we are condemned to “labor and burdens.” But just maybe, right before inconsolable despair envelops us when faced with our mountains of impossibilities, we can utter seven words — if even sheepishly — “I can’t anymore; you can; please do.”

Then just watch what Jesus will do …

Br. John Marmion Villa

Why do we do that? Catholic Life Explained

There’s a Saint for that!

Down through the ages, Catholics have invoked the saints for their prayers, even for everyday things.
It was a way of offering everything to God, through the saints’ prayers, even little things like losing your keys! Here are some “holy helpers”:

Airplane travelers, astronauts: St. Joseph of Cupertino miraculously levitated while at prayer.
Accountants, bankers: St. Matthew the Apostle was a dishonest tax collector until Christ called him to be an Apostle (Matthew 9:9).
Battle, soldiers, doctors, police: St. Michael the Archangel led the angels to victory against the Devil and his forces (Revelation 12:7-9).
Finding lost things: St. Anthony of Padua prayed and recovered his stolen prayer book.
Plagues, pestilence, sick people: St. Roch cared for victims of the plague in Italy.
Students, teachers, schools: St. Thomas Aquinas, once teased as “the Dumb Ox,” was actually one of the most brilliant scholars in the Church.

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