News Category: In Step with the Readings

Why do we do that? Catholic Life Explained

Question: We live in a country that upholds the separation of Church and state. What is the role of Catholics in society?

Answer: The role of the Church in the world has taken different forms over time, but the theme is the same. Be disciples in it! As the lay faithful — that is, not vowed priest or religious — we are called to live and love in the circumstances of our daily lives. St. John Paul II wrote a document about the laity. In it he wrote, “In their situation in the world God manifests His plan and communicates to them their particular vocation of seeking the Kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God” (On the Lay Members of Christ’s Faithful, 15).

God wants us in the hospitals, the board rooms, the law offices, the food pantries, and the little league games! We are to engage in the affairs of the world. But when we’re there, we should live the plan of God. We need to respect those around us, engage in just business and legal practices, and love our children. We should care for the earth, use our money wisely, and get to know our neighbors. We must advocate for social policies that respect human dignity and human freedom. No matter our state in life, we are invited to build the kingdom of God!

©LPi

Gospel Meditation

November 17th, 2019
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Where would you go if the world was ending? What would you do? The last decade has seen a rise in doomsday prepping, the marketing of survival techniques, and a sea of products designed for you to weather the apocalypse. “The days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another that will not be thrown down,” Jesus warns in today’s Gospel. On the one hand, he is referring to the literal downfall of the city of Jerusalem. Indeed, many of his prophecies here have come true over the last few millennium. Nations have indeed “rise[n] against nation[s],” kingdoms against kingdoms. Surf any world news website today alone, and you will see stories of “powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues.” Jesus’ advice to his disciples, however, isn’t to build a bunker. It’s to persevere in faith … which won’t be easy.

“They will seize and persecute you … you will be handed over … you will be hated because of my name.” This warning, too, has come to pass in the Church throughout history in state-sponsored persecutions and martyrdoms. Jesus is the Messiah, but his first coming was not a coming of earthly victory. Any disciple of his can expect a challenge. The coming of Christ didn’t disrupt our free will. Evil still exists and sometimes even appears to triumph. This does not mean God has abandoned His people!

Jesus reminds the disciples — and us — of his constant presence. “I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking.” In other Gospel passages, Jesus promises and sends the Holy Spirit upon his followers. The presence of God is real in our lives, no matter what trials come our way. It’s tempting to be distracted or dismayed by natural destruction and moral evil in the world. But the Church has weathered greater storms. The sacredness of the human person endures. We can have hope! This day and every day, we can persevere in hope and trust in God.

©LPi

MEDITACIÓN DEL EVANGÉLIO

17 de noviembre de 2019
33er Domingo del Tiempo Ordinario

Dios nunca nos abandonará si no lo abandonamos a las primeras de cambio. Las lecturas de la liturgia de hoy hablan sobre el final de los tiempos. La advertencia es no asustarse, sino prepararse para dar testimonio de fe y permanecer con el Señor pase lo que pase. En el tiempo de Jesús, así como en el nuestro, existió la división entre países, destrucción de ciudades enteras por la guerra, conflictos de inmigración y alegatos de poder de muchos de los gobernantes del mundo. “No se asusten si oyen hablar de guerras y disturbios, porque esas cosas tienen que ocurrir primero, pero el fin no llegará tan de inmediato.” (Lucas 21:9). Y en otro momento, les dice Jesús: “Los harán comparecer ante reyes y gobernadores por causa de mi nombre, y esa será para ustedes la oportunidad de dar testimonio de mi.” (Lucas 21:12-13).

¡Dar testimonio! Es lo más fácil de decir y lo más difícil de cumplir. Una vida de sacrificio nadie la quiere; todos buscan lo fácil lo agradable. Sin embargo, San Pablo nos advierte que hay que trabajar para ganarse el sustento. Entonces, ¿Qué debemos hacer? Pues, confiar y ponerse en manos de Dios en el esfuerzo de cada día. “Vive por horas sin pensar en lo que seguirá: llena la hora presente como si fuera la última para ti; con el sólo fin de agradarme”. (Diálogos de Jesús con Concepción Cabrera de Armida). ¿Cuál será tu compromiso de esfuerzo para el trabajo? Todo lo que se escoja será a base de esfuerzo; la fidelidad al Evangelio siempre dirige al cambio y a una vida llena de Dios. ¡El mundo necesita gente buena como tú!

©LPi

Live the Liturgy ~ Inspiration for the Week

Jesus often preached that his kingdom is not of this world. He also instructed the disciples that the end of the world as we know it would eventually come but provided no details about the time. For those who are called to live by faith it is not important to know. Cultivating an attitude of trust that God will take care of all things in God’s time is the goal of every believer.

LPi

VIVIR LA LITURGIA ~ INSPIRACION DE LA SEMANA

Con frecuencia Jesús predicaba que su reino no es de este mundo. También instruía a los discípulos que el fin del mundo que conocemos finalmente terminaría, pero Jesús no les dio detalles sobre cuándo ni cómo. Para los que viven según la fe, los detalles no son importantes. Cultivar una actitud de confianza que Dios va a cuidar todas las cosas en su propio tiempo es la meta de cada creyente.

LPi

Everyday Stewardship ~ Recognize God in Your Ordinary Moments

November 17, 2019
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

We Are Called to Be Saints

Catholics often are drawn to saints due to their profession, hobbies, or ethnic background. One’s patron saint serves as an example of how to live a life of holiness and service to God. We hold up the saints of the Church in high regard. However, we can sometimes make the mistake of seeing them as the subject of stories in print and not real living people. We can assume that their level of devotion and holiness is unattainable. In fact, we are all called to be saints.

Our world needs more living saints living out their stewardship in a radical manner. Stories are valuable, but when others get to see disciples of Jesus Christ answering their call in person, consider the impact. There is a reason why lay witnessing is so important in cultivating a stewardship culture in a parish community. The people we can see and hear are alive right in front of us. Some will say that to truly be humble means to act anonymously, but we are not speaking here of actions that call out, “Look at me!” We are talking about acting in a way that people see not you and me, but Jesus instead.

We are to be models and examples to one another. We are to build up one another and make the Body of Christ strong. Don’t sit back wishing you had the strength to be a saint. You have already been given the gifts needed to be the saint you are called to be. Maybe people will read about you later, but the Church needs you now!

— Tracy Earl Welliver

©LPi

LA ORRESPONSABILIDAD DIARIA – RECONOCE A DIOS EN TUS MOMENTOS ORDINARIOS

Estamos Llamados a ser Santos

Los católicos a menudo se sienten atraídos por los santos debido a su profesión, pasatiempos o antecedentes étnicos. El santo patrón de cada uno sirve como un ejemplo de cómo vivir una vida de santidad y servicio a Dios. Sostenemos a los santos de la Iglesia en alta estima. Sin embargo, a veces podemos cometer el error de verlos como el tema de historias impresas y no como personas reales. Podemos asumir que su nivel de devoción y santidad es inalcanzable. De hecho, todos estamos llamados a ser santos.

Nuestro mundo necesita más santos vivos que vivan su corresponsabilidad de una manera radical. Las historias son valiosas, pero cuando otros ven a los discípulos de Jesucristo respondiendo a su llamado en persona, considera el impacto. Hay una razón por la cual el testimonio laico es tan importante para cultivar una cultura de corresponsabilidad en una comunidad parroquial. Las personas que podemos ver y escuchar están vivas frente a nosotros. Algunos dirán que ser verdaderamente humildes significa actuar de forma anónima, pero no estamos hablando aquí de acciones que gritan, “¡Mírame!” Estamos hablando de actuar de una manera que las personas no nos vean a ti y a mí, sino a Jesús.

Debemos ser modelos y ejemplos el uno del otro. Debemos edificarnos unos a otros y hacer fuerte al Cuerpo de Cristo. No te quedes deseando tener la fuerza para ser un santo. Ya se te han dado los dones necesarios para ser el santo al que estás llamado a ser. Tal vez la gente lea sobre ti más tarde, pero ¡la Iglesia te necesita ahora!

— Tracy Earl Welliver

© LPi

Hope in the Blessings of Tomorrow

For Sunday, November 17, 2019
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Hope in the Blessings of Tomorrow

Malachi 3:19-20a
2 Thessalonians 3:7-12
Luke 21:5-19

We are experiencing a time of upheaval and change. This is true in both our secular and Church worlds. Structures and systems are changing rapidly. The way we conduct our political, societal, and religious business is so vastly different today than it was even a short time ago. While some may see this as a time of despair and gloom, it really can be an opportunity for cleansing, change, and hope. History shows that every so often a time of purification and reevaluation is needed. The old ways of doing things simply are not working anymore, and we are called to examine again our fundamental roots. We tend to cling to the concrete and familiar and get very anxious when those things are threatened.

Yet, Jesus couldn’t be clearer: “All that you see here — the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.” Our physical churches, structural systems and institutions, governmental protocols, doctrines, traditions, and the like all give testimony to something greater, but they are not that “something greater” in and of themselves. People who have lost their physical securities due to fire or natural disasters learn this valuable lesson the hard way. Hard lessons are also being learned in the life of our Church. Chanceries and church institutions must change and conduct business differently. Parish life is changing. Consolidating parishes and the closing and selling of churches are events happening in many dioceses. People are feeling the grief that comes with loss and change, but is this a time of sadness and despair only or a time of hope and the birth of something new?

Malachi reminds us that for those “who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.” The Son of Justice has arisen and brings healing rays. Can we allow Justice Incarnate to pierce through the clouds of change, sadness, and darkness and burst forth through our current experience with his healing rays? We easily forget that God is in charge and is ever faithful. When our familiar structures are taken away, the essence of His presence and the mission of the Gospel remain. While we may be attached to certain buildings, traditions, protocols, ideologies, systems, routines, and the like, we must remember that they only serve as pointers to something greater and are not ends within themselves. This is difficult to do but necessary.

When we suffer, it is hard to find hope in the blessings of tomorrow. We only see our pain and loss. The sadness can lead to anger, and the anger can cause us to throw in the towel and walk away. What has that accomplished? Suffering is always an opportunity, and the call within all suffering is the invitation to a life that is new. This newly discovered life may even find us a bit happier than we were before and more focused, purposeful, centered, and convicted to our original mission. Christianity and the Catholic Church, in particular, have to find their path toward credibility once again. The end of that journey may look a lot different than it does today, but it will be more true to our tradition and more honest.

We need to learn how to see life through God’s eyes. It is this vision and this vision alone that will bring redemption and salvation to our lost and broken world. Contemplating God’s glory and living contemplative lives frees us from passing structures, ideologies, and safety nets and brings us into the wonder of transformation and resurrection. Are we not called to bring people to a new hope? How can we even begin to do this if we are hanging on to bitterness, afraid of trying something new, falling victim to rumor and gossip, getting involved in petty debates, and losing the bigger picture of who we are called to be. We need to find joy.

It really doesn’t matter what building we gather in for worship as long as we gather. It doesn’t matter if the people around me are the same families that have been there for 50 years, as long as there are people whom we call brothers and sisters. God will be present where two or three are gathered. As long as we can be united in the Eucharistic presence of Christ, then all is well. The core life, teaching, and witness of the Church are what will remain because they live in the hearts of all believers. They become part of the stories we share and the fabric of our lives.

There are many wounded and hurting souls eager to hear the life-giving message of the Gospel. This is a time and opportunity where justice can be restored, and we can rediscover where God is calling us to be. We are called to look forward, not backward, because the goal of all that we do is preparation for the time Christ will come again. We do not know the day nor the hour … nor is any of that necessary. If we are truly sincere and committed to pursuing a love relationship with God, then it doesn’t matter when He comes.

We have to resist putting things in boxes and running to our safety nets of familiarity and long-standing traditions. Any prophet or herald who has ever made a difference in our world has left all of those things and ventured out into the unknown, often with nothing. This is as true for the original disciples as it was for St. Francis of Assisi and St. Teresa of Calcutta. God can heal our growing pains. We need to trust in God’s presence, listen honestly to each other’s stories, rely on the help of the Holy Spirit, absorb the healing rays of Christ’s justice and mercy, and forge ahead. Tomorrow will look differently than today and that’s okay.

Rev. Mark Suslenko