News Category: In Step with the Readings

Living As A Witness

For Sunday, November 1, 2020
Solemnity of All Saints

We Are Not Made For This World

Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14
1 John 3:1-3
Matthew 5:1-12a

When I was in high school, I was profoundly changed by the example of Catholics around me. During that time in my life, even though I had grown up in the faith, I was living a life that reflected anything but the faith. I was living a life centered on this world, but my heart was searching for more. I remember vividly one day sitting down and sensing the emptiness aching in the depths of my heart thinking, “there has to be more than this.” That split second of wondering, opened the door to allowing God back into my life, and that door led me to witnessing faithful Catholics truly living out the gospel. It was the example of those around me that poured fuel on that small flame in my heart aching for more in this life, and I remember wanting the joy they had. In this same way, the readings this weekend invite us to follow the faithful witnesses that surround us in the Catholic faith, the saints, and allow their example to embolden our own faith.

The first reading comes from the book of Revelation, which simply means “to unveil.” In many ways, the reading unveils to us the glory that awaits us in heaven and the life already enjoyed by the saints whom we celebrate today. What is most striking to me is when Jesus says they are “the ones who survived the time of great distress.” The saints did not live easy lives. In saying yes to Christ, they were literally called to say yes to his suffering and death in order to experience the hope and joy of his Resurrection, even if that meant martyrdom. In all their differences, the one thing they had in common was living detached from this world in order to gain the glory of the next, regardless of any earthly suffering that brought with it. We are called to follow that same path, saying yes to Christ even if it means tasting the cross in order to experience resurrection.

Paradoxically, that yes to Christ brings with it unsurpassed joy. In high school, when I discovered that the cause of joy in those around me was Jesus, I was shocked to realize that he was calling me to live that life as well. Holiness is the call of every Christian, you and me included. In the second reading, St. Paul shows us that this reality is rooted in the truth that we are God’s children, and if we live our lives as such, we will someday be with him in heaven. Holiness and sainthood aren’t unreachable achievements only for those with special powers, it is the personal and intimate call of Jesus to each of us to live as children of God no matter what sufferings come our way. It is the invitation to open our hearts to the radical love of God and do everything in our power to turn away from sin and toward that love, with the promise of true happiness.

The world we live in today is wrought with temptations to cling to this earth or be jaded by its corruption and ignore this invitation of love. But Jesus shows us another way on this Solemnity. In the Gospel, we hear his discourse on the mountain when he teaches the Beatitudes. The word beatitude means “supreme blessedness or happiness.” By giving us the Beatitudes, Jesus is pointing the way to the happiness we seek and the life of heaven the saints enjoy.

The world will always let us down eventually because we are not made for this world. The Solemnity and readings this weekend help us remember this truth by surrounding us with faithful witnesses who we can look up to and emulate. There was something different about how the saints lived and there should be something different about how we live. When the world is darkened by sin, we are called to be a light. When the culture seeks worldly politicians to lead, we are called to follow the King of Kings. When everyone around us is shouting and fighting, we proclaim, “blessed are the peacemakers.” If we invite Jesus into our hearts, recognizing that only he can fill our deepest longings, and live as children of God, we will someday join the saints and hear Christ say to us “rejoice…your reward will be great in heaven.”
 
Angie Windnagle
 

Why do we do that? Catholic Life Explained

Why do some people receive Communion in the hand, while others have it put on the tongue?
And is one better than the other?

Answer: Prior to the liturgical reforms that accompanied the Second Vatican Council, it was the universal practice that Catholics would receive communion “on the tongue,” meaning that the one receiving would allow the priest distributing communion to place the consecrated host on their outstretched tongue. At this time, only the priest celebrant (and, on special occasions, priests assisting at the Mass) was allowed to receive the Precious Blood.

Since 1977 (with the approval of the Holy See) the bishops of the United States have officially approved two equally valid options for receiving Holy Communion in Masses celebrated according to the Ordinary Form of the Mass. As the bishops’ statement Norms for Holy Communion Under Both Kinds states:

The communicant may choose whether to receive the Body of Christ in the hand or on the tongue. When receiving in the hand, the communicant should be guided by the words of St. Cyril of Jerusalem: “When you approach, take care not to do so with your hand stretched out and your fingers open or apart, but rather place your left hand as a throne beneath your right, as befits one who is about to receive the King. Then receive him, taking care that nothing is lost” (no. 41).

As we noted, both ways of receiving communion are equally valid in the United States and it is important that we always keep the instructions of the bishops in mind as we reflect on which method we might prefer.

©LPi

Everyday Stewardship ~ Recognize God in Your Ordinary Moments

Calculating Love

Have you ever Googled the word “love”? If you did you may have come across something called the Love Calculator. It is a website where you can supply two names, and the percentage chance of a successful relationship is calculated. Curious, I entered my name and my wife’s. Twenty percent! I hope my wife doesn’t read this!

I then decided to add my name and God. A whopping thirteen percent! Then for the last attempt, I put in my name and Jesus. A very disappointing zero percent! Am I that unlovable? Of course, then I read the small print at the bottom of the page: “Please note that this site has no serious intention whatsoever.” Shocking!

The truth is, the modern world increasingly seems to have no real idea what love is or how to determine when love is real. That makes the seemingly simple words of Jesus about loving God and your neighbor very complex indeed. How can you love God with your all your heart, soul, and mind when you have no idea what the act of loving means? And then, what constitutes loving a neighbor? To make it more complicated, Jesus commands you to love them like you love yourself. I bet you can agree with me that there are a lot of people out there who do not even come close to loving themselves. Knowing what love is in modern times is just not that easy. How is a well-meaning person able to find out the true meaning of love?

— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

©LPi

LA CORRESPONSABILIDAD DIARIA ~ RECONOCER A DIOS EN LOS MOMENTOS ORDINARIOS

Calculando el Amor

¿Alguna vez has buscado en Google la palabra “amor”? Si lo has hecho, es posible que hayas encontrado algo llamado la Calculadora del Amor. Es un sitio web donde puedes proporcionar dos nombres, y se calcula el porcentaje de probabilidad de una relación exitosa. Curioso, ingresé mi nombre y el de mi esposa. ¡Veinte por ciento! ¡Espero que mi esposa no lea esto!

Entonces decidí agregar mi nombre y Dios. ¡Un enorme trece por ciento! Luego, para el último intento, puse mi nombre y Jesús. ¡Un cero por ciento muy decepcionante! ¿Soy tan indigno de ser amado? Por supuesto, luego leí la letra pequeña en la parte inferior de la página: “Tenga en cuenta que este sitio no tiene ninguna intención seria.” ¡Sorprendente!

La verdad es que el mundo moderno parece no tener una idea real de qué es el amor o cómo determinar cuándo es real. Eso hace que las palabras aparentemente simples de Jesús sobre amar a Dios y a tu prójimo sean muy complejas. ¿Cómo puedes amar a Dios con todo tu corazón, alma y mente cuando no tienes idea de lo que significa el acto de amar? Y luego, ¿qué constituye amar al prójimo? Para hacerlo más complicado, Jesús te ordena que los ames como te amas a ti mismo. Apuesto a que puedes estar de acuerdo conmigo en que hay muchas personas que ni siquiera saben amarse a sí mismas. Saber qué es el amor en los tiempos modernos no es tan fácil. ¿Cómo puede una persona bien intencionada descubrir el verdadero significado del amor?

Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

©LPi

Live the Liturgy ~ Inspiration for the Week

Do we really understand how important our relationships with our brothers and sisters throughout the world truly are? Many give God’s commandment to love your neighbor and yourself a congenial glance of approval and agreement without really thinking about the implications. Sometimes it is easier to kneel in reverence before the tabernacle in a church than to kneel in reverence before the tabernacle of another person’s soul. Witnessing and being consumed by the Divine Power alive in the heart of every living being transforms not only how we see our brothers and sisters but how we see God Himself. The cries of the poor and those who are hurting must echo in our hearts. We can no longer be deaf to the world’s pain. It is no longer acceptable to judge others, unduly criticize, or marginalize, neglect, abuse, manipulate, or participate in the exploitation of anyone! We are asked to become hypersensitive to not only what we are doing, but why we are doing it. This holds true not only with regard to the daily conduct of our lives but our economic and corporate relationships and policies as well.

©LPi

VIVIR LA LITURGIA ~ INSPIRACIÓN DE LA SEMANA

¿Realmente comprendemos cuán importantes son realmente nuestras relaciones con nuestros hermanos y hermanas en todo el mundo? Muchos le dan al mandamiento de Dios de amar a tu prójimo y a ti mismo una mirada agradable de aprobación y acuerdo sin pensar realmente en las implicaciones. A veces es más fácil arrodillarse en reverencia ante el tabernáculo en una iglesia que arrodillarse en reverencia ante el tabernáculo del alma de otra persona. Ser testigo y ser consumido por el Poder Divino vivo en el corazón de cada ser vivo transforma no solo la forma en que vemos a nuestros hermanos y hermanas, sino también cómo vemos a Dios mismo. Los gritos de los pobres y de los que están sufriendo deben resonar en nuestros corazones. Ya no podemos estar sordos al dolor del mundo. ¡Ya no es aceptable juzgar a otros, criticar indebidamente o marginar, descuidar, abusar, manipular o participar en la explotación de nadie! Se nos pide que nos volvamos hipersensibles no solo a lo que estamos haciendo, sino también por qué lo estamos haciendo. Esto es válido no solo con respecto a la conducta diaria de nuestras vidas, sino también a nuestras relaciones y políticas económicas y corporativas.

©LPi

Gospel Meditation

October 25, 2020
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

For some reason, it is easier to genuflect in reverence to the presence of Christ in the tabernacle of a church, than to genuflect in reverence to the same presence of Christ in another person’s soul. We wrongly believe that God divides himself, placing himself in one place in preference to another. It doesn’t work that way. Love of God and love of neighbor are intimately and inseparably connected because the essence and spark of God’s very presence is in all creation. God’s presence is just as real in the one who is good, as in the one who is bad, and the one who is just, and the one who is unjust.

Our brains get in the way of truly contemplating the awesomeness of this truth. We like to separate things into boxes, the sheep from the goats and the deserving from the undeserving. But, with God there are no distinctions such as this. Our human classifications, subdivisions, and definitions hold no power or have any weight in God’s eyes. Sadly, we relate to God and to each other as if they do.

We cannot be deaf to the world’s pain. It is not about having, hording, accumulating, acquiring, securing, storing, protecting, owning, claiming, or any of the other human terms we use to distinguish mine from yours. We put so much power in these words and that power, even though we may not always realize it, can cause those words and the distinctions they carry to wound and hurt others. We have the whole order of things wrong, but we are so set on preserving this order that we are absolutely afraid to do it any other way. We go through hoops trying to convince ourselves why the perils of the person seeking a new place to call home are not our perils that we turn our back and justify closing our doors. It makes perfect sense to us. Yet, it makes no sense in terms of our faith. It doesn’t square with any of the words found in Sacred Scripture or in any time-tested teaching of the church.

We have it all reversed. We know that we do because when Jesus speaks about such things and the words of the Old Testament prophets ring out again, we start to feel uncomfortable and anxious. What we do, directly or by omission, to one of the least of these little ones we do to God. It is quite possible that some of what we are doing personally, economically, politically, globally, and even religiously is doing more harm than good. Let’s ponder that a bit.

©LPi

MEDITACIÓN EVANGÉLICO

25 de octubre de 2020
30º Domingo del Tiempo Ordinario

Desde niños hemos escuchado este pasaje del Evangelio y hasta lo hemos cantado infinidad de veces en nuestras Misas. Hoy la liturgia, nos pone la escena nuevamente de preguntar a Jesús sobre la resurrección de los muertos y sobre cuál es el mandamiento más importante de la ley. Jesús contestó: “Amarás al Señor tu Dios con todo tu corazón, con toda tu alma y con toda tu mente”.  Este es el gran mandamiento, el primero. Pero hay otro muy parecido: “Amarás a tu prójimo como a ti mismo”. El mandamiento nuevo, el mandamiento del amor. El amor espiritual vertical hacia el Señor, hacia arriba y el amor horizontal hacia el hermano/hermana, y hacia el interior de la persona, como a ti mismo. ¡Qué hermosa enseñanza nos heredó Jesús! Solo un desentendido no la comprende. Tres pasos, a seguir. 1. Ama al Señor con el corazón, con el alma, con todo tu ser 2. Ama a tu prójimo, en el servicio a los demás, los necesitados. 3. Como a ti mismo, vida de oración de meditación caminando siempre hacia el interior del corazón para imitar a Jesús.

Todo, absolutamente todo, se fundamenta en estos dos mandamientos. Vivimos en una sociedad que ha olvidado a Dios, lo ha hecho a un lado, la tecnología y el dinero, los negocios son primero. Ahora, a casi un año que llegó la pandemia, es el tiempo de tomar termómetro en estos tres pasos. ¿Cómo va mi relación con Dios? ¿Cómo va mi amor al prójimo? ¿Cómo va el cambio en mi corazón, sigue de piedra? Seamos honestos con nosotros mismos, pongamos en práctica lo aprendido en este tiempo de prueba.

©LPi