No Low-Cost Christianity

Posted on August 30, 2016 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, September 4, 2016, 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

As we look back at the story of our faith, we recognize graced moments in which women, men, and even children, have made decisions about the course or orientation of their lives that have changed history itself. Like that “shot heard ’round the world” of April 19, 1775, marking the first military action of the American Revolution, certain acts have opened up new pathways and modes of faith that have forever shaped the lives of countless believers through the ages.

Some of these might seem quite simple (perhaps because we know the stories so well): Mary’s fiat, Saint Peter’s decision to get out of his boat to follow the wandering Rabbi, and Saint Matthew leaving his tax collecting post. Others seem, somehow, far away and remote to us: Saint Lawrence presenting the poor, the Church’s true treasure, to an emperor who would kill him; Saint Patrick’s decision to return to Ireland after escaping slavery; Saint Francis stripping off his clothes and family ties to stand naked in the square of Assisi; Saint Angela Merici bringing together a group of women in order to teach girls outside of the walls of a cloister; Saint Aloysius Gonzaga renouncing his titles and princely rank in order to become a Jesuit; or Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton’s decision to enter the Catholic Church, despite society’s objections, and establish a new community of sisters, laying the foundation for Catholic education in America.

Even contemporary figures—our modern “saints”—had moments in which they made a decision that marked a moment of conversion: the newly canonized Saint Teresa of Kolkata asking permission from her religious superiors to begin working with the poor on her own; Dorothy Day’s recognition of the good work being done on behalf of the poor by the Catholic Church and her desire to unite herself to that work; Saint Maximilian Kolbe volunteering to take the place of a husband and father chosen to be executed by the Nazis; Thomas Merton’s decision to attend a Mass at Corpus Christi Church in Manhattan that marked a turning point on his journey to Catholicism and life as a Trappist monk; Martin Luther King’s trip to India in 1959 to learn about non-violent resistance; and Blessed Oscar Romero’s decision to seek justice for his slain priest friend and all the poor of El Salvador.

Regardless of when they lived or their title or state of life, these individuals demonstrated a willingness to make the Gospel the primary focus of their lives. Knowing the cost of discipleship, they willingly took on the burden of faith and set out on a new way, taking the words of Christ at face value: “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Lk 14:26-27).

In these tense days, as people around the world struggle to make sense of the terror and violence that have become such a part of daily life, we are reminded that “there is no such thing as low-cost Christianity. Following Jesus means swimming against the tide, renouncing evil and selfishness” (Pope Francis via Twitter, September 5, 2013). We are being invited to trust in providence and to focus our attention on the common good and search for peace, asking for the grace of wisdom and discretion: “Who can know God’s counsel, or who can conceive what the LORD intends? For the deliberations of mortals are timid, and unsure are our plans … who ever knew your counsel, except you had given wisdom and sent your holy spirit from on high? And thus were the paths of those on earth made straight” (Wis 9:13, 17-18b).

The Church’s liturgy this Sunday remind us that, if we are to be true followers of Jesus, we must be willing to accept the responsibility that comes with discipleship, and part of that responsibility is a commitment to peace and justice, a dedication to building God’s kingdom here and now. And so, we pray, we fast, and we give to the poor. Any one of those acts is good and noble. But the question before each one of us is, “Where is my heart? To whom, or to what, does it belong?” If we continue to hold back, any words we speak or pray, the acts of penance we perform, and the gifts we share will always fall short and will never be what they might be, unless we act out of love for God and a spirit of gratitude for all that God has done for us.

Br. Silas S. Henderson, SDS

PRAYER

O God, by whom we are redeemed and receive adoption,
look graciously upon your beloved sons and daughters,
that those who believe in Christ
may receive true freedom
and an everlasting inheritance.
Through our Lord Jesus, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

—Collect, 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. Excerpt from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 2010, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.

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God is God and I Am Not

Posted on August 25, 2016 by - Everyday Stewardship

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time 2016

I really loved watching Tim Russert, former NBC News Washington bureau chief and moderator of Meet the Press, who passed away in 2008. I guess what I loved the most about him was his tremendous sense of humility. He was a brilliant political mind, but he always conducted himself as a humble servant of the people, and being a devout Catholic, of his God. (more…)

Humble Words

Posted on August 23, 2016 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, August 28, 2016, 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

There was thunder and lightning. It was quite a light show that God put on last night! But this morning at 6:00 am the world is quiet again. The eastern sky is washed in a pinkish peach with receding dark clouds reminding the world of the passing turmoil. Above all of this is the morning star, quietly present, always there after the night storm passes.

Our American world seems to be in the storm stage politically. There is still thunder and lightning, but it will pass as it always has. It will march off into history and a new day will dawn. Strange as it may seem, the quiet of the morning star will be there … a personage who is not “donner and blitzen.” Have you seen him? With the storms and rising light of a new president on the horizon, you may not have noticed the quiet star. It, he, is quietly there by the name of “Sully.”

Tom Hanks is playing the role. The movie is out and being advertised on TV. Just plain Sully, no frills even in the title. Many of us remember his story. The image of an airliner floating in the Hudson with survivors standing on the wings still comes to mind when his name is mentioned. Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger III was an instant hero after he successfully landed US Airways Flight 1549 off Manhattan Island on a cold January day in 2009. It was shortly after takeoff, when a flock of Canada geese collided with the plane. Because of Sully’s expertise all 155 passengers survived.

Do you remember the interviews with “Sully” after his amazing feat? He was modest about his acts of courage, crediting all to his training over the years. He shared, “One way of looking at this might be that for 42 years I’ve been making small, regular deposits in this bank of experience, education and training. And on January 15 the balance was sufficient so that I could make a very large withdrawal.” These are humble words.

Modern society seems to think that humility is meekness combined with weakness. In Sully there appears a quiet core of strength. He speaks the truth with no frills or self-aggrandizement. That’s what Jesus talks about in his parable. That’s the manner in which Sully shared his experience when he emerged as a hero.

Pride is one of the most subtle and powerful tools of the devil. It has gradually shifted in our way of thinking to something that is good. “I’m proud to be an American.” “We are proud of our athletes in the Olympics!” “Hold your head up and be proud!” Yes, there is a good side to pride. But it’s the overemphasis on self that is dangerous. When we give trophies and stars for insignificant achievements to the very young, that’s dangerous. When we live life as though we are entitled to the “good life” without using our gifts to their fullest through hard work and application, that’s dangerous. When our life is centered around “me, me, me!” that’s dangerous. The superabundance of “selfies” is a dangerous sign of our self-centered society. It’s one way of taking the higher place at the banquet table. Ours is a “me first!” society.

Humility is truth. It is recognizing that God is the source of all our gifts. Everything we have and are is God-given. In America, the self-made entrepreneur is admired and held up as a model for all. But the talent and energy and drive that propels that person’s achievement is all God-given. There is absolutely nothing that we can claim as our own. A proud Christian, a follower of the humble Christ, is simply a living oxymoron. Christ, the Son of God, lowered himself to our level when he took our human nature. He took the lowest place at the table of intelligent creatures. It’s simply unthinkable that any of us would put ourselves above him.

As always, avoiding extremes is the name of the game. We are not to imitate Dickens’ Uriah Heep. His humility was false. Truth is what it’s all about. If I sing well and am praised, then I thank God. If I am a successful businessperson, I thank God. If I have natural beauty, then I thank God. No matter what I’m praised for, I recognize that God is the source. I may not say that out loud. I may respond as Sully did, with the facts, but interiorly, I thank God.

Living like this is not flashy. It’s living like the quiet, peaceful, always present morning star. Our first reading begins, “Conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts. Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God.”

Patricia DeGroot, OblSB

PRAYER

Disturb us, Lord, when
we are too well pleased with ourselves,
when our dreams have come true
because we have dreamed too little,
when we arrived safely
because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
with the abundance of things we possess
we have lost our thirst
for the waters of life;
having fallen in love with life,
we have ceased to dream of eternity
and in our efforts to build a new earth,
we have allowed our vision
of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
to venture on wider seas
where storms will show your mastery;
where losing sight of land,
we shall find the stars.

We ask You to push back
the horizons of our hopes;
and to push into the future
in strength, courage, hope, and love.

“Disturb Us, Lord” prayer attributed to Sir Francis Drake, c. 1577.

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Lost

Posted on August 23, 2016 by - Everyday Stewardship

Lord I am not worthyA recent article from a prominent online news source called on Pope Francis to end the practice of praying “Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed” before Holy Communion.

The author, a self-described “healed ex-Catholic,” called it negative reinforcement and implied that this kind of mentality leads people to do destructive things.

I’m certain the author believes that she is making a merciful proposal, but I think she misses the point of mercy.

Indeed, there are Catholics who take the concept of unworthiness to an unhealthy degree, but the Centurion’s prayer in Mass is not an expression of low self-esteem – it’s self-awareness.

In the eighteenth chapter of Luke, Jesus tells a parable about two different pray-ers (and prayers).

The first is a Pharisee who goes to the Temple area and prays: O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity—greedy, dishonest, adulterous—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.”

Even if we aren’t arrogant enough to actually say those words to the Lord, we’ve all had those moments of “I’m glad I’m not like that person.”  Clearly not a very merciful way to think.

God Be Merciful to MeThe second pray-er is  a tax-collector – reviled among the people of Jesus’ time for being notoriously unscrupulous.  He, too, goes to the Temple but prays this: “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.”

The point of the parable is clear:  What puts us in greater spiritual peril is not that we are sinners, but that we fail to recognize our lost-ness.  Thus, removing the Centurion’s prayer in Mass would be a tragic liturgical, spiritual, and theological mistake.

Thomas Merton said it well in No Man Is An Island: “Only the lost are saved. Only the sinner is justified. Only the dead can rise from the dead…Some men are only virtuous enough to forget that they are sinners without being wretched enough to remember how much they need the mercy of God.”

Chuck Frost is Pastoral Associate at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Roanoke, Virginia. Chuck was received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church in 2000 after spending 10 years as a United Methodist Pastor in Mississippi and Alaska. After becoming Catholic, Chuck served for 9 years as Diocesan Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Savannah, GA. Chuck has a MDiv from Duke Divinity School.

Jesus: Are You a Fan or a Follower?

Posted on August 19, 2016 by - Everyday Stewardship

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media can be powerful tools of communication. They allow people to stay in touch. They provide an avenue for fresh ideas.

Are You a Fan or a Follower?People can be engaged in conversations and be exposed to issues of the day in ways few could have dreamed of just a few decades ago.

But, social media can also give the false sense of really knowing someone, when only the surface has been scratched about who a person is in reality.

You don’t really know someone just because you know a lot about him or her and are linked to a profile online. Unfortunately, people develop emotional attachments to the idea of a person all the time. If they do find themselves fortunate enough to meet the person face to face one day, they can often find out they never really knew the person in the first place.

There are people who believe they know Jesus so very well. They can readily share their view of what Jesus would do or wouldn’t do in a given situation. They own items like crosses and Bibles that seem to provide evidence of this person they know so well.

Sometimes, they even strongly admonish others because their view of Jesus is certainly not in line with their own.

But in Luke 13, Jesus speaks about those who claim to know Him, but they really do not belong to Him at all. They make claims based upon what they have seen and heard, but they have never allowed Jesus to truly change them. They are like Facebook followers; seemingly close, but with no real relationship at all.

Do you know Jesus? Don’t just be a fan. Invite Jesus into your life and let the real relationship begin.

10 Points on Good Stewardship for Students

Posted on August 17, 2016 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

The stewardship way of life is for everyone, even those who are young. As students go back to school as another summer has passed, it is a great time to reflect on how a student is called to live out his or her stewardship. Here are 10 things to focus on as the academic year begins.

    1. 10 Points on Good StewardshipGod has given you the gift of intellect and it should be used wisely.
      Do not try to just get by in your classes. Offer your best effort and cultivate your intellect so you can become the best student possible.
    2. The work you do in class is your gift to God.
      At this time in your life, you are called to be a student. What you do in class is your unique offering to God.
    3. Don’t waste the gift of time.
      For generations, students have put off studying or class projects until the last-minute. That is being a poor steward of one of God’s greatest gifts: time. Learn to manage this precious resource.
    4. CommunityAlways remember you are a part of a community, even if you don’t feel like it.
      Unless you are homeschooled, other students trying to make sense of growing up and the need for school surround you, and at that, even homeschoolers have communities that they see periodically. You are never alone in the jungle of school and there are peers, parents, and school staff that are willing to help you discern what is best for you.
    5. Be grateful for the chance to be in school.
      Millions of children all around the globe have had the chance to attend school taken from them. Their futures are severely compromised because they are missing the chance to learn basic knowledge that will allow them to prosper in the world. Never take your ability to attend school for granted.
    6. God is calling you today in your classroom.
      Perhaps it is through a classmate, a teacher, or a circumstance, but somehow God is asking something of you each day. Be aware and stay mindful of all those who cross your path each day. Something or someone very important might cross your path, never to return again.
    7. Cross Light BulbHold yourself accountable.
      Don’t fall into the temptation of slacking off, not doing your work, or even worse, cheating. Integrity is a precious gift that should never be tossed away. No one else is responsible for your actions except for YOU.
    8. Embrace the entirety of your life as a student.
      Growth in school is about more than books and subjects. God has filled this world with people to meet, sports to play, and moments to rejoice in life. Don’t let this time pass you by and get involved.
    9. Begin and end each school day with prayer.
      When you awake, offer the day and all your efforts of the day to God, and then when the day is over, spend time with God reflecting on how you succeeded and how you failed as a good steward and disciple of Jesus. Allow God to walk with you throughout your day by creating bookends of prayer for your day.
    10. Stay committed.
      The school year can be long. Make a commitment to stay focused and not fall behind. The good thing about the times we fail in that commitment is that we can recommit ourselves and begin again.

    Be sure to share with students, parents, teachers, and your parish family. Have an awesome school year and always keep God as the main thing.

    This list is also available as a downloadable PDF here.

Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Posted on August 15, 2016 by - Everyday Stewardship

Today is the Feast of the Assumption. Although it is not a holy day of obligation for Catholics in the US, it is still a very important day in the life of the Church. Feasts dedicated to Mary say more about her son, Jesus, than herself.

I would love to share with you Scott Hahn’s teaching on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Also, if you are unaware what the US Bishops pastoral letter, Stewardship: A Disciples Response says about Mary as a role model for good stewards everywhere, today is a great day to look at that. This LINK will take you to a free download of the letter and I would direct you to pages 40 and 41.

Have a blessed Feast of the Assumption!

All through Love and Nothing through Fear

Posted on August 12, 2016 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, August 21, 2016, 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

0821_MidweekReflection

Isaiah offers us a vision of utter inclusivity and welcome: “From them I will send fugitives to the nations … and they shall proclaim my glory among the nations. They shall bring all your brothers and sisters from all the nations as an offering to the LORD” (66:19-20a). Isaiah’s words challenge us given our current world climate of fear and mistrust. Many, if not most, of us want to welcome all of our brothers and sisters, especially those in need due to unjust political and religious situations at home. However, with terrorist attacks and violence that seem rampant, the deeper desire to be welcoming is often overshadowed by the innate human desire for safety and protection. On one hand, this is understandable. On another, we must remember the words of Jesus that also call us to a deeper inclusivity: “People will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God. For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last” (Lk 13:29-30). While we must be prudent and even cautious, that does not mean allowing fear to get the best of us and replace the acts of faith and inclusion to which our readings call us.

Pope Francis has spoken often about our need to welcome the stranger and see the Church as a mother whose care is expressed with special attention to sisters and brothers who must flee their homeland. They are in limbo, between the home of their roots and the countries that might become new homes for them. When he spoke to the US Congress, Pope Francis said: “In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities” (9/24/15). We are a nation who has welcomed others from our beginning. When Pope Francis welcomed refugees to the Vatican this spring, he put his money where his mouth was, so to speak. His witness is a foretaste of the words from Luke that all will come from east and west and north and south and recline at table in God’s kingdom made visible in that part of God’s reign known as Vatican City.

How do we follow his example? How do we face our fears in ways that help us feel as safe as humanly possible and, at the same time, follow the Pope’s call to find security by giving security? Today’s second reading is our guide: “Do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him” (Heb 12:5). The discipline of prayer opens hearts and brings before the Lord what we find there—fear and hope—and helps us find strength and courage in the Lord. The discipline of study informs us more fully on issues that can seem daunting or off-putting at first glance. The discipline of dialogue allows truth to surface when we speak honestly and listen openly, especially to those with whom we disagree. The discipline of compassion helps us to feel with another, in the same way we would like others to feel with us. We strengthen our drooping hands and weak knees by taking on these disciplines, like the athlete or musician whose discipline of practice brings freedom and facility in one’s desired goal. Discipline of prayer, study, dialogue, and compassion brings us “the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it” (Heb 12:11b).

Pope Francis models these disciplines for us in his letter to the 2016 Refugee Olympic Team. He wrote the team members: “I have learned about your team and read some of your interviews so that I could get closer to your lives and your aspirations. I extend my greetings and wish you success at the Olympic Games in Rio—that your courage and strength find expression through the Olympic Games and serve as a cry for peace and solidarity… I pray for you and ask that you, please, do the same for me.”

St. Francis de Sales taught that we should do all through love and nothing through fear. Our readings invite us to live these words and offer the tool of discipline to help us do so. By living what today’s readings invite, Jesus will recognize us, know where we are from, and open the door for us to join the throngs gathered in God’s kingdom.

Rev. Paul H. Colloton, OSFS

PRAYER

O God, who cause the minds of the faithful
to unite in a single purpose,
grant your people to love what you command
and to desire what you promise,
that, amid the uncertainties of this world,
our hearts may be fixed on that place
where true gladness is found.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Collect, 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time. Excerpt from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 2010, ICEL. All rights reserved.

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Living with Authenticity

Posted on August 11, 2016 by - Everyday Stewardship

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2016

Faith and PoliticsPolitics and religion are supposed to be two topics you never bring up at family gatherings because they often drive wedges between people who love each other. It would be far easier to talk about pop culture and other frivolous topics than politics and faith.

I remember when I was a teenager my uncle became a born-again Christian. Suddenly, his siblings wanted to talk to him less. When there was the rare family gathering, great effort was put into bringing up topics of less substance so as to crowd out of the conversation of his take on faith.

Faith and familyBut that seems pretty unfortunate. In fact, faith seems like the most important topic to bring up with those you love. Jesus knew his message would bring division and conflict to many a household.

Fear of conflict was not to be a reason for not sharing one’s faith. It is through our witness and testimony that others see what a difference Jesus makes in life.

Perhaps the best way of giving witness is by how we live our lives. If we are striving to live an authentic stewardship way of life, we will be speaking volumes about faith without saying a word.

We need to share our journey with family because we love them.

My uncle had found a path, but he wanted to forcibly tell everyone what he or she needed to do, rather than simply demonstrate that through his actions.

Will the Good News of Jesus Christ sometimes cause a riff in the fabric of a family? Yes, because the Way of the Cross is not easy. But if at the next family gathering you take the time to give of yourself freely and completely to those around you, then those you love may take notice and may want to know the reason for your generosity and graciousness.

Causing Discomfort for the Comfortable

Posted on August 9, 2016 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, August 14, 2016, 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The experience of the human spiritual journey cannot be summed up easily for there are as many different experiences as there are humans. No two journeys are alike. Most stories of conversion span years or decades, yet that is not to discount or discredit those stories of being “knocked off a horse” and the light of God breaking through one’s blindness. The reality is that whatever our testimony of faith, the desire for God has been written into each human heart and we are constantly being drawn to our Creator, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us.

One could then deduce that when we finally turn to God and form a real relationship with Jesus Christ, all our longing ceases. We have found the object of our true desire. Won’t the rest of life be endless bliss?

To somewhat paraphrase the Lynn Anderson song from the 70s, “Jesus never promised you a rose garden.” At least you won’t find it on earth. Of course, to love God and serve him is the most fulfilling life one could live. We certainly hold to that as believers. But fulfillment does not mean constant happiness or a life without trial. Certainly, our conversion is a constant ongoing process. Even when we have found our way through several thresholds of conversion into an intentional discipleship, our journey has still, in many ways, only begun. There will be tests of faith along the way. Some will be small and others quite significant. Unfortunately, sometimes those tests and trials will come from a curious source: our family and friends. These are the ones who should be happiest for us in our journey.

Just this past Easter, like many Easters before, thousands were baptized and received into full communion with the Church. The desire for God that was written onto their hearts at birth had led them not only to the person of Jesus, but also the body of Christ. But the decision to follow Jesus in this way can be a source of ridicule and anger on the part of those who loved them before this decision was made.

While working with the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) for over two decades, I had witnessed adult children being disowned by parents, friends ostracized by friends, and siblings constantly debating each other. The divisions were fueled by prejudice, ignorance, and fear of the unknown. This is not the experience for all, but for those who do walk this difficult road, the earthly pain joined with the joy of heavenly grace is all too real.

Depending on where you are in the world, the chance of having such an experience can greatly increase. While Catholic Church communities are flourishing in the southern United States, prejudice against Catholics is still common. In other parts of the country, as well as in parts of Europe and Oceania, apathy toward religion and atheism are on the rise, making many ask the would-be-disciple a simple question in a puzzled tone: “Why?”

But here is a question that is worth asking: Shouldn’t our faith at times, if being fully lived out, be a source of discomfort for those we meet? I remember an old priest friend of mine once told me that if his homilies never ruffled any feathers, he wasn’t accurately preaching the Gospel. In Luke’s Gospel this week, Jesus seems to support this line of thinking. Jesus spoke of not bringing peace to all, but instead division. He suggests that families will be at odds with one another over the message he brings. The reality is that the truth is not always what we want to hear. The good news of Jesus Christ is liberating for many, but is also a mirror for others in which they see a reality about themselves they do not wish to see. Sometimes, the message of the Gospel is too hard for some to digest. I think of St. Augustine before his conversion; hearing the Gospel, wanting to be holy and follow Jesus, but just not yet.

Today, Christians all over the globe are victims of prejudice, ignorance, hatred, and fear. If we hide our faith because we are only comfortable in those Kumbaya moments of peace, love, and understanding, then we are like a fine piece of glassware untested by fire. It is the fire that solidifies us into the beautiful thing that God created us to be. Jesus never portrayed that this would be easy. Those in our days that preach a prosperity gospel or a faith that eliminates all darkness from our lives are selling something that Jesus never offered. Yes, the kingdom of God is in our midst and death has no power over us because of Jesus’ cross and resurrection, but we exist in the now and not-yet. One day, all tears will be washed away and all will be made new. But until then, we are to lift each other up and help each other stand. We are to speak up for those who have no voice, even if society chooses to hurl stones at us. We are to speak love to hate, and truth to deceit. We must remember, Jesus is a “stone that will make people stumble, and a rock that will make them fall” (1 Pt 2:8). As a disciple, don’t be afraid if someone’s feathers get ruffled along the way. If you love someone, then you owe that person the whole truth, and nothing but the Truth.

Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

PRAYER

We bless your name, O Lord,
for sending your own incarnate Son,
to become part of a family,
so that, as he lived its life,
he would experience its worries and its joys.

We ask you, Lord,
to protect and watch over this family,
so that in the strength of your grace
its members may enjoy prosperity,
possess the priceless gift of your peace,
and, as the Church alive in the home,
bear witness in this world to your glory.

We ask this thought Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Prayer for Families from Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers.

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