Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Weekly Update from CCM

Good morning, students!  Praise and glory to our Lord Jesus Christ!  I hope you had a wonderful Fall Break and are back now ready to tackle the last half of the semester.  It will be over before you know it.  We are back in our normal routine at CCM and hope to see you at some of our events this week.


TUESDAY - TODAY
Adoration in the chapel from noon till 12:30.

Small group scripture study this evening has been cancelled -- see you next week!


WEDNESDAY - TOMORROW
Vespers in the chapel at 6:00.  Evening Prayer service from the Liturgy of the Hours (the official prayer of the Church)!

Supper @ the Center at 6:30.  Kevin is our chef du jour this week, so come see what he's serving up.  (We'll post it on Facebook tomorrow, for those who just have to know).  Our program leader this week is Pasquale, and we'll be discussing the different types of love.  "God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him" (1 Jn 4:16).  We hope you can come participate in the discussion.


THURSDAY
Adoration in the chapel from noon till 12:30.

Small Group scripture study from 5:30-6:30 on the UC Balcony.  Bring a friend!


FRIDAY-SUNDAY
Fall Beach Retreat at Folly Beach! Please pray for me and the students who will be away this weekend on retreat.  We'll be learning about how God has revealed His love to us in the scriptures and in our lives and experiencing different types of prayer, all while relaxing and enjoying God's creation in the surf and sand.  There is still room for a couple more students so if you regret not signing up earlier, please contact me - we'd still love to have you!


SATURDAY
Event Parking Fundraiser before the football game, starting at 10:00am.  Anyone who enjoys smiling and taking money is welcome to help us out!  If you are available, please contact me.


SUNDAY
Confession/Rosary at 3:30
Mass at 4:00
Credo after Mass (until roughly 6:30).


NEXT MONDAY
Simply Stitched meets at Alex Cassell's house at 8:00pm.  Meet at CCM at 7:45 if you need a ride.


ALL NOVEMBER
We are signed up to volunteer at Community Table in Sylva every Tuesday in November!  Meet at CCM at 3:00 for a ride over.  We'll be back on campus around 6:00.


COLLEGE DISCIPLESHIP RETREAT
Our annual College Discipleship Retreat is set for Nov. 21-23, 2014 this fall. The location will once again be at Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, NC.  This year's theme is Evangelii Gaudium, "The Joy of the Gospel!" We hope you join us! The registration deadline is November 7, so don't delay.  Click below for more information or to register.


FAITH FACTS - What is a Synod?
You've probably heard a lot in the news the past couple of weeks about a gathering of bishops in the Vatican called a "Synod."  If you are like a lot of people, you may be wondering just what a Synod is, what it is meant to do, and what authority it carries.  In brief, a synod is an assembly of bishops from around the world who assist the Pope by providing council on important issues facing the Church.  It is NOT the same as an Ecumenical Council and unlike a Council a Synod carries no authority on its own.  But a Synod may have influence on subsequent documents issued by the Pope.  Synods are important in that they allow the Holy Father to hear the experiences, thoughts, and advice from bishops from all over the world.  To read more about synods and specifically the Synod on the Family that just wrapped up in Rome, here is a brief and informative Q&A from the US Bishop's web site:
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/2014-2015-synods-of-bishops-on-the-family.cfm


Until next week!
Pax Christi,
Matt

--
WCU Catholic Campus Ministry
Matthew Newsome, MTh, campus minister
  
(828)293-9374  |   POB 2766, Cullowhee NC 28723

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Gospel For Today: 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Welcome back from Fall Break!  We will have Mass at our usual time of 4:00pm this afternoon.  Father will be available at 3:30 for confession.  We hope to see you there!

TWENTY-NINTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (A)

"Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God."  Christ offers these words in today's gospel reading as a clever response to the Pharisees and Herodians (supporters of Roman rule) about whether it is lawful to pay taxes to Caesar.  The question was an attempt to trap Jesus.  If He opposed paying taxes, the Herodians would charge Him with treason.  If Jesus supported the taxes, the Pharisees would claim He was unfaithful to Judaism. 

Jesus refuses to be caught in their Catch-22.  Noting that the coins used to pay the taxes bear the image of Caesar, Christ says that we should give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and give to God what is God's.  If the coin belongs to Caesar because it is made in his image, then we who are made in the image and likeness of God rightfully belong to God.  What Christ is saying is that we should fulfill our rightful civil responsibilities (such as paying taxes), but even more we should fulfill our responsibilities to God who made us, and whose image we bear.

I have occasionally heard this verse used to support a total separation between Church and State.  Understood properly, this concept is good and integral to the idea of religious freedom.  The Church cannot have the State (human government) dictating our religious beliefs and practices.  However, too often today people abuse this concept and suggest that the teachings of the Church, even extending to the moral consciences of believers, should in no way be allowed to influence state policy.  This is a misguided notion.

Let's not mince words.  When people say we should "keep religion out of politics" what they mean is that we should not attempt to legislate morality.  And what they mean by "morality" is sexual morality -- abortion, contraception, homosexuality, divorce, etc. The idea that governments should not legislate morality falls apart when examined.  We expect our government to legislate morality all the time.  We expect there to be laws against theft, murder, fraud, rape, child abuse, etc.  We consider these things crimes because they are grossly immoral.  Yet there are immoral actions that we do not consider crimes, such as telling white lies, being selfish, or gossiping.  If we recognize that government should legislate some moral issues, but not others, we cannot deny that morality plays a part in our political discourse.

Morality deals with human behavior.  Politics deal with the relationships of human beings living in society.  Morality obviously has a role to play in civil government.  And because religion has a great deal to do with morality, it follows that our religious principles will play a role in our political activities.  The question is which immoral actions should be legal and which should not be?  Where do we draw that line?  

St. Augustine makes the point in City of God that it would be a bad idea to make everything which is immoral also illegal.  We are weak creatures who all too often fail to live up to the moral law (we can each think of examples in our own lives).  Subjecting us to legal penalties every time virtue fails us would be placing us under a crushing burden.  On the other hand, St. Augustine recognizes that there are immoral acts which are so harmful to society that they must be forbidden with the force of law in order to protect the common good.  

St. Thomas Aquinas also writes very eloquently on the relationship between civil law and the moral law.  He points out that in order for the laws of man to be just laws they must correspond to the moral law (by which he means natural law).  If any law of man contradicts the moral (natural) law, it is an unjust law and therefore not truly a law at all.  Man is under no obligation to obey an unjust law.  This is because St. Thomas recognizes God as the author of the natural law.  (Another way of saying that with a less theistic bent is that the natural law corresponds to reality).  Unlike God, human beings are capable of making mistakes.  While we need human laws for the good of society, those in authority have a duty to ensure that our laws reflect the natural law.  Our laws should correspond to reality.

These are issues that anyone charged with care of the common good of society must grapple with; and the Church definitely has a role to play in this process.  In the Catholic Church, we have an infallible guide not only in matters of faith but also in morals.  The teachings of the Church help us to determine what is right or wrong.  Civil authorities have the grave responsibility of determining what immoral behavior can be tolerated by society and what immoral behavior is so disruptive to the common good that it must be outlawed.  We should be praying for our civil leaders that they make these decisions with prudence, and always with the love of God and neighbor in mind.

Jesus' words are not an injunction against our faith having any role in our public lives or civil societies.  Far from it.  Rather they are a reminder that we are "in the world," and therefore must respect civil authorities, contribute to society, and do our best to facilitate the common good.  But while doing so we must always keep in mind that we are not "of the world."  We do not belong to this world.  We belong to God.  In following the laws of man we must always keep the law of God in mind.  Obedience to that law is our first duty.  We are made in God's image; it is right that we be rendered back to Him.



--
WCU Catholic Campus Ministry
Matthew Newsome, MTh, campus minister
  
(828)293-9374  |   POB 2766, Cullowhee NC 28723

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Gospel For Today: 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time

REMINDER:  There is no Mass on campus this afternoon, due to Fall Break.  We will have Mass on campus next Sunday, Oct. 19.  (Masses this morning at St. Mary's are at 9:00 and 11:00am).  Also, there are still a few available spaces for our Beach Retreat Oct. 24-26.  Click here to sign up!

TWENTY-EIGHTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (A)
click here for readings

Once again today Jesus uses a parable to teach us about the Kingdom of God.  In our gospel reading today (Mt 22:1-14), Jesus describes a king (God) who throws a wedding feast for His Son (Jesus).  He sends His servants (the prophets) to summon the invited guests (the people of Israel), but they refuse to come.  Some mistreat or even kill the servants, while others just ignore them.  So the king destroys their city (Jerusalem), and sends other servants (the Apostles) out to invite whomever they may find (Jews and Gentiles, people of all nations).  Those who come to the feast unprepared (without a wedding garment) are cast out into the darkness "where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth" (a reference to hell).  

Jesus ends this parable by telling us, "Many are invited, but few are chosen."  In other words, while we are all invited, we have to accept the invitation.  We must also prepare ourselves for the feast by clothing ourselves properly -- in the righteousness, justice, and mercy found in Christ.  Living a life in Christ seems difficult and it certainly has its challenges.  After all, didn't Christ say those who desire to follow Him must take up their cross daily (Lk 9:23)?  But we must remember that Christ also said, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Mt 11:30).  There are struggles in living a life of Christian virtue, but the Lord is there with us to help us in those struggles.  This is why St. Paul can say, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil 4:13).

In a way, the most difficult part about living a life in Christ is actually deciding to do it.  The crucial moment is deciding to trust in God and accept the invitation to come to His feast.  You have to decide that this is something you want to do.  How many fail to do just that? I think it is telling that in Jesus' parable there are two groups of people who refuse the invitation.  There are those who respond violently and attack the prophets (the king's messengers).  We certainly have those today.  We all can think of people who react angrily to the Christian message.  But that's not most people.

What should worry us more are those who refuse the invitation simply because they were too busy.  "Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business" (Mt 22:5).  Note that the text does not say they "refused" the invitation, only that they "ignored" it.  But the end result is the same.  They are excluded from the banquet.  

Why would someone ignore such a privileged invitation from a king?  When a friend sends you a wedding invitation, you make it a priority.  You arrange your busy schedule so that you can attend, maybe even cancelling something else you planned on doing, because you recognize this is important.  You want to celebrate with your friend.  So why ignore God's invitation?  It's a matter of setting priorities.  Yes, sure, a wedding feast sounds nice, but there are crops in the field that need harvesting.  I have a business to run, and my money is not going to count itself.  I have a test to study for.  I have a project to complete.  I have soccer practice.  I have this other party to go to.  My favorite show is on that night.  I have better things to do.

Is this you and I?  Are we ignoring God's invitation?  What else in our lives is so important that we push God aside?  These don't necessarily have to be bad things (though sinful activity does separate us from God and if we are engaged in it, we ought to repent, with God's help).  Working on the farm, managing a business, doing homework, and even spending time relaxing with your friends are all good things that need doing.  So God is not saying we should not do those things.  But we need to have our priorities straight.  We can become so focused on doing good things that we forget about the best thing.  We forget that God is not only the best thing, but in the end, the only thing.  We forget that our worldly cares are all temporary.  They are all passing away.  They seem so pressing to us now, and heaven, by contrast, seems like a retirement home.  We think of heaven as a place of eternal rest.  Eternal rest sounds nice, but it can wait.  We are not ready for that yet, and so we put God on the back burner.  Our faith is something we tell ourselves we'll "get to later," when we "have more time."

But heaven is not a retirement home.  It's certainly not boring.  If anything, it's a party!  Jesus describes heaven as a feast -- and the most celebratory kind of feast, a wedding feast.  "Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast!" (Mt 22:4).  Our reading today from Isaiah describes heaven as "a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines" (Is 25:6).  The RSV translation calls this "a feast of fat things... of fat things full of marrow."  

In other words, heaven is not just a party -- it's a feast of abundance, full of the best of everything you can imagine.  Isn't that worth paying attention to?  Isn't that worth making God a priority in life?  We prioritize the things that are important to us.  But are we prioritizing the good and neglecting the best?  Your faith should be your top priority now.  It does not have to be something you "get to later."   Because God's invitation is now.  His wedding feast is now.  It's not some future promise of pie in the sky.  The table is set.  The wine is being poured.  There is a seat reserved for you.  At every Mass we celebrate the wedding feast of the Lamb (Rev 19:9), the Eucharist, our heavenly meal of the Body and Blood of Christ (Jn 6:53-58).  And by participating in our liturgical wedding feast now, we prepare ourselves to participate in the feast eternally at the end of time, in unending union with God and all of the saints in heaven.  That's a party I want to be at.  That is an invitation worth accepting.


--
WCU Catholic Campus Ministry
Matthew Newsome, MTh, campus minister
  
(828)293-9374  |   POB 2766, Cullowhee NC 28723

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Weekly Update from CCM


Good rainy morning, students!  I'd say right about now the freshmen are learning that WCU really stands for "We Carry Umbrellas."  We invite you to come stay dry at CCM this week.  Come by and pray the rosary in the chapel, for today is the memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary (more on that at the end of this email).  Or just come by for a cup of coffee or a mug of hot tea, or just to see who else is hanging out.    A couple of times last week students held impromptu movie nights, announcing them on our Facebook Group.  We love seeing students make CCM their home away from home!

We have some great things going on this week.  Here is what's coming up.

TUESDAY - TODAY
Adoration from noon till 12:30 in the chapel.  Join us for thirty minutes of silent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.

Community Table service is this afternoon.  This is our first week volunteering for this wonderful local food charity.  Those signed up to help please be at CCM between 3:00 and 3:15.  We need to leave campus no later than 3:15, and will be back on campus between 6:00 and 6:30 (at the latest).  Remember to wear close toed shoes.  We currently have room for one more volunteer so let me know if you are interested.  We hope to be able to do this each week, so let me know if you are interested in future Tuesdays.

Small Group Scripture Study & Discussion at 6:30pm in Balsam Lobby.


WEDNESDAY -TOMORROW
Vespers (Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours) at 6:00pm in the chapel.  You don't have to be a monk to pray like one!

Supper @ the Center from 6:30-8:30pm.  This week Danny and Joseph are making enchiladas for us!  Yum!  After, Ann Marie will lead us in a discussion about Respecting Your Body.  We hope you can join us.


THURSDAY
Adoration from 2:00-2:30pm.  NOTE THE TIME.  (I have an off-campus meeting earlier in the day, and so we are rescheduling the Adoration time for this week only).

Small Group Scripture Study & Discussion at 5:30pm on the UC Balcony (meet just inside on the 2nd floor if it's raining).  


SATURDAY
Football Event Parking.  Noon till 3pm.  If anyone will be remaining on campus this weekend and is available to help with our pr-game event parking fundraiser please let me know!  We could use the help!


SUNDAY
PLEASE NOTE:  There will be no Mass on campus this Sunday due to Fall Break.  For those staying in the area over break, Sunday Mass at St. Mary's is at 9:00am & 11:00am.  If you need a ride from campus (or can offer a ride) please post to our Facebook Group.


NEXT WEEK
Our regular schedule of CCM activities is on hold next week during Fall Break.  Enjoy your break, everyone!


BEACH RETREAT - OCT 24-26
As of today, we only have six spaces available for our Fall Beach Retreat.  Registration is $50 (sponsorships available).  You can register online by clicking here.  Please register by the end of this week.  We will continue taking registrations until all slots are filled, but we will be putting in our t-shirt order on Friday and so we cannot guarantee a retreat t-shirt for any who register after that time.  We all know part of the reason to go on retreat is to get the cool t-shirt, right?  But the more important reason is to take a break from your day-to-day distractions and stress and spend some time reconnecting with God, energizing your faith, and making some great CCM friends in the process.  We hope you can join us!


FAITH FACTS
Today, Oct. 7, the Church celebrates the memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary.  This memorial has been celebrated since 1571 when Pope St. Pius V commanded that it be celebrated on the anniversary of the victory of the Christian fleet over the Ottoman Turkish invaders at the naval battle of Lepanto on this date.  That victory was attributed to Christians praying the rosary in advance of the battle.  

There are two elements involved in praying the rosary: vocal prayer and meditation on the mysteries of the life of Christ.  The rosary is a Marian devotion, but as Mary wants only to lead us to her Son, so Marian devotions should also lead us to Christ.  We encourage you to pray the rosary today and ask Mary's intercession in protecting those Christians currently suffering persecution in the Middle East.  If you don't know how to pray the rosary, there is a "how to" sheet linked to below which you can print out.  You can also come by CCM and pick up a pamphlet on the rosary, or ask me or one of the other CCM students.

I hope you each have a wonderful Fall Break and I look forward to seeing you back in the 'Whee the following week at Mass on Oct. 19.

Pax Christi,
Matt

--
WCU Catholic Campus Ministry
Matthew Newsome, MTh, campus minister
  
(828)293-9374  |   POB 2766, Cullowhee NC 28723

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Gospel For Today: 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Reminder: Father will not be able to hear Confessions today at the usual 3:30pm time due to participation in the Life Chain in Sylva.  He will be here for Mass at 4:00pm and will be available to hear Confessions after Mass for any who need it.  Also, please see the bottom of this email for information about our upcoming Beach Retreat.

TWENTY-SEVENTH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME

This week's Scripture readings once more involve vineyard metaphors.  The first reading from Isaiah 5:1-7 tells of a vineyard that was planted and well cared for.  But when it did not produce the desired fruit, it was allowed to be trampled and grazed upon by animals, making it into a ruin.  Our gospel reading from Matthew 21:33-43 tells of another vineyard that a landowner left to the care of tenants.  When he sent his servants, and later on his very own son, to obtain the produce from the vineyard, the tenants responded by killing them.  

What are the scriptures telling us with these stories?  In the first reading from Isaiah, we are told that the vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel. This helps us to understand the gospel reading.  The landowner is God, and the servants he sends to check on his vineyard are the prophets, who were rejected by His people.  Finally God even sends His only begotten Son to them, and they kill Him.  And so in our gospel reading, Jesus tells the chief priests and elders of Israel that "the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit."  

God prepared the people of Israel from the beginning to be the ones to bring salvation into the world.  If you examine the Old Testament, you see God working with His people to make His will -- and His love -- known.  From Adam, through Noah and Abraham, and later Moses and David and Solomon and beyond, the Jewish people were "being prepped," as it were, to receive the Messiah.  And why?  Was it all done just for Israel's benefit?  Is God a Father who shows favoritism?  No, God's plans are much larger than one family, one tribe, one race or even one nation.  God's plans are for an eternal and everlasting Kingdom that would encompass all of creation.

Throughout the history of the Jewish people, we see foreshadowing of Christ.  I'll give just one example.  In Exodus, we find the exciting story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt, liberating them from slavery.  You'd think they would be grateful for that.  However, they soon began to grumble and complain.  It was hot out in the desert, they were hungry, and it was starting to appear to some that Moses didn't really know where he was going.  They doubted him.  And they doubted God.  So they rebuked God and began worshiping a different false god, in the golden calf.  After this, Moses was called to mediate between God and the Isaelites to restore their covenant relationship. And from Israel came the Christ, the ultimate mediator between God and all mankind.  

With Christ, God's covenant family, and His Kingdom, is extended to the entire world, even though it sprang from the covenant with Israel.  But not all in Israel would accept the Messiah when He came.  The tenants of the vineyard rejected and killed the Son of the master.  Thus the vineyard is allowed to fall into ruin, and the Kingdom of God is "given to a people that will produce fruit."  That people includes Gentiles and Jews, slave and free, rich and poor, you and I.  That Kingdom today subsists in the Catholic Church (Lumen Gentium 8, Vatican II).  The citizens of that Kingdom are assured of their King's faithfulness and everlasting love for them.

Thus we come to my message for you today.  Allow yourselves to rely on Christ.  St. Paul writes in today's second reading (Phil 4:6-9), "Have no anxiety at all..."  What a message for college students to hear, especially as we move into the second half of the semester with exams, projects, and due dates looming!  What a message for freshmen to hear who are still getting used to life away from home and who may now be feeling the consequences of poor decisions made in the early exhilaration of independence!  What a message for seniors to hear who may have no idea whether a job will be waiting for them after graduation!  What a message for all of us to hear who feel weighed down by today's responsibilities and have no assurance of what tomorrow may bring!

"Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God."  God has always promised to take care of His people.  Mankind has always struggled to rely on that promise.  The fall of man began with Adam's failure to trust in God's promise to take care of them by ignoring God's instructions to not eat of the tree of knowledge.  Adam caved in to his anxiety, remaining silent and inactive as the serpent tempted his wife and led them to rebellion.  There is not one mention in scripture of Adam asking God for help in his time of need.  Likewise, after Moses freed the Isrealites from Egypt, the people grew anxious and uncertain and they, too, rebelled against God.  They worshiped false idols.  They did not rely on God.  

But Moses interceded for them and so Christ now intercedes for us.  By prayer and petition and thanksgiving, make your requests known to Him.  Give your needs over to Him.  And then trust in Him.  I'm not saying a simple prayer will guarantee you an A on an exam, or fix your boyfriend or girlfriend problems, or solve your roommate issues.  God's plan for you does not always look like you expect it to.  But it's always what is best for you.  And you need to trust in that. You are a citizen of His Kingdom, a member of His family.  He will take care of you.

And so have no anxiety at all.  Easier said than done, right?  How can you keep away those anxious thoughts?  You rebuke them, for they do not come from God.  Focus instead on His blessings.  St. Paul instructs us, "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, whatever is excellent, whatever is worthy of praise... think about these things."  Don't worry. Keep on doing what you have learned and received and seen in Christ, in the Church, in the holy men and women God has placed in your lives.  Then the God of peace will be with you.  Then you will rest in your place in His Kingdom.


Are you interested in learning more about some of the  major figures of the Old Testament, what they reveal about God's loving plan for us, and how they point ultimately to Christ?  How about doing it while relaxing at Folly Beach?  Our annual fall beach retreat is Oct 24-26 and we still have a few open slots for registration.  But you need to register this week!  The fee is $50 (sponsorships are available), and we've put the registration form online to make it easy for you.  Contact me for more details or CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW.

--
WCU Catholic Campus Ministry
Matthew Newsome, MTh, campus minister
  
(828)293-9374  |   POB 2766, Cullowhee NC 28723

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Weekly Update from CCM

Praised be our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!  Today is the memorial of St. Jerome, a priest and doctor of the Church.  The title "doctor of the Church" is granted to those who have made an especially noteworthy contribution to the theological understanding of the Catholic Church.  In St. Jerome's case it is a title well deserved, for he spent 30 years of his life translating the holy scriptures into Latin from their original languages, making them more accessible to Christians in the west.  He also wrote many commentaries on the books of scripture.  A scholar such as St. Jerome would make a good patron for any college student, so why not ask for his intercession the next time you are having a hard time hitting the books?

Here is this week's schedule at Catholic Campus Ministry.

TUESDAY - TODAY
Eucharistic Adoration from noon till 12:30.  Come for half an hour of silent prayer in our chapel.

Small Group scripture study & discussion from 6:30 to 7:30pm in the Balsam Lobby area.  


WEDNESDAY - TOMORROW
Vespers at 6:00pm in our chapel.  Evening Prayer service from the Liturgy of the Hours.

Supper @ the Center.  Free home-cooked meal starting at 6:30pm.  Our after-dinner program this week will be led by Bekka Mayen, and will be on "Taming Your Tongue."  I know we all need to work on that from time to time, so this should be an interesting discussion.  We hope to see you there.


THURSDAY
Eucharistic Adoration from noon till 12:30 in the chapel.

Small Group scripture study & discussion from 5:30 to 6:30pm on the UC Balcony.  (Meet inside the 2nd floor if raining).


SATURDAY
CCM Homework Support Group at 4:00pm.  Several students have decided to encourage one another to complete their homework on Saturday so that they can better keep Sunday as a day of rest.  To help achieve that, they are gathering on Saturday afternoons at CCM for a homework & study party.  Everyone is invited.  The group may also have dinner together or watch a movie after the work is done.


SUNDAY
Life Chain from 2:30-3:30pm in downtown Sylva.  Meet at the Courthouse to join others from area churches (including many from St. Mary's) in this one-hour silent witness for the dignity of all human life.

Rosary at 3:30pm in the chapel.  Note, Father Voitus will not be available for confessions before Mass this week due to participation in the Life Chain. He will be available for confessions immediately after Mass for any who need it.  

Mass at 4:00pm.  27th Sunday of Ordinary Time.  Click here for the Mass readings.

Credo from 5:15 to 6:30pm.  This week's topic for discussion will be the Holy Spirit.  In many ways the Spirit is the most mysterious Person of the Holy Trinity, yet He is the one we have the most direct experience with in the Church today.  Come learn about the Advocate and Paraclete who Christ promised to send us.  Bring your questions!


NEXT MONDAY
Simply Stitched meets at Alex Cassell's house at 8:00pm.  Meet at CCM at 7:45pm if you need a ride.


NEXT TUESDAY
Community Table volunteer day.  We will be helping to cook and serve meals for those in need in our community at The Community Table in Sylva.  For those who would like to help, you'll need to be at CCM between 3:00 and 3:15pm (we will be leaving promptly at 3:15).  Wear close toed shoes, and if you have long hair you'll need to have something to tie it back with.  No tank tops.  We will be returning to campus before 6:30pm.  We have a sign up sheet for this and following weeks on the bulletin board downstairs at CCM (by the chapel entrance).  Please sign up so we have an idea of who is coming.  We need 4 or 5 volunteers each week!   "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me" (Mt 25:35).


TIME IS ALMOST UP!
This is the last week to order one of our "Former Fetus" pro-life t-shirts!  This is a CCM fundraiser, so not only will you be showing solidarity with the unborn, you will also be helping our ministry.  Order yours today before they disappear!


FALL BEACH RETREAT
Spots are still open for our annual Fall Beach Retreat Oct. 24-26.  Registration is $50 each.  Come get a nice weekend away from campus, spending time with your CCM family, and drawing closer to God.  Our retreats feature talks & discussions, prayers, lots of relaxing quiet time, and fun time to play on the beach, as well.  Space is limited, so sign up soon.  (Sign up sheet is on the fridge).  Sponsorships are available for anyone who needs them - see me in person.  


FAITH FACTS
Yesterday the Church celebrated the feast of the Archangels, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.  In a couple of days, on Oct. 2, we will celebrate the memorial of the guardian angels.  What does the Church teach about angels, and what do we know about the three archangels in particular?  Here is a helpful article from Catholic Online written for the Feast of the Archangels.

Till next week....  God Bless!
Pax Christi,
Matt

--
WCU Catholic Campus Ministry
Matthew Newsome, MTh, campus minister
  
(828)293-9374  |   POB 2766, Cullowhee NC 28723

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Gospel For Today: 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time

TWENTY-SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (A)

When I was learning about the Catholic faith in college, it seemed to me that Catholicism is more of a both/and religion than an either/or religion.  By that I am not meaning moral choices.  When it comes to good and evil, the Catholic Church gives us very clear instruction.  One must never choose evil, even if one intends good to come from it.  In that respect, the Catholic faith is very much either/or.  Likewise when it comes to our basic faith in Christ.  One either believes Christ is God, or He is not.  There is no middle ground.  So in that respect we are also an either/or faith.

But there are many important aspects of our faith which are definitely both/and.  Jesus is fully human and fully divine.  God is perfectly just and perfectly merciful.  We believe in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.  We believe that faith and works are necessary for our salvation. These complementary truths work in tandem with one another to make a comprehensible and sensible whole.  Most heresies arise when someone emphasizes one truth in isolation of another.   They take something that should be both/and and treat it like an either/or.

Martin Luther understood God's justice but had a hard time accepting God's mercy and so never felt truly forgiven.  He doubted the possibility of his own salvation until he read in Romans that "man is justified by faith apart from works of the law" (Rm 3:28).  The German friar latched on to that truth (that faith is necessary for salvation) to the exclusion of another (that good works are needed, too).

When St. Paul mentions "works of the law" in Romans he is speaking of the many and varied ritual laws imposed on the Jewish people in Deuteronomy.  He is saying that merely observing these rituals is not enough to save you.  Faith is the important thing.  But he is not saying that you will not also be judged according to your good works (or lack thereof).  Faith must be put into action. Otherwise it is like a gift that remains unopened.  You may possess it, but it is not of any use to you.

It is not enough to believe in Jesus as your savior and not do anything about it.  Jesus Himself says, "If you love me, you will obey my commands" (Jn 14:15).  In Matthew chapter 25 Jesus describes how we will all be judged according to the love and mercy we showed others; whether we visited the sick and imprisoned, clothed the naked or fed the hungry. "Whatever you did for the least of my brethren, you did for me" (Mt 25:40). 

In other words, what we do matters.  Good works in conjunction with a strong faith are both needed if we are to be true followers of Christ.  Both are needed for us to have any hope of heaven.  "Whoever does the will of my Father is my brother, sister and mother," says Jesus (Mt 12:50).  Catholicism is not a spectator sport.  You have to get in the game.

Jesus demonstrates this perfectly with His parable in today's gospel (Mt 21:28-32).  A man asks his two sons to go work in his vineyard.  One says, "Sure, dad," and then goes home and lazes around.  The other says "No way," but then decides to help out his old man. He goes to work in the field.  Which one actually did as his father asked?  The one who first said no, but repented.

There are two important lessons to be learned from this parable.  Firstly, what you say is meaningless unless it is backed up with action.  It is like saying, "Yes," to Jesus then not obeying any of His teachings.  It is a false faith and worth nothing.  Our actions speak louder than our words.

The second lesson is this: repentance is possible.  You may have initially said no to God.  You may be saying no to Him in your life right now.  But you can change your mind.  You can get up and start to work in the vineyard. You can choose today to put your faith into action.  You can choose today to do the will of your heavenly Father.  

But if he turns from the wickedness he has committed,
he does what is right and just,
he shall preserve his life;
since he has turned away from all the sins that he has committed,
he shall surely live, he shall not die.
 (Ez 18:26-28).
--
WCU Catholic Campus Ministry
Matthew Newsome, MTh, campus minister
  
(828)293-9374  |   POB 2766, Cullowhee NC 28723