Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before you. We are yours, and yours we wish to be; but to be more surely united with you, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to your Most Sacred Heart. Many indeed have never known you; many, too, despising your precepts, have rejected you. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to your Sacred Heart. Be King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken you, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned you; grant that they may quickly return to their Father's house, lest they die of wretchedness and hunger. Be King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and the unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one flock and one Shepherd. Grant, O Lord, to your Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give tranquility of order to all nations; make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: Praise to the divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to it be glory and honor for ever. Amen.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Friday, November 16, 2012
Keeping in mind that this is also the Easter holiday, and knowing many of you would have family commitments, we need to gauge the interest level to know whether we can make this a reality. To this end, I have posted a poll in our Facebook Group. The re
We are asking people to respond according to their interest in going. We are asking people to indicate if they are likely to go on the trip -- we are not asking for a firm commitment at this time. (Although do not say you are interested if you know good and well you are not likely to go).
We'd like to know as soon as possible what the interest level is so that we can get to planning. Please follow the link below to go to this poll question on Facebook. There is an option for not interested, and there is also an option for those who are interested in principle, but who cannot go this year (this lets us know it might be something to consider in the future). Thanks, everyone, for your attention.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Sometimes the points Jesus make seem so straightforward, one has to wonder why his disciples seemed so befuddled most of the time. This passage appears to be one of those instances when our Lord was so plain spoken. His point is obvious. If Bill Gates gives a million dollars to charity, it may be the equivalent of you or I giving only a dollar, in terms of its impact to our finances. However, if a homeless man has only $5 to his name after a day spent begging on the streets, and he chooses to buy two items from the Wendy's dollar menu and put the other $3 in the collection basket at the church, his sacrifice is much more significant, because it represents more of a hardship for him.Jesus sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, "Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood."
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Sunday, November 4, 2012
THIRTY-FIRST SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME (B)
"Which is the first of all the commandments?" Jesus replied, "The first is this.. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these."
The above is from today's Gospel reading (Mk 12:28b-34). My question for you is this: When Jesus says there is no other commandment greater than these, is he doing away with the commandments given to the Isrealites by God through Moses? The answer is no, he is not. Jesus himself said he did not come to abolish the old law, but rather to fulfill it (Mt. 5:17). Rather than doing away with the Ten Commandments, what Jesus does in today's gospel is to get right to the heart of them.
The Ten Commandments are a great gift to mankind. I have heard people grumble that Christianity is all about the negative, telling people what they cannot do, and the Ten Commandments are the perfect example of this with all their "Thou shalt nots." My response to this is to laugh and point out that it was much more efficient for God to tell us the few things we can't do than to list out all the great multitude of good things we can do. Besides, knowing one's limitations can be freeing.
Imagine a playground for children that's set in the center of a small desert island in the south Pacific (I don't know why anyone would build such a thing, just go with it). The ocean currents are swift and dangerous, and so to keep the children safe, they have to stay huddled in the center of the island, for fear of getting too close to the shore and being swept away. Now if someone comes along and builds a fence around the perimeter of the island, the children can freely enjoy the whole island without fear. God's commandments are like that fence. They are not restrictive, but freeing, because they establish the safe boundaries for our lives. Stay within the perimeter of the commandments and you are free to enjoy all life has to offer without worry of being swept away by sin. It is only when we "jump the fence" that we are in danger. That's not freedom; it is spiritual suicide.
Jesus today shows us that God's commandments are not in fact based in negativity; they are based in love. First and foremost is the love of God. The first three commandments deal with this love.
1. You shall have no other gods before me.
2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
3. Remember to keep holy the Lord's Day.
All of these have to do with our right relationship with God. The rest of the commandments deal with how we relate to our neighbors. Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. This means...
4. Honor your father and mother.
5. Don't murder.
6. Don't commit adultery.
7. Don't steal.
8. Don't lie.
9. Don't covet your neighbor's spouse.
10. Don't cover your neighbor's goods.
The fourth commandment can actually be considered a "hinge" between the first three and the last six. Jesus teaches us to call God our Father, and so the first father we must honor is the one "who art in heaven." Human parents derive their authority (and their position of honor) from the divine parent, God. And so we honor our fathers and mothers here because they are the first reflections of God for us as children. While we acknowledge God as our Creator, we know our parents had a hand in it, as well (we call the act of conceiving children procreation after all, because we assist in God's act of creation). They brought us into being, they teach us the ways of the Lord, instruct us in the faith, and show us what it means to be good and loving Christian people, with the hope of eternal life for us. And we honor them for doing those things.
And what if our human parents don't do those things, or don't do them well? We still honor them, perhaps not so much for what they are, but for what they ought to be; for what they could be in cooperation with God's grace.
We honor them not because we have to, but because we know it is right to do so. We honor them because we love them.
And that, dear students, is the motivation behind all of the Commandments -- love. When we break any commandment, it is a violation of love. We commit an unloving act, either against a fellow human being or against God himself. We do harm to a relationship (and to our own dignity). This is why we call Confession the Sacrament of Reconciliation -- because through it we are reconciled with God and with our neighbor.
St. Augustine once summed up the whole moral law in this way: "Love God. Then do as you will."
What he meant was not that it is okay for us to do anything at all, so long as we say we love God. What he meant was that if you truly love God you will not want to do anything that would damage your relationship with Him. You would not want to do anything that was against Love.
This is why Christ implores us to love God, not just a little, and not just on Sundays. We need to love him with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, with all our strength. It should be a fierce love. And likewise with our neighbors -- we don't just love them when it is convenient to do so, but we love them as we love ourselves, which means constantly and consistently wanting nothing but good for them. Our love of self should motivate us to become saints, so that we may enjoy eternity with God, in communion with the other saints and angels. We want our neighbors to be there, too, so we should be helping them to become saints in this life.
It's all about love. Love of God. Love of neighbor. Love of self. (In that order). Put that into practice and things start to make sense.
WCU Catholic Campus Ministry
Matthew Newsome, MTh, campus minister
(828)293-9374 | POB 2766, Cullowhee NC 28723