Monthly Archives: October 2013

Greed destroys people, families

(Vatican Radio) Greed, attachment to money, destroys people, destroys families and relationships with others: That was Pope Francis’ message this morning during Mass in Santa Marta. The invitation is not to choose poverty per se, but to use the wealth that God gives us to help those in need.

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New US Ambassador to Holy See presents his credentials to the Pope

Kenneth F. Hackett, the new U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, formally presented his credentials to Pope Francis today at the Vatican Apostolic Palace. Ambassador Hackett, who served as president of Catholic Relief Services for 18 years, was nominated to the post by President Barack Obama in June.

In a statement released by the US Embassy to the Holy See, the new ambassador emphasized the commitment of the United States in engaging religious leaders in order “to address critical global issues.”

“The Vatican and the Holy Father have the ability to influence world events in a positive way through the calling of faith and they will continue to be important partners in future collaboration,” Ambassador Hackett stated.

“In my time at CRS, I had the personal joy of being involved in efforts to alleviate some of the conditions Pope Francis talks about – poverty, refugees, migration – and I believe there is much we can continue to do together to work further towards promoting human dignity.”

The U.S. Embassy also announced the launch of Ambassador Hackett’s blog, where he will share his thoughts during his time in Rome. The U.S. Ambassador wrote his first post today regarding today’s audience with the Holy Father.

“I had the honor of presenting my credentials today to His Holiness Pope Francis inside the apostolic palace, and I am excited and honored to begin this new journey,” Ambassador Hackett wrote.

Commenting on the shared importance on several issues, including human trafficking, food access and interreligious dialogue, the Ambassador expressed his hope “to deepening, and expanding” the collaboration between the United States and the Holy See.


Scripture Commentary for Sunday, Oct. 20

Readings for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle C

Through our second reading, Saint Paul describes how God’s Word speaks to us through the words of the Bible. But the “Word of God” is not limited to the Bible. We listen to the Word of God in the Bible in order to receive an even greater gift. Opening our selves to this greater gift is one of the most basic “moves” of the Christian life.

It is not a coincidence that Holy Mass follows the pattern that it does. The two main parts of the Mass—called the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist—are not interchangeable. The Mass would not make sense if we celebrated the Liturgy of the Eucharist first, and then the Liturgy of the Word. This is so because the Word is proclaimed first as a preparation, in order to lead us as pilgrims and disciples towards the Word made Flesh.

We can see this if we overlay the outline of the Mass upon the outline of salvation history. Consider what we might call the “first half” of salvation history: the time of the Old Testament. During this long period of time, “God spoke” his Word “in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets.” But in the “second half” of salvation history—the time of Christ and His Body, the Church—“God spoke to us”, and speaks to us today, “through His Son”, the Word made flesh, who proclaimed to His followers: “Take this, all of you, and eat it. This is my Body, which will be given up for you.”

Catholics are at times accused of being ignorant of the Scriptures, and unfortunately there are times when this criticism is justified. To that extent, we must dispel our ignorance, because the words of Saint Jerome are just as true today as when he wrote them: “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”

But if our devotion to Scripture does not lead us to a deeper devotion to the Eucharist, we miss the entire point of God becoming human, of the divine Word becoming flesh and blood. After all, what did God the Son say on this earth that God the Father could not have said from the heavens? Couldn’t God the Father have spoken the Beatitudes from Heaven, rather than Jesus speaking them during the Sermon on the Mount? Couldn’t God the Father have taught His People from Heaven how to pray to Him, rather than Jesus teaching us the “Our Father”? What words had to be spoken by one who is both fully divine and fully human? “Take this, all of you, and eat it. This is my Body, which will be given up for you.”

Diocese of Wichita

News Briefs, Oct. 18

Catholic News Service is the official news agency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Read their news briefs for Friday, Oct. 18.

Israeli prime minister to meet with Pope

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with Pope Francis next week during a visit to Italy, the Israeli government has announced.

The Vatican has not formally confirmed the visit, which is reportedly scheduled for Wednesday, October 23.

Earlier this week the Pontiff met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. In April he met with Israel’s President Shimon Peres.

Pope Francis: remember the elderly priests and sisters

(Vatican Radio) At his morning mass on Friday Pope Francis reflected on the later life challenges of three biblical figures, Moses, St. John the Baptist and St Paul. He said none of the 3 were spared anguish at the end of their lives although the Lord never abandoned them. The Pope also urged the faithful to remember and visit the many elderly priests and sisters living in their nursing homes because they are true shrines of holiness. Read the story from Vatican Radio.

Feast of St. Luke, Evangelist

Today’s readings

On this feast day of Saint Luke the Evangelist, we can imagine that the First Reading was chosen for its brief mention of the saint. The Gospel passage is taken from Luke’s account of the Gospel, but he is not mentioned there as he never met Jesus during His earthly life. Nonetheless, today’s Gospel passage is about being appointed and sent by Jesus. As such, each of us can directly relate it to his life as a disciple.

“To be sent” is the literal meaning of an “apostle”. Today’s Gospel passage, however, is not about the sending of the Twelve, but about the sending of the 72 whom Jesus sent ahead of Him as “advance men”. The 72 are to prepare people to receive Jesus. This is how we can relate this Gospel passage to our own lives as disciples. Very few members of the Church serve as successors of the apostles in the role of bishop, but every Christian is sent by Jesus to prepare others to receive Him. This fact is often overlooked today. There is a confusion still, fifty years after the start of the Second Vatican Council, between the roles of the clergy and laity.

The role of the laity in the Church is largely “outside” the Church, in that the laity carries the fruits of the Church into the wider, secular world. The word “apostolate” is all but obsolete today in referring to the work of the laity, but it needs to be reclaimed to describe the right and responsibility of the laity to engage the “world” with the Good News of Christ.

Diocese of Wichita

News Briefs, Oct. 17

Catholic News Service is the official news agency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Read their news briefs for today.

Prayer keeps us from losing faith

(Vatican Radio) If a Christian “becomes a disciple of the ideology, he has lost the faith.”
This was the theme of Pope Francis’ homily during his Thursday morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
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Tuesday’s Feast – St. Teresa of Jesus

Today’s Mass Readings

Saint Teresa of Avila lived at the time of the Protestant Reformation: that powerful movement which sought to heal the Church by breaking her in two. Saint Teresa herself suffered personally and greatly from the same abuses that the Protestant Reformers preached against. Saint Teresa knew, however, that the four marks of the Church—its unity, its holiness, its catholic nature, and its apostolic nature—could not be given up.

By contrast, many wanted to reform the Church by saying that her oneness was a unity that only needed to be manifested in the Spirit: that the Church’s unity was an invisible bond, without any clear and visible expression in worship. Many wanted to reform the Church by saying that her holiness was based merely upon the gift of faith that comes from the Spirit: that the Church’s holiness did not need to be expressed through good works. Many wanted to reform the Church by saying that her catholic nature was based upon the same Spirit calling all peoples to follow Christ, without any concrete organization to His Church throughout the world. Many wanted to reform the Church by saying that her apostolic nature was based upon returning to the example of the apostles in the New Testament, without expecting them to have successors in one’s own age.

What Saint Teresa — as a doctor of the Church — taught was that the Holy Spirit always expresses Himself sacramentally. Within the Church, each of her four marks is manifested in a sacramental manner, by faith being “enfleshed” within the Body of Christ: through the ritual celebration of the sacraments, through morally good actions, through the Christian communities that are united as parishes and dioceses under the guidance of shepherds whose authority extends back to Christ Himself, and which is ratified in our own day by the Vicar of Christ who serves the Church as the Pope.

Above all, Saint Teresa taught that allowing the Word of God to take flesh in our lives means allowing the Cross to take flesh within our lives. We take the flesh of the Cross in the Eucharist, then, so that we might be able to love the Cross for the gift that it is.

Catholic Diocese of Wichita

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