Adult Faith Formation Column for the Sunday Bulletin of St. Michael Parish, Livermore, California

This weekly column is a short meditation on the Bible readings of the Sunday Mass. The meditations are direct quotations from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, papal encyclicals, writings of the Saints, and similar orthodox sources.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

St. John of God: Christ is Faithful and Provides All Things


"If we kept before us the mercy of God, we would never be deficient in doing good, while strength was in us. For, when we make over to the poor, out of the love of God, what he himself has given us, his promise is that we shall receive a hundredfold in eternal happiness.  That is indeed a fortunate and happy way of gaining a profit. Who will not give over whatever he has to this best of merchants! He administers our business himself, and begs us with outstretched arms to turn to him and weep for our sins, and become servants in love, first for ourselves, and then for our neighbor.

For just as water extinguishes a fire, just so does charity blot out our sins. So many people come here that I very often wonder how they can possibly be provided for.  But Jesus Christ provides all things and feeds everyone.

Many of the poor come into this house of God because the city of Granada is large and very cold, especially now in winter. There are now more than one hundred and ten people living in this house, including the sick, the healthy, the servants and pilgrims. 

Because the house is open to everyone, it takes in all manner of sick people. There are people with useless limbs, the maimed, the lepers, the dumb, the insane, paralytics, and some who are suffering from cancer. Others are afflicted with senility, and there are many children, as well as the innumerable travelers and pilgrims who arrive here, and whom we provide with fire, salt and water, as well as pots to cook their food. 

There is no charge made for all this, but Christ is our provider."

From a letter of Saint John of God (1495-1550)
(Cartas y Escritos 18-19)

Prayer to Our Mother of Divine Providence

O Mary, Mother of Divine Providence, you sit as Queen at the right hand of your Son. 

You aid the Church in her needs and, with maternal care, provide for the personal needs of us, her children, who were entrusted to you at the foot of the Cross by Jesus our Lord. 

I implore you to remove from us whatever is harmful, evil or destructive, and bestow on us only that which is helpful , holy and loving.

I ask this through Christ, our Lord.  


Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship

Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States provides a framework for Catholics in the United States.

 "Responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation."
-- Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship
By our baptism, Catholics are committed to following Jesus Christ and to be "salt for the earth, light for the nations." As the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, "It is necessary that all participate, according to his position and role, in promoting the common good. This is inherent in the dignity of the human person ... As far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life" (nos. 1913-1915).

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Life of Man -- To Know and Love God, 15 July 2012

The Life of Man -- To Know and Love God

    God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life.  For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man.  He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength.  He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church.  To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior.  In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life.

    So that this call should resound throughout the world, Christ sent forth the apostles he had chosen, commissioning them to proclaim the gospel:  "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."  Strengthened by this mission, the apostles "went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it."

    Those who with God's help have welcomed Christ's call and freely responded to it are urged on by love of Christ to proclaim the Good News everywhere in the world.  This treasure, received from the apostles, has been faithfully guarded by their successors.  All Christ's faithful are called to hand it on from generation to generation, by professing the faith, by living it in fraternal sharing, and by celebrating it in liturgy and prayer.

            -- Catechism of the Catholic Church
                paragraphs 1-3

    "In love he destined us for adoption
        to himself through Jesus Christ..."

Monday, July 2, 2012

Daily Homily for July 2, 2012, by Deacon

Daily Homilies July 2, 2012 - Monday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

July 2, 2012 - Monday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Posted: 02 Jul 2012 01:23 AM PDT
Amos 2.6-10, 13-16
Psalm 50.16bc-17, 18-19, 20-21, 22-23 Resp. 22a
Matthew 8.18-22

The presumption behind the Gospel today is the ability of Jesus to read the hearts of those he was speaking to. The scribe says, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” What better statement of Christian discipleship is there? This would be a beautiful prayer, that we would turn to Jesus and say, “I will follow you wherever you go.” But Jesus looks at the man’s heart and sees something there which was not explicitly spoken. Jesus has to warn the man because of his false assumption. It seems that the man thought that Jesus was going somewhere, some permanent place of rest. Jesus warns the man that following him does not involve a final destination here on earth. The foxes and the birds have nice homes, but the Son of Man will not rest his head until it is in the borrowed tomb.

Is the scribe ready to follow Jesus wherever, even if there is nowhere to go? Are we ready to follow Jesus in our lives, every day of our lives, despite the fact that he does not seem to be leading us to a den or a nest where we can settle down. Many people spend their whole lives waiting to settle down, and then they will get started. Nothing is taken very seriously until they have arrived at the destination. But the call of God is not always so neat and tidy.

Our only destination is heaven, and it would defeat the purpose of this life to not start living until we get there. We have to live in this moment, wherever we are. This moment is the where God’s grace is for us, because it is real, it is actual, it is not just in our head. This moment is probably not ideal, and it is certainly not stable. But no matter what moments we lived in the past and how we lived them, and no matter what moments we look to and hope for and expect in our future, this is the only moment we can live in: the present moment. So we are going to follow Jesus, not wherever he goes, but wherever he is, wherever he tells us to be, wherever we find ourselves. Wherever we are right now, that is where we are going to follow Jesus. There is no reason to wait. Now is the acceptable time; today is the day of salvation.

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