Are You Tough Enough To Be a Christian?
20th Week of Ordinary
your green candle!
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Prayer of the Week
This week's readings challenge us to consider the difficulties of
living a Christian life. Keeping in mind that God is always at our
side, and praying an
Act of Hope in the difficult times, can help us keep our focus
Living Our Faith
To start the school year out right, we decided to discuss good
habits. What better place to start than the
Celebrate All Year Long!
(Click here to learn more)
Saints to Celebrate
- August is full of special days! You can use your
green candle Sunday, Thursday, and Saturday to celebrate Ordinary Time.
- Monday, August 20 use a white candle for the
memorial of St. Bernard, the 12th century abbot and doctor
of the Church who was famous throughout Europe for his theological
writings and his advisory role to several popes.
- Tuesday, August 21 us a white candle for the
memorial of St. Pius X, the early 20th century pope who
promoted liturgical renewal, reception of the Eucharist from
childhood, and Biblical study.
- Wednesday, August 22 use a white candle for the
memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Mary has been known as the Queen of Heaven for centuries, but
it was not until 1954 that she was given this special day in our
liturgical year. It is a perfect day to pray the
of the Rosary!
- Friday, August 24 use a red
candle for the feast of St. Bartholomew, one of the
original Twelve Apostles. He is said to have traveled as far as
India to preach the Word of God; he suffered martyrdom at the hand
of his enemies.
A solemnity is a day of greatest importance. The
celebration starts the evening before the actual solemnity. Easter is our most
important solemnity. A feast is the next most important day. It commemorates
Mary, the apostles, martyrs and other saints, and the events associated with
them. Mass readings often reflect the special feast day. A memorial is
a special day, but often an optional
celebration. The scripture readings for Mass may or may not be specially
selected for the memorial.
Devotion of the Month
Every parent has experienced the worry of a having a
feverish child, the panic of not being able
to find a child, the desire to protect a child from any pain. The Blessed Virgin
Mary was no different. The Seven Dolors (Sorrows) of Mary reminds us of the
maternal pain Mary endured being the mother of Jesus. There is a lovely
set of prayers used for this devotion, and we celebrate the memorial of
Our Lady of Sorrows on September 15th. This week we can focus on the
history of this devotion. (Read
Keep Building that Faith!!
here to learn more)
Start the Week off Right
(prepare for the Sunday Scriptures)
|Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10
It's tough being a Christian
Jeremiah reminds us that it has always been
difficult to be a person who lived his faith. Jeremiah was a prophet
in the kingdom of Judah starting around 628 B.C. Judah, with its
capital in Jerusalem, had become a decadent society. Jeremiah
vehemently opposed the idolatry and sinfulness of his morally
irresponsible people. Not surprisingly, the people did not
appreciate his criticism, and threw Jeremiah in a well to die. He
underwent many other tortures and imprisonments for his preaching.
Eventually, after the fall of Jerusalem to the conquering
Babylonians, Jeremiah was murdered by his own people.
We continue with the letter to the
Hebrews this week. The author gives us the example of Jesus, who
willingly allowed Himself to be publicly humiliated for our sakes.
No matter how weary or frustrated we may become, we know that He
endured so much worse. We can endure our own struggle.
Our family read this Gospel together, and it was
quite a challenge. Our oldest daughter asked, "Does this mean we are
just going to end up hating each other?" Unfortunately, that can
happen. However, that is not the point here. We must understand that
we have to be open and loving to others, but we cannot compromise
our faith for the pressures of society. We have to stand up and
stand out, be different from those who who have not yet accepted
living a life of faith. We may not be popular, but the struggle
will, indeed, be eternally worthwhile.
Daily Dose of Scripture (our
picks of the week)
readings for the 20th Week of Ordinary Time:
Ru:2:1-3, 8-11; 4:13-17
- Jgs 11:29-39a
It would have been much easier to read the Book of Ruth this week.
However, we are already familiar with the lovely story of Ruth, who,
thanks to her enduring faithfulness to her mother-in-law, Naomi,
becomes an ancestress of King David and Jesus Christ.
Instead, we decided to challenge ourselves with the Book of Judges.
This book continues the stories of Israel's conquest and gradual
occupation of the Promised Land. As with the Sunday readings, the
focus is on struggles. The Judges, themselves, were not legal
authorities. They were probably more like warlords. Often they led the
Israelites against enemies, sometimes they led one tribe of Israelites
against another tribe of Israelites. The stories we read tell of
battles and brutality, and of God's ceaseless love.
Our pick of the week shows the strategic acumen, yet spiritual
foolishness of one particular judge, Jephthah. Jephthah vows to
sacrifice the first person he sees if God will just help him win a
battle. Ironically, the first person Jephthah sees after winning the
battle is his only child, a lovely daughter. He admits his foolish vow
to the daughter, and she tells him to live up to his promise. He does.
What can we learn from the Book of Judges? It seems the Israelites of
this time were in disarray. They have been likened to the pioneers of
the American wild west. Life was sometimes considered gratuitous;
there was an inherent lack of respect for human dignity. Come to think
of it, it is not unlike our own time. Following God's ways was a
struggle even then, and sometimes brought on death. Our culture often
pulls us away from our faith. We must stand firm in our faith, and
keep our focus on the ultimate goal - eternal life.
- Mt 20:1-16
Last week we discussed the gift of faith. Our choice for this week's
Gospel reminds us to never give up hope that those around us will
accept that gift of faith. Jesus tells the parable of the vineyard
owner who pays the employees who showed up at the end of the day the
same amount as the employees who showed up early on. As long as each
person accepted the tasks and performed the tasks as agreed, the final
reward was the same.
Most of us go through times of confusion in our faith. It's okay. God
is with us as we progress through our spiritual journeys. Those who
figure things out later rather than sooner can still look forward to
the goal of being with God. Those who have faith can pray for those
who are still struggling. Those who are struggling can take comfort in
Open that Catechism!
Catechism of the Catholic Church explains the importance of the
virtue of hope in paragraphs #1817-1821.
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