Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Power of Faith -Twenty Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time - October 3, 2010

Reading 1 Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4  Reflection

The prophet Habakkuk expresses the same question we have all asked at one time or another:
Why do bad things happen to good people? Habakkuk pleads with God for an explanation. Even God's faithful ones have been trampled on by their enemies. Why doesn't God help them? God answers the prophet with a vision that will be fulfilled in the future. The violent ones will, by their sinfulness, bring about their own defeat. The just ones, by their fidelity to God, will enjoy lasting happiness.
The meaning of the word translated as “faith” here (emunah) is steadfast loyalty, holding on in obedience to YHWH’s law, even when it apparently pays no dividends. This word becomes very important for the New Testament. *1
God does not give explanations for evil and suffering. But God does promise eternal life to those who trust and remain faithful.

Reading 2 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14 Reflection

To preach the Christian faith at a time of terrible persecution requires great courage. Loyalty (faithfulness) to the gospel always involves a certain amount of hardship for any disciple. Anyone who teaches or preaches the faith must also be true to the tradition handed down by Jesus through the apostles. Timothy is reminded that the Holy Spirit will help him to remain on the right track.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.

Gospel Luke 17:5-10  also see: Matthew 17:20 :-) Reflection

The two examples that Jesus gives in this gospel are very important.
#1)  You know how the apostles ask Jesus to, "Increase our faith"?  I find it very interesting that (in Luke) this comes right after Jesus tells them, 
"If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.
And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, 'I am sorry,' you should forgive him."
Jesus then puts it into perspective, doesn't he?
"If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to (this) mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you." 

#2)  The story about the servant tells us that as Jesus' disciples we should be grateful to God. When we do God's will, we should not expect to receive special recognition. We have, after all, done no more than "what we were obliged to do." And, I think  it follows that we will not know true happiness unless we are obedient to the will of God and do "what we are obliged to do."
If we are truly & humbly obedient we should NOT expecting special treatment or reward for our faithfulness. We obey out of love - our love helps us obey - we increase our faithfulness.

Come Holy Spirit.
Fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your spirit and they shall be created. 
And you will renew the face of the earth.
Lord by the light of your Holy Spirit you have taught the hearts of your faithful.
In that same spirit help us to relish what is right and always rejoice in his consolation.
We ask this through Christ Our Lord.

Proclaiming Faith Activities for kids (& the young at heart)

Remember . . . .  "Suffer the little children to come unto me; and forbid them not. For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it." Matthew 19:14 and Luke 18:16-17  *2

To live God's word is the duty of every Christian. But people cannot answer the call of duty if they are not sure what God's word says. Imagine that you are making a CD of messages from Jesus.
Christians can call in and receive a different message each day of the week. Complete these messages:

Sunday "Love the Lord your God with all your _____________." Need help?  (See Luke 10:27) 

Monday "Ask and you will ________________." (Matthew 7:7)

Tuesday "Repent, and believe in the ___________." (Mark 1:15) 

Wednesday "I give you a new commandment: __________________." (John 13:34)

Thursday "You cannot serve __________________________." (Luke 16:13)

Friday "Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God _____________." (Matthew 22:21)
Saturday "Go into the whole world and _____________________________." (Mark 16:15) 

Reading I: Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4 
Responsorial Psalm: 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9  If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Reading II: 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14 
Gospel: Luke 17:5-10

See the CCC for help in understanding "suffering." Especially helpful: Part 1, Section 2, Chapter 1, Article 1, Paragraph 7, SubSection 3, Heading 3 and Part 1, Section 2, Chapter 2, Heading 3  
Sadlier We Believe; 5th Grade 
Sadlier We Believe; Liturgical Year Page
Sadlier We Believe; Source Page (choose pick a grade, pick type of visitor (student), advanced (resources) ~~> This week's
The Searchable CCC on-line (Thank you to the Knights of Columbus!) 
*1 Reginald H Fuller - The Scripture in Depth   
*2 Yes, I know I mixed the King James with our NAB -- I just love the  King James wording! 
Graphic - Habakkuk and the Angel - Gian Lorenzo Bernini 
More about Habakkuk: A copy of chapters 1 and 2 (of 3) is included in the Habakkuk Commentary, found among the Dead Sea


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