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Showing posts from June, 2016

14th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Prior to his retirement, Pope Benedict XVI had announced the “New Evangelization,”  A multi-year effort to “Journey with Christ” through Faith, Worship, and Witness.  This effort, started in 2013, concludes this year, but what is it supposed to accomplish?  It’s meant to remind us that the Church exists to evangelize… That is for its members to genuinely live their faith, and thus show the world God’s love.  Pope Francis, in calling for this Jubilee Year of Mercy, enhances this New Evangelization by reminding us that a loving God is also a merciful God, and that we need to mirror the mercy Christ taught us.  Our readings this 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time help us to see what can be accomplished when we seek to spread God’s love…

The Word for the 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time Isaiah 66:10-14c
Psalm 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20
Galatians 6:14-18
Luke 10:1-12, 17-20 or 10:1-9

Our first reading is from the closing chapter of the book of the prophet Isaiah.  The Babylonian exile is over, …

Summer of Mercy Video series - Week 2

Feature Film:  Of Gods and Men (2010, 1hr-41 min)

About the story:
What does it feel like when you’re minding your own businesses but get caught in the middle of something over which you have no control.  What do you do?  Keep doing what you’re doing or pack your bags and move on?

Psalm 82:6-7 reads:  I declare: “Gods though you be, offspring of the Most High all of you, Yet like any mortal you shall die; like any prince you shall fall.”  The “gods” in this Psalm refers to those people for whom the Word of God has been revealed.  In this case, it refers to a community of Trappist monks in the remote area of Tibhirine, Algeria.  In the early 1990’s they find themselves in the middle of a Civil War, where a corrupt government is battling with armed Islamic insurgents looking to take over.

This small Christian monastery is surrounded by a rural, exclusively Muslim community, but they have managed to foster good relations with their neighbors, providing medical care and help to the locals.  T…

Summer of Mercy Video series - Week 1

Adult Faith Formation at Our Lady of Refuge presents it's 10 week Summer Video Series:
Summer of Mercy

Earlier on in our blog I published our schedule, but I forgot to write about our first week's program... so here it is:

Divine Mercy:  The Second Greatest Story Ever Told
Episode 1:  God’s School of Trust
From the Augustine Institute:  The sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, has distorted the way we see God. But God hasn’t given up on us. In fact, he has tirelessly worked to heal our distorted image of him through his “School of Trust,” beginning with his chosen people in the Old Testament.

Episode 2:  Behold, This Heart
From the Augustine Institute:  God’s School of Trust, which began in the Old Testament, continued through Christ’s work in the New Testament. Unfortunately, humanity’s distorted image of God has remained a problem throughout Church history. But God doesn’t give up on us. In fact, he brings us back to his School of Trust in the revelation of his Sacred Heart to …

Nuns and Nones... sharing some reflections...

Week after week I share my thoughts with you on our Sunday readings, and occasionally on other topics relevant to those going through Adult Faith Formation or the RCIA process.  For those of you, as adults, turning toward our Catholic faith, I stand in awe of you.  You are my inspiration in this ministry... having the courage to take a path different from the rest of society and explore a relationship with God through our Catholic tradition.

My journey was quite different from yours.  Born of Irish and Italian roots from Brooklyn, I commonly say that I "didn't have a choice" when it came to becoming a Catholic.  And it's true that there are very strong cultural elements to our Catholic faith just as there are strong cultural elements to other religious traditions.  Still, by the time we reach adulthood, those of us who are 'cradle Catholics" sill need to make a choice to embrace our faith... on an adult level.

My choice to "embrace the faith" didn&…

13th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Last week our readings showed us that the Disciples were not prepared for the trouble that was going to come.  As followers of Christ, we recognize that we will have our own “crosses to bear.”  As we continue our journey with Jesus this week, we learn some of the price of taking up that cross…

The Word for the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time 1 Kings 19-16b, 19-21
Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11
Galatians 5:1, 13-18
Luke 9:51-62

Our first reading from the 1st book of Kings has the great prophet Elijah choosing his successor, Elisha.  The scene from our reading seems fairly straightforward, but to better understand this moment, let me help put it into some greater context:  Elijah, once again, is a man on the run.  The great drought and famine is over and King Ahab and the people rejoiced in the Lord.  Unfortunately, that rejoicing included slaughtering all the prophets of Baal (one of the great Canaanite gods).  This infuriated Queen Jezebel, who ordered that Elijah should die.  Fe…

12th Sunday of Ordinary Time

The Suffering Servant.  The prophet Isaiah gave us this vision of the Son of Man in his four “servant songs.”  An image that we Christians can rightly see in Jesus.  Isaiah is telling us that the Servant of God, this Chosen One, is going to suffer...  Not necessarily because God wants him to suffer, but because God’s message is going to bring him persecution, suffering, and death.  It is hard to deliver a message that no one wants to hear, as we learn from this week’s readings:

The Word for the 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time Zechariah 12:10-11; 13:1
Psalm 636:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
Galatians 3:26-29
Luke 9:18-24

Our first reading is from the book of the prophet Zechariah.  It speaks of a great suffering that will be faced by the House of David and Jerusalem.  Where is this prophecy coming from?  If we don’t pay attention to the context of the reading, we can to easily misinterpret the prophet’s intent.  Zechariah’s oracle against the “House of David” does not mean David himself, but i…

Summer of Mercy - OLR summer video series

Our Lady of Refuge Adult Faith Formation presents: Summer of Mercya 10 week Summer Session Video Series June 23 through August 25 2016
When: Thursday Evenings starting at 7:00 pm Where: Our Lady of Refuge Religious Education Center, 5210 Los Coyotes Diagonal, Long Beach
OPEN TO ALL ADULTS (age 18 and over)
No registration - No fee - No commitment needed for the full series

Our Holy Father Pope Francis has dedicated this year as the Jubilee Year of Mercy, so our Adult Faith Formation team has currated a Summer video series that dives into the topic of mercy, with a video presentation and follow-up group discussion.  Our series will take two tracks:
Track 1 will present the Augustine Institute's recently released series Divine Mercy:  The Second Greatest Story Ever Told.  Follow Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, on a journey through history to reveal God’s merciful love.  This is a 10 episode series that takes a deeper look at our devotion to the Divine Mercy and why it is so important for …

11th Sunday of Ordinary Time

“To err is human; to forgive, divine.”  This well known saying is attributed to English poet Alexander Pope (1688-1744), who was inspired by an even earlier Latin proverb “Errare humanum est,” which was likely inspired by even the even earlier Hellenistic philosophies of Plato.  Regardless of its origins, this phrase has embedded itself into our Christian conscience as a way of understanding the nature of sin and redemption.  It is also the topic of our readings for this Sunday:

The Word for the 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time 2 Samuel 12:7-10, 13
Psalm 32:1-2, 5, 7, 11
Galatians 2:16, 19-21
Luke 7:36-8:3

Our first reading from the second book of Samuel gives us the story of David confronting the Lord with his sin by getting Uriah killed, and thus freeing up Bathsheba to become his wife.  Our narrative has Nathan the prophet delivering God’s chastisement of David for these actions… and doing so even as the Lord has given him so much.  David sees the err of his ways, and begs the L…