Service, Responsibility, and Sacrifice

11-24-2019Weekly Reflection

“The rulers sneered … the soldiers jeered … one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus.” Is this the King of the Jews, the King of the Universe? If it is so, perhaps his kingdom is not at all what we would expect! In his letter to the laity, St. John Paul II spoke about how Christians share in the kingly mission of Christ. First, “they exercise their kingship as Christians, above all in the spiritual combat in which they seek to overcome in themselves the kingdom of sin.” In other words, before we give any thought to transforming society, we must first allow God to transform us. Through daily prayer, regular self-examination, and frequent confession, we can recognize our faults more readily and choose love instead!

Second, St. John Paul II writes that the laity “make[s] a gift of themselves so as to serve, in justice and in charity, Jesus who is himself present in all his brothers and sisters, above all in the very least.” Christ’s kingship, and our own participation in it, is requires us to look beyond the privileged of society. It goes beyond networking and struggles of power. It goes with Jesus to the Cross!

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Advent

11-24-2019Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

Next Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent!

Please bring your family to pray with us the novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe. This beautiful devotion to the Patron Saint of the Americas can help prepare our hearts in a very special way for the coming of Christ at Christmas.

This week five more conversation starters for families gathered around the table, or traveling in the car together:

  1. What is your dream job?
  2. If you could ask God one question, what would it be?
  3. What is the thing you worry about most?
  4. What are you most thankful for?
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“God stories”

11-17-2019Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

One family I know brings faith into their family life by telling “God stories” at family meals. Each member of the family has an opportunity to tell one way they experienced God at work during the day.

This practice has helped my friends and their children keep the eyes of their hearts open to see where God is at work in everyday life.

Here are 5 more ideas for conversations at family mealtimes:

  1. Mom and Dad share a story about the kids when they were babies or toddlers.
  2. What do you want to be when you grow up (This answer changes often with kids.)
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Take Courage! Trust in God

11-17-2019Weekly Reflection

Where would you go if the world was ending? What would you do? The last decade has seen a rise in doomsday prepping, the marketing of survival techniques, and a sea of products designed for you to weather the apocalypse. “The days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another that will not be thrown down,” Jesus warns in today’s Gospel. On the one hand, he is referring to the literal downfall of the city of Jerusalem. Indeed, many of his prophecies here have come true over the last few millennium. Nations have indeed “rise[n] against nation[s],” kingdoms against kingdoms. Surf any world news website today alone, and you will see stories of “powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues.” Jesus’ advice to his disciples, however, isn’t to build a bunker. It’s to persevere in faith … which won’t be easy.

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The First Sunday of Advent

11-10-2019Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

What’s special about December 1st this year?

Maybe you already know! It’s the first Sunday of Advent! The liturgical calendar (the Church’s way of counting days) is centered around the Life of Jesus. Advent means “coming.” During the Advent season the Mass readings tell us what to expect when the Savior of the world is born. 

Your family can make the Church’s Advent celebration come to life by bringing Catholic traditions into our home. This year our R.E. families will make Advent wreathes to help us prepare to celebrate Christmas the way the Church does.

Your family is also encouraged to participate in the festive and traditional Posadas, which remind all to welcome the gift of Jesus into our homes this Christmas.

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Asking Honest Questions

11-10-2019Weekly Reflection

“Some Saducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, came forward and put this question to Jesus …”

In this Sunday’s Gospel, the Saducees avoid their real question. Is there a resurrection from the dead or not? Rather than ask this question point blank, the  Saducees try to prove their point through a roundabout, unrealistic scenario. Jesus cuts straight to the question behind the question, citing Scripture passages relating to the resurrection.

The Saducees are trying to trick Jesus. While we may not intend to stump God, our doubts and questions may have more in common with the Saducees than we care to admit. Doubts are part and parcel of life in a fallen world. Still, there are different ways we can word our doubts to ourselves, God, and others. When we’re struggling, truly struggling, about some article of faith, do we admit it? Or do we cloak it with other, obtuse questions to hide the nature of our concern?

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Bring Christ to Your Children

11-03-2019Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

Here’s some practical help for parents looking for a way to bring Christ to your children every day.

“Begin to give a short blessing to your children every day. The timing can be determined by what works best for your family, such as the beginning of the day or at the end of their day, as they go to school or get ready for bed. Here are some simple suggestions for these daily blessings: THE SIGN OF THE CROSS Say a simple ‘God bless you’ while tracing the Sign of the Cross on their forehead.

THE NUMBERS 6 BLESSING

Place your hand upon their head as you say: ‘May the LORD bless you and keep you! May the LORD let his face shine upon you and be gracious to you! May the LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!’ (Numbers 6:24-26)

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Let Christ Love You First

11-03-2019Weekly Reflection

Christ loves us first. So much of the Christian life is as simple as that. Today’s Gospel is a prime example! “Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man … was seeking to see who Jesus was.” We may have gotten used to the story of Zacchaeus, this short, seemingly innocent man who climbs a sycamore tree in his desperate desire to see Jesus. But this colorful, children’s Bible illustration isn’t what the gathering crowd would have seen. They would have seen the white collar criminal. Tax collectors were notorious for extortion. They were collaborators with the oppressive Roman overlords, overcharging for taxes and skimming a cut off the top. And how does Jesus respond to this man?

“Come down quickly,” Jesus says, “for today I must stay at your house.” If you had been there, would you have believed it? No doubt there were other disciples in the city or, at the very least, kind, generous, and just people. “Good” people. But those aren’t the people Jesus chooses to share a meal with. Christ loves us first. He chooses Zacchaeus even before the man makes a public profession of his repentance.

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