Weekly Faith – Sunday, April 20, 2014

They Saw and Believed – Easter SundayEaster Sunday

Readings:

Acts 10:34, 37-43
Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
Colossians 3:1-4
John 20:1-9

Jesus is nowhere visible. Yet today’s Gospel tells us that Peter and John “saw and believed.”

What did they see? Burial shrouds lying on the floor of an empty tomb. Maybe that convinced them that He hadn’t been carted off by grave robbers, who usually stole the expensive burial linens and left the corpses behind.

But notice the repetition of the word “tomb” – seven times in nine verses. They saw the empty tomb and they believed what He had promised: that God would raise Him on the third day.

Chosen to be His “witnesses,” today’s First Reading tells us, the Apostles were “commissioned…to preach…and testify” to all that they had seen – from His anointing with the Holy Spirit at the Jordan to the empty tomb.

More than their own experience, they were instructed in the mysteries of the divine economy, God’s saving plan – to know how “all the prophets bear witness” to Him (see Luke 24:27,44).

Now they could “understand the Scripture,” could teach us what He had told them – that He was “the Stone which the builders rejected,” which today’s Psalm prophesies His Resurrection and exaltation (see Luke 20:17; Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:11).

We are the children of the apostolic witnesses. That is why we still gather early in the morning on the first day of every week to celebrate this feast of the empty tomb, give thanks for “Christ our life,” as today’s Epistle calls Him.

Baptized into His death and Resurrection, we live the heavenly life of the risen Christ, our lives “hidden with Christ in God.”

We are now His witnesses, too. But we testify to things we cannot see but only believe; we seek in earthly things what is above. 

We live in memory of the Apostles’ witness, like them eating and drinking with the risen Lord at the altar. And we wait in hope for what the Apostles told us would come – the day when we too “will appear with Him in glory.”

Ordinary Teens Doing Extraordinary Things – Dena Wenzinger

Dena Wenzinger - OTET

Name: Dena Wenzinger
Parish: Bishop Watterson

Services Performed:
Help Sister Catherine Marie paint
Lamb of God Vacation Bible School
School Supply Sale
Concession Stand volleyball games in Gym
8th Grade Caroling for Cans
St. Stephen’s Community House Christmas Care Distribution
Trivia Night
March for Life in Washington D.C

Parish Involvement:
St. Michael Fish Fry

Essay on how you will further your faith with service.

My Catholic Faith is a big part of me and what I do. By knowing God, I set good examples and show others His love. If I didn’t know God, then I wouldn’t be able to know His will. To further my Faith, I plan to continue to do great things or even greater. First, I will listen to God’s call for me. I am praying for my vocation and the grace to do whatever it is God wants me to. Hopefully after I am confirmed, the Holy Spirit will help me with this. Being confirmed is another step I am taking to further my involvement in the Church. After you get confirmed, you have received the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit and are more perfectly bond to the Church. The seven gifts are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. They will assist me to perfect the virtues. This means that with these gifts, I will be able to do service and volunteer work practiced with more love. I plan to go back to the St. Stephen’s Community House and volunteer at the Christmas Care Distribution again. However, next time I think I will bring some of my friends so they can get more involved too. A good idea would be to tell my basketball team because the distribution would be during basketball season. Then we would be able to go as a team to work with a bigger team to help low income families have a good Christmas. I also plan to go on the March for Life again in Washington D.C. with my classmates at Bishop Watterson. As I keep growing I will have new and detailed steps to the plan of Furthering My Faith.

Get rewarded for your service! Enter the Face Forward Service Award here. 

Weekly Faith – Sunday, April 13, 2014

All Is Fulfilled – Passion SundayPalm Sunday

Readings:
Isaiah 50:4-7
Psalm 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24
Philippians 2:6-11
Matthew 26:14-27:66

“All this has come to pass that the writings of the prophets may be fulfilled,” Jesus says in today’s Gospel (see Matthew 26:56).

Indeed, we have reached the climax of the liturgical year, the highest peak of salvation history, when all that has been anticipated and promised is to be fulfilled.

By the close of today’s long Gospel, the work of our redemption will have been accomplished, the new covenant will be written in the blood of His broken body hanging on the cross at the place called the Skull.

In His Passion, Jesus is “counted among the wicked,” as Isaiah had foretold (see Isaiah 53:12). He is revealed definitively as the Suffering Servant the prophet announced, the long-awaited Messiah whose words of obedience and faith ring out in today’s First Reading and Psalm.

The taunts and torments we hear in these two readings punctuate the Gospel as Jesus is beaten and mocked (see Matthew 27:31), as His hands and feet are pierced, as enemies gamble for His clothes (see Matthew 27:35), and as his enemies dare Him to prove His divinity by saving Himself from suffering (see Matthew 27:39-44).

He remains faithful to God’s will to the end, does not turn back in His trial. He gives Himself freely to His torturers, confident that, as He speaks in today’s First Reading: “The Lord God is My help…I shall not be put to shame.”

Destined to sin and death as children of Adam’s disobedience, we have been set free for holiness and life by Christ’s perfect obedience to the Father’s will (see Romans 5:12-14,17-19; Ephesians 2:2; 5:6).

This is why God greatly exalted Him. This is why we have salvation in His Name. Following His example of humble obedience in the trials and crosses of our lives, we know we will never be forsaken. We know, as the centurion today, that truly this is the Son of God (see Matthew 27:54).

Dr. Scott Hahn, St. Paul Center For Biblical Theology

Weekly Faith – Sunday, April 6th, 2014

At Lazarus’ Tomb – Fifth Sunday of Lent

Raising of Lazarus

Readings:
Ezekiel 37:12-14
Psalm 130:1-8
Romans 8:8-11
John 11:1-45

As we draw near to the end of Lent, today’s Gospel clearly has Jesus’ passion and death in view.

That’s why John gives us the detail about Lazarus’ sister, Mary – that she is the one who anointed the Lord for burial (see John 12:3,7). His disciples warn against returning to Judea; Thomas even predicts they will “die with Him” if they go back.

When Lazarus is raised, John notices the tombstone being taken away, as well as Lazarus’ burial cloths and head covering – all details he later notices with Jesus’ empty tomb (see John 20:1,6,7).

Like the blind man in last week’s readings, Lazarus represents all humanity. He stands for “dead man” – for all those Jesus loves and wants to liberate from the bands of sin and death.

John even recalls the blind man in his account today (see John 11:37). Like the man’s birth in blindness, Lazarus’ death is used by Jesus to reveal “the glory of God” (see John 9:3). And again like last week, Jesus’ words and deeds give sight to those who believe (see John11:40).

If we believe, we will see – that Jesus loves each of us as He loved Lazarus, that He calls us out of death and into new life.

By His Resurrection Jesus has fulfilled Ezekiel’s promise in today’s First Reading. He has opened the graves that we may rise, put His Spirit in us that we may live. This is the Spirit that Paul writes of in today’s Epistle. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead will give life to we who were once dead in sin.

Faith is the key. If we believe as Martha does in today’s Gospel – that Jesus is the resurrection and the life – even if we die, we will live.

“I have promised and I will do it,” the Father assures us in the First Reading. We must trust in His word, as we sing in today’s Psalm – that with Him is forgiveness and salvation.

Dr. Scott Hahn, St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology

Ordinary Teens Doing Extraordinary Things – Alison Lang

Alison Lang - OTET

Name: Alison Lang
Parish: Bishop Watterson

Services Performed:
Volunteering at Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Adena Brook Clean-Up, Holy Family Soup Kitchen.

Parish Involvement:
Volunteering with SPICE (Special People in Catholic Education), Vacation Bible School, Parish Festival, and altar serving.

Essay on how you will further your faith with service.

I think there are many benefits to serving others and I think my Catholic education has helped me see that. I’m glad my parents chose a Catholic school for me because it has made me see that their financial sacrifice resulted in something good. I know that Jesus sacrificed his life for us and this makes me know that giving something up can mean getting even more back. That’s the biggest lesson I have learned from my service and I want to share that with others.

I want everyone to know they can serve others and themselves at the same time. Helping others is good for our souls and I get upset when I hear people say they don’t have time for it. I scored in the 99th percentile for math, 99th percentile for language, and 96th percentile for reading on the Terra Nova test this school year. I have the most accelerated reading points in the whole school, I am also taking algebra, played two sports in the fall (golf and volleyball), played basketball in the winter, and I’m playing softball now. I also performed in the spring musical and I still have time for service.

I had a rough start (I was born 10 weeks premature), but I have always gotten good grades, I read a lot, take algebra, play sports, volunteer, and do my best to help others. I know I can do all of these things because my Catholic upbringing has taught me that it’s important to do my best and always be my best. Service is a way for me to help others be their best too. I want to further my faith by getting others to volunteer with me. The more we help others, the more we help ourselves.

Get rewarded for your service! Enter the Face Forward Service Award here. 

What Does The Bible Say About Fools?

April fools

Happy April Fool’s Day!

To some this is a favorite holiday, perhaps one that they’ve planned for all year.  To others, it’s a day where you’re always skeptical of the person you’re interacting with, waiting for the prank or joke to be on you.  But whether you love it or hate it, it happens every year.  So we wanted to check our favorite source, The Bible, and see what it has to say about the namesake of this special day, The Fool.

Here are our top 10 favorite verses about fools from the Bible.

Proverbs 18:2 
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

Proverbs 26:19 
Is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I am only joking!”

Proverbs 29:11 
A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.

Proverbs 1:7 
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 18:6 
A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating.

Proverbs 29:9 
If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.

Proverbs 28:26 
Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.

Matthew 5:22 
But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

Proverbs 26:3-12 
A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the back of fools. Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes. Whoever sends a message by the hand of a fool cuts off his own feet and drinks violence. Like a lame man’s legs, which hang useless, is a proverb in the mouth of fools.

Proverbs 10:23 
Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding.

Weekly Faith – Sunday, March 30, 2014

Eyesight for the Blind – Fourth Sunday of Lent

Readings:
1 Samuel 16:1, 6-7, 10-13
Psalm 23:1-6
Ephesians 5:8-14
John 9:1-41

Jesus Statue

God’s ways of seeing are not our ways, we hear in today’s First Reading. Jesus illustrates this in the Gospel – as the blind man comes to see and the Pharisees are made blind.

The blind man stands for all humanity. “Born totally in sin” he is made a new creation by the saving power of Christ.

As God fashioned the first man from the clay of the earth (see Genesis 2:7), Jesus gives the blind man new life by anointing his eyes with clay (see John 9:11). As God breathed the spirit of life into the first man, the blind man is not healed until he washes in the waters of Siloam, a name that means “Sent.”

Jesus is the One “sent” by the Father to do the Father’s will (see John 9:4; 12:44). He is the new source of life-giving water – the Holy Spirit who rushes upon us in Baptism (see John4:10; 7:38-39).

This is the Spirit that rushes upon God’s chosen king David in today’s First Reading. A shepherd like Moses before him (see Exodus 3:1; Psalm 78:70-71), David is also a sign pointing to the good shepherd and king to come – Jesus (see John 10:11).

The Lord is our shepherd, as we sing in today’s Psalm. By his death and Resurrection He has made a path for us through the dark valley of sin and death, leading us to the verdant pastures of the kingdom of life, the Church.

In the restful waters of Baptism He has refreshed our souls. He has anointed our heads with the oil of Confirmation and spread the Eucharistic table before us, filling our cups to overflowing.

With the once-blind man we enter His house to give God the praise, to renew our vow: “I do believe, Lord.”

“The Lord looks into the heart,” we hear today. Let Him find us, as Paul advises in today’s Epistle, living as “children of light” – trying always to learn what is pleasing to our Father.

Dr. Scott Hahn, St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology

2014 Seek Holiness (Bike) Tour de Diocese

 

Seminarian Bike Tour Participants

Front row (L-R) Daniel Swartz, Brian O’Connor, Ed Shikina, and Chris Yakkel; Second row: Kyle Tennant, Gordon Mott, Thomas Herge, and Brett Garland; Third row: Paul Williams, Bryant Haren, Tom Gardner, and Jeremiah Guappone; fourth row: Rob Johnson, Michael Fulton, P.J. Brandimarti, and Seth Keller.

This year mark’s the 6th year for the Seminarian Bike Tour scheduled for May 12-16. Our Diocese is blessed to have the only Pontifical Seminary in the U.S. and so for the past 5 years, after the Seminarians finish school, they take their bikes and hit the road. About 15 Seminarians and several clergy ride through our Diocese to various schools and parishes to reach out to our youth speaking on living the life you are called to live. Everyone is called to a Vocation and the Seminarian’s help the students become aware through sharing a piece of their story, interactive Q&A games such as Stump the Seminarian, and just being present for those tough questions such as What is a vocation?,How can I can tell if I have a Vocation?, Is a vocation a job? and more.

Plans for the Bike Tour are underway and visits are being finalized. In the coming weeks, visit www.seekholiness.com and www.catholic-foundation.org (The Tour’s Sponsor) to find out if your school or parish will be visited in this year’s Tour de Diocese!

For questions contact: jnaporano@seekholiness.com