No Longer Strangers

I always like reading from Ephesians and this morning’s daily reading was no exception with its’ focus on relationship. The Word Among Us had an excellent meditation on today’s Epistle and is included below.

Meditation: Ephesians 2:19-22

Saint Thomas, Apostle (Feast)

Members of the same household as saints like Thomas? It might seem like a stretch, especially when you think of how much the saints accomplished for Christ. You might feel that your life falls far short of such a high standard. But remember, as Thomas’ own story tells us, the saints were not perfect. Look at the apostles, the “foundation” Paul says we are built upon: Peter misunderstood Jesus and denied him. All of them except John abandoned him. Thomas himself proclaimed he wouldn’t believe Jesus had risen until he had probed the wounds with his own hands.

You are . . . members of the household of God. (Ephesians 2:19)

But that is not the end of their stories. Jesus gave Peter the chance to proclaim his love three times, mirroring his threefold denial. Then Peter went on to lead the early Church. Jesus appeared to Thomas and let him see his wounds. Once Thomas saw the resurrected Jesus, he made one of the most powerful proclamations of faith you will hear in the New Testament: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). From there, he went on to proclaim the gospel all the way to India!

These apostles were no less members of the household of God when they struggled with unbelief or weakness than when they became courageous heroes of the faith. This means that you are no less a member of the household of God when you are painfully aware of your own weakness and unbelief. In fact, that’s a great place to start because the more you know how much you need Jesus, the more open you will be to meeting him and receiving his grace. Look at Thomas: Jesus did not deny him the chance to touch his wounds. But he didn’t stop there. He called Thomas further, beyond his weakness and into deeper faith.

You are a member of God’s household, and in this household, the saints are your big brothers and sisters. They have so much to teach you, especially through their stories about how God accepted them and continued to work in them. You can be confident that God will accept and work with you too.

“Jesus, thank you for bringing me into your household of faith.”

John 20:24-29

Psalm 117:1-2

Word Among Us – July 3, 2019

Malta House

Helping Homeless, Pregnant Moms

Malta House promotes the dignity of God-given life by providing a nurturing home environment, support services and independent living skills to pregnant and parenting mother of all faiths and their children. This is possible through the generosity of many. Representatives came to St Peter Church last Sunday to share their mission and needs and to say thank you for helping to provide a safe home for mothers and their babies. Please visit their website at http://www.maltahouse.org to see how you can be involved.

#MaltaHouse

#SupportingSingleMothers

Don’t Be a Lone Ranger!

Even St. Paul needed a community of believers to shore him up

Today’s reading in Acts talks about Paul’s inspiration when he sees an altar to the “Unknown God” in Athens. The article in the today’s publication of Word Among Us is excellent and follows here.

Meditation: Acts 17:15, 22–18:1

6th Week of Easter

They came away with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him. (Acts 17:15)

It’s easy to see St. Paul as a “lone ranger” hiking alone down Roman roads, single-handedly establishing new churches. Today’s first reading might even cement that image in our minds, as Paul goes into Athens on his own to preach—except for the fact that he’s eagerly awaiting Silas and Timothy’s arrival. In reality, the picture of a lone, independent St. Paul is far from the truth.

From his conversion onward, Paul tried to surround himself with believers who supported him. Some of their names are familiar to us: Barnabas, Titus, Luke, Priscilla and Aquila. Others are not so well known: Sopater, Gaius, and Sosthenes. At one time or another, these brave men and women (and more) accompanied Paul on his missionary journeys. They proclaimed God’s word alongside him (Acts 13:5). They comforted him when he was crestfallen (2 Corinthians 7:6). And they energized him with their witness (Philippians 2:20). What’s more, most of Paul’s letters were works of collaboration, written with coworkers in ministry.

Far from being a lone ranger, Paul was a team player who saw the value in community. Consider one of the metaphors that Paul used to describe the Church: a body composed of many members, each of which was vital to the body’s functioning (1 Corinthians 12:12).

If Paul needed a community of believers shoring him up, so do we!

Are you a part of a group of other Christians who help support you in your faith? Maybe you’re involved in a parish renewal organization. Or perhaps you serve beside other Catholics in your community. If so, that’s great. Is there any way you can strengthen these relationships? Perhaps you could set up a monthly lunch gathering or start a text message thread devoted to praying for each other’s petitions. Or maybe you can just simply express how much they mean to you.

If you don’t belong to a group like this, how about looking to join one? You might start by looking at your church bulletin for a listing of existing groups. And you can always ask the Lord to open doors of friendship for you. Remember, you are not meant to be a lone ranger. You are a member of the body of Christ.

“Lord, thank you for the gift of friendship.”

Psalm 148:1-2, 11-14

John 16:12-15

#CatholicLiving #CatholicWay

Keep Your Joy!

This is the most joyous season for a Christian!

Christ has risen from the dead and has overcome death for us.  And He is still with us before His ascension into heaven.  Easter Sunday marks the beginning of the longest holiday (50 days) in the Catholic Church.  It is important to remember this but with the difficulties that we frequently encounter and the bombarment of the news media which focuses on the negative, it can be tough to remember our joy.

The meditation in today’s Word Among Us can help us to keep our joy.  The article follow below.

 

Meditation: Acts 8:1-8  

There was great joy in that city. (Acts 8:8)  

You watched your friend Stephen being stoned to death. Now persecution has broken out in your city (Acts 8:1). You might even be the next person killed for believing in Jesus. So you leave Jerusalem, but you keep preaching the gospel—and many people turn to the Lord. Despite the risks you face each day, you are still happy to see so many conversions.  

What if the early Christians had focused on their precarious situation instead of on all the good they saw happening? Instead of rejoicing, they would have become fearful and discouraged. They might have decided to abandon their newly found faith instead of continuing their mission to spread the good news.  

Most of us don’t experience the same kind of persecution that the early Christians faced. But we may still feel overwhelmed at times by what we see around us. Even if we don’t experience it directly, we hear plenty of bad news—homicides, drug overdoses, famine, abuse, and so much more. A steady diet of such news can wear us down over time and cause us to lose our joy.  

But here’s what doesn’t make the news: how the love of Jesus in the hearts of his people causes them to reach out to others in love. Think of all the men and women who dedicate their lives tending to the poor and forgotten. Think of all those who teach RCIA or work in Catholic schools or campus ministry. Think of the people who care for women who need healing after an abortion. You are probably part of this “good news” yourself!  

Don’t discount simple everyday acts of love and kindness either. Maybe you had a kind word for a coworker who rarely talks to any of her colleagues or a neighbor who keeps to himself. Maybe you kept your cool while helping your children reconcile after a fight. In situations like these, you are bearing the love of Christ and spreading his word.  

Today, choose to focus on the good news. Think of one act of love you have seen or read about recently. Then rejoice that Jesus is alive and active among his people today!  

“Heavenly Father, help me share the good news of Christ’s love to one person I encounter today.” 

Published by Word Among Us, May 8th, 2019

#KeepYourJoy

#Easter