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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


Luke, Chapter 19, Verse 20-21
20 Then the other servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your gold coin; I kept it stored away in a handkerchief, 21 for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding person; you take up what you did not lay down and you harvest what you did not plant.’

When I read this verse; I thought of Mathew Kelly’s writing from his book, “Rediscovering Catholicism.” Kelly speaks about the various attitudes and philosophies which shape and define the mindset of the modern secular world. He identifies three key lifestyles: individualism, hedonism and minimalism.
First, what’s individualism? Individualism is an attitude whereby I come to see myself as the center of the universe. The individualist will typically go through the course of his or her day asking himself or herself one question: Whats in it for me?”

Secondly, what’s hedonism? Essentially, it is an attitude whereby I come to see the pursuit of my own personal pleasure as my primary concern in life. The hedonist will typically ask himself or herself this question: How can I maximize the amount of pleasure in my life while minimizing the amount of pain and inconvenience which I must endure?

Thirdly, what is minimalism? This is a attitude whereby I look to put in the minimum amount of effort that I possibly can into life, while reaping the maximum amount of reward. The minimalist will typically ask himself or herself questions such as these:

·         Whats the least amount I can possibly do at the workplace and still keep my job?” Or perhaps:
·         Whats the least amount I can possibly do at school and still get a good grade?”

There are many people in the world today who might “self-identify” as being “Christian”, if not “Catholic”, who are still giving their hearts very much to the so-called spirit of the world; whether we’re talking about the spirit of individualism, hedonism or minimalism. For instance, we can say that there are many Catholics in the world who go to Mass, say their prayers, and perhaps even occasionally eat fish on Fridays – who still govern most of their conduct by asking themselves this one simple question: Whats in it for me?” Many of these people might still be very “kind” and “generous” to certain persons that they happen to know. Who isn’t from time to time? But perhaps, this sense of “kindness” and “generosity” is still governed by a pervasive sense of selfishness and self-interest. In other words: “I’ll be kind to you, but only insofar as you’re being kind back onto me!” And what is that but the spirit of individualism. Let’s take a different example. Again, we can say that there are many Catholics in the world today who go to Mass, say their prayers, and perhaps belong to certain religious clubs or organizations who still govern the bulk of their conduct by asking: “How can I get through the course of my day while incurring the least amount of pain or inconvenience to myself? Many of these people might still be saying their prayers, perhaps even every day, but whats often the real substance behind these prayers? “O Lord give me the things that I want, the things that I desire, the things that I believe to be essential to my own sense of happiness and well-being. But Lord, whatever you do: do not make me suffer, do not give me inconvenience, and do not give me pain! In other words, do not give me the Cross! And that is the spirit of hedonism: the relentless and almost single-minded pursuit of one’s own personal pleasure as one’s ultimate concern. This takes us to our third example. Again, there are many Catholics in the world who go to church, go to confession, and even follow the Commandments who still perhaps ask themselves this question repeatedly: “How can I get myself into the kingdom of heaven, while putting the least amount of effort into my relationship with God? These people might try their very best to avoid all sorts of serious sin. But, as we know from personal experience, there is a huge difference between simply trying to avoid serious sin, and actually trying our very best to please the Lord in all things, especially in those little details which perhaps no one else would ever notice, except Christ Himself! But that’s really the difference between being a “lukewarm Catholic” (or a “minimalist”) and being a true disciple of the Lord.[1]

World Refugee Day[2]

World Refugee Day serves to commemorate the strength, courage and resilience of millions of refugees that have been forced to flee their homes out of fear of persecution or to escape disasters. The day also aims to recognize refugees for their contribution to the world. According to the United Nations, there are more than 50 million people displaced by war and violence, of which 33 million are internally displaced while the other 17 million are refugees, mostly in neighboring nations.

The United Nations General Assembly designated World Refugee Day in December 2000. It is celebrated every June 20th, a day chosen in order to coincide with Africa's previously celebrated Refugee Day.

Religious Liberty Attack: Catholic Humanitarian Services[3]

For decades, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) has carried out the commitment of the U.S. Bishops to serve and advocate for refugees, asylees, and other forced migrants, immigrants, and other people on the move. Special concern is given to the most vulnerable among these populations, such as the victims of human trafficking. This commitment is rooted in the Gospel mandate that every person is to be welcomed by the disciple as if he or she were Christ Himself, and in the right of every human being to pursue, without constraint, the call to holiness. MRS developed years of expertise in actively working to end human trafficking and protect those adults and children who have been exploited through trafficking. In 2006, MRS's Anti-Trafficking Services Program (ATSP) began administering a federal program to provide intensive case management to foreign national victims of human trafficking identified in the U.S. and its territories. In 2010, through its network of subcontracting agencies, ATSP helped survivors of human trafficking from 64 countries, with the largest number of survivors from India, Mexico, Thailand, the Philippines, and Haiti. Survivors had been trafficked on farms, in hotels and casinos, in private homes, in spas, and in other industries for the purposes of forced labor and/or sex trafficking. However, despite many years of excellent performance by MRS in administering contract services for victims of human trafficking, in 2011, the federal government changed its contract specifications to require MRS to provide or refer for contraceptive and abortion "services" in violation of Catholic teaching. The federal government refused to award a grant to MRS despite MRS's earning a far higher objective score from the government's independent grant evaluators than two other organizations that were awarded grants. And those two scored so low that they were deemed unqualified.

Religious institutions should not be disqualified from a government contract based on religious belief, and they do not somehow lose their religious identity or liberty upon entering such contracts. Yet a federal court in Massachusetts, turning religious liberty on its head, declared that the First Amendment requires such a disqualification—that the government somehow violates religious liberty by allowing Catholic organizations to participate in contracts in a manner consistent with their beliefs on contraception and abortion. Fortunately, in January 2013, an appeals court vacated this terrible decision. But the possibility of similar suits in the future remains.


Is our most cherished freedom truly under threat? Among many current challenges, the federal government has discriminated against Catholic humanitarian services based on their religious beliefs, even when those beliefs had no impact on performance. Religious liberty is more than freedom of worship; it includes our ability to make our contribution to the common good of all Americans without having to compromise our faith. Without religious liberty properly understood, all of us suffer, especially victims of human trafficking in need of important humanitarian services.

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