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Seventeenth Sunday af. Pentecost (27th S. Ord. Time)
RESPECT LIFE SUNDAY-GERMAN AMERICAN DAY
Job, Chapter 1, Verse 8-9
8 The LORD said to the satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him, blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil.” 9 The satan answered the LORD and said, “Is it for nothing that Job is God-fearing?
The devil is the author of fear. The opposite of fear is not bravery but love. Christ showed his love for us by breaking the power of the devil by overcoming death. He showed us His love by sharing our human nature. He asks us in the gospel to love as He loved”. I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34) Christ therefore restores Gods original intend to give man life eternal and voiding the death that the devil had brought into the world. The fear of death is a fear based on the false conception that death marks the end of a person’s kindred with God. Jesus deliberately allied himself with us in order to be a merciful and faithful high priest in our behalf; expiating our sins as one who experienced the same tests as we. We usually give in to our sinfulness when we are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired (HALT). To halt sinful behaviors we must practice acts of love so that when we are hungry let us give food to the hungry; when we are angry let us remember to secure justice for the oppressed; when we are lonely let us remember to keep faith with our brethren; and when we are tired let us take up the yoke of Christ; for his yoke is easy and his burden is light.
Ponder this day if the Lord is calling you to the Priesthood or the religious life.
Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
This Sunday recognizes the double love of God and neighbor.
IN the Introit of the Mass, the justice and mercy of God are praised. Thou are just, O Lord, and Thy judgment is right. Deal with Thy servant according to Thy mercy. Blessed are the undefiled who walk in the law of the Lord (Ps. cxviii.).
Grant to Thy people, we beseech Thee, O Lord, to avoid the contagion of the devil, and with a pure mind to seek Thee, the only God.
EPISTLE. EpJi. iv. 1-6.
Brethren: I, a prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation in which you are called, with all humility and mildness, with patience, supporting one another in charity, careful to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. One body and one spirit, as you are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, Who is above all, and through all, and in us all, Who is blessed forever and ever. Amen.
The words, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, confound those who assert that a man may be saved in any belief. There can be but one true religion; they who profess it should be united by the bond of charity, and their lives be worthy of their vocation to the true faith.
GOSPEL. Matt. xxii. 35-46.
At that time the Pharisees came nigh to Jesus, and one of them, a doctor of the law, asked Him, tempting Him: Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind; This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets. And the Pharisees being gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying: What think you of Christ? Whose son is He? They say to Him: David’s. He saith to them: How then doth David in spirit call Him Lord, saying: The Lord said to my Lord: Sit on My right hand, until I make Thy enemies Thy footstool? If David then call Him Lord, how is He his son? And no man was able to answer Him a word: neither durst any man from that day forth ask Him any more questions.
Why is this commandment to love God and our neighbor called the great commandment? Because in these two are contained all the others, so that he who fulfils these fulfils the whole law. For whoever loves God with his whole heart does not murmur against God; does not dishonor His name by cursing and swearing; does not desecrate the Sabbath-day, because he knows that all this is offensive to God. On the contrary, he hopes in God; gives thanks and praise to God; sanctifies the Sundays and holy-days, because he knows this to be pleasing to God; observes the precepts of the Church, because he knows it to be the will of God that he should hear the Church; honors his parents; does no injury to his neighbor; does not commit adultery; does not steal; slanders no one; bears no false witness; pronounces no unjust judgment; is not envious, malicious, unmerciful, but rather practises towards every one the corporal and spiritual works of mercy; and all this because, out of love to God, he loves his neighbor as himself. Thus, love fulfils all the commandments.
What is the meaning of the question, “What think you of Christ?” Christ put this question to the Pharisees in order that, by their own answer, He might convince them that He was not merely a lineal son of David, but that He was the Son of God, begotten from eternity, on which account He called Himself David’s Lord. That Christ is the Son of God, our Lord, our Teacher, our Lawgiver, our Redeemer and Saviour, we Christians know well, for we daily profess it; but how many of us, in deeds, deny it, since we do not follow His teaching nor observe His commandments! What, then, will Christ one day be to such? What but a judge to condemn, and a God to punish?
Why must we love our neighbor? Because we are all, not merely by descent from Adam, but much more through the grace of Jesus, children of God and members of one family. As children of God, we bear in us the likeness of God. But God loved and still loves all men; for the salvation of all He has given up His only Son, that all may be saved; shall we then love one and hate another, and yet think to be like God? Through the grace of Jesus, we are all redeemed, made members of His body, yes, partakers of His body and blood. Therefore St. Paul admonishes us: “You are all one in Christ” (Gal. iii. 28), be therefore careful to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephes. iv. 3). How natural is it for the members of one body not to wound each other! Jesus, our Redeemer, gave His life for us when we were His enemies (Bom. v. 10), and even on the cross prayed for His murderers. We are His disciples. But can we be allowed to call ourselves so without possessing this mark of His discipleship? (John xiii. 15.) Thus, everything incites us to love: the law of nature and of revelation, the example of Christ, all the promises and hopes that we have. In truth, how, without love, could we hope to enter the kingdom of love? There can be no answer to this reasoning: “Would you be a disciple of Jesus, an heir of His kingdom? then love like Him; and He has shed His blood for His mortal enemies.
THE PROBLEM Watching the news and reading the headlines, we may feel helpless seeing the heartbreaking lack of respect for human life. How do we respond when our efforts seem small in the face of the culture of death?
OUR CHRISTIAN IDENTITY To understand more fully how to defend and protect human life, we must first consider who we are, at the deepest level. God creates us in his image and likeness, which means we are made to be in loving relationship with him. The essence of our identity and worth, the source of our dignity, is that we are loved by God: “We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son.” We are called to divine intimacy, true communion with God, and we can grow in this closeness with him through daily prayer, reading the Scriptures, and frequent participation in the sacraments, especially Confession and the Eucharist.
OUR MISSION AS CHRISTIANS The knowledge and realization of how deeply we are loved by God elicits a response of love that simultaneously draws us closer to God and, at the same time, impels us to share his love with others. Embracing a relationship with God means following in his footsteps, wherever he may call. Just as Jesus invited St. Peter and St. Andrew to become his disciples, he invites us to do the same: “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). Being a disciple of Jesus naturally includes sharing the Gospel with others and inviting them into a deeper elationship with God. As Christians, our identity and our mission are two sides of the same coin; like the apostles, we are called to be missionary disciples.
MISSIONARY DISCIPLESHIP This doesn’t necessarily mean quitting our jobs or moving to foreign countries. For most of us, our mission field is daily life: “Christ teaches us how to evangelize, how to invite people into communion with him, and how to create a culture of witness: namely, through love. A Christian life lived with charity and faith is the most effective form of evangelization.” The first step towards living this life is allowing Jesus to meet and transform us daily. If we respond to his grace, our lives will show we have something beyond what the world offers: we follow a person whose love changes our lives, so we want others to also experience his transforming love. When we live in union with God, open to his prompting, we’re more able to see the opportunities for witness and his guidance in responding to these opportunities. We may fear doing the wrong thing or saying the wrong thing, but we do not need to be afraid. Jesus promised his disciples, “I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
IDENTITY CRISIS As a society and as individuals, we often measure ourselves by false standards: by what and how much we do, our successes or failures, how others treat us, the degree of our pleasure or independence, etc. And when these changeable substitutes prove to be insufficient, or when we are faced with challenges and suffering, we may feel helpless, alone, or abandoned; we may be tempted to feel as though our lives have decreased value or worth. But God’s love—individual, real, unchanging—is the true source of our worth, identity, and dignity. It really is not a question of who we are, but rather whose we are. Because his love will never change, nothing can reduce our God-given dignity, and nothing can diminish the immeasurable worth of our lives.
OUR RESPONSE When someone is facing great trials, we need to meet them where they are, walk with them on their journey, intercede for them, and be open to sharing Christ’s love however he directs. When a woman becomes pregnant, and her boyfriend threatens to leave if she continues the pregnancy, we need to lovingly walk with her. When family members or friends become seriously ill, we need to assure them that God still offers them something in this life, and they still have purpose. We need to consistently be with them every step of the way. Sometimes our actions speak for themselves; other times, words are needed. Whatever the situation, Jesus knows how to speak to each person’s heart; we simply need to follow where he leads.
A CULTURE OF LIFE This is how we answer our missionary call. This is how we build a culture of life, a culture that joyfully proclaims the truth of God’s love, purpose, and plan for each person. Changing the culture is a process of conversion that begins in our own hearts and includes a willingness to be instructed and a desire to be close to Jesus—the source of joy and love. When we encounter Christ, experience his love, and deepen our relationship with him, we become more aware of our own worth and that of others. His love for each person is cause for great joy, and growing understanding of this priceless treasure motivates us to share his love with others. Our lives are often changed by the witness of others; so too, others’ lives may be changed by our witness and authentic friendship with them. Let us go, therefore, and not be afraid. God is always with us.
German-American Day Facts & Quotes
· The current population of Germantown, PA is 26,563 inhabitants.
· Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa are now home to the largest number of German descendants in the US.
· After the Second World War, around 375,000 Germans immigrated to the US. In the 50s and 60s alone, around 786,000 Germans immigrated to the US.
· Albert Einstein was a German immigrant, a Jew who opted to remain in the US when the Nazi party came to power in 1933.
· The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything. - Albert Einstein
German-American Day Top Events and Things to Do
· Read some popular stories by German writers including Hansel and Gretel, The Trial and The Man Without Qualities.
· Spend some time learning more about the religious oppression in Germany in 1683 in order to further understand why the founding 13 families fled the country and arrived in Philadelphia.
· Enjoy a glass of mulled wine. It is a common drink found at Christmas markets all through Germany.
· Enjoy a German movie. Some of our favorites: Victoria (2015), Land of Mine (2015) and Downfall (2004).
· Learn more about the Nazi Regime from WW2 in order to better understand how the population of German-Americans grew so quickly around that time.
· Today in honor of the Holy Trinity do the Divine Office giving your day to God. To honor God REST: no shopping after SUNSET ON SATURDAY till Monday. Don’t forget the internet.
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.
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