Next Sunday Liturgy Preparation

TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

August 27, 2017                                                            LECTIONARY #121A

‘Who Do You Say That I Am?”

ISAIAH 22:19-23 Isaiah the prophet addresses oracles to various nations, announcing their impending doom (chap­ters 3-23). Chapter 22 is an oracle against Jerusalem, the City of David. Isaiah makes the point that Jerusalem, too, was subject to God’s judgment. This oracle may have been delivered when Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, launched a siege against Jerusalem. Although Jerusalem was miracu­lously spared, the people refused to acknowledge that their sins brought destruction near. Shebna, the steward or over­seer of the house of Hezekiah, appears to have been the leader of the party that favored an alliance with Egypt against Assyria, rather than trusting in God. Shebna is the only individual against whom the prophet issued an oracle of doom. Isaiah’s wrath was aroused by the wanton luxury of Shebna, especially the lavish tomb he built for himself, which the prophet predicted he would never occupy. Because of his pride, Shebna was ejected from his office and Eliakim (Hebrew: “God raises up”) was given supervision over the house of David. The key was a symbol of power for Israel: “I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open” (v. 22). Fixed in a secure place, Eliakim too would fall when he failed to put his trust in God.

PSALM 138:1-3, 6, 8 (8BC) Psalm 138 is a heartfelt prayer of thanksgiving offered by a petitioner in the Temple. Clearly, there were times when the psalmist was in danger, but he had confidence that God would rescue him. The psalmist is moved to sing of God’s “steadfast love” and “faithfulness” (v. 2b): “On the day I called, you answered me” (v. 3a). The psalmist is not saved because of his virtues but because of God’s fidelity. He trusts in God’s continual help and prays that others might experience God’s love and thereby be stirred to offer God praise.

ROMANS 11:33-36 Paul battled with a heartbreaking problem of his own people’s rejection of Jesus Christ. He examined the question with every resource he possessed. A certain paradox existed: God gave Paul a great mind, and it was his duty to use that mind. But sometimes his human limitations were reached. The mystery of salvation could not be understood solely by the mind but by a heart that loved God. Paul says that there was nothing more to be said: “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” (v. 34). Paul’s theology now turns to poetry; his seeking of the mind to the adoration of the heart. Paul declares that all things came from God, that all things have their being through God, and that all things end in God. Having done his best, Paul was content to accept the divine mystery of redemption.

MATTHEW 16:13-20 Jesus took his disciples to the area of Caesarea Philippi in northern Israel near Baniyas, where the Cave of Pan (identified with the Roman god of fields and forests, flocks and shepherds) stood. There may also have been a temple in this area built by Herod to honor the Emperor Augustus. In this pagan territory, Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (v. 13b). Peter confesses his belief in Jesus as God’s Son, the “Messiah” (v. 16; the “anointed one”). Jesus declares that Peter is “blessed” for announcing this revelation from God. Jesus, in turn, affirms Peter’s identity and mission as the foundation, the “rock,” of his Church. The Aramaic word for “rock” (kepha) was transliterated into Greek as “Cephas,” the name Paul used for Peter in his writings (see 1 Corinthians 1:12). Matthew used the Greek masculine word petros (for the feminine petra), thus “Peter” in English. Because of Peter’s new position among the Twelve, Jesus confers supreme authority on him, promising divine assis­tance to guide the Church. Peter received “the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 16:19). These powers to “bind” and “loose”—that is, the power to absolve or not to absolve a person from sin—are given to the Church through Peter and his successors. The rock of Peter’s faith would enable him to follow Jesus right up to his own death as a martyr.

CONNECTIONS TO CHURCH TEACHING AND TRADITION

    Christ is the head of the Church, and the Church participates in Jesus’ kingly office (CCC, 908-913).

    Animated by the Holy Spirit, the Church con­tinues to do Christ’s work in the world (CCC, 542-546, 567).

    Catholics honor the authority of the pope and other bishops as being in direct line from the authority given by Jesus to Peter and the other Apostles (CCC, 851, 862).

  God continues to gift the Church by calling leaders to guide the people (CCC, 863).

Scripture Backgrounds For The Sunday Lectionary, LTP, page 138.

 

 

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SPIRITUALITY  &  CATECHESIS

 

 

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TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

SPIRITUALITY

Reflecting on the Gospel

It’s such a seemingly simple question by Jesus: “But who do you say that I am?” The disciples still had so much to learn! So do we!

At first, in their response to Jesus’ questions about who he is, the disciples mention only prophets. This ought to be no surprise. This is how their con­temporaries would interpret this itinerant Rabbi. Throughout their history prophets had guided the Jewish people in the ways of God. Prophets had called them back to covenantal fidelity. Prophets had warned the Jewish people about impending punishment when they strayed from God through being stiff-necked, self-reliant, and unfaithful. How much more did the disciples have to learn about who Jesus is! They could not be prepared for the wholly new that Jesus is—the new Adam, the new Moses. They could not be prepared for the wholly new covenant Jesus was offer­ing through who he was. They could not be prepared for the new church, the new beloved people they themselves would become. Indeed, Jesus is a prophet, but so much more: he is “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Nothing short of a revelation by the “heavenly Father” could make this known to Peter. Nothing short of a revelation by the community of believers who acknowledge Jesus as “the Christ” and remain ever faithful to his saving mission could continue to make this known even to our day. The church is a fluidity of persons cemented together by the common bond of faithfully living the mystery of who Christ is. And who we are in him.

This gospel challenges us to keep before our eyes an understanding of church as the community of believers who constantly make present the risen Christ Jesus makes a vital connection between his self-identity and the reality of the church. The church rests in Jesus, derives from who he is and his ministry, and is built up only by our own participation in the identity of Jesus. The church is the Body of Christ made visible in the com­munity of believers who carry forward Jesus’ saving mission. The church will prevail because Jesus’ saving mission will prevail to the end of time when all will be gathered back to the Father.

Jesus is doing a wonderful thing in this gospel—he is telling us that by being church we participate in his identity (as children of God) and his saving mission. Nothing will prevail against this church so long as we keep ourselves turned toward Jesus and remember that our own identity as members of the Body of Christ is bound up in who Jesus is: “the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Living the Paschal Mystery

Church isn’t something we go to once a week, but it is an identity we share as members of the Body of Christ into which we were initiated at baptism. The disciples were “ordered” by Jesus to “tell no one that he was the Christ” No, we are not to talk about the Christ, we are to be the Presence of Christ living as he did. We build up this Body, the church, any time we reach out to another in need and respond as Christ would. We build up this Body, the church, every time we gather as a liturgical assembly to give God praise and thanks. We build up his Body, the church, any time we forgive, offer an encouraging word, show mercy and compassion. In all these and many other ways we are not only building up the church, we are also witnessing to our identity as church—as the Presence of the risen Christ made visible in and through us. Such an identity we share!                                                                                                                                                     Living Liturgy™ For Sundays and Solemnities 2017, Liturgical Press, page 198.

 

 

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Focusing the Gospel

Key words and phrases: who do you say that I am, You are the Christ, build my church

To the point: In their response to Jesus’ questions about who he is, the dis­ciples mention only prophets. Indeed, Jesus is a prophet, but so much more: he is “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Nothing short of a revelation by the “heavenly Father” could make this known to Peter. Nothing short of a revela­tion by the community of believers who acknowledge Jesus as “the Christ” and remain ever faithful to his saving mission could continue to make this known even to our day. The church is a fluidity of persons cemented together by the common bond of faithfully living the mystery of who Christ is.

Connecting the Gospel

to the first reading: God removed “Shebna, master of the palace” from his position of authority because of his unfaithfulness. Then God placed his faith­ful servant Eliakim “like a peg in a sure spot” (first reading). Jesus confers the leadership of his church on Peter, setting him as a “rock” who would be faithful to the end.

to experience: When we hear “rock” in this gospel, little pebbles, sandstone, or limestone do not come to mind. Instead, what comes to mind is large boul­ders that are hard, permanent, and immovable. The church Jesus established, built upon Peter the “rock,” remains hard at work bringing salvation to all, is permanent in the community of believers, and is immovable from the Gospel values Jesus revealed.

Connecting the Responsorial Psalm

to the readings: In some versions of Psalm 138 the word “angels” is trans­lated “other gods” since the Hebrew term used (‘elohim) variously meant “God,” “gods,” or “godlike beings.” These multiple meanings emerged as Israel slowly groped toward belief in one God. As their faith in the one God ‘elohim grew, they dethroned their notion of other gods and it is before these shadows of for­mer power that the psalmist sings God’s praises.

Like the Israelites’ slow learning of who God was, Peter’s discovery of the identity of Jesus (gospel) was a gradual process (see Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time). It was also a gift from God. And like with the Israelites, Peter’s faith would become the foundation of the faith of many others. In singing this responsorial psalm, we testify to the durability of what has been given us through the Israelites and through Peter. Each of us gives thanks to God for being God. Each of us chooses to worship God. Each of us asks God never to forsake the “work” of leading us forward in faith, and of cementing us together as the community who faithfully reveals to the world the mystery of God and of Christ, the Son of God (gospel).

to psalmist preparation: The “work of [God’s] hands” about which you sing in this Sunday’s psalm is the gift of revelation, the gift of faith, the gift of the church founded upon the person Peter who grew in faith through experi­ence and grace. How have you, through experience and grace, come to know God’s revelation? How have you grown in your faith? How have you strength­ened your bond with the community of believers, the church?

Living Liturgy™ For Sundays and Solemnities 2017, Liturgical Press, page 199.

 

 

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CELEBRATION

 

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Homily Points

  • How sure we are of an organization, a process, a group when the leadership is rock solid, instilling confidence and success! How uncomfortable we are when the leadership is shaky, uncertain, and lacking in vision. Jesus instills more than rock solid leadership. His church is built upon his own identity and fidelity.
  • Jesus first asks the disciples who others say he is, then he asks them for their own an­swer. Peter responds that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus promises that his church will be built upon this rock of revelation, this rock of faith, this rock of a community living his identity and saving mission until the very end of the ages.
  • How do we know who Jesus is? He is revealed to us by those who, like Peter, are faith­ful rocks upon which the church is continually built up. How do others know who Jesus is? Through our own faithful living, through our own conviction about Jesus’ identity, through ourselves being the community of the church confidently following Jesus through death to Life.

Living Liturgy™ For Sundays and Solemnities 2017, Liturgical Press, page 200.

 

  

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About Liturgy

Liturgy and the identity of Christ: Each liturgy includes numerous times when we acknowledge the identity and Presence of Christ. For example, we begin Mass each time with the sign of the cross—an acknowledgment not simply of the Presence of “Christ, the Son of the living God,” but of the other two persons of the Trinity as well. Even more telling is our language preceding and concluding the proclamation of the gospel. In both acclamations we utter praise: “Glory to you, 0 Lord”; “Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.” It is telling that we use second person pronouns in these two acclamations: you (we don’t do so at the conclusion of the first and second readings). Our language itself is saluting the very person of Christ whom we address as really present to us in this assembly, during this gospel proclamation, during this Mass.

These gospel acclamations say something more: by our common acknowledgment of the Presence of Christ in the very proclamation of the gospel, we also are binding ourselves together as one community; the “glue” that binds us is none other than our shared identity as the Body of Christ which we ourselves proclaim by acknowledging Christ’s Presence. The proclamation of the gospel is a particular moment for building up the Body of Christ, the church!

About Liturgical Music

Music suggestions: Sylvia Dunstan’s “Who Is This Who Walks Among Us?” (found in Where the Promise Shines from GIA) was written to be used on this Sunday when Peter makes his profession of faith in Jesus as Son of God. Set to a strong 8787 tune (such as STUTTGART or MERTON), this hymn would make an excellent entrance song. Another excellent possibility for the entrance procession would be Delores Duf­ner’s “Jesus Christ, By Faith Revealed” (OF, WC, WS). Songs about Christ as the center and foundation of our lives, such as “You Are the Way” (OF, WC, WS) and “Christ Be Near at Either Hand” (OF, WC, WS) would be suitable choices during the preparation of the gifts. Suzanne Toolan’s “Jesus Christ, Yesterday, Today, and Forever/ Jesucristo Ayer” (G3, W4) would be a lovely, faith-filled piece to sing during Communion.

If sung on the Nineteenth Sunday when Peter struggled with fear and doubt and the disciples first proclaimed Jesus Son of God, repeating “How Firm a Foundation” (found in most resources) would highlight the progression in the Lectionary gospel readings as well as the progression in our own faith as we move through this long season of Ordinary Time. This hymn would make an excellent recessional song this Sunday. Other good choices for the recessional include “Christ Be Beside Me” (BB, OF, WC, WS); “Church of God, Elect and Glorious” (OF, W4); “Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation (G3, OF, W4, WC); and “The Church’s One Foundation” (found in most resources).

Living Liturgy™ For Sundays and Solemnities 2017, Liturgical Press, page 201.

 

 

 

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Guide to Lectio Divina 

Choose a word or phrase of the Scriptures you wish to pray. It makes no difference which text is chosen, as long as you have no set goal of “covering” a certain amount of text. The amount of text covered is in God’s hands, not yours.

Read. Turn to the text and read it slowly, gently. Savor each portion of the reading, constantly listening for the “still, small voice” of a word or phrase that somehow says, “I am for you today?’ Do not expect lightning or ecstasies. In lectio divina, God is teaching us to listen, to seek him in silence. God does not reach out and grab us but gently invites us ever more deeply into his presence.

Ponder. Take the word or phrase into yourself. Memorize it and slowly repeat it to yourself, allowing it to interact with your inner world of concerns, memories, and ideas. Do not be afraid of distractions. Memories or thoughts are simply parts of yourself that, when they rise up during lectio divina, are asking to be given to God along with the rest of your inner self. Allow this inner pondering, this rumination, to invite you into dialogue with God.

Pray. Whether you use words, ideas, or images—or all three—is not important. Interact with God as you would with one who you know loves and accepts you. Give to God what you have discovered during your experience of meditation. Give to God what you have found within your heart.

It is not necessary to assess the quality of your lectio divina, as if you were “performing” or seeking some goal. Lectio divina has no goal other than that of being in the presence of God by praying the Scriptures.

—Fr. Luke Dysinger   –   Luke Dysinger, OSB, is a Benedictine monk of Saint Andrew’s Abbey, Valyermo, California.       Give Us This Day®, Daily Prayer for Today’s Catholic, April 2017, Liturgical Press, page 441.

 

Lectio Divina      

A PRAYERFUL READING OF SACRED SCRIPTURE

The Gospel for the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time Matthew 16:13-20

Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (16:13).

Bishop Robert Barron notes that the Lord asks not “What do the people think about my teaching?” but rather this ques­tion about his identity. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger: “Jesus’ proclamation was never mere preaching, mere words; it was ‘sacramental,’ in the sense that his words were and are inseparable from his ‘I’—from his ‘flesh.— Verbum Domini 92: “The novelty of the Christian message does not consist in an idea but in a fact: God has revealed himself.”

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets” (16:14).

Saint John Chrysostom: “After the disciples replied by recounting the opinion of the common people, Jesus then by a second question invites them to higher thought con­cerning him.”

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (16:15-16).

Saint Thomas Aquinas: “In Peter’s response perfect faith is touched upon, for faith in the humanity of Jesus is touched upon. Anointing belongs to Jesus according to his human­ity. So Peter says this that they might regard the humanity of Christ in a way different from the crowds.” Saint Hilary of Poitiers: “The reason for maintaining this confession is that we may remember that Jesus is both the Son of God and the Son of Man. The one without the other offers no hope for our salvation.” Saint John Paul II: “Only the faith proclaimed by Peter, and with him by the Church in every age, truly goes to the heart, and touches the depth of the mystery.”

Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father” (16:17).

Aquinas: “Although others confessed Jesus to be an adoptive son, Peter confessed him to be the natural Son. Therefore this one is blessed before the others—because he first confessed the divinity.” Father Cornelius a Lapide, S.J.: “Blessed and happy are you, 0 Peter, on account of this new faith concerning me. For this is a mighty gift and benefit, not of flesh and blood, that is, not of nature, but by the grace of God inspiring and revealing to you this very thing. For this faith is the beginning and the foundation of all grace and glory, and, therefore, it shall lead you, and many through you and your example and preaching, to eternal blessed­ness.” Father John Tauler, 0.P.: “The Holy Spirit leads those who prepare their souls for him, who long to be filled with him, who would entertain him as their divine guest, who would yield themselves freely and loyally to his guidance. How glad we should be to extend him this welcome.”

“And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it” (16:18).

Saint Leo the Great: “Jesus says, ‘Even as my Father has made known to you my excellency, so do I also make known to you your excellency, that you are Peter, that is, inasmuch as I am the inviolable Rock, so likewise you are a rock, because you are strengthened by my strength, and the things that are mine by my own power are yours by participation with me. On this strength I will raise up an eternal temple, and the loftiness of my Church, piercing into heaven, will rise up on the firmness of this faith. Hence, who would dare beat against this impregnable solidarity, except either antichrist or the devil?— Origen: “In heavenly things every spiritual sin is a gate of hell, to which are opposed the gates of righteousness.”

“I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (16:19).

Aquinas: “Christ communicated this so that sins might be removed through a ministry which is completed by the strength of Christ’s blood.” Chrysostom: “The reason God’s plan permitted Peter to sin was because he was to be entrusted with the whole people of God, and sinlessness added to his severity might have made him unforgiving toward his brothers and sisters. He fell into sin so that, remembering his own fault and the Lord’s forgiveness, he also might forgive others out of love for them. Peter, the teacher of the world, was permitted to sin so that, having been forgiven himself, he would be merciful to others.”

Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ (16:20).

Chrysostom: “Jesus says in effect, ‘Preach me when I shall have suffered those things, since it is not expedient that Christ should be publicly proclaimed, and his majesty made commonly known among people, when they are shortly to behold him scourged and crucified. For that which once was rooted but afterward has been torn up, if it is again planted, is with difficulty retained among the multitude; but that which, once rooted, has continued ever after unmoved, is easily brought on to a further growth.—

Magnificat, August 2017, pages 377-379.

 

 

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R E F L E C T I O N

 

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A LIGHT UNTO MY PATH  —  Bishop Robert Barron
Twenty-First Sunday in O. T.                                                                                                                                                                            In the famous conversation at Caesarea Philippi, described in the 16th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus speaks to Simon the son of Jonah: And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church. And then he adds, And the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I don’t know about you, but I managed more or less to misunderstand this image for about forty years.

I always took it to imply that the powers of hell would come after the Church and that the Church would always be able to withstand the attack. But in point of fact, the figure of speech employed by Jesus is meant to suggest something in the opposite direction. In the ancient world (and really up until practically modern times), an invading army would attack a walled city at its most vulnerable point, namely, the gates. Therefore, to state that the gates of the underworld will not prevail against the Church is to imply that the community of Jesus Christ is the aggressor. Jesus is not saying that we will always prevail against their attack; he is saying that they will never prevail against our attack.

Mind you, we never fight with the weapons of the world, but by God, we fight—and we will win. We aren’t tremblingly waiting for our enemies to come after us; we’re going af­ter them! Love will conquer hate; compassion will conquer cruelty; non-violence will conquer violence. So go forth, disciples of Jesus.       Magnificat, August 2017, page 376.

 

Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

Peter can declare with certainty that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, because of the way that his own life had changed since the first day that he met Jesus. The evidence for Peter’s bold claim—his creed—is the fact that association with this man had brought about a transformation of everything in his life, especially those things most resistant to change—the or­dinary circumstances of life. Only God, with his “unsearchable ways,” could effect such a newness. The fact that Christ wants to use Peter as an instrument by which the Lord will open heaven to the world is surprising but not shocking. Just as Peter has come to recognize God through the humanity of the man Jesus, God’s method of self-communication will continue through the human­ity of the Apostle Peter.            Magnificat, August 2017, page 385.

 

 

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“Who do you say that I am?”

Today, too, “many times we hear within ourselves” the same question that Jesus addressed to the Apostles. Jesus “turns to us and asks us: who am I for you? Who is Jesus Christ for each of us, for me? Who is Jesus Christ?” Surely, Pope Francis said, “we will respond as Peter did, as we learned in the Catechism: You are the Son of the living God, you are the Redeemer, you are the Lord!”…

Therefore, in order “to respond to that question which we all hear in our hearts—Who is Jesus for us? —what we have learned and studied in the Catechism does not suffice.” Certainly “it is important to study and to know it, but it is not enough,” the pope insisted. For in order to know him truly, “we need to travel the path that Peter traveled”….

The pope repeated that, in order to know Jesus, “what is needed is not a study of notions but rather a life as a disciple.” For “in journeying with Jesus we learn who he is…we come to know Jesus as disciples.” We come to know him “in the daily encounter with the Lord, each day. Through our victories and through our weak­nesses.” It is precisely “through these encounters” that “we draw close to him and come to know him more deeply.” For it is “in these everyday encounters that we acquire what Saint Paul calls the mind of Christ, the hermeneutic to judge all things”….

Therefore we come to know Jesus “as disciples on the path of life, following behind him.” But this “is not enough,” the pope said. In reality, this “is a work of the Holy Spirit, who is a great worker: he is not a union or­ganizer, he is a great worker. And he is always at work in us: and he carries out this great work of explaining the mystery of Jesus, and of giving us the mind of Christ.”

Pope Francis concluded his reflection by posing Jesus’ question: Who am I for you?” As disciples,” he said, “let us ask the Father to grant us a deeper knowledge of Christ, and let us ask the Holy Spirit to explain to us this mystery.”

FROM A HOMILY BY POPE FRANCIS

His Holiness Pope Francis was elected to the See of Saint Peter in 2013.

Magnificat, August 2017, page 389.

 

 

  

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HOMILY  by  Father James Hogan, For   August 20, 2017

Homily for August 27, 2017 COMING on Thursday or Friday.

 http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/082017.cfm

Is 56: 1-7 + Romans 11: 13-32 + Matthew 15: 21-28 20 Ordinary A ‘17
In the mid-60’s, when I was an associate pastor at St. Anthony’s here in Missoula, I met a very
impressive young gentleman from Spokane. He was a black Catholic priest. When he was in
elementary school, he and his family were passing through Missoula, entered a restaurant and
were told they were not welcome. That was a common experience for Native Americans here.
Apparently it also was common for African Americans. Today that sounds shocking and it is! If
we are honest, most of us will admit we still struggle to overcome our own biases and prejudices.
Matthew’s gospel is a post resurrection document. Matthew placed the gospel event about the
Canaanite women right smack in the middle of his gospel. It seems totally out of context. I don’t
know why he placed this event where he did. Perhaps it was to address two concerns with which his community was struggling.
First given the culture of the time, I think it safe to assume those Jewish Christians were
struggling with the role of women in their community. Sound familiar? To our shame as Roman
Catholics, we are still struggling with this same concern. I hope you are an advocate for the
equality of women.
Second, again given the culture of the time, I think it safe to assume those Jewish Christians did
not know how to behave around or relate to people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
This included people of other countries, cultures, and religions. Who is to be accepted? Who is
to be rejected? How are we to treat people? Sound familiar?
Our gospel today addresses both concerns. Jesus and his companions are on the way toward
the border between Jewish and pagan territory. A Canaanite woman approached him.
Canaanites were not Jews. They were foreigners and therefore different. They were Israel’s
ancient enemies. In addition she was a woman and had no right to make a claim on Jesus.
It is normal for most of us to feel uncomfortable with anyone who is “different.” Jesus was a good Jew and very normal. He saw and heard this woman only through his cultural and religious preconceptions that convinced him his vocation was limited to Jewish people. He ignores her.
She is a wise woman and knew intuitively that Jesus was capable of growing. He was concerned
about boundaries, nationalities and religious restrictions. She hounded him into recognizing the
larger picture, and made it impossible for him to ignore her. Perhaps he laughed as she shook
him out of his prejudices and realized she was right.
In this interchange we see that Jesus was a real human being. He was capable of growing. He
did something he was neither prepared nor willing to do. He learned from the woman, matured
and gradually became more and more fully human!
Ultimately that is what attracts us to follow and to imitate him. Deep within we all yearn to
become more and more fully human.
There are families now living among us known as refugees. Their very presence provides
opportunity for us to awaken to the larger picture. I hope you are able to recognize your own
personal biases and prejudices if you have any. The presence of refugees among us provides
opportunity for us to imitate Christ and to become more and more fully human.
Perhaps Matthew placed this event about the Canaanite women right smack in the middle of his gospel to remind us we are capable of growing, changing and becoming more than we think
ourselves capable of being. Such transformation is critical in our journey to become more fully
alive and fully human – and ultimately more fully Christ like.

 

 

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REFLECTIONS ON THE POPE’S PRAYER INTENTIONS for August  2017

Artists: That artists of our time, through their ingenuity, may help everyone discover the beauty of creation.

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19: 1). As creation reveals God’s beauty, so humans, made in God’s image and likeness, create works that give glory to God.

The great Russian novelist Dostoevsky wrote that “beauty will save the world.” How?

At the end of the Second Vatican Council the bishops told artists: “This world in which we live needs beauty in order not to sink into despair. It is beauty, like truth, which brings joy to the human heart and is that precious fruit which resists the wear and tear of time, which unites generations and makes them share things in admiration.” Beauty lifts the heart and brings people together.

Pope Francis spoke of “the important and necessary task of artists: to create works of art that bear through the language of beauty a sign, a spark of hope and trust where people seem to give in to indifference and ugliness.”

He went on to say: “Architects and painters, sculptors and musicians, filmmakers and writers, photographers and poets, artists of every discipline, are called to make beauty shine, especially where darkness and greyness dominate everyday life; they are custodians of beauty, heralds and witnesses of hope for humanity, as my predecessors have repeated many times. I invite them, therefore, to care for beauty, and beauty will heal the many wounds that mark the heart and soul of the men and women of our times.”

However, artists can be tempted to create what is fashionable or shocking in order to make money or a name for themselves. They can create works that degrade humanity and foster conflict. We pray that artists use their gifts to heal and to give glory to God.

Reflection and Discussion

What are some of the most beautiful works of art I’ve seen? How did they give me joy and hope? How do they bring people together?

Scripture

Exodus 35: 10-35 “The Lord has chosen Bezalel and has filled him with a divine spirit of skill and understanding and knowledge in every craft.”

Prayer of the Month

Bless the creators, 0 God of creation, who by their gifts make the world a more joyful and beautiful realm. Through their labors they teach us to see more clearly the truth around us. In their inspiration they call forth wonder and awe in our own living. In their hope and vision they remind us that life is holy. Bless all who create in your image, 0 God of creation. Pour your Spirit upon them that their hearts may sing and their works be fulfilling. Amen.

–in “Prayers of Our Heart” by Vienna Cobb Andersen

Saint of the Month: St. Augustine (354-430)

Augustine went from a pleasure-seeking youth who dabbled in heresies to a great bishop and doctor of the Church. In an Easter sermon he said:

“Question the beauty of the earth, question the beauty of the sea, question the beauty of the air, amply spread around everywhere, question the beauty of the sky, question the ranks of the stars, question the sun making the day glorious with its bright beams, question the moon tempering the darkness of the following night with its shining rays, question the animals that move in the waters, that amble about on dry land, that fly in the air; question all these things. They all answer you, ‘Here we are, look; we’re beautiful.’ Their beauty is their confession. Who made these beautiful changeable things, if not one who is beautiful and unchangeable?” Beauty led St. Augustine to God, the source of all beauty. “Beauty will save the world.”

Daily Offering Prayer

God, our Father, I offer You my day. I offer You my prayers, thoughts, words, actions, joys, and sufferings in union with the Heart of Jesus, who continues to offer Himself in the Eucharist for the salvation of the world. May the Holy Spirit, who guided Jesus, be my guide and my strength today so that I may witness to Your love. With Mary, the mother of our Lord and of the Church, I pray for all Apostles of Prayer and for this month’s intentions proposed by the Holy Father. Amen.

Traditional Offering Prayer

0 Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. I offer them for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart: the salvation of souls, reparation for sin, and the reunion of all Christians. I offer them for the intentions of our bishops and of all Apostles of Prayer, and in particular for those recommended by our Holy Father this month.

APOSTLESHIP OF PRAYER
1501 S. Layton Blvd.
Milwaukee, WI 53215-1924
www.apostleshipofprayer.org
414-486-1152

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SEE YOU IN CHURCH!   THE DOLLAR AND THE CENT…    A big silver dollar, and a little brown cent; along together they went rolling along the smooth sidewalk, When the dollar remarked — (for the dollar can talk)  “You poor little cent, you cheap little mite! I’m bigger and more than twice as bright – I’m worth more than you – a hundredfold, And written on me in letters bold Is the motto drawn from the pious creed – ‘In God We Trust’ – which all can read.” I know,” said the cent, “I’m a cheap little mite, And I know I’m not big, nor good, nor bright” An yet,” said the cent, with a meek little sigh – ­”You don’t go to church as often as I.”

 

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One-Liners for August from KNOM RADIO MISSION, Nome,
Alaska – Jesuit sponsored radio for Alaska & its environs

Contemplative prayer is standing before God without anything to show, to prove or to argue, and allowing Him to enter into our emptiness.

Courage is fear that said it’s prayers.

Forgiveness saves the heart from working unnecessarily. Forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, and the waste of spirit.

Throughout the world, and nation after nation, men and women have died for their Christian faith. The very least we can do is live for our faith.

Bishop Robert Whelan Starts KNOM's First Program, 1971

KNOM’s First Days, 46 Years Ago

46 years ago this July, KNOM signed on for its very first broadcast day. In that summer of 1971, the station beamed the very first hourly newscasts in Alaska west of Anchorage, as well as KNOM’s first live Catholic Mass from Nome.

 

 

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SUGGESTED INTERCESSIONS FOR SUNDAY, August 27, 2017

 

 

FOR THE CHURCH

 

 

That we members of the church always be faithful to our identity as Christ’s Body and our sharing in his saving mission,

That the Church will act as mediator in problems af­fecting peace, social harmony, and human and civil rights,

That Church leaders and faithful believers practice charity and patience with one another,

That bishops, priests and deacons may be blessed with the grace needed to continue being instruments of God’s healing and saving love in the world,

For our Holy Father, Pope Francis, that his example and faithful preaching and teaching of the Gospel may bring many to place their faith and trust in Jesus,

That all members of the Church, like John the Baptist, may grow in their commitment to sharing the Gospel message with others,

That all those who serve in Church ministry may be blessed with the grace and strength needed to continue helping the faithful grow in their faith and love for the Lord,

For all members of the Church, may we work diligently and persistently to ensure that the dignity and sanctity of all human life is respected and protected from conception through natural death,

For members of the Church, may we recommit ourselves each day to reflect the Gospel values in all that we do,

That Pope Francis and all bishops and priests may challenge the faithful to continue building up the Church by sharing their unique gifts and talents,

For our Holy Father and all our bishops: make them strong, loving, and wise,

For all pastors who grow disheartened with their own failings: give them the humble courage of Saint Peter,

For all Christians: heal our divisions,

For Francis, our pope, and Robert, our archbishop,

May we, the Body of Christ, be ready to journey with those who are searching,

For the Church in Africa,

That the Church proclaim the Gospel without compromise and without counting the costs,

May the community of disciples remain faithful to the Word of God,

That when the Church must admonish she does so in love,

May the Church be open to constant reform and conversion,

May the Church be attentive to the prayer life of its members,

For a Church of the poor and a Church that is poor,

For theologians,

For Augustinian priests, brothers, and sisters,

That followers of all faiths accord respect to the sacred books of others,

 

 

FOR THE WORLD

 

 

That the life of every human person, from concep­tion to natural death, might be enshrined and pro­tected in our laws,

That temporal rulers and civil leaders resist temptation and root out corruption,

That those in positions of authority may turn to God for guidance as they seek to make wise and just decisions,

For world leaders, may they work to enact laws and policies that protect and safeguard the earth and the environment,

That world leaders will cooperate to foster peace throughout the world,

That leaders of nations may strive to establish laws and policies that have as their goal the common good, especially an improved life for the neediest in their midst,

For those in our world who have been entrusted with civic responsibility, may they grow in their resolve to enact just laws that protect and respect the fundamental rights of all people,

That world leaders may turn to God for guidance in finding nonviolent solutions to conflicts that bring about lasting peace,

That the heads of all nations lead their people steadfastly toward being communities of justice and peace,

For all those who confuse the boundaries of self and the boundaries of the world: that they may discover the infinite love of God,

For Christian unity,

May our allegiance to Christ form our political opinions,

For all who hold public office,

That we may be open to correction and helpful criticism,

For those who work this weekend so that we might enjoy a holiday,

That Christians in developed nations learn to simplify their lives,

For world leaders, that they will continue to work for the conservation of the earth’s natural resources,

 

 

FOR THE OPPRESSED / ANY NEED

 

 

That those suffering from any need be filled through the generosity of Christ’s church,

That those who know the gift of friendship and marriage remain constant in love through every trial,

That those who suffer as a result of violence or abuse may be blessed with the support and assistance they need to heal and recover,

That those who are feeling isolated or alone may come to experience God’s love for them through the outreach and caring of others,

That those who are unemployed or underemployed will be blessed to find work that provides for their needs and allows them to support their families,

For all students who are beginning a new school year, may they, with the assistance of dedicated teachers, grow in knowledge and maturity,

For those who work this time of year to harvest our crops and bring food to our tables, may they be blessed with strength and grace,

For those who are lost and seeking to find their way, may they place their faith in Jesus and come to know the truth that will set them free,

That the elderly and the marginalized among us may be comforted by God’s love for them, and lifted up by our care and compassion,

For Christian husbands and wives: that the Lord will assist them in their struggles and make them witness­es of Christ’s love,

For those who are unemployed: that God will keep them from discouragement and enable them to find good jobs,

For those who seek knowledge without love: that they may discover the infinite love of God,

For those who are incarcerated, especially those awaiting execution,

For those killed while seeking human and civil rights,

For people with a poor self-image and lacking self-esteem,

For open minds, strong hearts, and loving spirits,

That we commit to the goodness of the body and the dignity of each person,

For the safety of those who travel this holiday weekend,

For those forced to live in poverty and subhuman conditions,

 

 

 THE LOCAL COMMUNITY

 

 

That our parish will rededicate itself to going to the periphery and serving the poor,

That this community be healed of every division,

That families in our parish will make a renewed effort to keep Christ at the center of their homes,

For the young people in our parish, may they continue to grow in their knowledge of the Gospel, and their love for Jesus and one another,

For those in our community who live with chronic mental illness, may they find strength from their faith, and be blessed with the help and support they need,

For all married couples in our parish, that through their lives of selfless devotion to God and one another, they might be witnesses of Christ’s love for his Church,

That our faith community may continue to offer works of charity to those in need, and share with one another the blessings we have received,

For parish communities under the patronage of St. Augustine,

For Scripture scholars and all who are devoted to God’s Word,

For leaders of our community, that they may exhibit compassion to the many individuals under their care,

May we be charitable with our possessions, words, and thoughts,

That laborers see their efforts as a sharing in the ongoing work of creation,

 

 

FOR THE ASSEMBLY

 

 

That each of us here grow in our faithfulness to Christ and one another,

For the grace this week to confess Jesus as our Savior to those we meet,

That those in our diocese who have been called to the ordained or consecrated life may respond with courage and generosity,

That each of us may continually strive to strengthen and deepen our love for the Lord Jesus so we may give a faithful and effective witness to the Gospel,

For all those who have leaned the treasure of humble self-knowledge: that they may serve as beacons of light to us all,

That all the baptized may be faithful witnesses to the Reign of God,

For the willingness to share our faith,

May we recognize that being unpopular is healthier than betraying our conscience,

That we might demonstrate reverence to the Word of God,

That we might hear the Word of God and keep it,

May our moral lives be based on more than the avoidance of evil,

May we make time for prayer and self-reflection,

For a sense of awe and wonder,

 

 

FOR THE SICK

 

 

For those who are sick or dying, may they be strengthened by their faith in God, and find hope in the love and support of others and in the promise of eternal life,

That the sick be healed, the rejected find acceptance, and the rebuffed receive courage,

That those on the verge of giving up find strength to persevere,

For the sick and suffering in our community, that they may find strength in prayer, and comfort in the support of friends and neighbors,

For those who are gravely ill, that Christ will draw them to himself and comfort them with his love,

For nurses, doctors, and aides in our nursing homes and hospitals,

For families who struggle with medical bills,

 

 

FOR THE DECEASED

 

 

That those separated by death from those they love take comfort in the promise of the resurrection,

That the faithful departed might come to receive a place at the eternal banquet in heaven,

For those who have died, may know the joy of eternal rest with God in heaven,

That the faithful departed may come to enjoy the promised reward of eternal life in heaven,

That our beloved dead, and all who have died, may come to enjoy eternal life with all the angels and saints in heaven,

For those who have died, may they be wrapped in the loving embrace of God for all eternity in heaven,

For all who have died, may they enjoy perfect peace and joy in heaven,

That the faithful departed, and all who have died, may rest in peace in the heavenly kingdom,

For our beloved dead,

 

 

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General Intercessions for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

20 August, 2017 – Cycle A

Back to School Sunday

 Presider:          God of mercy and healing, you who hear the cries of those in need, receive these petitions of your people that all who are troubled may know peace, comfort, and courage.
Deacon or Reader:

  1. That the Church will have the courage to speak the truth of Jesus, especially when it is unpopular;                                              We pray to the Lord.
  2. That people of every race and culture seek to understand those who are different from themselves;                                            We pray to the Lord.
  3. That God will help us bridge the deep chasm that divides our nation socially and ideologically;                                          We pray to the Lord.
  4. That the Missionary Fraternity of Mary will benefit from our prayers and financial gifts in their mission to train priests and lay ministers in third world countries;                                                We pray to the Lord.
  5. For all students and teachers returning to school: that they use the many talents God has given them to consider how they can best serve God and others;                                                      We pray to the Lord.
  6. That those who are sick in mind and body, and all the sick of our parish, especially .    .    .    may receive the grace to offer to God the sacrifice of their suffering;                                                  We pray to the Lord.
  7. For our departed relatives, friends and parishioners: that they will share in that mercy which God desires for all humankind. We remember ____________

And in a special way we remember:

5pm                           Nicholas Valci                   7:30am                   Marilyn Whitfield

9am                            Steven Burns                    11am             our St. Peter Parish Family

6pm                            Tom Frome

for whom this Mass is offered;                     We pray to the Lord.

 Presider:           Holy One of Israel, covenant-keeper, you restore what is lost, heal what is wounded, and gather in those who have been rejected. Give us the faith to speak as steadfastly as did the Canaanite woman, that the outcast may be welcomed and all people may be blessed. We ask this through your Son, Christ, our Lord. Amen.