God's Generosity

09-24-2017Question of the Week
  • Reading I:Isaiah 55:6-9 (seeking the Lord)
  • Reading II: Philippians 1:20-24, 27 (spreading the gospel)
  • Gospel: Matthew 20:1-16 (the laborers in the vineyard)
  • Key Passage: [The landowner] said "Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?" (Matthew 20:14–15)
  • Adult: What lessons do you draw from today's Gospel? How has God been generous to you in this way?
  • Child: Who is generous to you, even when you do not always deserve it?
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Hands at the Our Father

09-24-2017Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2001 Resource Publications, Inc.

At Mass in some parishes, people hold hands while they pray the Lord's Prayer and raise them while proclaiming "for the kingdom." The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) is silent on this point, so there is no official universal legislation on the custom. Decisions about this gesture are made locally.

The origins of this custom are not clear. There is little evidence for it prior to Vatican II. It may have developed during the 1960s when we struggled to overcome racism and strengthen unity. The Lord's Prayer seemed an appropriate time to join hands because it is one of the few texts prayed aloud by everyone at Mass in the first person plural. The Eucharistic prayer is in the first person plural, but the priest recites it alone. "Lord, I am not worthy" is prayed by everyone, but in the first person singular.

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How will you express your generosity today?

09-24-2017Weekly Reflections©2017 Liturgical Publications, Inc.

Today’s Good News: God is far more generous than we would ever expect. However, this may not always make you happy. When Isaiah calls to the scoundrel and the wicked to “turn to the Lord for mercy; to our God, who is generous in forgiving,” (55:7) you might react: “Well, okay, but there should be some punishment, an appropriate retribution for past sins. That’s only fair and just.” But Jesus takes God’s generosity even further in the parable of the laborers in the vineyard. The owner pays the same amount to those who have slaved through the morning, under the hot noonday sun, and into early evening as to those who showed up at end of the day. Unfair? Remember, this is a kingdom of heaven parable, proclaiming God’s generous mercy for all. We ourselves are invited not only to know the generosity of God, but to show the generosity of God, just as Saint Paul is willing to do. He is willing to stay with the Philippians, even though he is yearning to be with Christ.

How is God asking you to express generosity in your life?

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Bringing Up the Gifts

09-10-2017Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2001 Resource Publications, Inc.

At the beginning of the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the bread, wine, and offerings for the church and the poor are brought to the altar. Sometimes the bread and wine are placed on the credence table before Mass. In this case, a minister brings them to the altar at the preparation of the gifts. More commonly the bread and wine are placed near the door of the church before Mass. They may be brought up in procession to the altar. The procession should include just these primary symbols.

Gifts are brought up in procession by “the faithful,” who hand them to the priest or deacon (General Instruction of the Roman Missal 73). After handing them over, some people make the sign of the cross, genuflect, bow, or do none of the above. The GIRM gives no instructions about what to do. It would be most appropriate if those who bring up the gifts made a profound bow to the altar just before returning to their places.

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Helping Others Grow

09-10-2017Question of the Week
  • Reading I: Ezekiel 33:7-9 (the Prophet a watchman)
  • Reading II: Romans 13:8-10 (love fulfills the Law)
  • Gospel: Matthew 18:15-20 (fraternal correction)
  • Key Passage: Jesus said, "If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone." (Matthew 18:15)
  • Adult: How have you been able to follow Christ more closely because others patiently loved you?
  • Child: How can you help another person do the right thing?
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LOVE does no evil to the NEIGHBOR

09-10-2017Weekly ReflectionsWe Celebrate Worship Resource, Vol. 42, No. 2
God watches over Israel by sending Ezekiel to warn the wicked when they turn away from God. This appointment is for the good of the entire community. Throughout the Bible, God raised up prophets to call the community to lives of justice and mercy and to turn away from selfishness and sin. Prophets have always focused on the needs of the poor, the weak, and the uncared for. Their spiritual descendants in our lifetime would include

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jim Wallis confronting racism, Dorothy Day and Pope Francis addressing our indifference to the poor. In the Gospel, Jesus addresses his disciples about their responsibility to correct each other. We find a process of brotherly and sisterly correction outlined here. One of the spiritual works of mercy, “admonishing the sinner,” flows from this text. What might sound like giving up in the face of another's refusal to reform by “treat[ing] [that person] as you would a Gentile or a tax collector,” is not abandonment (Matthew 18:17). Remember, Jesus himself ate with sinners and tax collectors. Saint Paul sums it up succinctly: “Love does no evil to the neighbor” (Romans 13:10).

Has God ever worked through you to help heal a broken relationship? How?

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Do not be conformed to this world, but BE TRANSFORMED

09-03-2017Weekly ReflectionsWe Celebrate Worship Resource, Vol. 42, No. 2

Jeremiah is lamenting, complaining about God’s behavior, feeling upended: “You duped me...and I let myself be duped” (20:7). True, God had said the prophet was being sent to root up and tear down, but God had also said Jeremiah was to build and to plant. Only the first part seemed to be happening and the people hated Jeremiah and his message: “I am an object of laughter; everyone mocks me” (20:7). Peter also might have felt upended. Having received the highest praise after acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God, he was promised the keys of the kingdom of heaven. But then, when Jesus went on to talk about having to suffer and die, and Peter objected, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing,” Jesus called him “Satan,” an obstacle, and said, “Get behind me” (Matthew 16:22, 23). But this wasn’t a rejection of Peter. Peter was to follow Jesus, not lead. Peter was not yet in possession of the keys. He had to change his thinking. Saint Paul translates this event: “Be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God” (Romans 12:12).

How’s your thinking these days? Does it need to change?

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Come, follow me

09-03-2017Question of the Week
  • Reading I: Jeremiah 20:7-9 (Jeremiah's interior crisis)
  • Reading II:Romans 12:1-2 (sacrifice of body and mind)
  • Gospel:Matthew 16:21-27 (first prophecy of passion and resurrection; doctrine of the cross)
  • Key Passage: Then Jesus told his disciples, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." (Matthew 16:24)
  • Adult: In what concrete ways do you take up your cross and follow Jesus?
  • Child: When has it been difficult to be a follower of Jesus?
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Offetory Chants

09-03-2017Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2001 Resource Publications, Inc.

The offertory chant is sung at Mass while the gifts of bread and wine are brought to the altar. In parishes it sometimes has another name; it may be called the offertory hymn or the song during the preparation of the gifts. After the prayer of the faithful, as everyone sits, the offertory chant begins, and it continues at least until the gifts are placed on the altar. The music accompanies the ritual action of preparing the gifts. It differs from like the responsorial psalm or the "Holy, Holy," which demand full attention and accompany nothing else.

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