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Pastoral Bulletin August 2020
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Catholic universities plan fall classes, with tough measures against coronavirus
At funeral Mass for Father William Muñiz
Official appointments for August 2020
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CQP FAQ: Important alphabet soup for voting
For blind educator, pandemic poses unique hardships, perspectives
Message to priests: Brothers, let us not grow discouraged
Father William Muñiz, 85
Fighting COVID-19: A moral cause
'How can you stay home if you can't pay the rent?'
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Continuing the catecheses on the “Lord’s Prayer,” today we shall begin with the observation that in the New Testament, the prayer seems to arrive at the essential, actually focusing on a single word: Abba, Father.
We have heard what St. Paul writes in the Letter to the Romans: “You did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, ‘Abba, Father!’”(8:15).
And the Apostle says to the Galatians: “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Gal 4:6).
The same invocation, in which all the novelty of the Gospel is condensed, recurs twice. After meeting Jesus and hearing his preaching, a Christian no longer considers God as a tyrant to be feared; he is no longer afraid but feels trust in Him expand in his heart: He can speak with the Creator by calling him “Father.” The expression is so important for Christians that it is often preserved intact, in its original form: “Abba.”
In the New Testament it is rare for Aramaic expressions to be translated into Greek. We have to imagine that the voice of Jesus himself has remained in these Aramaic words as if “recorded”: They have respected Jesus’ idiom. In the first words of the “Our Father” we immediately find the radical newness of Christian prayer.
It does not simply use a symbol in this case, the father figure to connect to the mystery of God; it is instead about having, so to speak, Jesus’ entire world poured into one’s heart. If we do this, we can truly pray the “Our Father.” Saying ‘Abba’ is something much more intimate, more moving than simply calling God ‘Father’. This is why someone has proposed translating this original Aramaic word ‘Abba’ with ‘Dad’ or ‘Papa’. Instead of saying ‘our Father’, saying ‘Dad, Papa’. We shall continue to say ‘our Father’ but with the heart we are invited to say ‘Dad,’ to have a relationship with God like that of a child with his dad, who says ‘dad’ and says ‘papa.’
Indeed, these expressions evoke affection, they evoke warmth, something that casts us into the context of childhood: the image of a child completely enveloped in the embrace of a father who feels infinite tenderness for him. And for this reason, dear brothers and sisters, in order to pray properly, one must come to have a child’s heart. Not a self-sufficient heart: one cannot pray properly this way. Like a child in the arms of his father, of his dad, of his papa.
Source: Pope Francis’ catecheses on the Lord’s Prayer, given during general audiences between Dec. 5, 2018 and May 22, 2019.
Those Who Clamor to the Lord are ready for the Lord.
People clamor for Justice. Justice comes from the Lord God. In God is the ultimate of Justice for God brings all people together who seek wholeness. Thus, as anyone wishes for Justice they wish for God. God speaks to this point through the Prophet Isaiah: “Observe what is right, do what is just; for my salvation is about to come, my justice, about to be revealed. The foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, …them I will bring to my holy mountain and make joyful in my house of prayer…for my house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”
In the earliest time of the people of Israel God elected a diverse kind of people. There were mixed foreign elements. All were welcomed by God. They all had been disparate tribes of people forced into slavery by Egypt, freed by God and led to their own land. They became too enamored with their own greatness and in their own path and ended up exiled. Now, however, they would be called back by God and soothed.
Through the first third of the Book of Isaiah God scolded and warned the people. Now in this second part of the book God offers consolation and sorrow for their condition in exile. The people were dazed, discouraged and destitute. They were tempted to leave their faith in the one God. So, God softens his approach to them.
Now the Lord God focuses on the gathering of the dispersed people. They had suffered enough. Anyone who truly desired oneness with the Lord was welcomed. In a way there is a new call to the people. All are welcome to praise the God of history. Through Isaiah all nations are called to gather and praise God. Psalm 67 reflects this.
Psalm 67 says, “may the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you! May God bless us and may all the ends of the earth fear him!”Saint Paul points out in Romans, God has mercy on all. So now, back to the clamor of the people. Look to the Gospel story.
In today’s passage from Matthew (Ch. 15) the Canaanite woman clamors to Jesus. That is, she shouts loudly and insistently. The woman is vehement. She is forceful and pushes on Jesus for what she expects of him in Justice. Her young girl deserved a healthy life just as those “favored” people of Israel. And, in like fashion Jesus pushes back. This was typical debate among Semitic people of the time. Jesus gives over to her quest for Justice. Her passion for Justice makes her one with the Lord God from whom Justice comes. Her girl is granted health and renewed life.
In all the testing and strife, we people of the World are experiencing now, such as pandemic, economic depression, constant lack of Justice for people of color and even hurricanes, are we ready to return to the Lord God? Are we ready to find his path and not the one we have been on? Are you ready to abate your implied and explicit biases, foreigner that you might be? Are you ready to return to the Lord God and “minister to him, loving the name of the Lord, and becoming his servants…?” By now we are all weary of the path we have been on.
God did not cause all the tests we face now. We the people have brought about these things through greed, avarice, and bias. However, God is ready and waiting to work through all the strife we have brought about. Each of these challenges offer the opportunity to come together, pushing on God to help us and bring his Justice to ALL.
Let us, therefore, clamor to the Lord. Let him know we are done with our way. Tell him to work his Justice in our lives now. Let us go to his house and make a noise that says, “we are ready for you Lord.”
Father Robert Tywoniak
St. John Vianney College Seminary
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