Spirituality Corner

It requires a conscious choice to be a Christian, and this choice must be renewed at least daily.

August 14, 2022 - 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

An inward transformation occurs in a person who decides to follow Jesus Christ. Things change. They see the world differently, understand their journey more deeply and profoundly, have their sights fixed on eternity and union with God and hold themselves to higher standards and virtues. It requires a conscious choice to be a Christian, and this choice must be renewed at least daily. While the basic premise of Jesus’ message may appear heartwarming and straightforward: love of God, neighbor, and self, the implications of doing so are challenging. The true disciple is called to live radically, and often finds themselves at odds with the world or even with those in their own homes.

Holding ourselves to higher standards comes with a price. We have to leave other things behind. It is difficult to be people of faith, hope, and love in a world often fixated with its own fulfillment and self-absorption. Justice, temperance, prudence, and fortitude require sacrifice if they are to be lived with integrity. God’s ways are not ours. This becomes crystal clear to those who have enough courage to stand against the tide. Putting love into action requires that we challenge accepted modes of doing business and fight complacency. This is what makes the saints stand out as witnesses. They are simply sinners, just like us, who persevere.

People do not want to be told that they’re sailing their ships in the wrong direction. Clinging to their insistence and need to be correct, they can become defensive when challenged. This can happen even with those closest to us. As much as the Gospel calls us to unity, it also can easily create division. When we love seriously, we encounter more than feelings of warmth and acceptance. “What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like (St. Augustine).”  Love also has the courage and honesty to tell people what they may not want to hear but need to, and model, without wavering, a life of humble, loving, and faithful service. Don’t lose heart! There are many examples of faith before us and around us. If Jesus endured the voices of opposition, so too can we. There is no need to apologize for speaking the truth.

©LPi

 

Spread your arms on your cross — joy is waiting for you.

A Steward’s Growing Pains

Have you ever written a check or seen the charge on the credit card machine that had far too many zeros on it for your comfort?

The water heater dies on the coldest week of the year. A medical procedure wasn’t totally covered by insurance. We’ve all been here in this place, being asked to part with a not-so-small sum of money for a not-so-fun reason.

It’s a little easier to bear when you’re forking over dollar signs for a fun vacation or even a worthy cause like your child’s education. But when it’s something you weren’t expecting, something negative, that uneasiness in the pit of your stomach can quickly become despair.

The next time this happens to you, embrace it. Celebrate it. Wrap your arms around it and welcome it as a growing pain.

We are often asked, in life, to give more than we wish. Our loved ones demand greater patience than we think we have. Our prayer life is stalling, and we feel God isn’t holding up His end of the communication bargain. We feel that uneasiness in the pit of our stomach, just as we do when we part with money we thought belonged solely to us.

That place of uncertainty propels us in in stewardship. All forward motion comes from that feeling. Put out your hands and let yourself be thrust into the pit — He will stoop to take you out from the mud. Spread your arms on your cross — joy is waiting for you.

— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS  ©LPi

Scripture - Week of August 14, 2022

Monday: Rv 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab/Ps 45:10, 11, 12, 16/1 Cor 15:20-27/Lk 1:39-56

Tuesday: Ez 28:1-10/Dt 32:26-27ab, 27cd-28, 30, 35cd-36ab/Mt 19:23-30

Wednesday: Ez 34:1-11/Ps 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6/Mt 20:1-16

Thursday: Ez 36:23-28/Ps 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19/Mt 22:1-14

Friday: Ez 37:1-14/Ps 107:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9/Mt 22:34-40

Saturday: Ez 43:1-7ab/Ps 85:9ab and 10, 11-12, 13-14/Mt 23:1-12

Next Sunday: Is 66:18-21/Ps 117:1, 2/Heb 12:5-7, 11-13/Lk 13:22-30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharing the Gospel

When you talk about Jesus, you will probably get a strong reaction from people. Some people love Jesus with their whole heart, and their lives really show it. Other people don't want to follow Jesus, and talking about him may even make them angry. Families and friends can be torn apart by that anger. No matter what, stay close to Jesus, and he will stay close to you.

Prayer

Dear Jesus, help me to stay close to you always.

Something to Draw

Draw a picture of a family broken apart because Jesus makes some of them happy, and Jesus makes the rest of them angry.

Mission for the Week

Be very loving when you tell others about Jesus.

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Reflect & Resond to Scripture

First Reading:

The court official, Ebed-melech, courageously advocated for the prophet Jeremiah, having him recused from the muddy cistern.

When have you defended someone being ridiculed for their faith?  

Second Reading:

The author of Hebrews encourages his community to remain strong in their faith in Jesus.

What or who helps you when you feel spiritually discouraged?

Gospel:

Jesus forewarned his disciples that his message would bring division, even within families.

How does your family deal with this type of tension?

©LPi


God already has the solution.