Sunday, June 14, 2015

Good Reading

A post from Catholic Exchange that I wish to share. I hope you enjoy.

 

 

The Sunday Propers: Prepare us for Thine Mercy

In the Postcommunion prayer for this Sunday, the priest asks God that our reception of the Eucharist may “prepare us for Thine everlasting mercy.”  When our Protestant friends hear this kind of talk in the Catholic liturgy, they become worried.  They fear that if we take this text too seriously, that means there is something we can do that merits (earns) God’s mercy.  This is obviously not true, since the very concept of mercy implies that you do not deserve what is given.  If we look at the other prayers of today’s Mass, we can avoid this error, and learn how we prepare for God’s mercy.
The prayers of the Third Sunday after Pentecost are focused on mercy and penance, and how important both are towards living a good Christian life.  At times “penance” takes on a rather negative implication according to modern minds.  When they think of penance, they think of monks whipping themselves or wearing hair shirts.  Some think of people living under incredibly austere diets as a way of punishing themselves for their sins.  Sadly, the true meaning of metanoia (penance) is lost.  At the heart of metanoia is changing the heart.  When the heart is changed, there is a sincere effort to amend your life from your sins.  The emphasis is on sincere far more than effort.  Repenting of a sin does not mean you will never commit the same sin again.  It only means that you do not desire to.
While it may seem tough to believe, I think everyone has a bit of metanoia in their life, even those outside the Church.  As St. Paul reminds us, the law is written on the hearts of even non-Christians. (Romans 2:14-15)  Since the heart knows what is and is not sin (even if just faintly) there’s always that nagging feeling that what we are doing is wrong, and that when we do wrong, we should seek forgiveness.  Sadly, one of the greatest dangers of the world today is that the world tries its best to tell you that you shouldn’t seek forgiveness for these actions.  They aren’t sins, and who are we to judge others expressing themselves?
When they aren’t trying to get people to forget the need for conversion, they are meting out punishments so severe that the concept of Christian mercy seems impossible.  How often do we hear that such and such should be put to death for their crimes without even giving thought to the gravity of crime or if the death would actually solve anything?  How many people’s lives have been ruined by public opinion for the most minor of transgressions?  How often does our society idolize the ruthless businessman who is taught to ignore any human aspect of his business, and simply focus on “what the market will do” as if the market is some impersonal force?  When we see these small injustices everyday constantly, it can be a little hard to fathom a God who stands not only ready to forgive, but to forgive no matter how many times it is asked.
Crazy as it may sound; this is precisely what the Gospel tells us.  The Gospel informs us that there is nothing celebrated in heaven more than one person who makes the choice to amend their life.  They rejoice because all of society is centered on telling them to repress that desire.  Sadly, this line of thinking finds its way even within the Church.  Under the guise of “mercy”, sinners are being told that their sins aren’t really sins after all.  Since we must be a compassionate church, and compassion is taken to mean ignore and overlook their sins.  This is ultimately the spirit behind giving communion to those who persist in living in a marriage not lawful in the eyes of the Church.  They are using the guise of mercy to tell people not to change their life.  Yet in spite of all of these factors, the call to conversion still resonates within the heart of man, and it only need be acted upon.
When it is acted upon, we find that God is always willing to respond to it.  No matter how bad or how frequent our sins, if we resolve to avoid them in the future, God forgives them.  From the beginning, God called us to be different from the world.  How can that call resonate if God isn’t also different from the world, in that He always offers forgiveness?  That is something we should always remember.  God’s mercy is always greater than our sins.  Not only is he willing to forgive all of these sins, He makes it possible so that those sins will no longer hold us in bondage.  When God forgives us, He doesn’t just fill out some paperwork and move us into the “forgiven” side of the ledger.  He forgives us, and changes us.  He takes that desire to amend our lives and makes it possible with grace.
This is what the Postcommunion prayer means when it talks about preparing ourselves for God’s mercy.  We cannot earn any of this, but we can and must acknowledge that we need mercy.  Once we acknowledge that, God will hear that acknowledgement and respond.  Due to having a desire to change one’s life, it then becomes possible to actually amend your life when God responds.  Without that desire, God’s mercy doesn’t mean much to us.  It will always be offered, but without that spirit, who is there to accept it?

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Ez 17:22-24

Thus says the Lord GOD:
I, too, will take from the crest of the cedar,
from its topmost branches tear off a tender shoot,
and plant it on a high and lofty mountain;
on the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it.
It shall put forth branches and bear fruit,
and become a majestic cedar.
Birds of every kind shall dwell beneath it,
every winged thing in the shade of its boughs.
And all the trees of the field shall know
that I, the LORD,
bring low the high tree,
lift high the lowly tree,
wither up the green tree,
and make the withered tree bloom.
As I, the LORD, have spoken, so will I do.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16

R. (cf. 2a) Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
to sing praise to your name, Most High,
To proclaim your kindness at dawn
and your faithfulness throughout the night.
R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
The just one shall flourish like the palm tree,
like a cedar of Lebanon shall he grow.
They that are planted in the house of the LORD
shall flourish in the courts of our God.
R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
They shall bear fruit even in old age;
vigorous and sturdy shall they be,
Declaring how just is the LORD,
my rock, in whom there is no wrong.
R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.

Reading 2 2 Cor 5:6-10

Brothers and sisters:
We are always courageous,
although we know that while we are at home in the body
we are away from the Lord,
for we walk by faith, not by sight.
Yet we are courageous,
and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord.
Therefore, we aspire to please him,
whether we are at home or away.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,
so that each may receive recompense,
according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.

Alleluia 

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower.
All who come to him will live forever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 4:26-34

Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and through it all the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”

He said,
“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

Prayer for Sunday Morning

"Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and transform me into the Christ-like holiness you desire. Increase my zeal for your kingdom and instill in me a holy desire to live for your greater glory."
  

Lord, I believe you have called me to strive tirelessly to extend your Kingdom throughout the world. I hope in you because you are the one the Father sent. I love you. Thank you for inviting me to be an apostle of your Kingdom.

 

 Lord Jesus, I am a member of your Mystical Body. I want to partake in your mission of bringing all souls to know and love you. I have found my joy in you, and now I have a burning desire to make it known to all people. Lord, I pray for the courage to keep going, never tiring from the mission you have given me.

Prayer

Lord God, I come from dust and to dust I shall return. You, however, existed before all time, and every creature takes its being from you. ...