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March 4, 2004 Edition

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As followers of Christ:
Living in a foreign world

photo of Dan Zellner
Living the Scriptures 

with St. Paul University 
Catholic Center 

Dan Zellner 

As a follower of Christ, I find that this world often feels like foreign territory to me. In the same sense my beliefs and actions in Christ often are foreign to my non-Christian friends and family.

St. Paul clarifies this sense of alienation by reminding us of our true citizenship in heaven.

Second Sunday
of Lent
(March 7, 2004)
Gn 15:5-12, 17-18
Ps 27:1, 7-8, 8-9, 13-14
Phil 3:17--4:1 or Phil 3:20--4:1
Lk 9:28b-36

In America we have many freedoms, but these don't free us from what really holds us down. Even though we are free in our human rights, we are held down by our human weakness, sin.

This sin prevails because we blur our true citizenship. As citizens of heaven we have nothing to worry about; Jesus has given us freedom from ourselves if we come after him.

Why is this so difficult? Perhaps because we are currently citizens of this world.

I often catch myself waiting. I am waiting to graduate from school, to get a job, to get married, to know where I will settle down and become a community member.

This waiting pulls me into a trap of idleness. This waiting is for earthly things. If I am a citizen of heaven, my waiting for these things should be secondary.

Ultimately, we await our Savior. But our wait is not meant to be an idle one.

Reflection questions

• In what ways can I act more like a citizen of heaven than of this earth?

• Who can I look to for help in becoming more like Christ?

We have much to accomplish in our limited time on earth before becoming full-time citizens of heaven. Not only are we fighting off the world, flesh, and Satan in our own attempts to attain our place in heaven through Christ, but we are called to enhance Christ's church here on earth by being a light to the world.

We are in for a spiritual battle of a lifetime.

Dan Zellner is a junior at UW-Madison majoring in accounting. He is a member of the Alpha-Omega vision team which plans a large undergraduate get-together every Thursday night at St. Paul University Catholic Center.

St. Paul's Web site is www.stpaulscc.org

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Faith Alive!

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In a Nutshell

  • Adults today face issues our ancestors never confronted, often confronting those issues without the strong family and parish ties their ancestors had.

  • A wide variety of faith formation opportunities for adults who want a deeper relationship with Christ are found in today's church.

  • Some adult formation also occurs during the liturgy. This is a matter of transformation more than of gaining information, however.

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  •  Food for Thought
    Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., has numerous ideas for adult faith formation. One is to "try lots of approaches" because "people think, act and feel differently than others"; no single effort "will reach everyone."

    People today "expect choices," and "no magic bullet" will "ground all people in the faith," Bishop Kicanas said in a 2003 speech.

    He said: "Some people will be attracted to Bible study, some to parish missions; some people are willing to participate in lengthy programs of formation.... One parish teaches during liturgy regularly, holds evening and weekend formation programs, provides a yearlong basic formation experience, conducts a two-year ministry formation program and is a satellite for a Catholic college to provide a degree program for parishioners. This is not possible for every parish, but a diversity of approaches is possible and helpful."

    Another of Bishop Kicanas' ideas is to "target special needs." When needed nourishment is offered, people find you, he said.

    full story

    Why Adult Faith Formation?
    By Daniel S. Mulhall

    Catholic News Service

    There is a focus in the church today on adult faith formation that may seem new to us. But faith formation is an ancient practice. What is new are the conscious efforts being made by parishes and dioceses to provide formation opportunities for adults.

    These opportunities are needed because such significant changes have occurred within families and parish communities in the last 50 years.

    full story 

    Where and When Adult Faith Is Formed in Parishes
    By Leisa Anslinger

    Catholic News Service

    One of my favorite things to do these days is to talk with adults about growing in love of God and neighbor through actively participating in faith formation. Offer a "spoonful of formation," as one of our staff likes to remind us, and a spark ignites, lighting a fire of love of Christ and of service to others.

    I believe that the best adult faith formation processes are designed to acknowledge the many demands upon people's time and attention, and to be responsive to everyday life situations. Let's look at some common experiences that draw adults to search for a deeper relationship with Christ, as well as at formation processes we have developed to respond to those experiences.

    full story 

    Liturgy Forms More By Transforming Than By Informing
    By Father Lawrence E. Mick

    Catholic News Service

    I had just finished an hour-long presentation on the meaning of the Eucharist to parents of children preparing for First Communion. One parent began the question period by asking, Why doesn't our pastor give us this information in the homily on Sunday?

    It's a question I've heard more times than I can count.

    full story

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     Faith in the Marketplace
    This Week's Discussion Point:

    Tell of a beneficial adult-education or faith-sharing event you participated in.

      Selected Response From Readers:  
    Copyright © 2004 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

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    This week's readings

    Week of March 7 - 13, 2004

    Sunday, March 7, 2004
    Reading I: Gn 15:5-12, 17-18
    Reading II: Phil 3:17--4:1 or Phil 3:20--4:1
    Gospel: Lk 9:28b-36

    Monday, March 8, 2004
    Reading I: Dn 9:4b-10
    Gospel: Lk 6:36-38

    Tuesday, March 9, 2004
    Reading I: Is 1:10, 16-20
    Gospel: Mt 23:1-12

    Wednesday, March 10, 2004
    Reading I: Jer 18:18-20
    Gospel: Mt 20:17-28

    Thursday, March 11, 2004
    Reading I: Jer 17:5-10
    Gospel: Lk 16:19-31

    Friday, March 12, 2004
    Reading I: Gn 37:3-4, 12-13a, 17b-28a
    Gospel: Mt 21:33-43, 45-46

    Saturday, March 13, 2004
    Reading I: Mi 7:14-15, 18-20
    Gospel: Lk 15:1-3, 11-32

    Pope's Prayer Intentions

    March General Intention

    The sacrament of Reconciliation. That each one of the People of God and their pastors, may grow in their realization, of the importance of the sacrament of Reconciliation, the gift of God's merciful love.

    March Mission Intention

    The local Churches of Africa. That the local churches of Africa, in the midst of the difficult situations of the present moment may feel the urgency of announcing the Gospel coherently and courageously.

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