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March 9, 2006 Edition

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Living the Scriptures
Faith Alive!
This week's readings
Pope's Prayer Intentions
Prayer for St. Raphael Cathedral

Speaking the truth: Courage to evangelize

photo of George Schmitz

Living the Scriptures 

with St. Paul University 
Catholic Center 

George Schmitz 

I hear it almost every week. "The Catholic Church needs to get with the times and change its teaching on . . . (fill in the blank)."

You would think I'd be used to it by now, but it somehow always takes me by surprise, and I wonder who super-glued my tongue to the roof of my mouth. Then I feign invisibility until the topic has changed.

Of the apostles, I can best relate to St. Peter. Like me, he didn't always know the right thing to say. Even when he gets it right in another passage by correctly identifying Jesus as the Messiah, we see in today's Gospel that Peter doesn't yet know what to expect from the Messiah. Upon seeing Jesus with Elijah and Moses at the Transfiguration, the fearful Peter classifies Jesus as a prophet when he offers to make tents for each of them.

Second Sunday
of Lent
(March 12, 2006)
Gn 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
Ps 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19
Rom 8:31b-34
Mk 9:2-10

He does not grasp the meaning of Jesus' glory in the Transfiguration. Perhaps he thought, as some Jews did, that the Messiah would be a sort of military hero who would free the Jews from the Roman occupation.

We may only speculate what Peter thought Jesus was doing when He was transfigured, but judging from his outburst, he clearly expected Moses and Elijah to stay and accomplish great things. We can imagine his disappointment and confusion when he watched Jesus return to his normal appearance and walk back down the mountain.

What is admirable is Peter's eagerness to support Jesus, even though he had false expectations. Like Peter, I presume the ways God will change the world, and I settle my expectations on what I presume God should be. I can even convince myself I am doing what God wants, just as Peter thought putting up tents was God's will. In his fear Peter forgets that Jesus' way was a gentle calling to obedience and humility.

Reflection questions

• Do I listen to God in daily prayer?

• Am I eager to share my faith in the home, workplace, and everywhere I go?

Jesus calls us to evangelize by our actions and our teaching. Sometimes I think our society's problems will be solved when we elect the right legislators or pass the right laws. I underestimate the opportunities I have to profess truth in my daily life with my friends, co-workers, and the people I meet on the bus because I'm afraid I won't say the right thing.

St. Peter had the courage to speak in spite of his fear, the kind of courage we need today as Catholics. If we had that kind of zeal for Christ and the humility to listen to His Church, the Holy Spirit could accomplish more than any law.

George Schmitz is a graduate student working on a doctorate in microbiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He attends Mustard Seed and Samuel Group at St. Paul University Catholic Center.

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

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Faith Alive!

Faith Alive! logo

In a Nutshell

  • People praying together in groups discover a new understanding of prayer. Their prayers become broader, more inclusive.

  • Nowadays many parishes pray the Liturgy of the Hours. Participants discover they are not only individual worshipers but members of a community, God's people.

  • The psalms are the backbone of the Liturgy of the Hours. The psalms leave out no personal experience as material for prayer.

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  •  Food for Thought
    The church is a community of people who lend support to each other in many ways. Pope Benedict XVI says that the church is a community of friends.

    When people are baptized, they are "inserted into a gathering of friends," the pope said when he baptized 10 infants early in 2006. "These companions are God's family," he added. And "these totally trustworthy companions will never disappear."

    Pope Benedict said that "God's family will always be present, and those who belong to this family will never be alone." The baptized person, the pope said, always will be accompanied by "this group of friends, this family of God." In fact, "even on days of suffering and in life's dark nights" this family "will give him consolation, comfort and light."

    Moreover, Pope Benedict said, those who belong to this family "will always be able to fall back on the steadfast friendship of the One who is life." For, "belonging to this circle, to God's family, means being in communion with Christ, who is life."

    full story

    The Psalms: Ready-made prayer models
    By Nancy de Flon

    Catholic News Service

    In this age of convenience, when one-stop shopping and all-purpose products are prized so highly, the psalms fit right in: They are all-purpose prayer!

    Most of us, if asked which psalm we know best, will answer, "Psalm 23, 'The Lord is my shepherd.'" It's no wonder this hymn to God's never-failing love for us is a universal favorite: It reminds us that God constantly watches over us, protects us from danger and lavishes more good things on us than we could ever dream of.

    full story 

    Why form groups
    for prayer?
    By Father Herbert Weber

    Catholic News Service

    My first experience of praying with others was as a child. Our family, like many in those days, would gather in the early evening to pray a family rosary. I am sure there were times I wanted to do other things, but even then I knew that praying together gave our family a bond and gave me a feeling of belonging.

    Praying aloud with others is a unique way to bring people together. It provides a unifying element for those who gather. That sense of unity carries over to the Sunday celebration of Mass.

    full story 

    The power of prayer
    on a marriage
    By Andrew and Terri Lyke

    Catholic News Service

    When we got married in 1975, we had a sense that God had blessed us with a great and awesome love. Still, everything we thought we needed we thought we had in each other. Prayer was infrequent and something we did separately.

    It was after a major struggle in our marriage that we came to understand the power of prayer in married life. Turning to God in our darkest time saved our marriage. We had depleted our personal reserves and had to go beyond ourselves to "fix" what was broken.

    full story

    Faith Alive! logo
     Faith in the Marketplace
    This Week's Discussion Point:

    Where do you pray together with others? How does your small group/community pray?

      Selected Response From Readers:  
    Copyright © 2006 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

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    This week's readings

    Week of March 12 - 18, 2006

    Sunday, March 12, 2006
    Second Sunday of Lent
    Reading I: Gn 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
    Reading II: Rom 8:31b-34
    Gospel: Mk 9:2-10

    Monday, March 13, 2006
    Reading I: Dn 9:4b-10
    Gospel: Lk 6:36-38

    Tuesday, March 14, 2006
    Reading I: Is 1:10, 16-20
    Gospel: Mt 23:1-12

    Wednesday, March 15, 2006
    Reading I: Jer 18:18-20
    Gospel: Mt 20:17-28

    Thursday, March 16, 2006
    Reading I: Jer 17:5-10
    Gospel: Lk 16:19-31

    Friday, March 17, 2006
    Reading I: Gn 37:3-4, 12-13a, 17b-28a
    Gospel: Mt 21:33-43, 45-46

    Saturday, March 18, 2006
    Reading I: Mic 7:14-15, 18-20
    Gospel: Lk 15:1-3, 11-32

    Pope's Prayer Intentions

    March General Intention

    Young people. That young people who are searching for the meaning of life may be understood, respected and accompanied with patience and love.

    March Mission Intention

    Missionary Collaboration. That throughout the Church there may grow an awareness which favors the collaboration and exchange of those who work in the missions.

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    Prayer for St. Raphael Cathedral

    O God,
    Whose word is like fire,
    who spoke to Your servant Moses in the burning bush;
    who led Your people Israel out of bondage
          with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night:
    hear Your people as we call upon You
    in both need and gratitude.

    May the Cathedral fire purify Your Church
    in the Diocese of Madison
    so that our hearts may burn with the knowledge
          that Your Church is built upon the bedrock
    of Your Son, Jesus Christ.

    Through the intercession of Saint Raphael,
          Your messenger of healing,
    in union with our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI,
    and with our Bishop, Robert C. Morlino,
    may we find comfort in our affliction
    and the courage to proclaim
          the Good News of Jesus Christ,
    who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
    one God forever and ever.


    For more prayer resources visit the Office of Worship's Web page at www.straphael.org/~office_of_worship/
    (Click on the link on the main page.)

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