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August 2, 2007 Edition

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Word to Life (for Aug. 5)
Word to Life (for Aug. 12)
This week's readings (Aug. 5 - 11)
This week's readings (Aug. 12 - 18)
Pope's Prayer Intentions
Prayers for the summer season
Faith Alive! page

Changing perspective: God's priorities

Word to Life 

Sharon K. Perkins 

My teenage son and I recently attended a traveling show featuring some of the country's best drum and bugle corps.

Since he is a drummer, he was quite inspired by the sights and sounds, so after the performance he and some fellow drummers gathered for the better part of the night to jam and share drumming tips.

When my bleary-eyed but invigorated son came home the next morning, he enthusiastically demonstrated a newly acquired method of practicing rudiments ("paradiddles," nine-stroke rolls and flams, to be exact), strokes that are absolutely essential to master but which are incredibly tedious to practice over and over.

18th Sunday
in Ordinary Time
(Sunday, Aug. 5, 2007)
Ecclesiastes 1:2 and 2:21-23
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9
Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11
Luke 12:13-21

The drum session spent with friends and the new method removed a lot of the tedium from the repetition and gave him a new perspective on the formerly dreaded practicing.

All of today's readings are about changing one's perspective from the "vanities" of earthly life - especially greed and its companions impurity and immorality - to a view that places God's priorities at one's center.

Jesus' rather sobering parable echoes Qoheleth's warning against the acquisitive practices of working to excess and amassing wealth for its own sake - habits that have become almost sacred in contemporary materialistic society.

The more one practices these culturally sanctioned habits, the more ingrained they become and the more difficult they are to "put to death" through Christian practices of gratitude, simplicity, and generosity.

Reflection questions

• What Christian practice have I found to be particularly burdensome lately?

• How do today's readings and the support of my fellow believers encourage me to find a new perspective?

But St. Paul's letter maintains, equally firmly, that those who are in Christ have in fact died to their former selves and are being renewed in the image of their Creator. The psalmist prays for "wisdom of heart" that teaches the proper perspectives on time, work, and prosperity.

And through the support of Christian community we can encourage one another to persist in those life-giving and corrective practices that can be challenging, unattractive, and tedious, but which also can become the paths to joy and gladness.

This column is offered in cooperation with the North Texas Catholic of Fort Worth, Texas.

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New direction in life: Having faith in God

Word to Life 

Dan Luby 

The house is full of talk and laughter and the cheerful clink of glasses and cutlery on china.

The Lazy Susan turns, delivering cheese, salsa, grilled peppers, and sour cream, as fajitas are built and memories swapped and expectations shared.

Our son and three close friends, freshly minted college grads, have joined us for one last, fond supper before they head out to new places, new careers, and new adventures.

19th Sunday
in Ordinary Time
(Sunday, Aug. 12, 2007)
Wisdom 18:6-9
Psalm 33:1, 12, 18-19, 20-22
Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19
Luke 12:32-48

As we question them about their plans, as they share the information tinged with anxiety and great excitement, I recognize the power of hope.

None of them really knows for sure what lies ahead. Will the classroom be a scene of triumph or boredom? Will flight school prove the fulfillment of a lifelong dream or just be scary? Will the Manhattan internship be an adventure or an ordeal? Will the volunteer service in Vermont turn out to be an idyllic time or just an idle time?

The real possibility of failure is not far from their imaginings, but, over and over, hope trumps fear. Partly from inexperience, but more out of a decision for trust, they all are launching themselves into new lives beyond the horizons of what they know for sure into what they hope will be bright and fulfilling futures.

Reflection questions

• What's one time when you moved beyond your familiar horizons and found God present in the midst of uncertainty?

• Where might God be calling you to move in the future?

Sunday's second reading from the Letter to the Hebrews recalls how our ancestors in faith journeyed from the comfort and familiarity of their everyday worlds into the uncertainty and even danger of the unknown. They walked in faith, confident not so much in their own abilities but in the One who was calling them to move to the edge and beyond.

Following Jesus is risky business. If we are paying attention, we ought to recognize the dangers to which discipleship invites us. The good news is the fidelity and love of the One we follow.

This column is offered in cooperation with the North Texas Catholic of Fort Worth, Texas.

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This week's readings

Week of August 5 - 11, 2007

Sunday, August 5, 2007
Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading I: Ecc 1:2; 2:21-23
Reading II: Col 3:1-5, 9-11
Gospel: Lk 12:13-21

Monday, August 6, 2007
Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord
Reading I: Dn 7:9-10, 13-14
Reading II: 2 Pt 1:16-19
Gospel: Lk 9:28b-36

Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Reading I: Nm 12:1-13
Gospel: Mt 14:22-36

Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Memorial of Saint Dominic, priest
Reading I: Nm 13:1-2, 25--14:1, 26a-29a, 34-35
Gospel: Mt 15: 21-28

Thursday, August 9, 2007
Reading I: Nm 20:1-13
Gospel: Mt 16:13-23

Friday, August 10, 2007
Feast of Saint Lawrence, deacon
and martyr

Reading I: 2 Cor 9:6-10
Gospel: Jn 12:24-26

Saturday, August 11, 2007
Memorial of Saint Clare, virgin
Reading I: Dt 6:4-13
Gospel: Mt 17:14-20

This week's readings

Week of August 12 - 18, 2007

Sunday, August 12, 2007
Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading I: Wis 18:6-9
Reading II: Heb 11:1-2, 8-19 or 11:1-2, 8-12
Gospel: Lk 12:32-48 or 12:35-40

Monday, August 13, 2007
Reading I: Dt 10:12-22
Gospel: Mt 17:22-27

Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Memorial of Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe, priest and martyr
Reading I: Dt 31:1-8
Gospel: Mt 18:1-5, 10, 12-14

Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Vigil Mass for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Reading I: 1 Sm 15:3-4, 15-16; 16:1-2
Reading II: 1 Cor 15:54b-57
Gospel: Lk 11:27-28

Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Mass during the Day for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Reading I: Rv 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab
Reading II: 1 Cor 15:20-27
Gospel: Lk 1:39-56

Thursday, August 16, 2007
Reading I: Jos 3:7-10a, 11, 13-17
Gospel: Mt 18:21--19:1

Friday, August 17, 2007
Reading I: Jos 24:1-13
Gospel: Mt 19:3-12

Saturday, August 18, 2007
Reading I: Jos 24:14-29
Gospel: Mt 19:13-15

Pope's Prayer Intentions

August General Intention

Those suffering inner turmoil. That those who are suffering inner difficulties and trials may find in Christ the light and support that leads to authentic happiness.

August Mission Intention

Church in China. That the Church in China may grow in unity and in visible communion with the Pope.

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Prayers for the summer season

For gardens

ALMIGHTY and most merciful God, before our first parents, Adam and Eve, sinned, they lived and were very happy in the Garden of Eden. There, as we read in the Holy Book, You would walk with them "in the afternoon air," and they heard the sound of You in the garden.

God, ever since then, a garden is a holy thing. You still walk there with us in the afternoon air. You walk with those who can see You and Your generous and merciful providence working for us in the green things that grow and the trees that blossom and bear such rich and nourishing fruit.

Bless all our gardens and orchards in this broad land of ours, dear God, and give us rich and plentiful harvest. Help us, as we go about our work here, to see You in Your loving kindness, working for us and with us.

Help us to do Your will at all times. Then, some day, we will walk with You and Your Son, and our dear Mother Mary, down the paths of another Garden, far better, far more beautiful than even the Garden of Eden. Amen.

From the National Catholic Rural Life Conference

For rain

ALMIGHTY God, we are in need of rain. We realize now, looking up into the clear, blue sky, what a marvel even the least drop of rain really is. To think that so much water can fall out of the sky, which now is empty and clear! We place our trust in You. We are sure that You know our needs. But You want us to ask You anyway, to show You that we know we are dependent on You. Look on our dry hills and fields, dear God, and bless them with the living blessing of soft rain. Then the land will rejoice, and the rivers will sing Your praises, and the hearts of men will be made glad. Amen.

From the National Catholic Rural Life Conference Rural Life Prayer Book

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