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September 18, 2008 Edition

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Word to Life
This week's readings
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Prayers for Those Suffering from the Floods
Prayer to St. Raphael

God's generosity

Word to Life 

By Jeff Hensley 

God's generosity toward all his creation seems to be a thread running through this week's readings. Having just read through them when a friend from St. Louis came to visit, I think they were still on my mind when he and I went to lunch.

We were joined by the two women who direct our diocese's diaconate formation program. It wasn't planned, it just happened that at a restaurant seven miles from our diocesan offices we ran into each other. A joyous time of sharing over food followed our chance meeting. It seemed a gift from a generous God.

September 21, 2008
25th Sunday
in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 55:6-9
Psalm 14 5:2-3, 8-9, 17-18
Philippians 1:20c-24, 27a
Matthew 20:1-16a

And it must have triggered the conversation my friend and I had over coffee later, filled with stories of God's seeming intervention in our lives: a time I was nearly attacked by pit bulls, but a pickup truck happened by at just the right time to block the dogs; a time when a long overdue rain and very slick streets caused my friend to slide through an intersection while the opposing traffic seemed to stand still; and the stories continued to flow.

When Jesus speaks of the workers in the vineyard, jealous of the full day's wages the latecomers were paid, it is likely he is speaking of the jealousy of the religious people of his day when those who had only recently repented of their sinful ways were welcomed by him.

But he also is speaking of a generous God who is free to give as he sees fit, not limited by our conceptions.

The Isaiah passage speaks of that same generosity of God. The psalm says, "The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness. The Lord is good to all and compassionate toward all his works."

We are among his works. Should we not acknowledge his great kindness toward us, the mercy he shows us? Our lives are in his hands, Paul points out in the reading from Philippians. Then he tells his readers how we should respond to that generosity: "Only conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ."

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 September 21 - 27, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008
Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading I: Is 55:6-9
Reading II: Phil 1:20c-24, 27a
Gospel: Mt 20:1-16a

Monday, September 22, 2008
Reading I: Prv 3:27-34
Gospel: Lk 8:16-18

Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Memorial of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, priest
Reading I: Prv 21:1-6, 10-13
Gospel: Lk 8:19-21

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Reading I: Prv 30:5-9
Gospel: Lk 9:1-6

Thursday, September 25, 2008
Reading I: Eccl 1:2-11
Gospel: Lk 9:7-9

Friday, September 26, 2008
Reading I: Eccl 3:1-11
Gospel: Lk 9:18-22

Saturday, September 27, 2008
Memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul, priest
Reading I: Eccl 11:9--12:8
Gospel: Lk 9:43b-45

Pope's Prayer Intentions

September General Intention

Refugees. That Christians may defend and protect refugees.

September Mission Intention

Christian Families. That every Christian family may be a small evangelizing community which is responsive to the needs of others.

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Prayers for Those Suffering from the Floods

Diocese of Madison
Summer 2008

God of Mercy,
Look kindly on us in our suffering.
Ease our burdens and make our faith strong
That we may always have confidence and trust
In your fatherly care.

We ask this through Christ, Our Lord.

From the Sacramentary, Masses for Various Needs: For Any Need (B)

God our Father,
you set the earth on it foundations
and separated the land from the water.
Look upon all affected by this flood.
Ease their suffering, strengthen their faith,
and increase their love of you and neighbor.

Inspire all people of good will
to serve you by serving others
so that, from the darkness of this disaster,
the light of Christ may shine even more brightly in the world,
for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.


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Prayer to St. Raphael

photo of Pilgrim Icon of St. Raphael

Glorious Archangel St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, you are illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace. You are a guide of those who journey by land or sea or air, consoler of the afflicted, and refuge of sinners.

We beg you, assist us in all our needs and in all the sufferings of this life, as once you helped the young Tobias on his travels. Because you are the "medicine of God" we humbly pray you to heal the many infirmities of our souls and the ills that afflict our bodies.

We especially ask your guidance of our diocese as we journey toward the rebuilding of a cathedral bearing your name, and the great grace of purity to prepare us to be temples of the Holy Spirit. As our intercessor, beg the Blessed Trinity to prosper the work of our hands and, above all, to bring us, face-to-face, into their Holy presence.


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Diocese of Madison, The Catholic Herald
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