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A humble remnant in our midst Print E-mail
Written by Jean Denton   
Sunday, Jan 29, 2017

Fourth Sunday
in Ordinary Time

Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13
Psalm 146:6-10
1 Corinthians 1:26-31
Matthew 5:1-12a

Once a week, I help out at an after-school center in my community. The long-standing program, which provides supervision and enrichment activities for disadvantaged children, is a place of pride for the community because it fills an important need for many struggling families and has become a valuable resource in improving the prospects for their children.

Local news periodically shows smiling kids from the center participating in special events such as planting a community garden or taking swimming lessons at the YMCA.

But behind the feel-good images is a highly challenging environment in which staff members try to mentor some 200 children, most of whom have academic, social or psychological difficulties.

Constant behavior problems make it hard to accomplish much on any given day, so it's not uncommon for frustrated staffers or volunteers to give up after only a brief time. But a core group stays. They endure the frustration, work through obstacles and celebrate incremental successes. They stay because they are true believers in the center's mission.

Similarly, staying power is a challenge to the Christian faithful. Conflicts, wars, materialism, selfishness and an overarching secular culture threaten our ability to follow the ways of Christ. How can we hold fast to our beliefs against overwhelming opposition?

Zephaniah's prophecy in today's Scriptures provides the assurance we seek that Jesus' mission will continue despite forces in this world that constantly conspire to bring it down. Speaking God's word, the prophet says, "I will leave as a remnant in your midst a people humble and lowly, who shall take refuge in the name of the Lord … they shall do no wrong and speak no lies."

God promises that a core of true believers always will carry on, committed and living the life to which he calls us.

In Matthew's Gospel, Jesus describes that life in the beatitudes, reiterating that the faithful will be rewarded by God's faithfulness.

It's our only hope in this world, but it's a great hope, and we can witness its truth in people such as the committed leaders at the after-school center. When I observe this small group patiently enduring because of their compassion and selflessness, I have to believe that they actually are a part of that remnant maintaining God's goodness here and now.


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

 
Daily Scripture Readings Print E-mail
Readings
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Scripture readings from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website.
 
Pope's Prayer Intentions: January 2017 Print E-mail
Beginning in 2017, the Pope will present one prepared prayer intention per month, rather than two. A second prayer intention related to current events will be added each month. The urgent prayer request will mobilize prayer and attention to an immediate situation. We will add the second intention as soon as it is available.
January Prayer Intention

Christian Unity

That all Christians may be faithful to the Lord’s teaching by striving with prayer and fraternal charity to restore ecclesial communion and by collaborat­ing to meet the challenges facing humanity.

 
Holy Days of Obligation Print E-mail

The following are Holy Days of Obligation for 2017.

Holy Days of Obligation Description
Sunday, Jan. 1
Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God
Thursday, May 25
Ascension Thursday
Tuesday, Aug. 15
Solemnity of the Assumption
Wednesday, Nov. 1
All Saints Day
Friday, Dec. 8
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Monday, Dec. 25
Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)
 
Prayer to St. Raphael Print E-mail

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.

Amen.

 
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