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Reflections on forthcoming Mass readings by Tom and April Hoopes.
BY Tom & April Hoopes
19, is the 29th Sunday (Year A, Cycle II) in Ordinary Time and is World Mission
Sunday. Pope Benedict will travel to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy
Rosary of Pompeii, Italy. He will say Mass at 10 a.m. and lead the Rosary at 5
help for Catholic families under its “Resources” section.
October 19 is the feast of the North
American Martyrs, a favorite of ours. We love to go to Auriesville, N.Y., and
visit the shrine there. Here are a group of men who gave everything to Christ
in what must have seemed, to them, a totally hidden way. The fruits of their
work were uncertain, as the tribes of Indians they sought to convert remained
outside the faith. The suffering they endured was horrific. But in the face of
it all, they stayed utterly loyal to their mission. Find the story of St. Isaac
Jogues, St. John de Brébeuf
and companions at the Faith & Family Live! website.
The movie The
Mission (1986) has its flaws,
but it remains a visually stunning, superbly acted and moving story of the
sacrifices of Jesuit missionaries among Indians in the New World — a good
stand-in for the North American martyrs’ story. Some caveats:
1. With children, beware of the
early subplot about adultery and vengeance; not much is lost if you simply
block the screen and fast forward.
2. The film shows what our film
critic Steven Greydanus calls “ethnographic nudity.” Be forewarned that there
is nudity of the National Geographic
3. The violence will be judged
inappropriate for many children, but it does show the suffering faced by missionaries.
4. The movie does not tell its story
clearly. Read the plot summary (find one at Wikipedia.org) out loud a couple of
times before watching — this is necessary for viewers, regardless of age.
5. The film doesn’t hesitate to show
the imperfections of Catholics, even members of the hierarchy, in its day. We
explain to our children that in the 18th century, Catholics who rejected Church
teaching about slavery gave the Church a bad name that hurts us to this day. In
the 21st century, many Catholics support or turn a blind eye to abortion. When
society turns against abortion in the future, and it will, non-Catholics will
criticize the Church of our day in the same way.
Isaiah 45:1, 4-6; Psalms 96:1, 3,
4-5, 7-10; First Thessalonians 1:1-5; Matthew 22:15-21
EPriest.com offers free homily
packs for priests.
NCRegister.com, in its “Opinion”
section, includes the editorial “Voter Traps.”
The best modern commentary on
today’s Gospel is in Pope Benedict XVI’s 2005 encyclical Deus
Caritas Est (God is Love). It happens to be an extremely important
reminder in this election year, so we quote it here at length:
“Fundamental to Christianity is the
distinction between what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God (Matthew
22:21), in other words, the distinction between Church and state,
or, as the Second Vatican Council puts it, the autonomy of the temporal sphere.
… The two spheres are distinct, yet always interrelated.
“Justice is both the aim and the
intrinsic criterion of all politics. …
But this presupposes an even more radical question: What is justice? …
“Here politics and faith meet. Faith
by its specific nature is an encounter with the living God — an encounter
opening up new horizons extending beyond the sphere of reason. … Faith enables
reason to do its work more effectively and to see its proper object more
“This is where Catholic social
doctrine has its place: It has no intention of giving the Church power over the
state. Even less is it an attempt to impose on those who do not share the faith
ways of thinking and modes of conduct proper to faith. Its aim is simply to
help purify reason and to contribute, here and now, to the acknowledgment and
attainment of what is just. …
Church cannot and must not take upon herself the political battle to bring
about the most just society possible. She cannot and must not replace the
state. Yet at the same time, she cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in
the fight for justice. She has to play her part through rational argument and
she has to reawaken the spiritual energy without which justice, which always
demands sacrifice, cannot prevail and prosper. A just society must be the
achievement of politics, not of the Church. Yet, the promotion of justice
through efforts to bring about openness of mind and will to the demands of the
common good is something which concerns the Church deeply.”
the Register’s website, find the editorial “Voter Traps,” which explains how
Catholics can help fulfill their civic duties not on “Mission Sunday” but on
“Caesar Tuesday” — Election Day — in this crucial year.