National Catholic Register

Culture of Life

Father Abraham Had Many Sons …

User's Guide to Sunday

BY Tom & April Hoopes

June 1-7, 2008 Issue | Posted 5/28/08 at 12:11 PM


Sunday, June 8, is the 10th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year A).

Parish offers “Best Parish Practices” for priests.

This Sunday’s Gospel is about the call of an apostle. Father Greg Pleiness, pastor of St. Augustine Church in Howell, Mich., has instituted a new way to help today’s apostles hear their call.

One family each week keeps and uses a “Vocation Basket” which they return the following week. At the end of Sunday Mass, the congregation prays a prayer for vocations while another family comes forward to receive the basket from the pastor. In the basket are:

• DVDs on the priesthood (including “Fishers of Men” by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops),

• literature about vocations,

• prayers about vocations,

• books about saints,

• information for parents on how to foster vocational discernment among their children, and

• a standing wooden cross inscribed with the words “Master of the Harvest”

In its second year, Deacon Bill Sirl says a culture of vocations is already developing, and one young man is “actively discerning the priesthood.” Find many more details at the EPriest website.


Hosea 6:3-6, Psalm 50:1, 8, 12-15, Romans 4:18-25, Matthew 9:9-13 offers free homily packs for priests.

Our Take

Today’s readings explore the virtue of integrity and authenticity, being honest in our dealings with God. The great exemplar of this virtue is Abraham, who doggedly stuck to his trust in God’s promise despite his trials and falls.

Abraham’s achievement is particularly impressive because he didn’t have all the trappings of religion and the channels of grace to help him. We have the examples of the saints, great Catholic literature, encouraging movies, the Holy Father, publications like the Register and Faith & Family, and above all the sacraments. Abraham only had God’s whispered promise. But that was enough. By focusing honestly on what was essential, he remained true to God.

Our attitude is often very different. When this Sunday’s Old Testament readings tell us God wants love and not animal sacrifices, we could dismiss it as if the Church selected this Scripture merely to make a historical point. But the lessons are directly applicable.

We often want to give God a significant sacrifice and be done with him — the sacrifice of our time at church, perhaps, or the money we spend on a child’s education or even the sacrifice of a significant volunteer activity.

But God wants our love. He doesn’t want a few discreet sacrifices; he wants us to “follow him.” He wants us to apply his criteria honestly and straightforwardly to our whole life, not just a part of it: our work life, our social life, our leisure life, our family life, our relations with our extended family and on and on.

This doesn’t mean being a “holy roller” who talks about religion all the time. It means being people of integrity and authenticity. Like Abraham.

The Hoopeses are editorial directors of Faith & Family magazine (