National Catholic Register

Culture of Life

Week of Spiritual Powerhouses

BY Tom & April Hoopes

September 21-27, 2008 Issue | Posted 9/16/08 at 1:08 PM

 

Sunday, Sept. 28, is the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A, Cycle II). Pope Benedict XVI will be in Rome. Father Michael Sopocko, spiritual director of St. Faustina Kowalska, will be beatified Sept. 28 in Bialystok, Poland. Sept. 29 is the feast of the Archangels. Oct. 1 is the feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Oct. 2 is the feast of the Guardian Angels. Oct. 4 is the feast of St. Francis of Assisi.


Parish

EPriest.com offers Best Practices from parishes.

St. Dominic Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of San Francisco uses “Called and Gifted” seminars to help lay people own their mission.

“This workshop has literally changed the way I see my priesthood,” says Father Xavier Lavagetto. “This workshop articulates the Vatican II challenge to see each lay Catholic as an apostle called and sent by Christ himself.”

“Called and Gifted” seminars are provided by the Catherine of Siena Institute (Siena.org), a program of the Western Dominican Province.

The EPriest website includes necessary information, as well as testimonials.


Family

FaithandFamilyLive.com offers spiritual aids.

Sept. 29 is the feast of the Archangels. The best place to learn about Michael, Gabriel and Raphael is from the Bible: Michael, whose name means “Who is like God?” can be found in Revelation 12, that shows him leading the angels who battle Satan and his minions.

Gabriel (“The power of God”) visits Zechariah, father of John in Luke 1:10-19; he visits Mary in Luke 1:26-38; and he is presumed to be the angel who visits Joseph in Matthew 1:20-23.

Raphael (“God has healed”) is a key figure in the fascinating (and quick) read, the Book of Tobit. He shows up first in Chapter 3, and he sums up his astonishing role in the story in Tobit 12:11-22.


Media

For the feast of the Guardian Angels, why not watch the old (1951) black-and-white film Angels in the Outfield? The pro-Catholic plot pits the prayers of a young orphan (and nuns) against an abusive manager. Boys will like seeing the Pittsburgh Pirates; girls will identify with the female sports writer. Everyone will love the orphan and the angels.


Readings

Ezekiel 18:25-28; Psalms 25:4-9; Philippians 2:1-11 or 2:1-5; Matthew 21:28-32

Epriest.com offers free homily packs for priests.


Our Take

Today’s Gospel is directed at those of us who consider ourselves religious. Christ tells the story of the man who had two sons — one said he would work in the vineyard but didn’t; the other said he wouldn’t but did. Who did the father’s will?

It’s the second, of course, but it speaks to a common phenomenon.

Oftentimes, we Catholics spend a great deal of time learning how to say all the right things. We know the “right” answer to every theological, ecclesial and political question. We enjoy reading all the right things, and when called upon, we say the right things. But when it comes to actually doing the things we’re supposed to — from mundane household drudgery to acts of charity small and large — we aren’t nearly so reliable.

We tell God we’re there for him, but he never sees us sweating in the vineyard.

Christ told the hearers in his day that “tax collectors and prostitutes” were entering the Kingdom of God before them. These are people who are too broken to feel capable of saying all the right things. They know they have to actually change their hearts and do what Christ wants.

It’s an appropriate Gospel to kick off a week of saints known mainly for their deeds: The archangels and guardian angels are simply those who do what God says. St. Thérèse’s “Little Way” is about simply doing the small things you are called to do. And St. Francis is known for preaching first with his actions, not his words. Pray they’ll help us follow their way.