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Celebrate Sunday Mass With Bishop Strickland - 7.5.20
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Bishop Strickland in the live Mass.
Dear Catholic Online Community and Catholic Online School students...
I AM HAPPY TO OFFER EACH OF YOU AN INVITATION TO SUNDAY MASS WITH BISHOP JOSEPH STRICKLAND ON THE FOURTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME.
I will have the privilege of assisting as his Deacon at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Tyler, Texas. I know you look forward to hearing Bishop Strickland preach. The response to offering these beautiful liturgies has been overwhelming.
I also know that, like me, you are drawn closer to the Lord when he offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The readings, as always, offer so much for us to reflect on. It is helpful to pray through them, and reflect upon them.
Next to the Prophet Isaiah, Zechariah is the most often quoted Prophetic Book in the Hebrew Scriptures which refers to the promised Messiah the Lord will send. The Prophet speaks of a deliverer who is to come. He will deliver Israel from its enemies and establish a Kingdom. He will bring Joy and celebration. In fact, in the passage we hear this Sunday we are told "Look, your king is approaching, he is vindicated and victorious, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey."
As Christians, we should immediately recognize that Jesus Christ is that promised King. His triumphant entry into Jerusalem is recorded in all four Gospels. But, this Messiah - and the enemy He will vanquish - is more than a conquering earthly power. Many in Israel were looking for an earthly Messiah who would vanquish their oppressors.
Jesus came to pay the penalty for our sin, to give His own life to free us from the imprisonment which is the result of sin. He came to overcome the devil, the true enemy of souls. His death defeated death and opened heaven for all who call on Him. He has come, is coming, and will come again.
And the kingdom He is establishing and will fully establish upon His return, His Second coming, will stretch throughout the whole world. He will establish a New Heaven and a New Earth. That is indeed a cause for rejoicing! His Church, His Mystical Body, of which we are members, is a seed of that Kingdom, making it present in this world. We are members of that Body, called to participate in His ongoing redemptive mission.
The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans, chapter eight, a portion of which we heard in our second reading, speaks of living "in the Holy Spirit". He explains the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit which should be occurring in the life of every Christian.
We are filled with the same Spirit which raised Jesus from the dead. That Spirit empowers us to turn away from sin and turn toward the Lord. That Spirit empowers us to overcome disordered passions and grow in holiness. When we cooperate with grace, which is divine life given to us, we begin to experience the first fruits of redemption and the New Life promised to everyone who follows Jesus Christ.
Then there is the wonderful Gospel text for Sundays Mass. Every time I hear this excerpt from the 11th chapter of the Gospel of St Matthew, I smile. I imagine Jesus smiling as He proclaims out loud to His Father "I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to little children."
We are those children, or at least we can be, if we choose to make Him our Lord and Savior. In the 18th Chapter of the Gospel of Matthew we also read these words of Jesus:
"And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt 18:2-4)
Are we willing to become children, the sons, and the daughters of God? Jesus continues in the Gospel we hear this Sunday:
"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light." (Mt. 11:28-30)
I need to hear these words, regularly. Life can certainly become burdensome at times. We all know this is true. However, those of us who bear the name Christian are so privileged know the One to whom we can always turn, the Lord Jesus. He says to each of us this Sunday, "Come to Me".
Throughout the biblical accounts of the earthly ministry and life of Jesus we can discover, in his Sacred Humanity, the path to finding true rest. He was regularly in prayer. He lived in a continual communion with the Father. He now gives us the grace we need to live in the same way.
May the Lord bless you, your families, the Church, and the Nations of the world on this Lord's Day.
Deacon Keith Fournier
Dean of Catholic Online School
Chaplain of Your Catholic Voice Foundation
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