Celebrate Sunday Mass With Bishop Strickland - 7.19.20
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Bishop Strickland in Sunday's 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 SIXTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME.
I will be assisting elsewhere in our Diocese but one of my brother Deacons will have privilege of assisting the Bishop 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.
In our first reading for this sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, our first reading contains four verses from the Book of Wisdom, also called the Wisdom of Solomon. The term "wisdom Books" includes this beautiful collection of wisdom insights, as well as the Books of Job, Proverbs, and Sirach, also called "Ecclesiasticus". It was probably compiled about fifty years before the Birth of Jesus and is appropriately named. It offers inspired and wise insights into who the Lord is.
Our reading today is an example. The Lord is both strong and merciful. Though He judges, he is "mild in judgement" as this translation states. He always gives His children "the good hope that after sins you will grant repentance."
We are His children. Do we really believe this? Do we live our lives as though we do?
The Psalms are also considered a part of the wisdom literature, and our Response today is from Psalm 86 underscores this beautiful message with words from David which we should make our own "Lord, God of tenderness and mercy, slow to anger, rich in faithful love and loyalty, turn to me and pity me. Give to your servant your strength, to the child of your servant your saving help.
Our second reading is from the Letter of the Apostle Paul to the Romans. Short in length but profound in message. The Apostle tells the Christians in Rome, and he tells us, that the Spirit of God, who dwells within us, prays through us. We need the Holy Spirit. The Third Person of the Blessed Trinity is a gift from the Father and the Son. Not only does the Spirit come to help us in our weakness, the Spirit gives us power from on high to live our life differently.
If you have not done so lately, today, invite the Holy Spirit to come into your heart, your life and your family. Watch what happens.
In the Gospel for today's holy Mass Jesus uses another agrarian parable to teach a truly important lesson about the Mercy of God. However, in this one, He likens the Kingdom of God not to the seed but to the sower who sowed the good seed. Jesus Himself is that sower.
The world is the field and Jesus sows the seed of His grace in it. In order to redeem us, He became like us and, He himself became the grain of wheat that was sown for us and bare the fruit of the Kingdom.
But notice who has sown the darnel or, as some translations say, the cockel. In those days, it was not unusual for an enemy to sow such seed in a field of wheat to destroy the crop as a form of revenge against an enemy or adversary. It is hard to tell the two plants apart until the stalks begin to emerge.
It is the evil one who sows the darnel or cockle.
The early Church Fathers wrote of the Cockle as a metaphor for false doctrine. The great Bishop John Chrysostom notes that the devil often mixes false doctrine with truth to deceive the elect.
Yet, in His Mercy, the Lord allows all of this, until the end of time.
We are called to seek to convert the cockle, by smothering it with the good seed of truth, both in ourselves and in others. It is ESSENTIAL that we study the scriptures and the teaching of the Church so that we are not deceived by the enemy and so that we can help as many men and women as we can to turn to Jesus and be converted by the good seed of true doctrine. In this age of a great falling away, even within the Church, this parable, and its message is VITAL to hear and understand.
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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