Celebrate Sunday Mass With Bishop Strickland - 7.26.20

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Bishop Strickland in Sunday's live Mass.

Bishop Strickland in Sunday's live Mass.

7/26/2020 (9 months ago)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Dear Catholic Online Community and Catholic Online School students...


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, the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, we hear a prophetic dream where the Lord speaks to a young King Solomon. The young King, succeeding David his Father to the throne, lacks confidence in his ability to lead. The Lord says to him 'Ask what you would like me to give you."

And, Solomon asks for an understanding heart. These are his words of prayer: "So give your servant a heart to understand how to govern your people, how to discern between good and evil, for how could one otherwise govern such a great people as yours?"

This pleases the Lord greatly. Because it reveals the greatest qualification for true leadership in the Lord. The Lord responds "'Since you have asked for this and not asked for long life for yourself or riches or the lives of your enemies but have asked for a discerning judgement for yourself, here and now I do what you ask. I give you a heart wise and shrewd as no one has had before and no one will have after you."

What would we ask for if the Lord posed such a question to us? Honestly answering such a question can help us move forward in our own call to follow the Lord. The Catholic Catechism explains "The heart is the seat of moral personality..." (CCC # 2512) It is that place in which we make our most important life commitments. We should offer the Lord our hearts during this Holy Mass, and ask Him to come and dwell within them as we receive Jesus, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in the most Holy Eucharist.

In our second reading, we will hear an excerpt from the Apostle Paul's letter to the Christians in Rome. This Letter to the Romans is a powerful, and theologically profound letter. We should read it often and ask the Holy Spirit to help us understand and incorporate in our own Christian walk. In the eight chapter of this letter, the Apostle is explaining what it means to live in the Spirit.

Two points he makes in this short excerpt. First, the Lord turns everything to "good" for those who love Him and follow Him. But we should always remember, it is His good. Now, ultimately, that also means our good. But sometimes, it may not feel or seem that way. That is why we need the eyes of living faith to see what the Lord is doing.

Secondly, he instructs them - and us - that the work of the Holy Spirit is to conform us to Jesus Christ, in this translation, to mold us into the pattern of His Son, Jesus Christ. We are called to become "sons, and daughters, in the Son". We are also called to continual conversion. How are we doing? Are we seeking to grow more and more like Jesus Christ? Holy Mass is a wonderful time for us to choose once again to put the Lord first in our lives.

In the Gospel for Holy Mass, we will continue on in Matthews Gospel. Jesus is teaching the crowd from the boat, the symbol of the Church, and uses several parables to help explain the Kingdom of Heaven which he came to inaugurate.  The hidden treasure in the field, the merchant searching for pearls, the and the great net thrown into the sea, catching all kinds of fish, some good and some bad.

The net, according the early Church Fathers, is an image of the Church. In her are found saints as well as sinners.

But, the Church herself is indefectible, because she is the Mystical Body of Christ, and she is the Lords plan for the whole world. That indefectibility does not depend on the holiness of her members, including her clergy. Rather, the holiness of Jesus Christ, her Savior and Head. We are all caught into the net and brought into the boat. There, we are to be purified and made Holy, becoming more and more like Jesus as we cooperate with grace.

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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