Celebrate Sunday Mass With Bishop Strickland - 8.30.20

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Bishop Strickland during a Sunday Mass.

Bishop Strickland during a Sunday Mass.

8/30/2020 (8 months ago)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Sunday Mass in English:

Sunday Mass in Spanish: 

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. 

Just prior to the verses we heard proclaimed in our first reading from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah, Jeremiah had suffered horrible persecution from a priest named Pashur because of the prophecies he had had delivered. Jeremiah was beaten severely and put in stocks! It was certainly not easy to be a Prophet. It never is.

But such severe treatment and persecution did not deter Jeremiah. Why? Because he was a man of deep and living faith. He knew the Lord had given him his prophetic vocation. He chose obedience to the Lord over popularity or a life of ease. In fact, he told his persecutor that he - and those who stood with him - would themselves go into captivity and die!

The excerpt we hear on this 22nd Sunday of the year is taken from the conversation Jeremiah has with the Lord, in prayer, AFTER all this horrible persecution and suffering. Jeremiah is complaining to the Lord! He has an honest prayer relationship with the Lord. But notice something vitally important. There is fire in Jeremiah's heart. He knows he must continue to speak the word of the Lord, no matter the consequences, Jeremiah is an example for you and me. How do we respond to opposition when we share our faith or stand for the TRUTH revealed to us in its fullness in Jesus Christ and His Gospel? How do we respond when we are ridiculed for being faithful to the teaching of the Sacred Scriptures and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church?

Let us ask the Lord for that same "fire burning in our heart" which continued to inspire Jeremiah. That fire will come to us as we grow in our relationship with the Lord in prayer. David, in the Responsorial Psalm shows us the way. We need to regularly praise the Lord. To gaze upon Him in His sanctuary. To lift our hands up to him.

In our second reading, we will hear two verses from the 12th chapter of the Apostle Paul's Letter to the Romans. In these verses, and the ones which follow, Paul is writing to these early Christians, and to us, explaining how we can live the New Life in Jesus Christ. 

We need to offer our whole person, body, soul, spirit, heart, and mind to Jesus Christ. We need to have our minds renewed to be transformed in Jesus Christ. Are we having our minds renewed by the Word of God and the teaching of the Church? Or, are we being conformed to this world? The choice is ours.

In the Gospel for we will hear for Holy Mass, taken from the 16th chapter of St Matthew, Jesus is speaking to the disciples of the real demands of discipleship. This passage follows immediately after Peter gave the correct answer to the question "Who do you say I am" posed by Jesus. Remember, he was praised by Jesus and told he would have a role of primacy in the Church. And now, Peter is rebuked.

The call to pick up the cross and follow Jesus, to embrace self-denial, to renounce this world and embrace the new world, is a continual call to discipleship. It is a lifelong call. Yesterday's response is not sufficient for today. The Gospel without the cross is not only poor theology, it has caused too many Christians to miss the mark, which is the definition of the Greek word translated sin in the New Testament.

Have we heard this call? Are we responding? 

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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