Celebrate Sunday Mass with Bishop Strickland - 9.13.20

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Bishop Strickland during a previous Sunday Mass.

Bishop Strickland during a previous Sunday Mass.

9/13/2020 (7 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 the first reading, the wise sage of the Book of Sirach - a part of the wisdom literature of the Jewish people, found in the Hebrew Scriptures - gives us some practical advice about how to avoid sin. He tells us we should pardon our neighbor for any wrongs done to us. We should Stop hating. We should reflect on the last things. We should Be faithful to the Commandments. 

Sound familiar? It should.  

It is the teaching of the Law. It is the teaching of the Prophets. It is the teaching of Jesus Christ as well. But, the words of Sirach, even though well intended, were not sufficient to help the People of God, Israel, to overcome sin on their own. 

Sin and its consequences were just too powerful. That is why the Father sent His Son Jesus Christ, to make it possible, by being our Savior, our Redeemer.  

As Christians, we are called to follow that advice from Sirach, yes, using our own sincere efforts, but we now have access to the One who makes it possible by giving us His Grace, His Divine Life. We have the grace that comes through the Sacraments. Two Sacraments are repeatable, the Sacrament of Confession - for when we fail - and the Sacrament of the Eucharist, which gives us a continuous source of grace. 

In the brief words from the Apostle Paul we hear in our second reading, we can find a key that unlocks the victory over sin and its consequences. We are invited to surrender our will to the Will of God. To turn our lives over to the Lord Jesus Christ, as both our Savior and Lord. To let go and let God. We are invited to decide to live our lives now, for Jesus, in Jesus, and with Jesus. To make Him the Lord of our lives. 

Have we done that?  Today is the day! 

In the Gospel for today's Holy Mass, Peter asks Jesus for a formula, "How often do I have to forgive my brother if he wrongs me?" Instead, Jesus gives Peter, and all of us, a parable. 

The King in the parable is God, who has forgiven all of us and showers His Mercy upon us. How? Through sending Jesus Christ to be Our Savior. Jesus cancelled the debt and paid the punishment which our own sins deserved. The Apostle Paul told the Romans that "...the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life". (Romans 6:23)

Yet, like the man in the parable, we sometimes fail to apply that same standard of love, mercy and forgiveness to others. When we live in the Lord and allow His grace to flow through us, we can begin to live like Him, love like Him, and forgive like Him. How can we do this? By asking Jesus Christ to take up residence within us, within our hearts. By asking Him to live His life in and through us. 

Here is how the Apostle Paul explains it in his letter to the Galatians, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Gal 2:20) 

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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