Celebrate Sunday Mass with Bishop Strickland - 9.20.20
Join Bishop Strickland for Sunday Mass.
The videos for Sunday Mass in both English and Spanish are available below.
9/20/2020 (4 weeks ago)
By Deacon Keith FournierEnglish:
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 TWENTIETH FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME.
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, a short excerpt from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, the Holy Spirit is speaking through the Prophet, telling all who would hear of the call to "seek the Lord while He may be found."
Then, calling them to turn away from sin and toward the Lord. This call to conversion echoes throughout history. We can hear it ourselves if we choose to respond. The Lord speaks by the Spirit telling us:
"... my thoughts are not your thoughts and your ways are not my ways, declares Yahweh. For the heavens are as high above earth as my ways are above your ways, my thoughts above your thoughts."
We can truly begin to understand the "thoughts" and the "ways" of the Lord, if we cultivate a lifestyle of prayer, frequent the Sacraments, and stay steeped in His word.
How are we doing?
In our second reading, the Apostle Paul is speaking to the Philippians about "living in Christ". He is in prison. But he wants them to understand that, even in adverse circumstances, Jesus is still with Him.
In the verse right before the one we hear today in our first reading; St Paul asks for their continued prayers - and for the help of the Holy Spirit. He knew the power of prayer. He believed the Lord responded to it. He knew the Power of the Holy Spirit. He expected the Holy Spirit to move in his life. And, the Holy Spirit did!
The Apostle Paul had the kind of living faith to which we are all called. And, the remaining verses give us a key, showing us how to acquire it. St Paul believed in eternal life. He knew, by faith, that this life is temporal. He wanted to stay with them, but only to help them to grow in faith. He is not afraid of death, because he believes in eternal life.
Do we believe all of this?
The Gospel passage which Bishops, Priests and Deacons proclaim at Holy Mass Sunday contains an important parable from Jesus which is addressed to all of us. We are those workers in the Vineyard.
Working in the Vineyard is symbolic of our call to live our lives in the Lord, fully participating in the Church - which is His Mystical Body - as she continues her mission in the world. It is in the vineyard of the Church that we become equipped to participate in the mission of the Lord in the vineyard of the world.
Yes, the Church is a vineyard. The world is a vineyard. We are the workers. The hour for working is now! The Church has been sent into the world to bring the world back into the Church.
The Church is a seed, a sign, and a beginning of the kingdom, making the kingdom present in a world which is wounded by the effects of sin. The world is waiting to be born anew. The Lord continues His work through us. We are the workers in His vineyard. It matters little what time of day we entered the field. What matters most is that we get about the work that needs to be done.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church presents the Church as a vineyard:
"The Church is a cultivated field, the tillage of God. On that land the ancient olive tree grows whose holy roots were the prophets and in which the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles has been brought about and will be brought about again. That land, like a choice vineyard, has been planted by the heavenly cultivator. Yet the true vine is Christ who gives life and fruitfulness to the branches, that is, to us, who through the Church remain in Christ, without whom we can do nothing." (CCC # 755)
In explaining the connection between Christ and the Church the Catechism further explains:
"To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son's Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is "the world reconciled." She is that bark which "in the full sail of the Lord's cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world."
According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah's ark, which alone saves from the flood." (CCC#845)
The mission of the Church is to bring the whole world to Jesus Christ. Through the waters of the Baptismal font, every man, woman, and child - can be born again into the family of God. The Church is, by nature, missionary.
God wants all men and women to come home, to His family. Our Mission is to lead them there. It does not matter when we entered the vineyard - when we come to understand that the real meaning of life is to know, love and serve the Lord, everything begins to make sense.
Once we give ourselves completely to Jesus Christ, we also begin to understand that it is time to get to work.
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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