Celebrate Sunday Mass with Bishop Strickland - 9.27.20

Join Bishop Strickland for the Sunday Mass.

The videos for Sunday Mass in both English and Spanish are available below.

Bishop Strickland during Sunday Mass.

Bishop Strickland during Sunday Mass.

9/27/2020 (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 our first reading, we hear a short excerpt from the powerful 18th chapter of the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel. The Lord is telling His people that when a man or a woman turns against Him and does what is evil, they die. In other words, they suffer the consequences of sin, separation from God.

But, when they repent and choose to amend their life, they live, they are welcomed back to a full relationship with the Lord. Yet, some in Israel thought that the Lords actions were "unjust". The Lord answers that, through His prophet, by turning the claim around and telling them that their actions are unjust. 

This passage should cause us to examine our own ways. How do we treat others whom we believe may have lived in ways that are displeasing to the Lord? Those who have been unfaithful to His Law, but who repent, turn away from their sin and turn back to the Lord? 

Do we forgive and let them begin again? Or, do we hold them back, because we refuse to forgive and forget?

In the second reading for today's Holy Mass, we hear a powerful passage from the Apostle Paul's letter to the Philippians. The Apostle Paul is exhorting the early believers - and he is exhorting each one of us - to be more like Jesus Christ. To think with His mind and to love with His heart. He exhorts them - and us- to give preference to others. This is the virtue of humility, the greatest antidote to, and weapon against, the sin of pride. 

The Apostle Paul then explains that Jesus "emptied Himself" and took the form of a servant. The Greek word used in the Biblical text is "kenosis". It means to be poured out for others, to empty yourself. The Way of the Gospel is the Way of being poured out for others.  He tells the Philippians - and he tells us - to empty ourselves, as Jesus did. This is a call to all Christians. 

How are we doing?

The Gospel for Holy Mass continues this clear call to holiness and humility to each one of us if we are really listening. We are invited to say yes to the invitation to "kenosis" - to be emptied out like the Lord, so that we can be filled up with His Holy Spirit. Then, we can become His vessels. And, our response to this invitation is demonstrated more by our actions than our words. 

We are all called to do the Fathers will. We are called to "walk the talk", to live a unity of life, to do what we promise the Lord we will do. And, we are given the ability to do so, but not on our own power. We need a Savior. And, we have been given one. Jesus Christ. It  requires a willingness to acknowledge our own sin, repent, and then ask the Lord Jesus Christ for His Divine Life, what is called theologically, "grace". That grace enables us to yield our lives to Him.

That grace is continually made available to us as we regularly choose to empty ourselves, turn away from sin and self-absorption, and turn toward the Lord. We receive that grace by staying in a continual conversation with the Lord, in prayer. 

We receive that grace by reading, listening to, and living His word. By following His teaching as given to us by the authority of the Church, His Mystical Body. We receive that grace by frequently receiving Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in the Most Holy Eucharist. 

In short, taking our discipleship seriously, by truly being Christians. 

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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