Celebrate Sunday Mass With Bishop Strickland - 10.4.20
Join Bishop Strickland for Sunday Mass.
The videos for Sunday Mass in both English and Spanish are available below.
Bishop Strickland and Deacon Keith Fournier during last Sunday's Mass.
10/4/2020 (2 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 before we go to Mass.
In the first reading for Sunday, taken from the great Hebrew Prophet Isaiah, we will hear a portion of the Lords Love Song for His Vineyard, Israel. The people of the Covenant, Israel, were so full of promise. The Lord had given them the Law and the Prophets. He had delivered them from bondage. He had shown them His special favor.
Israel was like a Vineyard; the vines were planted in good soil - but, still, she bore sour fruit.
Israel did not live up to her Divine calling. She did not choose the Lord and His Ways. Rather, she sinned and practiced idolatry.
The Image was a familiar one to the Jewish people because the land was so full of vineyards. The Holy Spirit, speaking through the Prophet Isaiah, uses it as an allegory to call them back to repentance and fidelity to the Covenant they had entered with the Lord.
In the second reading, we will hear another excerpt from the Apostle Paulďż˝ s letter to the Philippians. The Apostle is instructing the early Christians - and he is instructing us - how to avoid sin. How to cooperate with grace, direct our freedom toward choosing the Lord, and bear the fruits of holiness.
How could they do it? How can we do it? The Lord gives us His grace. He empowers us to make the right choices, to turn away from evil and choose Him and His ways. He has given us the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit empowers us to live lives of constant prayer. We are invited to praise Him constantly and become a people of gratitude.
To grow in Christian maturity requires cultivation and fertilizing. We need to stay in an intimate relationship with the Lord. He is the Vine. We need to be immersed in His Word, frequent the Sacrament of Confession. Regularly receive the Holy Eucharist. We need to study and follow the Apostolic instruction which still comes to us through the Magisterium, the teaching office of the Church. This is how we can bear fruit.
How are we doing?
In the Gospel appointed for Holy Mass, Jesus uses the imagery of the Vineyard. In the parable Jesus is referring to the New Israel, the Church, as the Vineyard. He Himself is the true Vine, and without His Grace, we cannot bear the fruits of the Kingdom.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church presents the Church as a vineyard in these inspiring words:
"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)
Through the waters of Baptism, we have been planted in the Vineyard of the Church. Now, we are called to bear fruit. If we really want to bear the fruits of the kingdom, we need to learn to turn away from sin and toward the Lord, every day. We need to continually be converted and transformed. That will happen if 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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