Sunday, September 24, 2006

Pope, Parish life, and the Eucharist

I wanted to post this article from the September 22, 2006 Zenit daily email. Good stuff!

Pope: Early Christians a Model for Parish Life
Tells of Need for Encounter With Christ

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 22, 2006 ( The renewal of a parish does not depend on beautiful pastoral plans, but on its members' encounter with Christ, especially in the Eucharist, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope presented to modern-day parishes the model of the early Christian communities, when he received participants of the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. He met them today at the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo.

Cardinals, bishops, priests and numerous lay people attended the council's plenary assembly. It was presided over by the council's president, Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, and it reflected on the theme: "To Rediscover the Parish: Paths of Renewal."

As the Holy Father explained in his address in Italian, the desired renewal of the parish "cannot come only from suitable pastoral initiatives, regardless of how useful they are, or from blackboard plans."

The book of the Acts of the Apostles, he continued, "describes the first community of Jerusalem persevering in listening to the teaching of the apostles, in fraternal union, in the breaking of bread and in prayer, a welcoming and solidaristic community to the point that everything was held in common."

Inspired by this model, "the parish 'rediscovers itself' in the encounter with Christ, especially in the Eucharist," said Benedict XVI.

"Nourished by the Eucharistic bread, it grows in Catholic communion, walks in full fidelity to the magisterium and is always ready to receive and discern the different charisms that the Lord inspires in the People of God," affirmed the Holy Father.

"From constant union with Christ," he assured, " the parish draws vigor to commit itself ceaselessly in the service of brothers, particularly the poor, for whom it is in fact the first point of reference."

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Proper 17B

Psalm 15
Deuteronomy 4:1-9
Ephesians 6:10-20
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

“O Lord, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart.” Lord God, with Psalmist we have to confess this day that this does not describe us. No, we prefer to dichotomize the inner and the outer, creating disconnect this is unbearable and divisive. We confess our sins in this and we are sorry. This “whole armor” thing that Paul talks about seems to be what you have given us so that we can recognize what you have done in Your Son, who is actually one who can abide in your tent and on Your holy hill. This we confess today, Lord God we have our wholeness in Your Son who obeys Your commands so that the nations might know you and see You mercy and justice in love. Lord God, let us be the same mercy and justice, let us be love, so that as the world sees your church they might come to know that it is by Your good intentions that You draw all people to Yourself. Let us learn Christ today as we gather around Your table singing your praise, lifting up our hearts in prayer, and handling the body and blood of Your Son. AMEN.