This week's news:
Saturday September 14, 2019
Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Psalm 78:1-2, 24-28
Taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness and found human in appearance, he humbled himself.... (From Saturday's second reading)
Reflection for Saturday:
Do you want to stop complaining?
How humble was Jesus?
Well, think about this: Jesus is God and we must humble ourselves before him, and yet he humbles himself before us! So says today's reading from Philippians. And the Gospel reading tells us that Jesus came down from heaven. That's humility! Would you or I leave the comforts of heavenly perfection to enter into the bad, difficult world to mingle with bad, difficult people?
What if the Second Coming of Christ were to happen today, and Jesus appears in front of you and asks you to choose between going to heaven now or staying on earth a while longer to help unbelievers find salvation before it's too late? Would you say yes? I hope I never get asked that question!
We have a natural longing for heaven. We were created to live there with God for all eternity. It's our true home, and instinctively we know it. That's why we complain when we experience something unheavenly here on earth. We expect perfection even though perfection is only possible in heaven. We cry, "God, I'm tired of this trial! When are You going to make it end?" (That's what got the Israelites into trouble in today's first reading.)
Have you ever felt like saying, "God, You obviously don't understand how bad this problem is for me. Can't you see I'm suffering here? Oh God, when are you going to make that person change so that I can enjoy my life better?"
Complaining is an indication that we've let our heavenly expectations push aside our earthly need to trust God.
Worse, when we complain to others, we're spreading our distrust. To cure this, we should take our complaints directly to God. No one else. (The only exception is a counselor or friend who can help us become more holy and healed.) We need to let our complaints disappear into God's compassionate heart. Then our frustration dissipates. It's absolutely amazing! Try it! (Let me tell you how often I have had to do it. Oops, I'll stop right here and let my complaint melt into God. He's wrapped me in his warm and friendly hug.)
"Do not forget the works of the Lord," the responsorial Psalm reminds us. Complaints mean that we've forgotten how much God is already blessing us. At such times, it's pride, not humility, that's controlling our attitudes.
Did Jesus ever complain? He got upset sometimes, but he never complained, not even when they beat him and nailed him to the cross. Instead, he prayed for those who were the cause of his troubles: "Father, forgive them, because they don't know what they're doing."
Because of this absolute love, we know without a doubt that "God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world." Lord, help us to humbly stop complaining and condemning, so that we can be holy like Jesus. Amen!
Footsteps to Heaven: Overcoming Obstacles
What obstacles are interfering with your plans? Have you been searching for a job but nothing opens up for you? Are you being rejected by a loved one who refuses to reconcile with you? What other obstacles are you dealing with? In this episode, we look at how to overcome obstacles by following Jesus and listening to the Holy Spirit.
Listen to this podcast @ gnm.org/footsteps35
News: Online course starts soon
Are you interested in participating in an interactive online course that will make the Mass more meaningful than ever before?
The recent podcast series, Going Deeper into the Mass from our Footsteps to Heaven show, is now being offered as an online retreat with group discussion. We will also use videos from our series Take, Eat and Drink: Drawing Deeper Faith through Understanding the Mass.
To deepen the retreat experience (making it different than an online course), you will be given questions to reflect on each Friday to help you prepare for Sunday Mass. It's designed to gradually enhance your relationship with God as each part of Mass becomes more meaningful to you.
To make it accessible to the most amount of people, we'll use the Telegram app, which you can install free on your phone or tablet. If you prefer using a computer, Telegram works there, too.
Idea: Are you a catechist in your local community? Or a leader in your parish? Can you gather people to participate in the retreat with you? Invite people who live near you to join you in the Good News Ministries retreat Going Deeper into the Mass. You and your group will listen together to each podcast and I'll supply you with discussion questions to stimulate learning and faith growth.
Registration begins now. The start date will be announced as soon as I finish building the retreat. Sign up now to receive advance bonuses. t.me/joinchat/Oi-csRUOI6IPdYUoBEpbMA
Inside the Ministry:
Time to hear God's crazy plans
Every now and then my schedule gets a reboot. God boots out the old schedule (which had been working quite well, thank you) and calls me to change my priorities (really?).
Anyone who wants to follow Christ should accept that sometimes God has crazy plans. Usually, if our schedule is working well for us, we resist the idea that God wants us to change it. This is one reason why an active relationship with the Holy Spirit is essential. We need to learn to recognize what God is doing.
So last Sunday afternoon, I went on retreat in my home. I spent the day listening to a lot of podcasts, because it's like having inspirational speakers come into your house. (Note: Breadbox Media, which publishes the Good News Ministries podcasts, has many wonderful shows. I highly recommend that you visit it often and let the Spirit lead you in what to listen to. Go to breadboxmedia.com/. Scott Hahn has fascinating scripture studies in every one of his episodes. Another of my favorites is the Bear Woznick Adventure, which is especially for men.)
As I listened and reflected, the Lord spoke very clearly. He got my attention on something that he had been trying to talk to me about for weeks: I must move to top priority my book on God's Fatherhood and get it completed. In the past, I had to go away to a retreat center to write it. Now he is asking me to do the writing every morning within my normal schedule.
But my schedule is full! How can I block off entire mornings to focus on the book? I've had no time to devote to this book for a whole year. It has been challenging enough to keep recording new Footsteps to Heaven podcasts. How am I supposed to keep up with emails and other administrative responsibilities, too?
I started the new schedule last Monday. This feels like I'm sacrificing some very essential work. But the Lord is telling me to make that sacrifice and entrust it all to him. Good News Ministries won't suffer while I'm forging ahead to complete the book. It'll be miraculous. And I'll tell you all about it for the building up of your faith.
God bless you!
Thank you for reading this newsletter.
Your servant in Christ,
Terry Modica, Executive Director
Good News Ministries
Keep your eyes on Jesus!
And when you have to look at others, see them through his eyes.