This week's news:
Saturday January 25, 2020
Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle
Acts 22:3-16 or Acts 9:1-22
Ps 117:1bc, 2 (with Mark 16:15)
"I replied, 'Who are you, sir?' And he said to me, 'I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.'" (From Saturday's first reading)
Reflection for Saturday: What's your story?
In Saturday's first reading, we see Paul's conversion story. Why did Jesus stop him in his tracks? Was it to save his soul? Yes of course, but that's not all. Was it to stop him from persecuting Christians? Yes, but still that's not all. There's much more to it than that!
Jesus saved Paul to send him forth as an apostle. The word "apostle" means "one who is sent by God."
In one way or another, Jesus has stopped you in your tracks -- not just to save you, nor just to help you become a nicer person, but also to send you forth as an apostle.
He says to each of us what he said to the first apostles in today's Gospel reading. Our places of employment, our neighbors' yards, the company parties, the Little League games and the school functions we attend are the world into which God sends us to proclaim the Gospel. And it's easy! It's what comes naturally if we dare to trust our usefulness to God.
Evangelization is easy because it's not proselytizing nor is it apologetics. We're not called to be religious fanatics who yell, "Repent and be saved!" Nor does evangelization require forcing conversations to become religious discussions. Evangelization means consciously using ordinary opportunities to reveal to others what Jesus is like by first imitating him and then by using words when the listener is interested.
Is God pleased with us when we keep our faith private? What would our Bible and our Church be like if St. Paul had kept the Good News to himself, quietly worshipping with the Christians he used to persecute, risking nothing? He wrote several epistles (much of the New Testament) while in prison, and eventually he gave up his life for the Gospel. Oh but we are not all Saint Pauls, right? Oh but oh! We all have the same calling to be apostles.
We stop short of the glory of God's kingdom if we only practice our faith privately and we only speak of it when it's safe. Vatican Council II's Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People emphasizes that each one of us has been commissioned by Jesus. God will provide us with whatever we need to fulfill our apostolic duties successfully. He has privileged us to be his partners in ministry, even to the point of death if necessary. (Yes! That is an honor that shouldn't scare us.)
We can share the Good News with authority. We earned our credentials in our many and various moments of conversion. What changed you? Why did your life need to change? What happened when you allowed Jesus to become more involved in your life? Because of your faith experiences, whether you're clergy or a religious or a lay person, you have been called to a vocation of living as an apostle who inspires others to desire what Jesus has given to you.
You are an apostle! Now go forth and find an excuse to tell someone a story about how Jesus has helped you. Ask the Holy Spirit to enliven your imagination with the right words and to bless the conversation -- and he will! Then open your mouth and tell the Good News.
Join us (or become more involved) in the apostleship of the mission of Good News Ministries. You can be a Good News Missionary, serving the Lord with us, changing the world one soul at a time. For ideas on how to do it, go to gnm.org/about-us/about-how-to-be-missionary.
May's story of finding help
How has God worked in your life through Good News Ministries? May Camilleri shares her story:
I was near death. My daughter's friend's mother introduced me to books that I thought were based on Catholic teachings. A Catholic all of my life, I had become very misguided. I wanted these books to draw me closer to God. However they became very confusing. I approached my pastor. He did not have much time for me. I was ready to give up. My parish informed us of a visitor at our parish, Terry, all the way from Florida to Toronto, who would give a talk.
Debilitated with pain and anxiety, I attended in the front row with 'The Books' at the ready. I wanted someone to explain to me why following God was so confusing. When Terry finished her talk, I was the first one in her face, ready to challenge. In a quiet voice, after looking at the books, she told me to throw them out. They were New Age religion.
Since then, Good News Ministries has been an integral part of my salvation. Through my journey to Jesus, I faced many challenges. Insider's View taught me so much. Then I was guided by prayer and grace and fell upon the Novena to The Holy Spirit, the GNM version (gnm.org/holy-spirit-novena). I had googled it before and what I found was too difficult for me to own it and grasp it's meaning. So I put it aside. When I started praying the GNM version, in it's simplicity I bonded with it and pray it every day.
In fact everything issued is very comprehensible. I look forward to the Daily Blessings (gnm.org/SaintQuotes). There are times when one is so piercing that I feel it was meant just for me.
GNM got me through the passing of both my parents. It got me through hurt from my children and my husband. My husband, who is only 69 years old, has a cognitive impairment called White Matter Disease. With this disease the person feels confusion in the smallest of situations and perceives them as monumental. This brings about anxiety and anger. So imagine you break a nail, for example, and you perceive it as your entire finger is cut off. Yet you don’t know how to seek help for that ‘cut off finger’. Panic strikes and a multitude of other emotions. The person next to him gets blamed for it all (me) and now resentment to that person starts to build into a mountain. If I did not have HOPE, strong FAITH and TRUST IN GOD, knowing that this is exactly where He wants me to be and do — who on earth could cope without His and our Blessed Mother’s constant help? Praised be our Lord forever. Thank you GNM.
There is so much offered every week and every day, if we take the time to read the material provided.
To post your own praise report in the Community Celebration of Good News Ministries’ 25th Anniversary, go to gnm.org/about-us/celebrate-our-25th-anniversary-with-us.
Inside the Ministry:
Just one week until our Jubilee!
If you haven't done it yet, join the celebration by sharing your story of how God has ministered to you through Good News Ministries. Post your story at gnm.org/about-us/celebrate-our-25th-anniversary-with-us.
Do you know the GNM story?
January 30th of 1995 is when my husband Ralph and I said yes to the calling that became Good News Ministries of Tampa Bay. (Now we say we're Good News Ministries of GNM.org because we've gone so far beyond Tampa Bay that we're totally global.) But how did we get to Tampa Bay? And how did we hear the calling?
The story includes the Blessed Mother appearing to me.
Read it at gnm.org/about-us/about-history.
To find out how she made herself known to us as Our Lady of the Lilies, go to gnm.org/mary-our-patron-saint.
New Footsteps to Heaven episode
How the Light of Christ Always Conquers Darkness
What are you concerned about because darkness seems to have taken over? Whatever it is you’re worried about, there is darkness there. But John 1:5 assures us that "Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it." The Light of Christ is always victorious.
Jesus came so that we could learn from him and receive from him through his Holy Spirit the same light he has so we can live as victors over every problem and so that we can conquer the devil. Darkness is weaker than light! And during the dark times, God is preparing us for what he wants us to do in the light.
Listen to this podcast @ gnm.org/footsteps58.
Or watch the video @ gnm-media.org/how-the-light-of-christ-always-conquers-darkness.
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.
Speak to Me, My precious one!
Tell Me about those who are closest to you, the sorrows they cause you, and your fears for them. How would you like Me to help them? .... [go]
The “virtual retreats” of Good News Ministries are online prayer and reflection experiences that you can enjoy wherever you are. All of them offer healing, rest and restoration in the gentle arms of Christ. Some are interactive. Some are prayer-poems. Some are multi-media. Some are in Virtual Reality (and you don't need headgear to see it). Take time alone with the Lord: [go]