Monthly Archives: October 2013

Special Feast for Christ the King

by Kim Long

My kitchen is like Grand Central Station in the months of October, November and December. Recipes are retrieved, ingredients purchased stretching the budget to its breaking point and the air is full of smells that transport us to a wonderful place, the memory of great times with family and friends. I need to pace myself at this time of the year, I have to take it easy, or I will never make it to Twelfth Night.

After Thanksgiving comes the Feast of Christ the King. Sadly it can become almost a culinary afterthought. We are inundated with leftovers, hardly a meal fit for a King.

Save the turkey hash, soup and tettrazini for Monday, and on Sunday surprise everyone with a bowl of ginger and butternut squash soup. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and we are to treat them accordingly. This soup will help us do just that. Between the great meals of Thanksgiving and Christmas give your body a rest with a simple dish. With only a few ingredients, it also gives our budgets a rest.

While we are preparing the soup, let’s thank Jesus for reigning over our homes and pray that we remain in Him. While the soup is simmering, arrange a centerpiece for this day. A candle, a wreath of simple green leaves, a holy card and perhaps a small bowl or basket and ask everyone to write down something for which they are thankful. If you have a statue depicting Christ as King that would also be suitable; I don’t, so I use a favorite holy card. Light the candle, set the table and enjoy a simple but delicious meal.The golden color and delicate flavor are a welcome change from the heavy sage dressing and pumpkin pie.

For a blessing today consider using the Psalm from the Mass .“I rejoiced because they said to me, ‘We will go up to the house of the LORD. And now we have set foot within your gates, O Jerusalem.”

I pray you can enjoy a respite before the next batch of cooking demands our attention.

Ginger Squash Soup

Ingredients:
• 4 pounds (1 large) butternut squash
• 2 medium onions
• 3 cloves of garlic (optional)
• 3 tablespoons butter (or oil)
• 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
(easily available look for it in the
produce section)
• 1 teaspoon ground ginger
• ½ teaspoon sea salt
• 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
• sour cream for garnish (optional)

Directions:
Halve, seed, peel and cube the squash. Set aside.
Halve, peel and chop onion, set aside. Mince garlic if you are using it.
Heat a large pot over medium -high heat. Add butter or oil and and onion. Sprinkle with salt and cook stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about three minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add fresh and powdered ginger and cook a minute more. Add squash and broth. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer small batches to a blender (or food processor) and whirl until completely smooth, two to three minutes per batch. Empty each processed batch into a bowl. When all soup has been processed return to pot and season to taste with salt. Serve topped with sour cream if desired.

Pro-Life Banquet to Feature Bossier Native

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After graduating from the United States Air Force Academy, Shak Hill finished pilot training and flew missions around the globe. His tours of duty led him to classified Top Secret missions, including combat in Desert Storm. Shak finished his military career as a flight commander in the presidential wing at Andrews AF Base, MD, providing congressional and VIP support.

After leaving the Air Force, Shak utilized his Master’s Degree in Finance, entering the financial services industry. Today Shak owns The Lantern Group LLC, which is affiliated with Allstate Insurance, providing exclusive professional financial services and comprehensive planning.

Shak takes pleasure in imparting knowledge, particularly in the sometimes confusing area of finances. Having authored two books, Shak is a frequent lecturer and enjoys raising the bar of financial understanding.

Since 1997, Shak and his wife, Robin, have welcomed 46 foster children into their home. Partnering with the Fairfax County Department of Family Services, Shak and Robin have cared for children of all backgrounds, ethnicities and needs. Most of the time the Hills care for one child at a time, but recently have foster parented two separate sibling groups of three.

Together with their own six children, there have been as many as nine children in the home at one time! Shak believes his role as a foster parent is to give the parents a “time-out” allowing them to work on effective parenting, coping and behavioral skills while their children remain in a safe and secure environment. As a foster parent, Shak believes that he can help one family at a time break the cycle of dependency and violence. Shak and Robin live in Centreville, VA.

The Annual Pro-Life Banquet will be Thursday, February 20 at the Bossier Civic Center, 620 Benton Road, Bossier City. Tickets are $50 per person, or a table of eight for $400. Proceeds from this annual event benefit pro-life ministries in the Diocese of Shreveport. To register or for more info, contact Bernadette Boyd at 318-458-5252.

Navigating the Faith: The “O Antiphons”

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by Very Reverend Rothell Price

Most of us are familiar with novenas.  The first and most important novena in the life of the Church was the nine (novena) days of prayer between our Lord’s ascension into heaven and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. “When they entered the city they went to the upper room where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.” Acts 1: 13-14.  There has developed a similar type novena in the Church on the latter days of Advent in preparation for the celebration of Our Lord’s incarnation at Christmas.  This devotion is called the “O Antiphons.”

Antiphons are songs, prayers or psalms.  They are typically short in nature, two or three lines.  They are sung or recited in preparation for some liturgical action, or before and after a liturgical action.  The “O Antiphons” are short verses, based on the Sacred Scriptures naming a central attribute of God, acknowledging His divine activity in our Salvation History, and petitioning for Him to fulfillment of a hope or longing of His people.  For us Catholics, these desires are culminated in the person and ministry of Jesus, called the Christ, the Son of God, and Son of Mary.

Advent is that four week period immediately preceding the start of the Christmas Season. The most common visible liturgical manifestations of Advent are the dark purple vestments, the Advent wreath with four candles, one to mark each week, and special hymns.  The first two weeks of Advent prepare us for Christ’s return at the end of time. The first and second purple candles are lighted, respectively. The last two weeks of Advent prepare us for the arrival/Incarnation of Christ in Bethlehem. The rose and final purple candles are lighted respectively.

We celebrate multiple comings of Christ in a special way during Advent, but throughout the liturgical year as well. Especially in Advent we celebrate:

• Our Lord’s triumphant return in glory at the end of time;
• Our Lord’s coming to us in His Incarnation some 2000 years ago in Bethlehem;
• Our Lord’s coming to us in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; and,
• Our Lord coming to us in the Sacred Scriptures and apostolic ministry.

You best know these antiphons from one of the more popular hymns of the Advent Season, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”  In the Divine Office, these antiphons are recited before the Gospel Canticle, the “Magnificat,” Evening Prayer on the proper date. These antiphons have become the Alleluia verses for some of the Masses of Advent.

The “O Antiphons” are:
December 17th: O Sapientia / O Wisdom of our God
December 18th: O Adonai / O Lord of Power and Might / Leader of Ancient Israel
December 19th: O Radix Jesse / O Root /Flower of Jesse’s Stem
December 20th: O Clavis David / O Key of David
December 21st: O Oriens / O Radiant Dawn
December 22nd: O Rex Genitum / O King of All Nations
December 23rd: O Emmanuel / O Emmanuel (God with Us)

These antiphons expressed the hope and longing of Ancient Israel for the Messiah.  They express the hope and longing of the Church, the people of God, for the full coming of God and His Kingdom in Jesus Christ. The antiphons include three elements:

• an address to God,
• an indication of what the Lord does, and,
• a petition to come forth and deliver His people in a specific manner.

The address is quite powerful and evident: O come thou Wisdom from on high. This invocation expresses that our Messiah will come from God with the wisdom of God.

The acknowledgment of what the Lord does follows: and order (arrange, set right, restore, redeem) all things far and nigh (in some translations), and order all things mightily (in other translations).  Acknowledging that only God and His grace can heal, transform and make new what was damaged in the fall from grace.

The petition is specific to our desire for union with God.  To us the path of knowledge show, and cause us in her way to go (in some translations) and teach us in her way to go (other translations). This petition expresses our desire to know Jesus, whom the Father sent, and for him to show us the way to the Father and His Kingdom (I am the way, the truth and the life…).

This formula is repeated for each of the antiphons. There is a beautiful treatment of the antiphons in the book, The Essential Advent and Christmas Handbook: A Daily Companion with a Glossary of Key Terms, A Redemptorist Pastoral Publication, pages 28 -34.

The antiphons express the Old Testament longing for the coming of the Messiah.  They present his divine titles, extol his divine attributes and petition him to restore Israel to its greatness before God and the nations. Our Christian incorporation of these antiphons expresses our desire for Jesus the Christ, the Anointed One of God, our long awaited Messiah and Redeemer.

It is my great hope that you and those whom you love will pay special attention to the presence of the Lord in those nine days leading up to Christmas. I hope that the song “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” becomes the song that gets stuck in your head and won’t go away. May it bring you tranquility, acceptance, and a spirit of graciousness in the hectic days leading up to the Christmas Season. May the Wisdom, Might, Flower, Key, Dawn, Reign, and Abiding-Presence of Jesus be with you now and always.

Venerable Peter “Fulton” Sheen

A college education, a TV show and a passionate devotion to the call of the priesthood all combined in one very witty man – proof that sainthood is not only challenging and holy, but fun. Peter “Fulton” John Sheen was born in El Paso, IL in 1895. As a young man, he turned down a sizeable scholarship to pursue his true desire: the holy priesthood of the Catholic Church. At his ordination, he made a promise that he would spend one hour a day in Eucharist Adoration – a promise he kept faithfully for the rest of his life. In 1951, the newly-appointed Bishop Sheen began a TV series entitled “Life is Worth Living.” In 1952, he won an Emmy award for “Most Outstanding Television Personality.” He was named an Archbishop in 1969, and 10 years later, on October 3, 1979, just months before his death, Archbishop Sheen was embraced by Pope John Paul II and told, “You have written and spoken well of the Lord Jesus. You are a loyal son of the Church!”

from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Documents of Vatican II: Nostra Aetate

The Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions

by Mike Van Vranken

While it is more than a call for dialogue, this Vatican II document sees Catholic discussion, communication and exchange with non-Christian religions as minimum behavior regarding our relations with all Gods children in this world. Our higher calling is to promote unity and love among all people as our one-fellowship is united by our common creator – God himself.

The document with one of the longest names was actually the shortest issued by the Council.  It opens with the recognition that mankind is being drawn closer together in our time. (Hence the Latin title: Nostra Aetate, which means “in our time.”)  The bishops and cardinals organized the text of this declaration by calling to mind the oneness we share as a community of all people in our origin, and in our final goal of salvation in the presence of God. We are reminded, following the fall, humans have engaged in a never-ending search for answers to deeply moral questions regarding the meaning of life, sin and morality, suffering, death, judgment, happiness and eternity. From ancient times, many groups have recognized a Supreme Being. Such confessions have penetrated their senses with profound religious beliefs. From our Catholic viewpoint, how do we relate to those many doctrines?

This formal statement from the Council mentions several religions by name, including Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam, and how these religions have used myths, philosophy, self-attainment of liberation and supreme illumination to develop their own theology. The question the fathers had to grapple with related to our need to respect these non-Christian religions, and especially their members, without compromising our own beliefs. In other words, how do we love our fellow man who believes in the divine in such different ways than we do?

First, the bishops and cardinals declared our posture that the Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. They explained our reverence for those ways of conduct and teachings that reflect some glimpse of our own understanding of Truth in relation to our proclamation that Christ is “the way, the truth and the life.” (John 14:6)  At this point, the document calls for our loving dialogue and collaboration with followers of other religions, while at the same time we witness our own Christian faith and life. With Moslems, we are reminded that we adore one God, we both link our faith through Abraham, and we recognize how they honor the Virgin Mary and acknowledge Jesus as a prophet, but not God.

Second, and extremely important, the fathers of the Council spent adequate time discussing the “bond that spiritually ties the people of the New Covenant to Abraham’s stock.” That is, of course, our relationship with our Jewish brothers and sisters. The message is summed up by rejecting any persecution of any man and specifically decries any “displays of anti-Semitism directed against Jews at any time and by any one.”  The final paragraph restates the Church’s reproof of any discrimination against man because of race, color, condition of life or religion, as we are all “sons of the Father who is in heaven.”

There is a moral and spiritual lesson that is adequately and lovingly expressed in Nostra Aetate. We are to deliberately love all humans and therefore, we must intentionally respect the beliefs of others as we live out our call to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all people. It is not a lesson on being nice. It represents our mandate to make disciples throughout the world using loving dialogue and collaboration as our model. How will we respond?

For more information, visit: http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651028_nostra-aetate_en.html

Every Soul Has a Weakness

Every soul has a weakness, right? I’m not thinking chocolate or daytime TV, but a legitimate, nagging obstacle that seems to constantly resurface: a workaholic with his to-do list, the immoderate caretaker who’s just a touch too nosy, or me – the pushover. It doesn’t define my entire existence, but in many cases I tend to bend to circumstance; I think it’s because I get scared that if there are too many cards stacked against me, there’s no use pushing through. It’s just too hard.

With each of my shortcomings, however, God has placed people in my life to counter them. In school, I didn’t have much of a will for excelling until I roomed with my best friend. She had academic discipline and because of her example, my study habits improved drastically. Just married, I was a pretty uptight bride to my altogether laid back groom. I had no idea how controlling I was until we tied the knot, but after five years of life with Andrew, I’m learning to let go.
In the back of my mind, I think I’ve been aware of the pushover part of me, but my cognizance has grown keener. Recently, I recognized another soul sent to draw me closer to Christ and help me develop some backbone in the process.

A few months ago my 2.5-year-old and I went to Mass separately from my husband and 16-month-old. When I stood for the Creed I immediately blacked out, faint with intense contractions from my pregnancy. I sat down and quickly improved, though with some manageable dizziness. Just when I was recovering, I looked at my little companion and saw him, umm…taking care of business. Potty training was new at our house and he had never “done” anything outside our home bathroom. After 20 minutes in the restroom trying to encourage him (in vain) while continuing to fight against the dizziness, I threw in the towel. “We’re going home,” I announced, and took my son by the hand out of the bathroom and through the vestibule.

I wanted to stay and I prayed God would make it possible, but truly, I also wanted to give up. Walking out the front door, I held it open behind me for my son to follow. “WAIT,” I heard. I turned around and looked down at him, “Hey Mama, we needa finish church. I needa stay here pweez.” Eyes wide and mouth open with surprise, I nodded and followed my little boy back into Mass.

I sat taking very slow breaths for the rest of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. I received Holy Communion and we were present for the final blessing. I don’t know what my son’s motives were, but we stayed.  I can’t get over how determined he was to remain through the end of Mass, or his confidence in telling me that it was what we needed to do. Typically a pushover, I was readily obedient to such certitude from someone whose little demands were so relevant to the on-goings of my soul.

And because this story is chock full of ‘em, please draw one of the following lessons:
A) God speaks to us through our children and they are among those who help us most with our shortcomings.
B) God really, really doesn’t want us to leave Mass early.
C) Lock your kid in the house until he’s totally potty trained – then you can take him out in public.

Katie Sciba is the author of thecatholicwife.net. She lives in Shreveport with her husband, Andrew, and three sons, Liam,Thomas & Peter.

Second Collections: Catholic Campaign for Human Development & Archdiocese for Military Services

Catholic Campaign for Human Development
Announcement Dates: October 27th & November 3rd
Collection Dates: November 9th & 10th

Archdiocese for Military Services
Announcement Dates: November 3rd & 10th
Collection Dates: November 16th & 17th

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) affords us an opportunity to do what Jesus did. Our Lord went about proclaiming the nearness of the Kingdom (second mystery of the Luminous Mysteries, Mark 1: 14-15); he fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, welcomed strangers, clothed the naked, visited the sick and set free those imprisoned (Matthew 25). This is the work of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. The CCHD has funded organizations that work to end poverty and defend human dignity in neighborhoods throughout the United States.

Our prayer, study of the Bible and teachings of the Lord and his Church, renewed participation in the Sacraments and publicly witnessing to our faith in Jesus Christ have led us to this great work of shepherding people into Christ’s fold. The nearness of God and His Kingdom is made manifest in our Christ-like attitude of inclusion and welcome, our joyful witness and gracious charity to the least of the Lord’s brothers and sisters. I ask your generous participation in this pastoral ministry of the bishops of the United States to our fellow Americans.

Along the way, Jesus addressed, ministered to and exhorted soldiers (Luke 3: 14).  This is the work of The Archdiocese for Military Services, USA (AMS). In this collection also, we do as Jesus did. We open doors and windows for others so that they can “repent and believe in the Gospel (Mark 1:15).” The second collection for The Archdiocese for Military Services, USA is a new pastoral work placed on the shoulders of the bishops of the United States to tend to the pastoral, spiritual and sacramental needs of our U.S. military personnel and their families. In September, we received an urgent appeal from the USCCB to take up this collection on the weekend closest to Veterans Day. The collection for the Archdiocese for Military Services, USA, gives each of us the opportunity to serve those who serve. With the funds from this national collection, the AMS will be able to ensure that all Catholic men, women and families have access to the sacraments, authentic Catholic education and the spiritual guidance of a Catholic chaplain, wherever they go.  With no military or government financial assistance, the AMS must rely wholly on the generosity of the American Catholic community to operate its many programs and services.

Fr. Rothell Price, Vicar General, is the Director of Special Collections.

Give Thanks Always

by Mike Van Vranken

The word thanks, or thanksgiving, and other forms of this word are used 142 times in the New American version of the Bible. In this month of Thanksgiving, let’s determine to understand why the Spirit of God would speak the same message so many times in his Sacred Word.

St. Paul wrote: “Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:15 NAB)  God receives glory when we give Him thanks. We extol, honor, laud, praise and acclaim God when we proclaim our heartfelt gratitude to Him. It is an expression of our recognition that all good things come from Him because of His infinite love for His creation.

Paul also insists in his letters to the Ephesians and Thessalonians to “give thanks always” or “in all circumstances give thanks.” Thanking God requires our focus to be placed squarely on Him. It captivates our minds and hearts to deliberately concentrate on our heavenly Father. Anything that draws our attention from the distractions of the world and directs it back to God will also usher us into closer communion with Him and His will.

True and deliberate thanksgiving causes us to deeply meditate on the myriad of ways and circumstances that God blesses our lives. Im sure he is not looking for casual lip service when it comes to receiving our praise of thanksgiving. No, I can only imagine how our gentle whispers acknowledging the specific gifts and favors he has granted us gives Him extraordinary delight and glory.

Each evening during November, this month of Thanksgiving, let’s spend 30 minutes trying to recall as many blessings as we can that God has generously bestowed on us that day.  Then, with hands lifted and hearts outspoken, lets give thanks to our all-powerful, all-merciful and all-loving God. For, it is our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere, to give him thanks and praise.

Mike has a teaching ministry (www.mikevanvrankenministries.org) and serves as an adjunct professor for the Diocese of Shreveport’s Greco Institute.

Pope Francis Brings the Gospels to the Church’s Heart

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by Bishop Michael G. Duca

Ever since our new Holy Father stepped out on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica it has been almost impossible to keep up with his statements, sermons, challenges, actions and interviews.  I find his witness fills me with hope and enthusiasm but at times, for many of us, it can also be confusing. Here are two reflections to help us keep things in perspective.

First, we must always remember that Pope Francis is our Holy Father.  As the Catechism tells us, “The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peters successor, ‘is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful.’” I would think this would be an obvious truth, but because some are confused or disagree with the Holy Father, I have heard people use a common, rather humorous affirmation to claim the truth of our words, “Is the Pope Catholic!” into a question, “Is the Pope Catholic?”  While not all of what the pope says is infallible teaching, he is speaking with the unique grace of the Holy Spirit given to the successor of St. Peter.

We are called to seriously consider his words and the office which he holds.  If his words are unsettling at times, we should not be surprised.  If we seriously consider all of Jesus’ teachings in the New Testament we should feel equally unsettled and spiritually challenged by the Gospel.  It has been said that Jesus’ words “comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.”  In many ways I think Pope Francis is bringing the full power of the Gospels into the heart of the Church once again. Personally, while his words have challenged me to reconsider how I live my faith, this challenge opens my heart up to Christ in a life-giving new way.  A brother bishop recently said, “If we are having trouble with what Pope Francis is teaching, we don’t need to pray for a new pope who agrees with us, we need to pray for a new attitude.” The only way we will take this advice seriously is if we approach our new pope as the vicar of Christ and through his words and actions seek to hear the voice of Jesus who he represents here on earth.

Second, don’t depend on the secular press to get your news on what Pope Francis says or what he means to say.  Unfortunately, even in this age when we have seemingly unlimited sources of information, we depend on the secular press to provide us with information about our Catholic faith. They almost always get the quote wrong or they only report a part of the statement and they are clueless to the true teachings of our Catholic faith. As a result, Pope Francis’ statements have been picked up in the secular press to claim that he is changing the Church’s teaching on a host of moral and Church issues. Be assured Pope Francis is not and has not changed any essential Church teachings. That is not to say that his teaching is not without consequence for the Church and our lives as Catholics.
We all have those aspects of our faith that we find comforting and which form part of what it means for us to be Catholic. We like this kind of Mass, these prayers, this teaching, this kind of vestment and this kind of priest as a pastor. There is nothing wrong with these choices unless they become so important that they become like an idol for us. We might even feel that these superficial aspects are so important that you are only an orthodox Catholic if you have this or do that.

I believe one of the central themes of the Holy Father is to ask us to consider letting go of anything that keeps us from living the Gospel more deeply.  He wants the Church to cast off ways of doing things that are more business-like than pastoral, more secular than religious, more superficial than essential and more self-centered than selfless. Let us pray for our new pope, Francis. Let us also pray for open hearts that our initial enthusiasm will lead us to a deeper conversion of heart so Christ will live more truly within our lives and in our parishes.

To really hear Pope Francis words, I am listing a few websites you can look to for solid information.
news.va This is the official news web site for the Vatican. Here you can find a wealth of reliable information.
whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com    This one may be a little gossipy at times, but the author of this blog often puts the full text of the popes address online where it can be easily read.
zenit.org Another site for reliable original translations of the pope’s talks.

El Papa Francisco Lleva el Evangelio al Corazón de la Iglesia

por Obispo Michael G. Duca

Desde que nuestro Santo Padre salió al balcón de la Basílica de San Pedro ha sido casi imposible estar al día con sus discursos, sermones, retos, acciones y entrevistas. Su testimonio me llena de esperanza y entusiasmo pero algunas veces, para muchos de nosotros, esto puede resultar confuso. Aquí tengo dos reflexiones que nos ayudarán a mantener la perspectiva.

Primero, debemos siempre recordar que el Papa Francisco es nuestro Santo Padre. Como el Catecismo lo dice, “Es el Papa, el Obispo de Roma y sucesor de Pedro, ‘es la fuente y la base perpetua y visible de la unidad de los obispos y de toda la compañía de fieles.’”Yo diría que esta es una verdad obvia, pero algunos están confundidos o en desacuerdo con el Santo Padre, hasta he escuchado gente usar una afirmación común, y a la vez chistosa para reclamar nuestras palabras verdaderas, ¡Este Papa es Católico!”y en pregunta “¿Es Católico el Papa?”Aunque todo lo que dice el Papa no es verdad infalible, habla con la misma gracia única del Espíritu Santo que se le dio a San Pedro. Estamos llamados a considerar seriamente sus palabras y las de la oficina que el representa. Si sus palabras son algunas veces inquietantes, no deberían sorprendernos. Si consideramos seriamente todas las enseñanzas de Jesús en el Nuevo Testamento deberíamos sentirnos inquietos y retados espiritualmente por el Evangelio. Se ha dicho que las palabras de Jesús “confortaban al afligido, y daban conflicto al confortado.” Yo pienso que el Papa Francisco está llevando de muchas maneras una vez más el poder de los Evangelios al corazón de la Iglesia. A mí me han retado personalmente sus palabras y me han hecho reflexionar sobre como vivo mi fe, este reto abre mi corazón a Cristo de una nueva manera entregada. Un hermano obispo dijo hace poco, “si tenemos problemas con lo que el Papa Francisco está enseñando, no necesitamos pedir a Dios un Papa nuevo que esté de acuerdo con nosotros, sino mas bien, necesitamos pedir a Dios una nueva actitud.” De la única manera que vamos a tomar este consejo seriamente es si aceptamos al Papa como el Vicario de Cristo y a través de sus palabras y acciones buscamos escuchar la voz de Jesús a quien el Papa representa aquí en la tierra.

Segundo, no hay que depender de los medios de comunicación seglar que dan las noticias de lo que el Papa Francisco dice o del significado de lo que dice. Desafortunadamente, aun en esta era que tenemos toda la información al alcance de la mano, dependemos de la prensa seglar para que nos de la información sobre nuestra fe Católica. Casi siempre ellos toman equivocado lo que el Papa dice o solamente reportan una parte y no tienen idea de las enseñanzas de nuestra fe Católica. Como resultado, las enseñanzas del Papa Francisco han sido tomadas por la prensa para decir que el está cambiando las enseñanzas de la Iglesia en cuanto a temas morales y temas de la iglesia.  Tengan por seguro que el Papa Francisco no ha cambiado y no cambiará ninguna enseñanza esencial de la Iglesia. Eso no quiere decir que sus enseñanzas no vienen sin consecuencias para la Iglesia y para nuestras vidas de Católicos. Todos tenemos aspectos en nuestra vida donde nos sentimos cómodos que forman parte de lo que significa para nosotros ser Católicos. Por ejemplo que nos gusta esta clase de Misa, estas oraciones, esta vestimenta del sacerdote y esta clase de sacerdote. No hay nada de malo en esos gustos a menos que sean tan importantes que hasta se conviertan en nuestros ídolos. Hasta se podría decir que estos aspectos superficiales son tan importantes que hacen que sea solo Católico ortodoxo si se tienen presentes. Creo que uno de los temas centrales del Santo Padre es pedirnos que pensemos dejar todo lo que nos detenga de vivir el Evangelio más profundamente. El quiere que la Iglesia deje de hacer las cosas que son más como negocio que pastoral, más seglar que religiosas, más superficiales que esenciales y más egocéntricas que desinteresadas. Oremos por nuestro Papa, Francisco. También oremos para que tengamos corazones abiertos que nuestro entusiasmo inicial nos guie a una conversión más profunda de corazón para que Cristo viva mas verdaderamente en nuestras vidas y en nuestras parroquias.
Para escuchar las palabras directamente del Papa Francisco, les doy algunas páginas de internet que muestran su información.

Páginas:
www.news.va   Estas son las noticias oficiales del Vaticano. Aquí pueden encontrar información extensiva y confiable.
www.whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com   Esta página puede tener como un poco de chisme algunas veces, pero el autor muchas veces pone el texto completo de lo que dice el Papa y así puede leerse.
www.zenit.org     Esta es otra página de información confiable con traducciones originales de las pláticas del Papa.