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August 19, 2007: Twentieth Sunday - Fr. Satish

"I Have Come to Set the Earth on Fire"

Sunday Mass Readings

Let me take you to the story of a young woman at the very beginning of the third Century. Vibia Perpetua was a young woman of noble birth. She was twenty-two, a wife, and a mother of a young son. From the point of view of the Roman Empire, there was only one thing she did not do right – she became a Christian. For this crime she was imprisoned. Along with here was another woman, a slave, name Felicity, who was in the last stages of her pregnancy.

Fortunately, Perpetua kept a diary. In it she records the events of her days in prison. One of the entries has to do with her conversation with her father. Pepetua's father was a pagan and came often to the prison with her son in his arms). He would plead with his daughter to renounce her religion and save her life - to no avail. She writes:
"When I was in the hands of the persecutors, my father in his tender solicitude tried hard to pervert me from the faith.
'My father,' I said, 'you see this pitcher. Can we call it by any other name than what it is?'
'No,' he said.
'Nor can I' [I said], 'call myself by any other name than that of Christian.'
So he went away, but, on the rumor that we were to be tried, wasted away with anxiety.
'Daughter,' he said, 'have pity on my gray hairs; have pity on thy father. Do not give me over to disgrace. Behold thy brothers, thy mother, and thy aunt: behold thy child who cannot live without thee. Do not destroy us all.'
“Thus spake my father, kissing my hands, and throwing himself at my feet. And I wept because of my father, for he alone of all my family would not rejoice in my martyrdom.” So I comforted him, saying:
'In this trial what God determines will take place. We are not in our own keeping, but in God's.'
So he left me - weeping bitterly.

On March 7, 203, Perpetua and her four companions were led to the arena where the crowd demanded they be scourged. Then a boar, a bear and a leopard were loosened upon the men while the women were attacked by a wild bull. Wounded, Perpetua was then put to the sword. Felicity was executed only two days after she had given birth to her child.

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August 15: Feast of the Assumption - Fr. Satish Joseph

"Blessed are You Who Believed that Everything the Lord Promised Will be Fulfilled"

Today's Mass Readings

The year I969 will always remain marked in the history of mankind the year of the greatest achievement. For on the 1969, mankind for the first time put his foot on the moon. When Neil Armstrong and his companion returned back to the earth after their expedition to the moon, a gala reception was organized for them. As they reached the stage to receive the accolades, the people kept shouting, “We hail you, supermen!” When time came for them to speak, they said, “We are not supermen. If we were supermen, then our achievement would have no significance. But it is because we are ordinary men, that small step is a giant leap for mankind.” (Adapted)

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August 12, 2007: Nineteenth Sunday - Fr. Satish

"Who, Then, is a Faithful and Prudent Steward?"

Sunday Mass Readings

I heard an interview over the radio on BBC yesterday. Dr. William Halbert is one of those rare scientists who is also a convinced Christian. He is on the National Bioethics Committee and communicates with the Vatican regularly on issues involving medical research. Although not a Catholic, he has deep respect and appreciation for the Catholic Church’s rational perspective on moral matters. Dr. Halbert has been trying to reconcile two seemingly competing points of view. As a Christian, Dr. Halbert is convinced that the use for embryos for stem cell applications is a violation of human dignity. “We should not turn procreation into production,” he says. On the other hand, as a scientist, he in committed to creating stem cells that can be harvested through cells that are not embryonic. In fact, according to Dr. Halbert, the use of non embryonic stem cells is successful on rats and it won’t be too long before this scientific breakthrough is available for human application. Dr. Halbert is an accomplished scientist. But there is a one crucial difference between him and many others – he is a “Christian” scientist.

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August 5, 2007: Eighteenth Sunday - Fr. Satish

"Vanity of Vanities, All Things are Vanity"

Sunday Mass Readings

I have not been more torn in life as I have been these days. I am torn between my father who is recovering from a severe heart-attack in India and my ministry in the United States. Just the other night, I could not sleep any longer. I lay in my bed thinking… “Life,” I said, “life offers such hard choices.” I know I must leave home soon for Dayton to continue my ministry. I knew that this parting was going to be like none other. The next day, my niece who was preparing to leave home to begin her medical school snuck up next to me and said, “I so want to go, and yet, I so do not want to go.” She was crying bitterly. For a moment I was speechless. Her sentiments and mine were so similar. Only, she had captured it so well. At least, I was not alone. We found comfort in each other. Misery had found company.

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July 29, 2007: Seventeenth Sunday - Fr. Satish

"Standing Between the Gap"

Sunday Mass Readings

I heard an evangelical preacher once preach on the topic, “standing between the gap.” He was referring to a special group of people who feel called to stand between God, on the one hand, and his people on the other, and intercede. That’s all they do in their spiritual life. They do not pray for themselves or for their own needs. They “stand between the gap.” This is a special calling, a special ministry.

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