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RCIA – The Word of God – Revelation – Oct. 14, 2012

October 14, 2012

The 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time                                           October 14, 2012

The Word of God, God’s Revelation

LITANY OF PRAISE (from www.cliftondiocese.com)

God the Father of Heaven, Creator of the world, source of all goodness;

Response: Open the door of faith for us.

Father, First Person of the Most Blessed Trinity; R:

Father of the Only-begotten Son; R:

Father and Son, from whom proceeds the Holy Spirit; R:

Father of beauty and wisdom; R:

Father eternal, infinite majesty and holiness; R:

Father all powerful, ever merciful and all compassionate; R:

Jesus, our eternal Shepherd, you offer us your healing grace;

Response: May we live by faith.

Jesus, present in our Eucharist, sustain us in our faith; R:

Jesus, the one foretold by the prophets, open your Word to us; R:

Jesus, ruler of all nations, guide us with your love; R:

Jesus, you reveal the face of the Father; R:

Jesus, in whom, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, we are one; R:

Holy Spirit of love and truth, of wisdom and understanding;

Response: Come and deepen our faith

Holy Spirit, who renews the face of the earth; R:

Holy Spirit, shed your light into our souls; R:

Holy Spirit, engrave your law in our hearts; R:

Holy Spirit, inflame us with the flame of your love; R:

Holy Spirit, teach us to pray and lead us in the way of salvation; R:

Through our adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

Response: Bring our faith to fulfilment

Through your most Holy Body and Blood R:

Through the gift of the Eucharist R:

Wisdom is greater than all the gold and riches of the world. All goodness comes to me in the company of wisdom. True wisdom brings forth the work of our hands. Wisdom orders all things in beauty and harmony. Wisdom is an initiate in the knowledge of God. What is richer than wisdom, the active cause of all things? Wisdom teaches self-control and prudence, justice and courage. Wisdom stirs our hunger for everlasting treasures. Amen.

Proclamation

God has reveled himself to us. Jesus Christ is the fullness of divine revelation. We can grasp the purpose and meaning of our lives by knowing and believing in Christ.

Knowing Christ – just what does that mean? It is to know Him as in how you know your spouse, or your children, or your good friends. Just merely knowing about Christ is not enough. It is about having a relationship with Him. The purpose of our life is to know and love God and to live out eternity with Him. We can only do that if we build a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Let us silently reflect on the meaning of wisdom.

What images and insights come to mind as you pray for the gift of wisdom?

How would you state the main message of the liturgy for your life today?

Reading 1 Wis 7:7-11

I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I preferred her to scepter and throne, and deemed riches nothing in comparison with her, nor did I liken any priceless gem to her; because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand, and before her, silver is to be accounted mire. Beyond health and comeliness I loved her, and I chose to have her rather than the light, because the splendor of her never yields to sleep. Yet all good things together came to me in her company, and countless riches at her hands

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Today’s first reading is from the Book of Wisdom in the Old Testament. This passage is rooted in the King Solomon story which we find in the first book if Kings.

1 KINGS – Chapter 3  – Early Promise of Solomon’s Reign.

1a Solomon allied himself by marriage with Pharaoh, king of Egypt. He married the daughter of Pharaoh and brought her to the City of David, until he should finish building his own house, and the house of the LORD, and the wall around Jerusalem. 2 The people were sacrificing on the high places (which were pagan sacrifices), however, for up to that time no house had been built for the name of the LORD. 3 Although Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father, he offered sacrifice and burned incense on the high places.

4 The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, because that was the great high place. Upon its altar Solomon sacrificed a thousand burnt offerings. 5 In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night. God said: Whatever you ask I shall give you. 6 Solomon answered: “You have shown great kindness to your servant, David my father, because he walked before you with fidelity, justice, and an upright heart; and you have continued this great kindness toward him today, giving him a son to sit upon his throne. 7 Now, LORD, my God, you have made me, your servant, king to succeed David my father; but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act— 8 I, your servant, among the people you have chosen, a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted. 9 Give your servant, therefore, a listening heart to judge your people and to distinguish between good and evil. For who is able to give judgment for this vast people of yours?”  10The Lord was pleased by Solomon’s request.

While he had his shortcomings, Solomon had the conviction to stand in truth before Yahweh and pray for wisdom rather than earthly riches. Part of a long soliloquy in praise of wisdom, the writer of the Wisdom passage emphasizes that true wisdom is God’s gift – God’s revelation of truths beyond human understanding. God’s wisdom stirs our appetites with insatiable hunger for eternal treasures and the gifts we need to achieve them.

The wisdom here is greater than figuring out or understanding the stuff of life. For the pious Jew, true wisdom was a gift from God, never the sole product of human efforts to “figure out” the laws of nature. Thus, God’s revelation is a gift to us where he communicates truths beyond our ability to attain with unaided reason.

Share with the group any experience you have had in your life of the richness of the gift of wisdom.

What are you willing to surrender for the gift of wisdom?

How has God’s wisdom guided your life in ways that seemed inconceivable at the time?

Psalm 90

As we read through today’s Psalm, let us reflect on the meaning of the each of the verses and discuss.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 90:12-13, 14-15, 16-17

R. (14) Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart. Return, O LORD! How long? Have pity on your servants!
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness, that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days. Make us glad, for the days when you afflicted us, for the years when we saw evil.
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Let your work be seen by your servants and your glory by their children; and may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours; prosper the work of our hands for us! Prosper the work of our hands!
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!

……………………………………………………………………………………….

This psalm captures our longing for God to continue to pour out divine gifts upon us. We continuously plead for God’s redemptive presence.

Reading 2 Heb 4:12-13

Brothers and sisters: Indeed the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword,
penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.

…………………………………………………………………..

What does it mean “to whom we must render an account”?

What is the significance of the Word of God?

The Word of God is more than just a story or something to make us think; it is even more than something we believe in, our faith in God. Rather it reveals to us a personal God, one who is calling us into an intimate relationship. Just as in the beginning of the Bible, God spoke his Word at creation to bring forth life; God’s Word also is effective for bringing about the salvation of people. We read and listen to the Word of God and we hear God speaking to us, showing us the way. We respond by following that way.

A recently widowed friend has been hearing God call out to her. She has no faith background, but for the past several years she has been feeling the tug of God’s call. Now, in her time of suffering, God is actively pursuing her. In the busyness of caring for two young children and getting on with her life, she also needs to decide if she is going to make time to build a relationship with God. It is a decision that we all have to make.

Gospel Mk 10:17-30

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother.” He replied and said to him, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.” Peter began to say to him, “We have given up everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.”

………………………………………………………………………………….

The rich man in today’s gospel stands in stark contrast to the figure of Solomon in today’s first reading. Solomon knew exactly what to ask for in order to “gain everything.” This potential disciple of Jesus seeks the ultimate good by asking “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”, but when Jesus answers him, describing the cost of discipleship, the man “went away sad.” St. Mark underlines the point of the encounter by having Jesus reiterate to his disciples that salvation is a work of grace, a gift of God, which is why Jesus says “For God all things are possible.” Jesus offers saving words to those who seek eternal life, and the gospels, indeed, every part of Scriptures, pass on that same offer, that same salvation, to all who hear the Word proclaimed in every age.

Do you have anything additional to share about your experience and understanding of the significance of wisdom?

Each of the passages for this week’s liturgy presents a different facet of God’s revelation and the Word. True wisdom, a gift from God, communicates truths beyond our ability to understand or attain with human resources alone. In the psalm we echo our longing for God and the gifts only God can pour out on all people. For a deeper sense of the meaning found in the Letter to the Hebrews it is important for us to understand the Word of the Lord as an effective force throughout human history. This Word penetrates our whole being, calling us to intimacy with the Creator. God’s Word is a continuous and effective instrument of salvation for us.

How has the Word of God challenged and renewed you?

What is meant by the truth that the Word of God is a source of life, exposing all to light?

In what ways does the Word reveal God to the believer and the believer to himself or herself?

Catholic Teaching – Divine Revelation

Proclamation

God has reveled himself to us. Jesus Christ is the fullness of divine revelation. We can grasp the purpose and meaning of our lives by knowing and believing in Christ.

……………………………………………………………….

The Word of God or the Bible as we call the collection of books that are divinely inspired is one of the ways that God reveals himself to mankind. Why does God reveal himself to us? Firstly, because he loves us, and secondly, God wants us to participate in his own blessed life. In order to participate we need to know God. We can only know the Divine if He comes to us.

Jesus is the ultimate and total revelation of God and of God’s love for humankind. We believe that Jesus is the preexistent and eternal Word of God who by his earthly life, teaching, ministry, and his paschal mystery has definitely shown us the way to God and accomplished our salvation from sin and death. Without this fundamental assertion, Jesus simply is another prophet, a holy man, a founder of a religious movement. By faith, we know and proclaim him to be much more, the eternal Word, the self-communication of God to humanity.

God invites us to respond to this love, yet we are free to accept or reject God’s revelation in Jesus. God initiates the relationship, he reveals himself to us, and while his gift of salvation is totally unmerited by us, it does demand that we personally respond to God’s call. It is much more than an intellectual response. Our response is a free assent of our whole person: mind, heart, and body.

We do not act alone in accepting God’s revelation. Faith is born, nourished, and sustained in the community of believers, which is the Church. What the apostles received from Christ, they handed on to later generations. This is a living message, the Good News of Jesus given as a gift to the church through the power of the Holy Spirit.

God’s revelation is communicated through, but is not limited to, sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture. The Second Vatican Council explained that sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture bound together, because they both come from God. “Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit. And Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound and spread it abroad by their preaching.”

Both Scripture and Tradition function as the source for our understanding and living the Word of God – God’s revelation. Together they give ability and authority to the Magisterium, the teaching authority of the Church found in the pope together with the bishops. Therefore, while we believe that salvation comes from God alone, the Church is described as our mother, for from her we receive the life of faith.

Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church

6. What does God reveal to man?   50-53, 68-69

God in his goodness and wisdom reveals himself. With deeds and words, he reveals himself and his plan of loving goodness which he decreed from all eternity in Christ. According to this plan, all people by the grace of the Holy Spirit are to share in the divine life as adopted “sons” in the only begotten Son of God.

7. What are the first stages of God’s Revelation?   54-58,  70-71

From the very beginning, God manifested himself to our first parents, Adam and Eve, and invited them to intimate communion with himself. After their fall, he did not ceasehis revelation to them but promised salvation for all their descendants. After the flood, he made a covenant with Noah, a covenant between himself and all living beings.

8. What are the next stages of God’s Revelation?   59-64, 72

God chose Abram, calling him out of his country, making him “the father of a multitude of nations” (Genesis 17:5), and promising to bless in him “all the nations of the earth” (Genesis 12:3). The people descended from Abraham would be the trustee of the divine promise made to the patriarchs. God formed Israel as his chosen people, freeing them from slavery in Egypt, establishing with them the covenant of Mount Sinai, and, through Moses, giving them his law. The prophets proclaimed a radical redemption of the people and a salvation which would include all nations in a new and everlasting covenant. From the people of Israel and from the house of King David, would be born the Messiah, Jesus.

9. What is the full and definitive stage of God’s Revelation?   65-66, 73

The full and definitive stage of God’s revelation is accomplished in his Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, the mediator and fullness of Revelation. He, being the only-begotten Son of God made man, is the perfect and definitive Word of the Father. In the sending of the Son and the gift of the Spirit, Revelation is now fully complete, although the faith of the Church must gradually grasp its full significance over the course of centuries.

“In giving us his Son, his only and definitive Word, God spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word, and he has no more to say.” (Saint John of the Cross)

10. What is the value of private revelations?   67

While not belonging to the deposit of faith, private revelations may help a person to live the faith as long as they lead us to Christ. The Magisterium of the Church, which has the duty of evaluating such private revelations, cannot accept those which claim to surpass or correct that definitive Revelation which is Christ.

The Transmission of Divine Revelation

11. Why and in what way is divine revelation transmitted?   74

God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4), that is, of Jesus Christ. For this reason, Christ must be proclaimed to all according to his own command, “Go forth and teach all nations” (Matthew 28:19). And this is brought about by Apostolic Tradition.

12. What is Apostolic Tradition?   75-79, 83, 96, 98

Apostolic Tradition is the transmission of the message of Christ, brought about from the very beginnings of Christianity by means of preaching, bearing witness, institutions, worship, and inspired writings. The apostles transmitted all they received from Christ and learned from the Holy Spirit to their successors, the bishops, and through them to all generations until the end of the world.

13. In what ways does Apostolic Tradition occur?  76

Apostolic Tradition occurs in two ways: through the living transmission of the word of God (also simply called Tradition) and through Sacred Scripture which is the same proclamation of salvation in written form.

18. Why does Sacred Scripture teach the truth?  105-108, 135-136

Because God himself is the author of Sacred Scripture. For this reason it is said to be inspired and to teach without error those truths which are necessary for our salvation. The Holy Spirit inspired the human authors who wrote what he wanted to teach us. The Christian faith, however, is not a “religion of the Book”, but of the Word of God – “not a written and mute word, but incarnate and living” (Saint Bernard of Clairvaux).

Putting Faith into Practice

Reflect on the following questions for the few minutes:

How would you describe the radical invitation of Jesus? What does this mean for your life? What is the reward for this radical commitment? In what ways does the Word of God “cut through” your apathy and the routine manner you live the faith?

Catholic Culture

When a new lectern of pulpit is blessed, the Church prays: “O God… you satisfy the hunger in our hearts with the sweet nourishment of your word. When we gather together in this church you remind us again and again of your wondrous words and deeds. We pray that in this church we may listen to the voice of your Son, so that, responding to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we may not be hearers only by doers of your word. Grant that those who proclaim your message from this lectern may show us how to direct our lives, so that we will walk in the ways of Christ, following him faithfully until we reach eternal life.”

Year of Faith: Oct. 11, 2012-Nov. 24, 2013

In the Acts of the Apostles, we learn that God has opened the door of faith for the early Church. But did you know that God has opened the door of faith for each one us and he invites us to step through the threshold into a deeper relationship with him. The upcoming Year of Faith is an opportunity for every Catholic to turn towards Jesus Christ, encounter him in the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and rediscover the Faith and Church.

With his Apostolic Letter of October 11, 2011,Porta Fidei. . . , Pope Benedict XVI declared that a “Year of Faith” will begin on October 11, 2012 and conclude on November 24, 2013. October 11, 2012, the first day of the Year of Faith, is the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. . . (Vatican II) and also the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. During the Year of Faith, Catholics are asked to study and reflect on the documents of Vatican II and the catechism so that they may deepen their knowledge of the faith.

The upcoming Year of Faith is a “summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the One Savior of the world” (Porta Fidei 6). In other words, the Year of Faith is an opportunity for Catholics to experience a conversion – to turn back to Jesus and enter into a deeper relationship with him. The “door of faith” is opened at one’s baptism, but during this year Catholics are called to open it again, walk through it and rediscover and renew their relationship with Christ and his Church.

Closing Prayer: Your Word, O God, is spirit and light. Open us to understand and live your Word. Amen.

 

ACM – RCIA Catechist’s Manual

Foundations in Faith (Participant Book Catechumenate Year A)
(Not this book, but this series)

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