Week of AUGUST 18, 2019
TWENTIETH sunday IN ordinary time
What Disciple Relationships Look Like
It may have been the best compliment I have ever received. One of the young men I had been working with told me once, “until I met you, I never knew what it meant to have a father love a son. Now I can see, through you, how much God loves me.” Wow. I was not only humbled, but overjoyed at what God had done in our discipleship relationship.
But, we didn‟t get there overnight. We spent a lot of time together. We hung out, we drank coffee (and beer) together. We ate together. We communicated electronically all the time. We prayed together. We chal-lenged one another to grow in holiness. We laughed. We had fun. We worked side-by-side. He became my spiritual son.
These are the marks of what a discipleship relationship looks like. It is an apprenticeship in the life of fol-lowing Jesus. As the USCCB says:
“To create a culture of witness, we must live explicit lives of discipleship. Being a disciple is a challenge. Fortunately, one does not become a disciple of Christ on his or her own initiative. The work of the Holy Spirit within the Christian community forms the person as a disciple of Christ. One seeking to learn how to be a disciple of Christ does so through apprenticeship. Apprenticeship “links an experienced Christian be-liever, or mentor, with one who seeks a deeper relationship with Christ and the Church.” Apprenticeship is an essential element in witnessing to the Gospel message. Furthermore, his relationship is a “guided en-counter with the entire Christian life, a journey toward conversion to Christ. It is a school for discipleship that promotes an authentic following of Christ based on the acceptance of one‟s baptismal responsibilities, the internalization of the word of God, and the transformation of the whole person to „life in Christ.‟”
What a great vision for discipleship—accompaniment/apprenticeship. This is an inefficient and long pro-cess. Heck, it might take years (see Jesus and his disciples for a reference). ...Think of the trades that have apprentices—such jobs as electricians, plumbers, etc. You might be able to learn how to do some of the same things they do by reading a book, attending a class, or being trained at a conference. But, to really learn how to be a good electrician, you need to learn it from someone who has been there (and can teach you how to be safe from all the hazards, tricks of the trade, strategies to employ, etc.). In discipleship, there should be a similar dynamic. You might be able to learn a lot about what it is like to follow Jesus from a book, a class, a program, or a conference. But, you will never really know until you are apprenticed by someone who is further along on the journey of discipleship, than you are. Jesus put it this way: “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
… “The disciple of Christ must not only keep the faith and live on it, but also profess it, confidently bear witness to it, and spread it...Service of and witness to the faith are necessary for salvation.” (CCC 1816) We need help to live out such a vision of discipleship. We need someone else who can help us learn how to do what Jesus and the Catholic Church call us to do. We need to be disciple and to disciple others.
Giving Your Whole Heart: The Challenge of Discipleship
by David Kilby
Sometimes when I‟m at Mass or doing something out of charity, I still feel this emptiness in-side. Despite being told over and over that living the Faith will bring the greatest sense of ful-fillment to my life, sometimes I‟m just not feeling it. After a closer look at Scripture, though, it becomes clear that in those moments, I‟m just missing the point. In my effort to praise God through my words and deeds, I often hold back the most important thing: my heart.
When the rich man asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus tells him to follow the commandments. The rich man says he has always done that, so Jesus replies, “Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me‟” (Mark 10:19-20). The rich man walks away sad. Why? Because he treasured his possessions, and “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mark 6:21).
God wants our hearts. Nothing less will suffice. If we put our heart in lesser things, we can‟t give it to God. But why does God want our hearts so much? The Catechism of the Catholic Church has a good answer: The heart is the dwelling-place where I am, where I live...the heart is the place “to which I withdraw.” The heart is our hidden center, beyond the grasp of our rea-son and of others...The heart is the place of decision, deeper than our psychic drives. It is the place of truth, were we choose life or death. It is the place of encounter, because as image of God we live in relation: it is the place of covenant. (CCC 2563) No wonder that‟s what God really wants. The Lord knows I have given my heart to things—and people—I shouldn‟t have given it to; and he knows when I give my heart to something or someone, I give them my full attention. If my favorite team‟s game is on, don‟t expect me to do anything else but watch it for those few hours. When I was a teenager, if my heart‟s interest happened to walk by, my whole day would stop as I looked for a chance to talk to her. It sounds a little pathetic, but in a very real way, I‟ve often given my heart to nothing more than games and feelings. Clearly, whoev-er—or whatever—wins my heart, no matter how insignificant it may be in the big picture, has a pretty deep influence on me. Meanwhile, when I practice my faith, I must admit it‟s more out-ward, and my heart isn‟t always in it.
God wants me to obey his commandments, yes, but not in some rote fashion. He knows if he can win my heart, he can get me to actually enjoy following him in the same way I enjoy the much less important things to which I‟ve given my heart.
Time and again in the Old Testament, God tells his people to stop showing him superficial de-votion, and show some heart:
† “In the blood of calves, lambs, and goats I find no pleasure...Wash yourselves clean! Put away your misdeeds before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim” (Isaiah 1:10-20).
† “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart” (Jeremiah 24:7).
† “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord...He who has clean hands and a pure heart...will re-ceive blessing from the Lord” (Psalm 24:305).
Long before Jesus was reprimanding the Sadducees and Pharisees for their shallow religiosity, the Holy Spirit was guiding the hand of prophets and psalmists to tell us to put our hearts into our faith.
*To read the article in its entirety, visit media.ascenpress.com
What is Catholic Discipleship?
by John P. Moore
Catholic discipleship requires service. Catholic discipleship refers to a committed approach to living a Christian life within the Catholic Church. The term is generally applied to Catholics who sincerely attempt to live according to the instructions provided by Jesus in the New Testament. The U.S. Catholic bishops have described disciples as those who “make a conscious, firm decision, carried out in action, to be followers of Jesus Christ no matter the cost to themselves.”
Conscious Choice: One of the characteristics of Catholic discipleship is that it requires a conscious choice about pursuing a Christian life. Therefore, it is a commitment that involves more than merely attending Mass and other Catholic observances in a passive manner. The Catholic who demonstrates discipleship exercises discipline in pursuing spiritual observances—such as prayer or fasting—as well as good works. Indeed, all aspects of the Christian life are to be performed with a sense of purpose.
Christian Actions: Catholic discipleship is visible to observers mainly in the Christian actions—or good works—performed by the individual. Such actions demonstrate the individual‟s commitment to helping other people in various ways. The traditional Catholic practices are the “corporal works of mercy (including feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless and clothing the naked) and the “spiritual works of mercy” (including converting sinners, comforting the sorrowful and forgiving injuries). Performing such actions is considered to be a way to follow the example of Jesus in the New Testament.
Sacrifice: Another mark of Catholic discipleship is a willingness to make personal sacrifices in pursuing the Christian life. This is reflected in the saying of Jesus from the Gospel of St. Luke 14:33, “So, therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” This quote—along with other similar quotes from the Gospel—clearly indicates the level of commitment required of a disciple of Christ.
Being a Disciple: Catholic discipleship also requires that the individual be willing to use his talents and blessings in building the “Kingdom of God,” which is the goal of all Christian activity on earth. Since talents and blessings are seen as coming from God, the Catholic disciple is expected to be unselfish in using these for appropriate purposes. Another mark of discipleship is an unwillingness to resort to excuses to explain inaction or poor performance. The true Catholic disciple is expected to follow through on all Christian commitments.
Five Lessons for Faithful Discipleship
by: Deacon Michael Bickerstaff
1. Be resolute and intentional in your commitment to Jesus.
“When the days for Jesus‟ being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him” (Luke 9:51-52). How many times do we experience what we might call false starts? Maybe it seems you have even spent a life-time of making false starts. We mean well. We mean to do what we say. But, somehow we always find ourselves needing to start over. Has this ever happened to you? It sure has to me. So what is wrong? First, let’s be sure to distinguish between the sins and faults we are certain to commit and a more serious failure to even begin. We will fail at times. There will be bumps and bruises along the way. But remember, Jesus has made it possible for us to live the lives God has prepared for us. God’s grace conveyed through the sacraments, the practice of the human virtues and a commitment to prayer and service will help us persevere. Our ongoing conversion will proceed through an end to grave sin, an end to even venial sin, and even on to a life of heroic virtue…
2. In all things be humble and charitable, especially in zealotry.
“On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, „Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?‟ Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village (Luke 9:52-55). Not everyone will approve of and be accepting of your commitment to Jesus. Some will ridicule you, some will politely ignore you and some will resent you. How is the disciple to respond? The Apostles James and John asked to strike down the Samaritans with fire from Heaven! Have you ever felt that way? Okay, maybe not that extreme, but it is not unusual for a parent’s disappointment with their children’s or sibling’s decisions about the faith to become so personal that the relationship is strained to the breaking point. We must admit that there are times when Christians, maybe even ourselves, have actually struck out in hatred and vengeance against those who have rejected the faith. Jesus teaches that we are to be patient with those who do not share in our beliefs or the depths of our passion. Pray for them, be an example for them, but let go and move on to others who God may be placing in our lives. Our only enemy is the devil and his minions. Christ died for everyone else and we are to love them as he loves them. Jesus came to Earth to save people, not to destroy them.
3. Disciples must be willing to lose everything for the Lord.
“As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, „I will follow you wherever you go.‟ Jesus answered him, „Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head” (Luke 9:57-58). Our resolute decision to surrender to Jesus must recognize that there may be a material cost. Are we prepared to accept this? We must live our faith throughout all aspects of our lives, including our careers. Are we prepared to risk our livelihood to avoid sin? Are we prepared to suffer discrimination in the workplace and marketplace because of our beliefs? We may even be shunned by family and friends. For our spiritual lives to progress, we must be willing to lose everything for the Lord.
4. The demand of discipleship outweighs all other priorities.
Starting cannot be delayed. Nothing and no is more important. “And to another he said, „Follow me.‟ But he replied, „(Lord,) let me go first and bury my father.‟ But he answered him, „Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God‟” (Luke 9:59-60). By this example, Jesus drives home the supreme importance of becoming a disciple. Nothing in this life is more important. This is not to say that we neglect the responsibilities of our particular state in life. But, anything that obstructs our commitment to Christ must be set aside and left behind.
5. Discipleship requires that we let go of the past and live in the present according to the Will of God. Integrate, don’t compartmentalize. “And another said, „I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.‟ (To him) Jesus said, „No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God‟” (Luke 9:59-62). ...We need to continually ask if the concerns of the world hold us back from growing in the life of faith. Putting off prayer until you are not so busy...neglecting the spiritual education and formation of your children because everyone is just so busy...ignoring your desire to help those in need until you have more time and money...these are easy habits to fall into and reflect a holding onto the old way of life before Christ. When we commit to Christ, we need to give him our best efforts and our prime time, not just what is left over after a hard day’s work. The key is not to ignore life’s demands, but simply to integrate them into your life of faith….True discipleship is to go forth from here, renewed and strengthened, into the world and allow Jesus to transform the culture through our lives.
Prayer for Our Parish
God our Father, through the intercession of Saint Barbara, we offer these prayers to you for our parish and your people.
O Holy Spirit, guide us as we strive to become a faith-filled and lifegiving community, seeking always to do your will as we help each other journey to your heavenly kingdom.
We desire to be a people that responds to your call to help our brothers and sisters in Christ, nurturing the bond that we share as children of God. Together with the Universal Church, may our parish family grow in unity and be faithful disciples, proclaiming the good news of the Lord and living the Word of God.
Jesus, our Good Shepherd, lead us to the pasture of compassion, service, and love, that all may come to know your goodness and share in the eternal feast you have prepared for each of us. May Mary, Mother of the Church, Bearer of Truth and Light, and Help of Christians, pray for us and be a source of strength to us as we sojourn towards the Kingdom of God.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, your Son. Amen.
Santa Barbara parish - bible study on tuesdays
Parishioners listen attentively during Bible Study classes. All are welcome to attend every Tuesday at 6:40pm in the upper parish hall.
A Brief Examination of Conscience
Based on the Ten Commandments
1. I am the Lord your God; you shall not have strange Gods before me.
Have I treated people, events, or things as more important than God?
2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
Have my words, actively or passively, put down God, the Church, or people?
3. Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.
Do I go to Mass every Sunday (or Saturday Vigil) and on Holy Days of Obligation? Do I avoid, when possible, work that impedes worship to God, joy for the Lord‟s Day, and proper relaxation of mind and body? Do I look for ways to spend time with family or in service on Sunday?
4. Honor your father and your mother.
Do I show my parents due respect? Do I seek to maintain good communication with parents where possible? Do I criticize them for lacking skills I think they should have?
5. You shall not kill.
Have I harmed another through physical, verbal, or emotional means, including gossip or manipulation of any kind?
6. You shall not commit adultery.
Have I respected the physical and sexual dignity of others and of myself?
7. You shall not steal.
Have I taken or wasted time or resources that belonged to another?
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Have I gossiped, told lies, or embellished stories at the expense of another?
9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s spouse.
Have I honored my spouse with my full affection and exclusive love?
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.
Am I content with my own means and needs, or do I compare myself to others unnecessarily?
Christ’s Two Commandments: How well do we love God and others? Do we love as Christ calls us to? In the Gospel of Matthew, Christ gives us Two Commandments: “He said to him, „You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments‟” (Mt 22:37-40).
Santa Barbara Parish Prayer Ministry
prays the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet
for prayer intentions.
May you strive to be a better Catholic and be closer to God than you did in the past year.
God Bless You & Your Family!
Saturday: 5:00 pm
6:00 am (Chamorro)
9:00 am (Astumbo)
12:00 pm (Filipino)
2:00 pm (Chuukese)
Daily: 6:00 am &
Tuesdays & Fridays also: 11:30 am
Saturday: 6:00 am
For baptisms, Please visit the Parish Office for guidelines and scheduling.
Monday to Friday: 15 mins before the 6:00 am and 6:00 pm masses (at the chapel)
Saturday: 4:30 pm (at the upper church)
Divine mercy adoration chapel:
Monday to Friday:
7:00 am - 6:30 pm
7:00 am - 3:30 pm
Monday to Friday except Thursday:
8:00 am - 5:00 pm (CLOSED 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm)
Closed on Sundays, Thursdays, Holy Days & Holidays.