September 19, 2014

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

This Sunday’s Readings: September 21, 2014
Isaiah 55:6-9
Psalm 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18
Romans 1:20c-24, 27a
Matthew 20:1-16a
www.usccb.org/bible/readings/092114.cfm
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
ccc.usccb.org/cccradio/NABPodcasts/14_09_21.mp3

God's not fair! How many times have we felt that way? And it's true, at least by our standards. The parable in this Sunday's Gospel reading is a fine example of this.

The landowner seems to be very unfair. We can begin to understand him, however, if we think of this parable in terms of parenthood. A loving father cares about each of his children equally. Although he gives more attention to the child who needs it more, he loves the others just as much.

God the Father is like a vineyard owner who gives equally to all. Since we cannot earn our way into heaven, equal benefits are not an injustice to those who labored longer. Rather, God gives complete and perfect love even to those who only discovered, at the last minute, the value of having a relationship with him. He can do no less.

The first reading reminds us that as high as the heavens are above the earth, God's ways are greater than our ways and his thoughts are higher than our thoughts. We think that justice (fairness) means equal treatment, but that harkens back to the Old Testament concept of justice: "an eye for an eye". Jesus raised justice to its highest level, which means being equally loving and kind to all, whether they deserve it or not.

We don't have to understand God's higher ways. We only have to be grateful that God loves us even when we are unloving. No matter how undeserving of his love we might be, he still gives us the same amount of love that he gives to the holiest of saints. He loves us as much as he loves Mary the Blessed Mother of Christ! "Am I not free to do as I wish with my own love?" he asks.

Questions for Personal Reflection:
When have you felt undeserving of God's goodness? What evidence proves that he never stopped loving you? What did he do for you? How has your own opinion of yourself interfered with feeling his love?

Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
Share the story of a time when you saw something good happen to a "bad" or undeserving person, or a time when you prayed for something that you didn't get while an unfaithful person received it without turning to God for help. Despite the unfairness of this, why are you glad that you have known God’s love? Can you also be glad for the blessings that unbelievers receive from God?

© 2014 by Terry A. Modica of Good News Ministries (gnm.org)
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Insider's View

In this issue:
• Pray and fast now to stop ISIS
• A personal crisis


ScripturesSaturday, September 20, 2014
Memorial of Saint Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn & Companions

1 Cor 15:35-37,42-49
Ps 56:10c-14
Luke 8:4-15


"The seed that fell on rich soil are those who, when they hear the word of God, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance." (Luke 8:15)

Pray and fast now to stop ISIS

Pray for World Peace This Saturday, September 20, begins a worldwide prayer and fasting campaign for peace.

As you know, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been brutally executing Christians. Recently they beheaded American journalist Steven Sotloff, and now ISIS is targeting Pope Francis. The International Prayer and Fasting Coalition is urging people of all faiths to unite in a strong, prayerful stand against evil, September 20-28:


"The grasp of the culture of death on our world is growing stronger. Wars, natural disasters, terrorism, abortion, euthanasia, and religious persecution are on the rise as never before. As Christians, however, we are not to despair, but to place our hope in Christ. Now more than ever believers from all traditions and nationalities must unite together to pray and fast."

At Good News Ministries, we have an online Rosary for World Peace you can pray.

Pray the Rosary for World Peace

A personal crisis

I'm suffering from a personal crisis and trusting that God will guide me through this, even though right now I'm not sure what he wants. I'm feeling tempted to reduce Good News Ministries to half (or even less!) of what it's become!

Why? Because it's very hard to convince people that an expensive upgrade our website is a worthy cause to support. (And please don't read this is a guilt-trip fundraising appeal; I assure you, it's not. I'm only sharing with you a personal journey of faith. I have struggles like everyone else, and hopefully my openness can help some of the people reading this.)

I'm not sure what God wants me to do about this crisis, but what I want is to quit wondering how to inspire readers to help me get our website to work right. I want to focus only on what I can do easily and more enjoyably. Running low on funds has made me think too much about money. I hate thinking about and writing about GNM's financial needs. I want someone else to do that.

Terry Modica at the officeI miss the days when GNM was so small that I was responsible only for myself, one computer, and a website that I could manage all by myself.

I want to forget about funding GNM and focus on producing the daily reflections and transitioning these into our new database system and then exploring more ways to creatively use them to minister to more people. But oops, exploration leads to growth and growth requires more funding.

I want to focus on writing posts for the new email ministry, Faith Boosters, and discover what else I can do with them so more people can become stronger Catholics. But oops, more growth again.

I want to return to my old love, book writing (the kind you can hold in your hands, feel the pages as you turn them, and study a topic in depth). But oops that requires having enough of the right employees to keep the ministry running without me for awhile.

Did you see what I'm doing wrong? All those paragraphs are about me -- what I want. My wants are valid, they're real, their honest. But what really matters is what God wants. This mood I'm in indicates that something in my spiritual growth needs attention. Jesus will help me get through this. And until I reach the other side of this crisis, I'm making the following decisions:
  1. Eat chocolate.
  2. Stop all website re-coding work so that I can pay our other bills.
  3. Suspend all attempts to discern God's will for GNM, and just "be", just rest quietly in him.
  4. Put aside all inclinations to plan, strategize, and problem-solve, letting God handle that without me.
  5. Eat more chocolate.
  6. Work only on what feels most satisfying, asking the Holy Spirit to guide that feeling.
  7. Buy more chocolate, because I finished off the bag. (If you're thinking about sending some, dark chocolate please.)
Please pray for me and for the staff who depend on donor support.

Every morning, I lift up in prayer all those who help Good News Ministries in any way (donors, volunteers, prayer supporters, etc.) and all the prayer requests posted on our site.

Thank you for reading this newsletter.

Terry ModicaYour servant in Christ,
Terry Modica
Good News Ministries
gnm.org

Keep your eyes on Jesus!

AD MAJOREM DEI GLORIAM
"May God give back to you in love all the love you have given
and all the joy and peace you have sown around you."
~ Blessed Mother Teresa