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April 20, 2006 Edition

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Living the Scriptures
Faith Alive!
This week's readings
Pope's Prayer Intentions
Prayer for St. Raphael Cathedral

Christian community:
Sharing God's gifts with others

photo of Susan Gagliardi

Living the Scriptures 

with St. Paul University 
Catholic Center 

Susan Gagliardi 

This Sunday's first reading caught my attention, because not long ago, my friend, Jack Koczela, quoted it to me: "The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common."

I was talking to Jack about moving out of the dorms next year into a house with other Christian women, and I happened to mention having to buy my own food, rather than eating resident hall food. Jack said, "You should have communal food." That means we'd pool our money into a food fund and purchase groceries together. Then it wouldn't be my food or her food, but our food.

Jack was really enthusiastic about this. He lives with a group of Christian men in the Newman House and helps host the Newman Dinner every Thursday night. He says this simple sharing of food makes the community he lives in, his "community of believers," one in heart in small things, which leads them to be one in heart about much greater things.

Second Sunday
of Easter
(April 23, 2006)
Acts 4:32-35
Ps 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
1 Jn 5:1-6
Jn 20:19-31

They don't regard food as their own, but share it commonly with members of the household, and every Thursday night, with 40 to 80 others.

In my own life, food is really important. I love food, and I often find myself hoarding "my food" to myself. I get crabby when I'm hungry and possessive of my food. Or, if I do share with others, it's only with the hope that they'll do the same for me some other time.

With all that said, I've been thinking a lot about what Jack told me and this whole Bible passage. College is a time when money is scarce, but it's also a time when we need to learn how to be generous with the little we have. My dad always tells me that God will not be outdone in generosity.

Next year, I will be embarking on a new journey. For the first time in my life, I'll have my own possessions - not just those that my parents have provided. I will be living with people who share my faith, but are not my family.

Reflection questions

• What is it in my life that I am a bit possessive about, and in what way can I let it go, even if just a little?

• Have I surrounded myself with a loving Christian community that will challenge me and help me grow towards God? If I haven't, can I begin to do so?

How successful will we be in living like the apostles of old? They had the example of Christ in the flesh to follow. We have the Word of God, the gift of the Spirit, and the promise from Christ for His special graces because we have not seen, yet have believed.

Let us meditate on thanking God for the gifts He has given us and be able to see these gifts not for ourselves alone, but for the benefit of all.

Susan Gagliardi is a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She joined St. Paul University Catholic Center on her first day on campus. She attends daily Mass, participates in a small group Bible study, Taize, Alpha Omega, Newman Dinner, and the Liturgy Committee.

St. Paul's Web site is www.stpaulscc.org

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Faith Alive!

Faith Alive! logo

In a Nutshell

  • The church is a community of sharing, a body of believers committed to caring for the poor.

  • True charity ought to be effective, and it requires getting close to the poor, Pope John Paul II taught.

  • God cares for the poor in a special way. Therefore, his friends and covenant partners do likewise.

    Catholic News Service
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    Washington DC 20017
  •  Food for Thought
    The church's "tradition of charity" has been expressed "in so many different ways" over time, and today "even greater resourcefulness" is called for, Pope John Paul II said at the outset of the new millennium. He called for a "new 'creativity' in charity."

    The pope said that in addition to poverty's "traditional forms," there are newer forms that even affect "financially affluent" people. He spoke of people "threatened by despair at the lack of meaning in their lives, by drug addiction, by fear of abandonment in old age or sickness, by marginalization or social discrimination."

    The late pope discussed "creativity in charity" again in a 2002 homily in Poland. He asked people to becoming lovingly aware of the neighbor by their side who -- "because of the loss of work, home, the possibility of maintaining his family in a decent manner and of educating his children -- feels a sense of abandonment, of being lost, of distrust."

    Creativity in charity, the pope added, "is needed to provide material and spiritual assistance to neglected children; to refrain from turning one's back on the boy or girl who has gotten lost in the world of addiction or crime; to give advice, consolation, spiritual support to those engaged in an internal struggle with evil."

    full story

    A "new creativity in charity"
    By Kenneth R. Himes, OFM

    Catholic News Service

    One hallmark of Christianity is a concern for the poor and the centrality of charity as a virtue.

    From the church's earliest days, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, down to the modern era, as seen in the works of Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services, there has been a clear, strong acknowledgment that the church is a community of sharing, a body of believers committed to caring for the poor.

    full story 

    The amazingly
    generous poor
    By Daniel S. Mulhall

    Catholic News Service

    When I was about 8, I wanted and expected a baseball glove for my birthday like my two older brothers each received on their birthdays. Instead, I received an envelope with two $1 bills inside.

    I was heartbroken.

    full story 

    The church and the poor
    in the Bible
    By Father Lawrence Boadt, CSP

    Catholic News Service

    The Bible expresses God's special concern for the "poor," who include three kinds of individuals:

    --Those who lack enough food, money or property.

    full story

    Faith Alive! logo
     Faith in the Marketplace
    This Week's Discussion Point:

    What do you think "the world" needs to know -- understand -- about the poor?

      Selected Response From Readers:  
    Copyright © 2006 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

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    This week's readings

    Week of April 23 - 29, 2006

    Sunday, April 23, 2006
    Second Sunday of Easter
    Reading I: Acts 4:32-35
    Reading II: 1 Jn 5:1-6
    Gospel: Jn 20:19-31

    Monday, April 24, 2006
    Reading I: Acts 4:23-31
    Gospel: Jn 3:1-8

    Tuesday, April 25, 2006
    Feast of Saint Mark, evangelist
    Reading I: 1 Pt 5:5b-14
    Gospel: Mk 16:15-20

    Wednesday, April 26, 2006
    Reading I: Acts 5:17-26
    Gospel: Jn 3:16-21

    Thursday, April 27, 2006
    Reading I: Acts 5:27-33
    Gospel: Jn 3:31-36

    Friday, April 28, 2006
    Reading I: Acts 5:34-42
    Gospel: Jn 6:1-15

    Saturday, April 29, 2006
    Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, virgin
    and doctor of the Church

    Reading I: Acts 6:1-7
    Gospel: Jn 6:16-21

    Pope's Prayer Intentions

    April General Intention

    Rights of Women. That the individual, social and political rights of women may be respected in every nation.

    April Mission Intention

    Church in China. That the Church in China may carry out its evangelizing mission with serenity and in full freedom.

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    Prayer for St. Raphael Cathedral

    O God,
    Whose word is like fire,
    who spoke to Your servant Moses in the burning bush;
    who led Your people Israel out of bondage
          with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night:
    hear Your people as we call upon You
    in both need and gratitude.

    May the Cathedral fire purify Your Church
    in the Diocese of Madison
    so that our hearts may burn with the knowledge
          that Your Church is built upon the bedrock
    of Your Son, Jesus Christ.

    Through the intercession of Saint Raphael,
          Your messenger of healing,
    in union with our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI,
    and with our Bishop, Robert C. Morlino,
    may we find comfort in our affliction
    and the courage to proclaim
          the Good News of Jesus Christ,
    who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
    one God forever and ever.


    For more prayer resources visit the Office of Worship's Web page at www.straphael.org/~office_of_worship/
    (Click on the link on the main page.)

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