Saint Mary's Press winner for the week of February 27, 2012!
Congratulations to Anne Renkes!
Anne will receive a copy of Breakthrough! The Bible for Young Catholics®, a $20.95 value.
As the title suggests, Breakthrough! The Bible for Young Catholics highlights what happens throughout salvation history between God and humanity. God breaks through and connects with human history, thereby establishing a relationship with humanity.
Using the Good News translation, Breakthrough! The Bible for Young Catholics was created for young people leaving childhood and entering adolescence. Its ten special features were created to help make the Bible easier for young people to read and understand.
They will learn about the great people of the Bible, and will see how God has been breaking through in human history and connecting with humanity for thousands of years. Most important, they will discover, in the Bible, how God's messages to key people of faith have meaning for life today.
Breakthrough! The Bible for Young Catholics
ISBN: 978-0-88489-862-7, paper, 1,968 pages
Focus on Faith
"Lenten Top 10"
The other day my wife and I were trying to explain Lent to our oldest daughter. She just turned four in November so it was an extremely basic explanation. The facts of Lent that she picked up right away were that the priest would be wearing purple, although in her own words, “He just wore purple not long ago,” and that it was a time to get ready for Easter. I thought that was pretty good for a four-year-old. We also talked about giving something up or adding something to our lives during Lent, but that was a harder concept for her to get. She did suggest that her younger sister, who is not quite two years old, could share more. As a parent I will be happy if what she remembers about Lent this year is that it is a time to prepare for Easter and to think about Jesus.
Recently, Bishop David L. Ricken, the chairman of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis of the USCCB, created a list of “10 Things to Remember for Lent.” The list includes suggestions such as these:
- It’s a time of prayer.
- Don’t do too much.
- Be patient with yourself.
- Learn to love like Christ.
Each suggestion is accompanied by a brief explanation. This is a wonderful list on which to reflect when looking at your own Lenten journey. It is also a handy resource to share with young people. As part of a theology class or youth group gathering, you could lead youth in discussing each suggestion and exploring how they could put the suggestion into action in their lives. Often young people become focused on giving up something without realizing why they are making the sacrifice. The suggestions on this list bring out the fact that Lent is a time for both sacrifice and growth. As for my daughter, she decided that during Lent we should say a prayer each morning before we leave the house. I sincerely wish you a blessed Lenten season and, as always, I pray that God will continue to bless you and your ministry.
Make It Happen
"Resurrection Relay: A Bible Learning Activity for Easter"
From Holiday and Seasonal Ideas for Ministry with Young Teens
The point of this relay race is to quickly find passages on Easter themes in the four Gospels. The activity is intended to increase the young teens’ skill in using the Bible and to help them become familiar with Gospel passages that recount the Resurrection of Jesus.
About 15 minutes for the relay race and closing prayer; preparation time is extra
The ideal group size for this strategy is sixteen participants. The activity can be done with a larger or smaller number of young people, though it will get a little drawn out with more than twenty-eight or so. See the Alternative Approaches section near the end of this strategy for suggestions on accommodating differentnumbers of participants.
- four pieces of newsprint or poster board
- markers masking tape
- four small bowls or paper bags
- sixteen plastic eggs, four each of four different colors
- four spoons ◊ sixteen pieces of construction paper, approximately 3-by-6 inches, four each of approximately the same four different colors as the plastic eggs
- sixteen 1-by-3-inch strips of paper
- four Bibles ◊ four pieces of notebook paper
- four pens or pencils ◊ prizes for the winning team (optional)
Preparation. Make four signs on newsprint or poster board, one for each of the Gospels. Post the signs at one end of the meeting room. Place a Bible, a sheet of notebook paper, and a pen or pencil under each sign. Prepare citation and question slips for each of the four Gospels. To avoid confusion you may want to work on one Gospel at a time. For each Gospel do the following things:
1. Write each of the four citations listed below on a small slip of paper. Place each paper in a different colored egg. Put the four eggs and a spoon in a bowl or paper bag at the end of the room opposite the sign identifying the Gospel.
2.Write the question associated with each citation on a piece of construction paper that is approximately the same color as the egg that contains the citation. Place the four questions facedown near the Bible.
The citations and their corresponding questions are as follows:
Matt. 28:1 With whom did Mary Magdalene go to inspect the tomb?
Matt. 28:7 Who were the women supposed to tell that Jesus had risen?
Matt. 28:13 What did the chief priests bribe the soldiers to do?
Matt. 28:19 What did Jesus tell the Apostles to do to all the nations?
Mark 16:1 Why did the women take perfumed oils to the tomb?
Mark 16:5 Whom did the women see when they entered the tomb?
Mark 16:9 To whom did the risen Jesus first appear?
Mark 16:19 Where is Jesus’ seat in heaven?
Luke 24:2 What did the women find when they went to the tomb?
Luke 24:13 Where were the two disciples going?
Luke 24:30–31 When did the two disciples recognize Jesus?
Luke 24:39 What did Jesus show the Apostles in order to prove his identity?
John 20:13 Why was Mary Magdalene weeping?
John 20:15–16 When did Mary recognize Jesus?
John 20:25 What would have to happen for Thomas to believe that Jesus was alive?
John 20:29 Whom did Jesus bless?
1. Point out the signs identifying the four Gospels, and the bowls or bags of eggs. Divide the participants into four teams, one for each Gospel, and direct the teams each to line up behind a bowl or bag of eggs. Ask the first person in line from each team to go to the team’s finish line at the opposite end of the room, under the sign that identifies the team’s Gospel. That person is the team’s Bible scholar.
2. Explain the following process in your own words: The first person in the line picks an egg out of the bowl or bag, places it in the spoon, and runs to the team’s Bible scholar at the other end of the room. If the egg falls out of the spoon, the runner must go back to the starting line and run again.
Once the runner reaches the team’s Bible scholar, he or she picks up the question slip that matches the egg in color, and opens the egg and removes the citation inside it. The runner and the Bible scholar read the question,and look up the citation to find its answer. The runner writes the answer to the question on the notebook paper, then closes the Bible. The runner now becomes the Bible scholar, and the former Bible scholar takes the spoon, runs back to the team, gives the spoon to the next person in line, and runs to the back of the line. The person who now has the spoon chooses an egg and repeats the procedure.
The game continues in this manner until all the teams’ questions are answered.
The team that finishes first and finds all the correct answers wins the game.
3. Facilitate the game. At the end, if you wish to, award the winners each a simple prize, such as a bookmark, a holy card, or a piece of Easter candy.
4. Gather the young people and lead them in the following litany:
Leader. On the third day, they went to Jesus’ tomb and did not find him there. We respond . . .
All. Alleluia! He is risen, alleluia!
Leader. We thank you, Jesus, for dying for our sins. We respond . . .
All. Alleluia! He is risen, alleluia!
Leader. His friends saw him but at first did not recognize him. We respond. . .
All. Alleluia! He is risen, alleluia!
Leader. We have not seen and yet we believe and respond . . .
All. Alleluia! He is risen, alleluia!
Leader. Thank you, God, for giving us the Gospels. They are faithful reminders that death is not the end and that your promise of eternal life has been fulfilled. And so we respond . . .
All. Alleluia! He is risen, alleluia!
- If you have fewer than ten participants, create just two teams and give each team two sets of eggs and questions. If you have more than sixteen people in your group, find more Easter passages for each team, and write additional questions, so that each team member gets at least one citation and question.
- To make the game a little more challenging, mix up the passages among the teams so that no team is dealing with only one Gospel. Be sure to match the questions and citations for each team.
- If the game goes quickly and the young people are eager to try again, assign each team to a different Gospel.
- Invite the young people to make a bookmark of their favorite Resurrection passage: Give each person a lengthwise half of an index card. Make available a variety of decorating supplies. Tell the participants to write their favorite Resurrection passage on the bookmark and decorate the bookmark.
- Instead of doing the activity as a relay race, simply do it as a team competition. Give every young person on each team a Bible and designate a team captain. Ask one of the questions, announce its corresponding Bible passage, and tell the teams to look up the citation and find an answer. Follow these rules:
- Only the team captain can answer the question for the team.
- The first team to give the correct answer gets a point.
- The game continues for no more than 15 minutes or until all the questions have been answered.
- This relay is not restricted to Easter passages. It can be used with other passages any time you want to give young teens a fun experience with searching the Scriptures.
Break Open the Word
Second Sunday of Lent
March 4, 2012
Jesus, we gather in your name, willing to listen and open up to your Word. In the reading today, you show us your true radiance in the glory of your Transfiguration. May our faith be strengthened as we share our own reflections with one another about the significance of your being glorified with Moses and Elijah. We pray this in Jesus's name. Amen
Jesus takes Peter, James, and John with him to the top of the hill to witness the Transfiguration. The Transfiguration was when Jesus underwent a dazzling transformation alongside Moses and Elijah, as witnessed by Peter, James, and John. In two other places in Mark's Gospel, Jesus singles out these three to accompany him. In Mark 5:37, Jesus brings Jairus's daughter back to life in the presence of Peter, James, and John. In Mark 14:33, Jesus asks the three to keep watch with him in the garden at Gethsemane. Through these experiences and others, Peter, James, and John come to a special understanding of Jesus's divine glory.
They also come to know that Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophets and of all the Law. At the Transfiguration, Mark writes that Elijah and Moses appeared alongside Jesus. Elijah was known as the greatest of the prophets and Moses as the giver of the Law. Elijah and Moses acted as witnesses, certifying that Jesus is the glorious fulfillment of the Law and the prophets. To find out more about Moses, read Exodus, chapters 2-15. For more about Elijah, see 1 Kings, chapters 17-19, as well as 2 Kings, chapters 1 and 2.
Of great significance in Mark 9:2-10 is the recurrence of the heavenly voice we first heard at Jesus's baptism in Mark 1:11. In 9:8, the voice says, "This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!" By including this part of the scene, Mark reemphasizes that Jesus is the Son of God.
Every year on August 6, the Catholic Church observes the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord and commemorates the event atop Mount Tabor, a mountain in the region of Galilee. This location has long been held by tradition, specifically through the writings of Origen (AD 185-232), to be the place where the Transfiguration occurred. See Map 6 of the CYB, section 2B, and you will find Mount Tabor.
In the start of Jesus's public ministry and his death and Resurrection, significant events occurred that focused on the understanding that Jesus was a part of the Triune God. The mystery that these events--Jesus's baptism and Transfiguration--held are not comprehended until much later in the lives of the Apostles.
On the threshold of the public life: the baptism; on the threshold of the Passover: the Transfiguration. Jesus' baptism proclaimed "the mystery of the first regeneration," namely, our Baptism; the Transfiguration "is the sacrament of the second regeneration": our own Resurrection.1 From now on we share in the Lord's Resurrection through the Spirit who acts in the sacraments of the Body of Christ. The Transfiguration gives us a foretaste of Christ's glorious coming, when he "will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body."2 But it also recalls that "it is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God":3
Peter did not yet understand this when he wanted to remain with Christ on the mountain. It has been reserved for you, Peter, but for after death. For now, Jesus says: "Go down to toil on earth, to serve on earth, to be scorned and crucified on earth. Life goes down to be killed; Bread goes down to suffer hunger; the Way goes down to be exhausted on his journey; the Spring goes down to suffer thirst; and you refuse to suffer?"4 (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 556)
The Transfiguration was a way to prepare the Apostles for the coming of the death of Jesus. Jesus's Crucifixion would be the culmination point and the fulfillment of the salvation of God. Both the Law and the prophets spoke about the suffering the Messiah would have to endure and that the Messiah would through suffering obtain glory. As Catholics we see the Transfiguration as a foreshadowing of the glorious second coming of Jesus, but before then the Church will have to encounter many persecutions. The faithful as the Body of Christ will partake in the suffering of Jesus so they can also partake in the glory of the Resurrection.
For a moment Jesus discloses his divine glory, confirming Peter's confession. He also reveals that he will have to go by the way of the cross at Jerusalem in order to "enter into his glory."5 Moses and Elijah had seen God's glory on the Mountain; the Law and the Prophets had announced the Messiah's sufferings.6 Christ's Passion is the will of the Father: the Son acts as God's servant;7 the cloud indicates the presence of the Holy Spirit. "The whole Trinity appeared: the Father in the voice; the Son in the man; the Spirit in the shining cloud."8
You were transfigured on the mountain, and your disciples, as much as they were capable of it, beheld your glory, O Christ our God, so that when they should see you crucified they would understand that your Passion was voluntary, and proclaim to the world that you truly are the splendor of the Father.9 (Catechism, paragraph 555)
Mark writes about this event because of the hope it gave the disciples during the trial and Crucifixion of Jesus. Mark confirms that Jesus was the Son of God (a phrase Jesus often used when referring to himself) and the Son of Man, that Jesus was both divine and human (a phrase often used in the Gospels when referring to Jesus. Specifically, it means that Jesus was and is the second person of the Triune God.)
As the Son of Man, Jesus knew intimately what it was like to be a human person. He knew the ups and the downs, as well as the happy times and the really challenging times. As the Son of God, Jesus revealed to us his divine glory through the Transfiguration. He showed us that he is the presence of God. He remains present in the whole of our life. Continue to seek out his presence.
See the "Live It" article, "The Transfiguration: On Top of the World," in The Catholic Youth Bible® near the passage Mark 9:2-8.
The scriptural quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition. Copyright © 1993 and 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. All rights reserved.
The quotations labeled Catechism are from the English translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church for use in the United States of America, second edition. Copyright © 1994 by the United States Catholic Conference, Inc.--Libreria Editrice Vaticana. English translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Modifications from the Editio Typica copyright © 1997 by the United States Catholic Conference, Inc.--Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Used with permission.
The Lord's Prayer is taken from Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers. Copyright © 1988 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc., Washington, DC. All rights reserved.
Endnotes Cited in Quotations from the Catechism of the Catholic Church
1. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, III, 45, 4, ad 2.
2. Philippians 3:21.
3. Acts of the Apostles 14:22.
4. St. Augustine, Sermo 78, 6: J.P. Migne, ed., Patrologia Latina 38 (1841-1855), 492-493; cf. Luke9:33.
5. Luke 24:26.
6. Cf. Luke 24:27.
7. Cf. Isaiah 42:1.
8. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, III, 45, 4, ad 2.
9. Byzantine Liturgy, Feast of the Transfiguration, Kontakion.
Saint Katharine Drexel
March 3 is the memorial for Saint Katharine Drexel.
Born into a wealthy family in 1858, Saint Katharine learned early in life the responsibility of using her resources to help others. In an audience with Pope Leo XIII in 1887, she asked the Pope to send missionaries to Wyoming. His response was to challenge her to become a missionary, which she did. She entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Mercy, and later founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored, now known as the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. By 1942 her efforts had led to the establishment of black Catholic schools in 13 states, 50 Indian missions, and Xavier University in New Orleans.
For more information about Saint Katharine Drexel, go to http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-katharine-drexel/.