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October 17, 1997     The Message
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!7, 1997 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 e Gospel for parents By MARY MILLER PEDERSEN as told in the Gospels. The questions Catholic News Service When I have had one unexpected challenge too many, I go to 1:28 to revisit the account of the to Mary. is a good Jewish girl doing ers the right thing, and enters and tells her she's of the Most High. 0re her initial reaction. It's so much when I'm faced With a new "Who, me?" (1:30) "How can done?" notice that Moses and Abra- and Jeremiah (and many others) reactions when faced with in life that seemed insur- account of Mary's invitation gives encouragement parents when a situation seems their abilities. I have seen par- mOVed to genuinely heroic actions by faith in God's power we cannot do a lone. face: r in the dilem- challenges and unexpected be accepted and adjust- "" Conflicts call for resolution. "" HUrts must be healed. there's the monotony of feed- and endlessly cleaning up! parenting sections of have been enlarged the last few years. Par- Is a 24"hour-a.day, difficult and job. Parents seek direction in books, and men's and women's While resources for parents hVa er. time, one particular as been around for nearly to provide com- et for every con- Woe. is the life story of Jesus and longings of mothers and fathers are reflected in the Gospel stories of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I've already described the encourage- ment I find in hearing how Mary's heart is moved and her mind is changed when the angel assures her that "noth- ing is impossible with God." But there is also the story of the prodi- gal son's return. What parent of a strong-willed, rebellious child could not find hope in it? A parent whose child has been seriously lost from the family can relate to Luke's poignant descrip- tion of the father waiting on the road for a glimpse of his son (15:20). A parent's vocation is to love children unconditionally as God does. That's not easy. But prayer and the Gospels' inspi- ration shore up our energy. Another common dilemma for par- ents is the sheer boredom and tedious- ness of parental duties: feeding, cloth- ing and transporting kids, bandaging wounds, cleaning house. The list is endless. It's difficult to buy into the church's teaching about the holiness of the tasks of parenting when the normal routine of child raising seems pretty mun- dane.But Matthew helps parents to see these ordinary tasks in a new light in telling that those who "inherit the king- dom" will be those who feed, clothe and shelter the Lord, who can be encoun- tered in others who need these things Giving children food and drink (even in the middle of the night), clothing them (that includes shopping, washing, mending etc.) and sheltering them (which means making that house or rent payment, cleaning house, creating a warm environment): These simple acts of caring for one another, the Gospel indicates, turn out to be a litmus test for the Christian disciple of Jesus. Pedersen is coordinator of tire leadership in Family Lift, Training Program for tire Archdiocese of Omaha, Neb. in the Marketplace ()n Point: passage that you return to again and again? What draws the five fish to the Lord and asked How will we He fed them all m and there were even leftovers .... As a sin- When I turn to the Lord to help me with my needs, not my wants, for me and my child." m Michelle Alewel, St. Louis Mo. was hungry and you gave me food...') For me this pas- the entirety of what it means to live as a Catholic Christian. It what is really important. In the end it is how we treated and ! aOther. ._. Matthew J. Robaszkiewiez, Atlanta Ga. talks about learning to control your tongue. This passage lay listening skills, and in my work listening is what is need- John Mark W'flcox, Shreveport, La. as you would have them do unto you. I think thats why Im in my 110 percent because I know when the time comes that I ., I hope and pray I will receive someone else's 110 per-" Johnson, Wichita, Kan. asks: What, in your own words is the message of the Beatitudes? don for possible publication, please write: Faith Alive! 3211 Fourth ,C. [7-1100.', , . Mary Miller Pedersen says that parenting is a "24-hour-a-day, difficult and often perplexing job." She adds, "While resources for parents change over time one particular resource has been around for nearly 2,000 years:.., the life story of Jesus as told in the Gospels." -- CNS photo by Les Fetchko O A Gospel serves so many purposes that it is hard to define it -- to sum up in an uncomplicated phrase what a Gospel is. A Gospel definitely is good news. For the words "good news" translate the word "Gospel." This is the good news of Jesus. Not to be overlooked, of course, it is good sl et news for his followers. A Gospel puts Christians in 1997 into contact with Jesus and with his disci- ples. Among the Gospel's cast of characters, modem readers discover models for faith. Truth be told, most of us ultimately would like to be remembered for aspir- it of goodness toward others, prayer or strong faith that either is mod on Jesus himself or the disciples as the Gospels reveal them, But the Gospels not only connect Christians to the past. The  elud- date the present moment. In the Gospels Christians in perplexing predica- menhJ discover words offering a new ve, words that inspire and chal- lenge. So the Gospels connect Jesus' modem followers to the present moment. And by doing this in a way that conveys hope, the Gospels help people to secure a good footing as they embark on the future. t ,,,r,,,, , ,,,,i,,, i David Gibson Edito Faith Alive!