Table of Plenty



Come to the feast of heaven and earth!
Come to the table of plenty!
God will provide for all that we need
here at the table of plenty.

1 O come and sit at my table,
where saints and sinners are friends.
I wait to welcome the lost and lonely
to share the cup of my love. [Refrain]

2 O come and eat without money;
come to drink without price.
My feast of gladness will feed your spirit
with faith and fullness of life. [Refrain]

3 My bread will ever sustain you
through days of sorrow and woe.
My wine will flow like a sea of gladness
to flood the depths of your soul. [Refrain]

4 Your fields will flower in fullness;
your homes will flourish in peace.
For I, the giver of home and harvest,
will send my rain on the soil. [Refrain]


#ShortNews: Christian-Muslim cooperation will thwart jihadists, Vatican cardinal says

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, argues that cooperation between Christians and Muslims can counteract the propaganda of Islamic extremists.

Writing in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, the French cardinal said that incidents such as the killing of Father Jacques Hamel “threaten the credibility of inter-religious dialogue.” It is imperative, he said, to redouble efforts to foster friendly relations across religious lines.

“By killing Father Jacques, those who conceived of this despicable act had one precise goal: to demonstrate that peaceful coexistence among Muslims and Christians is impossible,” Cardinal Tauran said. To frustrate that goal, Christians and Muslims must work together, he said.

#ShortNews: Pittsburgh: Mass attendance down 40% since 2000

Commenting on sobering demographic and financial trends, Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that “the number one priority has to be, ‘We need to make our worship better.”

“Second of all, we need to do the best job that we can to get not only more ordained leaders, but we really have to open up lots of doors for the lay leaders of the Church,” he said.

Since 2000, diocesan Mass attendance has declined by 40%, and K-8 Catholic school enrollment has fallen by 50%.

The newspaper also reported that nearly half of Pittsburgh parishes are the in red, compared to one-third in 2012.

#ShortNews: Many European women want more babies than they have, study finds

While European birth rates have dropped below the replacement level, the vast majority of women in Europe believe that the ideal family should include at least two children, a Pew Research study has found.

Among the respondents who answered a question about ideal family size, 57% said that two children would be ideal, and 30% chose a higher number.

The Pew survey found that among European women near the end of their normal reproductive years, about one-third said that they had fewer children than the ideal number of children, while less than 10% said that they had more children than the ideal number.

The Truth About Right And Wrong

In Gospel reading (Luke 2:22-35), the parents of baby Jesus are told that their little child will become the downfall and the rise of many, that he’ll be a sign that the world will contradict, and that, because of this, the thoughts of many would be exposed in the light of truth. In other words, through the conflict stirred up by the life of Jesus, good and evil will become clearly defined.

If we’re going to birth Jesus more fully into the world, we will live the truth. Today’s world is full of moral relativism; the line between what is holy and what is sinful has been greatly blurred by the idea that “everyone is right in their own opinions about right and wrong.” Wrong! It’s only God’s opinion that is correct, and he clearly spells out moral absolutes. But societal acceptance of moral relativism has gone so far as to produce an environment where we’re supposed to believe that good is evil and evil is good.

Jesus defined the difference between holiness and sin through his teachings and by his example. Consider how right it feels to believe: “Love others based on how good they are to you.” But Jesus said: “Love even your enemies!”

This includes: “Love the child you want to abort. Love the person you divorced. Love the sinners who deserve capital punishment. Love your lover so much that you join God in the Sacrament of Marriage rather than cohabitate or live in a civil-only marriage. Love your spouse so much that you unite with God in creating new life or by getting involved in ministry together. If you’re not heterosexual, love Jesus so much that you embrace celibacy. And love those who oppose you for standing firm in the truth.”

Love is the bottom line, the big line, the only line: Love God enough to embrace his moral teachings; love others enough to bring Christ to them with his teachings intact. Love so radically that the world opposes you for it. Jesus’ message of unconditional, radical love was the sign that people opposed. They opposed him all the way to the cross.

His message of love exposed the thoughts of many hearts. No longer can we hide our hatred and unforgiveness, pretending goodness behind the mask of politeness. In the Old Testament, if you did evil to me, the Law gave me permission to do the same evil back to you. I did not have to deal with the unforgiveness in my heart. But Jesus took that away in one simple message: “When someone does you wrong, do good in return.” And when we don’t, our unforgiveness for the evil-doer is plainly obvious in our behaviors, because we seem to be very unlike Christ.

That’s why if we claim to be living in the light of Christ while hating our brother, we’re really in darkness. We might pretend to be following Jesus when our lives contradict his teachings, but the contradiction reveals the truth about us. On the other hand, if we do as he says, the love of God becomes perfect (i.e., full or complete) in us.

Why is it so important to God that we love even those who don’t deserve it? Is it because he cares about them or pities them more than he cares about us? Of course not! He wants us to give birth to Jesus in their lives. And he wants us to benefit from letting go of unforgiveness, because then the evil-doer no longer has control of our emotions.

This is very right, very holy!

© 2015 by Terry A. Modica

Saint John (Don) Bosco

saint john boscoGod, it is said, sends the world saints when they are most needed-not men and women of “general holiness,” but specialized experts who fit into the pattern of the times and are capable of giving God’s tone to their century.
And so it was that on August 16, I8I5 when one era was closing in Europe with the exile of Napoleon, and the Industrial Revolution was clanging another open, a man was sent by God whose name was John or popularly known as Don Bosco. He came to the scrubby stone cottage of Francis and Margaret Bosco on the hills of Becchi, at the foot of the Italian Alps.

John was the youngest son of the Bosco couple. When he was little more than two years old his father died, leaving the support of three boys to his mother. She was a woman of character and tenderness. Fathomless was the love she showed her sons, not in coddling words but in deeds; innumerable were the lessons in upright living, Christian fortitude, and fear of God, which she taught by her example. A pillar of goodness, she stood before them as sturdy as the very Alps.  At her knee John first heard the voice of the Master calling him to a special assignment.  It was a low insistent voice, an urge that once in a while manifested itself in a sudden outburst.

In 1825, when he was nine, John had the first of a series of dreams which would play an influential role in his outlook and work. This first dream “left a profound impression on him for the rest of his life”, according to his own memoirs. John now knew his vocation. But the priesthood meant studies, and poverty prevented him for further education. John’s early years were spent as a shepherd, and he received his first instruction from a parish priest. His childhood experiences are thought to have inspired him to become a priest.

On a cold morning of February 1827, John left his home and went to look for work as a farm-servant. At 12, he found life at home unbearable because of the continuous quarrels with his brother who doesn’t want him to be a priest. Having to face life by himself at such a young age may have developed his later sympathies to help abandoned boys. After begging unsuccessfully for work, John ended up at the wine farm of Louis Moglia. Although John could pursue some studies by himself, he was not able to attend school for two more years. In 1830 he met Joseph Cafasso, a young priest who identified some natural talent and supported his first schooling. In 1835 John entered the seminary at Chieri, next to the Church of the Immacolata Concezione. After six years of study, he was ordained priest on the eve of Trinity Sunday by Archbishop Franzoni of Turin.

On becoming a priest (1841) he chose as his life’s programme: “Da mihi animas cetera tolle” (“Give me souls, take all the rest” Gen. 14: 21). He began his apostolate among poor young people with the founding of the Oratory, which he placed under the patronage of St. Francis of Sales.

He Led Young People to Meet Christ 
By means of his educational style and pastoral practice, based on reason, religion and loving kindness (the Preventive System) he led young people to reflect, to meet Christ and their brothers and sisters, to the study of the faith and to apostolic, civil and professional commitment. St. Dominic Savio stands out among the most outstanding fruits of his work.

Such generosity of spirit could not go unrewarded by God, for whom this priest slaved the 72 years of his life. Besides providing for his work, God gave him the gift of miracles. With his blessing, Don Bosco cured people disease. After his prayers on their behalf, the deaf heard, the lame walked, and once, a dead boy was raised to life. He had the gift of prophecy. He could read consciences, and used this gift to assist penitents in confession. He could foretell one’s vocation, as well as one’s future.

All these gifts were so common that Pope Pius XI said, “In Don Bosco the extraordinary becomes ordinary.” They were given to him in partial reward for his exceptional self-sacrifice and as a seal of divine approval of his work.

Don Bosco often told his young people that being a saint was easy. His holiness was attractive because it was rooted in charity and exceptional purity that drew people to him. Though he sometimes did extraordinary penances, he would never allow them to his boys. “Sanctity is easy!” he would say. He told his Salesians and the young people that God wants us to be happy and to rejoice in the love of Jesus. Just do your duty in school, at home, at work the best you can. Offer you life to God: the happy times and the sad or challenging things: life sends many opportunities to join in the sufferings of Jesus: bad weather, disappointments, physical illness, sorrow these will make you saints. St. Dominic Savio, one of his students who died at the age of 14, is Don Bosco’s proof to the world that holiness is not a monopoly of the monastery or of the desert.  It belongs everyone, the young and the old.

“Do good, do all the good you can and you will never regret doing it.”

“Do good, do all the good you can and you will never regret doing it.” ~ John Don Bosco


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