EXPLORE THE SUNDAY GOSPEL
MEET OUR EXTENDED FAMILY
St. Natalia of Nicomedia (Feast Day December 1)
Adrian and Natalia lived in Nicomedia (modern-day Turkey). She was a Christian, but Adrian was a non-Christian imperial officer. They were married for one year prior to their martyrdom and lived in Nicomedia during the time of Emperor Maximian in the early fourth century. The emperor promised a reward to informants who would bring Christians to trial. The denunciations then began, and twenty-three Christians were captured in a cave near Nicomedia.
They were tortured, urged to worship idols, and then brought before the Praetor, in order to record their names and responses. Adrian, the head of the praetorium, watched as these people suffered with such courage for their faith. Seeing how firmly and fearlessly they confessed Christ, he asked: "What rewards do you expect from your God for your suffering?" The martyrs replied: "Such rewards as we are not able to describe, nor can your mind comprehend." Natalia’s husband was so impressed by the witness of the Christian martyrs that he declared himself a Christian, although he had never been baptized.
The scribes reported this to the emperor, who
summoned St. Adrian and tried to persuade him to sacrifice to the gods and
ask for forgiveness. Adrian refused, and Maximian then
ordered Adrian to be thrown into prison. His wife, Natalia, hastened to the
prison and encouraged her husband. St. Adrian was cruelly
tortured and killed. After Adrian’s death, an army commander asked
the emperor's approval to wed St. Natalia, who was both young and rich. But she
hid herself away in Byzantium because she was fearful the Emperor would
force her to marry. St. Adrian appeared to her in a dream and said that
she would soon be at rest in the Lord. She died on the 1st
of December, which is now her feast day. Although she died of natural
causes, she is considered a martyr and was buried among other Christian martyrs
TAKE TIME TO CHAT
· Jesus invited the children to come to him in today’s Gospel story. Imagine that you are the child in the story. What is it like to be embraced and blessed by Jesus?
· In today’s Gospel, Jesus confirms that the union of a husband and wife is not a human convention, but a bond made by God himself. Why is it important for a husband and a wife to have God at the center of their relationship?
· Why does God want men and women to be faithful to each other in their marriage? In what way does this faithfulness strengthen the family?
· What inspires you about St. Natalia and her husband Adrian?
Wedding Reception 2.0
Recreate your wedding reception or a special wedding/anniversary reception of a friend or family member. Set the table and use fancy decorations. Have everyone dress up. Try to recreate the menu as best as possible. Play instrumental music during the meal. At dinner, share memories from the special day. Afterward, pull out photo albums and continue the discussion.
RECIPE OF THE WEEK
Crockpot Italian Wedding Soup
This delicious and easy recipe is fitting as we reflect on marriage today.
12-16 ounces frozen meatballs, regular or mini (or you can use your own meatball recipe)
6 cups chicken broth
½ cup carrot, diced (about 3 medium carrots)
½ cup celery, diced (about 1 medium stalk)
¼ of an onion, chopped
1 minced clove of garlic
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
pasta (Acini di pepe, orzo, or shape of your choice)
Place the meatballs in the slow cooker. Then add the chicken broth, seasoning, and vegetables. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. In the last half-hour of cooking, add the pasta and spinach and cook until tender. Serve with Parmesan cheese if desired.
The Nuptial Blessing is a beautiful moment in a Catholic wedding ceremony. It takes place after the bride and groom have exchanged their consent and have become husband and wife. In this blessing, the celebrant prays for the married couple and asks that God give them special graces. Invite one person to lead your family in this prayer. Offer the prayer for all the married couples in your immediate and extended family and any future marriages of your children.
O God, who by your mighty power
created all things out of nothing,
and, when you had set in place
the beginnings of the universe,
formed man and woman in your own image,
making the woman an inseparable helpmate to the man,
that they might be no longer two, but one flesh,
and taught that what you were pleased to make one
must never be divided;
O God, who consecrated the bond of Marriage
by so great a mystery
that in the wedding covenant you foreshadowed
the Sacrament of Christ and his Church;
O God, by whom woman is joined to man
and the companionship they had in the beginning
is endowed with the one blessing
not forfeited by original sin
nor washed away by the flood.
Look now with favor on these your servants,
joined together in Marriage,
who ask to be strengthened by your blessing.
Send down on them the grace of the Holy Spirit
and pour your love into their hearts,
that they may remain faithful in the Marriage covenant.
May the grace of love and peace
abide in your daughters
and let them always follow the example of those holy women
whose praises are sung in the Scriptures.
May husbands entrust their hearts to their wives,
so that, acknowledging them as their equal
and joint heir to the life of grace,
they may show them due honor
and cherish them always
with the love that Christ has for his Church.
And now, Lord, we implore you:
may these your servants
hold fast to the faith and keep your commandments;
made one in the flesh,
may they be blameless in all they do;
and with the strength that comes from the Gospel,
may they bear true witness to Christ before all;
(may they be blessed with children,
and prove themselves virtuous parents,
who live to see their children’s children.)
And grant that,
reaching at last together the fullness of years
for which they hope,
they may come to the life of the blessed
in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Through Christ our Lord.
In today’s Gospel, people brought children to Jesus so that he could bless them. What are some ways that Jesus blesses us during Mass?
Invite an engaged or newly married couple into your home for dinner and pray over them for a strong faith-filled marriage.
October 6th is National Noodle Day. Celebrate today with the Recipe of the Week!