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Parish Daily Update 3/22/20

Dear St. Joseph family,

Wow!  Our first Sunday without the celebration of the Eucharist.  I hope you all found ways to come together as family, to worship and praise the Lord.  I am making it a deliberate part of every day to focus on gratitude.  Even in these uncertain and even frightening times, we still have so very many things to be grateful for!

This past week a dear friend reminded me of the memorial card from Father Olivier’s funeral.  He had asked me to put a particular prayer on it when his time came to go home to heaven.  I would like to share that prayer with you – from St. Therese of Lisieux:

“Everything is a grace, everything is the

            direct effect of our Father’s love –

                difficulties, contradictions,

            humiliations, all the soul’s miseries,

                her burdens, her needs – everything,

            because through them, she learns

                humility, realizes her weakness.

Everything is a grace because

            everything is God’s gift.  Whatever

                be the character of life or its

            unexpected events – to the heart

                that loves, all is well.”

Here are the readings for tomorrow, along with Father Kevin’s homily.  I am very grateful to him for helping us through these times with his wonderful words of wisdom! 

Mary our Mother, pray for us.  St. Joseph, pray for us.

God bless you all,

Pam Minninger

Lay Ecclesial Minister

Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent

First Reading:  Is 65:17-21

Thus, says the LORD: Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; The things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind.  Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create; For I create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight;

I will rejoice in Jerusalem and exult in my people.  No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there, or the sound of crying; No longer shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not round out his full lifetime; He dies a mere youth who reaches but a hundred years, and he who fails of a hundred shall be thought accursed.

They shall live in the houses they build, and eat the fruit of the vineyards they plant. 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps. 30:2 and 4, 5-6, 11-12a and 13b

R.  I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear

and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.

O LORD, you brought me up from the nether world;

you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.

R.    I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones,

and give thanks to his holy name.

For his anger lasts but a moment;

a lifetime, his good will.

At nightfall, weeping enters in,

but with the dawn, rejoicing.

R.    I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

“Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me;

O LORD, be my helper.”

You changed my mourning into dancing;

O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.

R.    I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

Gospel:  Jn 4:43-54

At that time Jesus left [Samaria] for Galilee.  For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his native place.  When he came into Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all he had done in Jerusalem at the feast; for they themselves had gone to the feast.

Then he returned to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine.  Now there was a royal official whose son was ill in Capernaum.  When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, who was near death.

Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.”  The royal official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”  Jesus said to him, “You may go; your son will live.”  The man believed what Jesus said to him and left.  While the man was on his way back, his slaves met him and told him that his boy would live.  He asked them when he began to recover.  They told him, “The fever left him yesterday, about one in the afternoon.”

The father realized that just at that time Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live,” and he and his whole household came to believe.

Now this was the second sign Jesus did when he came to Galilee from Judea. 


The things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind. Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create . . .  Isaiah 65: 17-21

Maybe it’s time for some serious “forgetting.”  Perhaps the most constructive thing we can do this Lent is put aside our hurts and angers that mire us in a constant feeling of sadness.

This may very well be the time when we apologize for some hurt we inflicted; maybe it is something we have avoided even acknowledging.  But it is there in our mind or heart that we should not have done that.   Now also would be a very good time to curb our criticism.  As the news and events recently are repeated over and over again, we think we know what needs to be done and it is easy to criticize or even ridicule those who are trying to do some good.  Criticizing or ridiculing does nothing to improve the situation.  Yes, we may have a very good idea or insight but unless you are in a position to change the situation or add your suggestion, it only tears at the fabric of community to criticize and ridicule.  Maybe now is also a good time to let go of some resentment that has been simmering too long – even if we’re in the right – and start over again with the offender.

The “new heavens and a new earth” that God seeks to create begins, God says, by forgetting “the things of the past,” of no longer “remembering” the failures and sins that have brought ruin to the people of Jerusalem.

So, this Lent is the time to let it go, apologize if we can – and begin to re-create our own community in the joy of God’s “new” heavens and earth.

In the Gospel today Jesus acknowledges the faith of the royal official. Our faith is the ability to see and hear and behold our life and our world in the midst of doubts and uncertainty, to trust.  It is not a certainty.  I know that two times two is four; two times three is six.  I know that when I put gas in my car, my car will run — those are things I know.  Real certainty does not require hope. I don’t need to ‘hope’ two and two equals four. But I do need to hope that what I believe about God and Jesus are true.

Many nonbelievers equate faith with certainty, or with a desire for explanations: how the world came to be, why the good suffer, what we are here for. And some who consider themselves ‘believers’ make superstitious use of religion — but few serious believers think of faith that way. For men and women of ‘faith,’ real faith is a perception, a way of looking at life, a form of gratitude — and very far from anything like explanation or certainty. Faith is the hope that God’s love is different, that whatever our limited love may be, God’s love is perfect, complete, unconditional . . . Our faith is an ability to see and hear and behold our life and our world that enables us, in the midst of doubts and uncertainty, to trust. [From “Reasons for Our Hope” by John Garvey, Commonweal, August 15, 2008.]

            The royal official in today’s Gospel possesses such faith: the awareness and hope that the love of God is a living reality in his life and the life of his family. While we demand certainty, Jesus offers us something else: a reason to trust, a base line for hope, a prism for looking at the world with gratitude for what has been and what will be. Faith is the ability to hope that we can transform and remake, re-create and re-focus our lives in the love of God and in the life of the Risen Christ. Especially in times of uncertainty.

O God, help me to “forget” the hurts and resentments that entomb me in anger and sadness. Open my spirit so that I can put aside the disappointments I endure and be about the work of establishing your “new” heaven and earth of reconciliation and peace.

An Act of Spiritual Communion

My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.

I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul.

Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.