Dear St. Joseph Family,
“The Lord is the strength of his people, a saving refuge for the one he has anointed. Save your people, Lord, and bless your heritage, and govern them for ever.” Psalm 28:8-9
Here is the link for today’s Mass:
We are having increasing numbers of folks show up for Masses without calling ahead for reservations, and our space, especially at the first two Masses, is getting tighter and tighter. PLEASE remember to call each week for reservations. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you 😊 The hours to call to make Mass reservations are Monday – Thursday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The office number is 601-856-2054.
Happy Father’s Day!
Monday of the Twelfth Week
in Ordinary Time
First Reading: 2 Kgs 17:5-8, 13-15, 18
Shalmaneser, king of Assyria,
occupied the whole land and attacked Samaria, which he besieged for three
years. In the ninth year of Hoshea, king of Israel the king of Assyria took
and deported the children of Israel to Assyria, setting them in Halah, at the Habor, a river of Gozan, and the cities of the Medes. This came about because the children of Israel sinned against the LORD, their God, who had brought them up from the land of Egypt, from under the domination of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and because they venerated other gods. They followed the rites of the nations whom the LORD had cleared out of the way of the children of Israel and the kings of Israel whom they set up. And though the LORD warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and seer, “Give up your evil ways and keep my commandments and statutes, in accordance with the entire law which I enjoined on your fathers and which I sent you by my servants the prophets,” they did not listen, but were as stiff-necked as their fathers, who had not believed in the LORD, their God. They rejected his statutes, the covenant which he had made with their fathers, and the warnings which he had given them, till, in his great anger against Israel, the LORD put them away out of his sight. Only the tribe of Judah was left.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 60:3, 4-5, 12-13
R. Help us with your right
hand, O Lord, and answer us.
O God, you have rejected us and broken our defenses;
you have been angry; rally us!
R. Help us with your right hand, O Lord, and answer us.
You have rocked the country and split it open;
repair the cracks in it, for it is tottering.
You have made your people feel hardships;
you have given us stupefying wine.
R. Help us with your right hand, O Lord, and answer us.
Have not you, O God, rejected us,
so that you go not forth, O God, with our armies?
Give us aid against the foe,
for worthless is the help of men.
R. Help us with your right hand, O Lord, and answer us.
Gospel: Mt 7:1-5
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.”
Saint John Fisher and Saint Thomas More
“… the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.” Matthew 7:1-5
To us, it might seem an overreaction: The sovereign wants to divorce his wife? Fine. Take an oath swearing allegiance to the king’s plan? Sign the thing – and move on.
But John Fisher, the bishop of Rochester, and the king’s chancellor Thomas More couldn’t do that. Henry VIII’s self-centeredness and insatiable appetites were one thing, but the integrity of their faith as bishop and government official required them to uphold the principles of the unity of Christ’s church and the sacredness of Christian marriage. On this day in 1535, John Fisher and Thomas More paid the ultimate price for upholding that principle.
So what principles are we willing to vote for, even at the expense of our own interests? For what hope are we willing to sacrifice? When are we willing to say yes to the things of God when it means saying no to someone who can make our life miserable?
As we draw closer to our critical decision of who will serve as our next President and as our representatives in Congress, let the courage of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More inspire us to realize our great responsibility to become informed citizens and voters, to provide the common good over self-interest, to place moral and ethical principle over political expediency.
O God, open our eyes and hearts to see the world as you created it, to look beyond class designations and offices to see fellow human beings, good but flawed, all formed in your love. May your Spirit that enabled your saints John Fisher and Thomas Moore to give their lives for the sake what is right and just enable us to be your voice of peace and your ministers of justice that we may create your Kingdom of justice and peace in our time and place.
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,
I ask You to come spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You, trusting that you are already there and I unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.
St. John Fisher & Thomas More
Thomas More was born in London on February 7, 1478. His father, Sir John More, was a lawyer and judge who rose to prominence during the reign of Edward IV. His connections and wealth would help his son, Thomas, rise in station as a young man. Thomas’ mother was Agnes Graunger, the first wife of John More. John would have four wives during his life, but they each died, leaving John as a widower. Thomas had two brothers and three sisters, but three of his siblings died within a year of their birth. Such tragedies were common in England during this time.
It is likely that Thomas was positively influenced from a young age by his mother and siblings. He also attended St. Anthony’s School, which was said to be one of the best schools in London at that time. In 1490, he became a household page to John Morton, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Chancellor of England. Archbishop Morton was a Renaissance man and inspired Thomas to pursue his own education.
Thomas More entered Oxford in 1492, where he would learn Latin, Greek and prepare for his future studies. In 1494, he left Oxford to become a lawyer and he trained in London until 1502 when he was finally approved to begin practice.
Almost as soon as More became a lawyer, he found himself contemplating another path in life. For two years, between 1503 and 1504, More lived next to a Carthusian monastery and he found himself called to follow their lifestyle of simple piety. He often joined their spiritual exercises.
By 1504, More had decided to remain in the secular world, and stood for election to Parliament. But he did not forget the pious monks who inspired his practice of the faith.
Thomas More married his first wife, Jane Colt in 1505. They would have four children together before her death in 1511. Their marriage was reportedly happy and Thomas often tutored her in music and literature.
After Jane’s death in 1511, Thomas quickly remarried to Alice Harpur Middleton, who was a wealthy widow. Alice was not particularly attractive, and her temperament was less docile than Jane’s. The wedding took place less than a month after Jane’s passing and was poorly received by his friends.
It was rumored that Thomas married her because he wanted a stepmother for his four children, and she was a woman of wealth and means. It is believed the pair knew each other for some time prior to their marriage. They would have no children together. Thomas accepted Alice’s daughter from her previous marriage as his own.
Thomas was considered a doting father, and he often wrote letters to his children when he was away on work. He also insisted that his daughters receive the same education as his son. His daughters were well known for their academic accomplishments.
In 1504, More was elected to Parliament to represent the region of Great Yarmouth, and in 1510 rose to represent London. During his service to the people of London, he earned a reputation as being honest and effective. He became a Privy Counselor in 1514.
More also honed his skills as a theologian and a writer. Among his most famous works is “Utopia,” about a fictional, idealistic island society. The work is widely regarded as part satire, part social commentary, part suggestion. Utopia is considered one of the greatest works of the late Renaissance and was widely read during the Enlightenment period. It remains well by scholars read today.
From 1517 on, Henry VIII took a liking to Thomas More, and gave him posts of ever-increasing responsibility. In 1521, he was knighted and made Under-Treasurer of the Exchequer.
The King’s trust in More grew with time and More was soon made Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, which gave him authority over the northern portion of England on behalf of Henry.
More became Lord Chancellor in 1529.
More was immediately effective, working with speed and precision that is admired today. He was likely one of Henry VIII’s most effective servants, and was fiercely loyal to the king.
During his tenure as Lord Chancellor, More prosecuted those accused of heresy and worked tirelessly to defend the Catholic faith in England. This was an arduous, but achievable task as long as he enjoyed Henry’s favor. However, in 1530, as Henry worked to obtain an annulment from his wife, Catherine, Moore refused to sign a letter to the Pope, requesting an annulment. This was More’s first time crossing Henry.
The relationship between More and Henry became strained again when seeking to isolate More, Henry purged many of the clergy who supported the Pope. It became clear to all that Henry was prepared to break away from the Church in Rome, something More knew he could not condone.
In 1532, More found himself unable to work for Henry VIII, whom he felt had lost his way as a Catholic. Faced with the prospect of being compelled to actively support Henry’s schism with the Church, More offered his resignation, citing failing health. Henry accepted it, although he was unhappy with what he viewed as flagging loyalty.
In 1533, More refused to attend the coronation of Anne Boylen, who was now the Queen of England. More instead wrote a letter of congratulations. The letter, as opposed to his direct presence offended Henry greatly. The king viewed More’s absence as an insult to his new queen and an undermining of his authority as head of the church and state.
Henry then had charges trumped up against More, but More’s own integrity protected him. In the first instance, he was accused of accepting bribes, but there was simply no evidence that could be obtained or manufactured. He was then accused of conspiracy against the king, because he allegedly consulted with a nun who prophesied against Henry and his wife, Anne. However, More was able to produce a letter in which he specifically instructed the nun, Elizabeth Barton, not to interfere with politics.
On April 13, 1534, More was ordered to take an oath, acknowledging the legitimicies of Anne’s position as queen, of Henry’s self-granted annulment from Catherine, and the superior position of the King as head of the church. More accepted Henry’s marriage to Anne, but refused to acknowledge Henry as head of the church, or his annulment from Catherine. This led to his arrest and imprisonment. He was locked away in the Tower of London.
St.John Fisher was born in Beverly, Yorkshire, in 1459, and educated at Cambridge, from which he received his Master of Arts degree in 1491. He occupied the vicarage of Northallerton, 1491-1494; then he became proctor of Cambridge University. In 1497, he was appointed confessor to Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII, and became closely associated in her endowments to Cambridge; he created scholarships, introduced Greek and Hebrew into the curriculum, and brought in the world-famous Erasmus as professor of Divinity and Greek. In 1504, he became Bishop of Rochester and Chancellor of Cambridge, in which capacity he also tutored Prince Henry who was to become Henry VIII. St. John was dedicated to the welfare of his diocese and his university. From 1527, this humble servant of God actively opposed the King’s divorce proceedings against Catherine, his wife in the sight of God, and steadfastly resisted the encroachment of Henry on the Church. Unlike the other Bishops of the realm, St. John refused to take the oath of succession which acknowledged the issue of Henry and Anne as the legitimate heir to the throne, and he was imprisoned in the tower in April 1534. The next year he was made a Cardinal by Paul III and Henry retaliated by having him beheaded within a month. A half hour before his execution, this dedicated scholar and churchman opened his New Testament for the last time and his eyes fell on the following words from St. John’s Gospel: “Eternal life is this: to know You, the only true God, and Him Whom You have sent, Jesus Christ. I have given You glory on earth by finishing the work You gave me to do. Do You now, Father, give me glory at Your side”. Closing the book, he observed: “There is enough learning in that to last me the rest of my life.” His feast day is June 22. Both men opposed the King in his marriage and opposed the king in his setting himself up as the leader of the Church. Both were executed because of their opposition.
St. Paulinus of Nola
Bishop of Nola and writer. Pontius Meropius Anicius Paulinus was born to a wealthy Roman family at Bordeaux, in Gaul. His father was the praetorian prefect of Gaul who made certain that his son received a sound education. Paulinus studied rhetoric and poetry and learned from the famed poet Ausonius. He subsequently became a well-known lawyer. He became the prefect of Rome, married a Spanish noble lady, Therasia, and led a luxury filled life. Following the death of his son a week after his birth in 390, Paulinus retreated from the world and came to be baptized a Christian by St. Delphinus in Aquitaine. With Therasia, he gave away their property and vast fortune to the poor and to the Church, and they pursued a life of deep austerity and mortifications. About 393, he was forcibly ordained a priest by the bishop of Barcelona. Soon after, he moved to an estate near the tomb of St. Nola near Naples, Italy. There, he and his wife practiced rigorous asceticism and helped to establish a community of monks. To the consternation of his other relatives, he sold all of their estates in Gaul and gave the money to the poor. He also helped to build a church at Fondi, a basilica near the tomb of St. Felix, a hospital for travelers, and an aqueduct. Many of the poor and sick he brought into his own house, and he lived as a hermit with several of his friends. In 409, he was elected bishop of Nola, serving in this office with great distinction until his death. He was a friend and correspondent of virtually all of the leading figures of his era, including Sts. Augustine, Jerome, Ambrose, Martin of Tours, and Pope Anastasius I. Paulinus was also a gifted poet, earning the distinction of being one of the foremost Christian Latin poets of the Patristic period, an honor he shares with Prudentius. Paulinus retained much of the style of the old classical poets, and composed most of the poems in honor of the feast of St. Felix. He is the author of a body of extant works including fifty-one letters, thirty-two poems, and several prose pieces.