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Parish Daily Update 6/24/20

Dear Parish Family,

Pope Francis on Twitter: “God created us for communion, for fraternity.  Now more than ever the pretense of focusing everything on ourselves, making individualism society’s guiding principle, has proven illusory.  We have to be careful!  When the emergency is over we can easily fall back into this illusion.”

Lately, in my conversations and interactions with various people, I am noticing that more and more folks are “pandemic weary.”  We are TIRED of the restrictions, protocols, and limits we have been living under!  We are TIRED of not being able to hug or shake hands with our friends and neighbors!  We are TIRED of having to wear uncomfortable masks! We are TIRED of being aware of that 6-foot distance measurement!  We are just so tired of it ALL!!

This is something we are all feeling at different times and in different degrees.  While some feel like it’s all “nonsense” and that we all need to be out and going about our normal lives, some are still very, very concerned about the possibility of contracting the virus because of their age, their underlying health conditions, or the need to protect vulnerable family members.  There are also many, many people who fall somewhere between the “nonsense” and “extreme care” levels of thought/feeling. 

I have been hearing a lot of “when are we going to get back to normal at Mass?”  My answer is “no time soon.”  While our activities outside of church are basically governed by what each individual wants to do, within the church we are charged with protecting the health and safety, the common good of all who come through the doors.  The bishop and his committee, in cooperation with experts in infectious diseases and the Health Department and CDC, are continually evaluating the reality of what’s happening with the COVID numbers – especially the large rise in the number of hospitalizations and ICU admittances.

We, especially in our own St. Joseph Parish Community, love and care for each other.  Not everyone knows the reality of each other’s health conditions, or how careful each individual is trying to be while still desiring to attend Mass and receive the Eucharist.  So, while we are all TIRED, I ask that we persevere, we respect one another’s cautions and sensitivities, we take care of each other and our precious Father Kevin.  We have faith that this crisis will come to an end!  God IS with us and will continue to accompany us through the trials and difficulties, and also through the blessings and the good things that are coming out of it.

Remember, the deadline for Mass reservations is tomorrow, Thursday, 4:00 p.m.  Call 601-856-2054 to reserve your spots.  Also, please come to Mass early to give us time to check you in and to have the ushers seat you.  The doors are closed after Mass begins to give the ushers the opportunity to join their families and participate in Mass.

I am always available for questions or comments!

God bless you all!

Pam

Thursday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

First Reading:  2 Kings 24:8-17

Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Nehushta, daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem. He did evil in the sight of the LORD, just as his forebears had done. At that time the officials of  Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, attacked Jerusalem, and the city came under siege.
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, himself arrived at the city while his servants were besieging it. Then Jehoiachin, king of Judah, together with his mother, his ministers, officers, and functionaries, surrendered to the king of Babylon, who, in the eighth year of his reign, took him captive. And he carried off all the treasures of the temple of the LORD and those of the palace,
and broke up all the gold utensils that Solomon, king of Israel, had provided in the temple of the LORD, as the LORD had foretold. He deported all Jerusalem: all the officers and men of the army, ten thousand in number, and all the craftsmen and smiths. None were left among the people of the land except the poor. He deported Jehoiachin to Babylon, and also led captive from Jerusalem to Babylon the king’s mother and wives, his functionaries, and the chief men of the land. The king of Babylon also led captive to Babylon all seven thousand men of the army,
and a thousand craftsmen and smiths, all of them trained soldiers. In place of Jehoiachin,
the king of Babylon appointed his uncle Mattaniah king, and changed his name to Zedekiah.

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 79:1b-2, 3-5, 8, 9

R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
O God, the nations have come into your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple,
they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
They have given the corpses of your servants
as food to the birds of heaven,
the flesh of your faithful ones to the beasts of the earth.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
They have poured out their blood like water
round about Jerusalem,
and there is no one to bury them.
We have become the reproach of our neighbors,
the scorn and derision of those around us.
O LORD, how long? Will you be angry forever?
Will your jealousy burn like fire?
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
may your compassion quickly come to us,
for we are brought very low.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Help us, O God our savior,
because of the glory of your name;
Deliver us and pardon our sins
for your name’s sake.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.

Gospel:  Mt 7:21-29

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’ “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.” When Jesus finished these words, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.

Homily

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like the wise man who built his house on rock.”  Matthew 7:21-29

A young priest had recently begun his first pastorate. One day he visited an older priest, a retired pastor who had served as his mentor. The senior cleric welcomed him warmly and asked how things are going.

As they talked, the new pastor lamented the many demands made on the church’s charity.

“I know we’re supposed to help the poor, but these people are asking for help with a bus ticket or a utility bill or gas money or food. Is that really their story? The last thing they’re likely to spend that money on is a bus ticket or a utility bill or gas or food. I’m not naïve. They’ll probably spend it on something we shouldn’t be supporting, something that I certainly don’t support.”

Finally, the young priest sighed, “It gets exhausting justifying who I’m going to help and why.”

The older priest said nothing, letting his young colleague’s words hang in the air. Then the older priest replied, “What business is it of yours to determine who gets help and who doesn’t? Why exhaust yourself with that burden? You are a follower of Jesus Christ. Your task, therefore, is to share out of the wealth of God’s abundance. Your work is to love others as God loves you. Your job is simply to give. Judgement is God’s domain – and he’s much better at it than you and I are.”

Compassionate charity is at the heart of discipleship. But Jesus calls us to give and serve not according to some divinely-sanctioned measuring device or formula to determine what is “fair” and “justifiable” charity; the purpose of our giving to others is not to make us feel good about ourselves or superior to the poor and broken. Jesus calls us to give in a spirit of gratitude for the blessings we have received, to realize that whatever blessings we have received by God are meant to be shared. The good we do – healing, restoring, lifting up, forgiving – should not be statements of dogmatic conviction but prayers of humble gratitude to God who has loved us and blessed us abundantly.

Free us, O God, of our self-centeredness and fears so that we may use whatever “piece of chalk” you have given us to make our mark of compassion, of justice, of mercy. And may we stand behind our chalk marks against those who would wash them away, ready to write them again and again and again.

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.

Amen.