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Parish Daily Update 6/27/20

Dear Parish Family,

“As for me, I will always hope

and praise you more and more.

My lips will tell of your justice

And day by day of your help though I can never tell it all.

I will declare the Lord’s mighty deeds

Proclaiming your justice, yours alone.

O God, you have taught me from my youth

And I proclaim your wonders still.”

                        Psalm 71:14-17

If you didn’t make your Mass reservations, or are unable to join us at Mass tomorrow, a link to the recorded 8:00 a.m. Mass will be posted early afternoon!  Watch for your email.

The readings and Father Kevin’s homily for tomorrow follow.

God bless you!

Pam

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 28, 2020

First Reading:  2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16

One day Elisha came to Shunem, where there was a woman of influence, who urged him to dine with her. Afterward, whenever he passed by, he used to stop there to dine. So, she said to her husband, “I know that Elisha is a holy man of God. Since he visits us often, let us arrange a little room on the roof and furnish it for him with a bed, table, chair, and lamp, so that when he comes to us he can stay there.” Sometime later Elisha arrived and stayed in the room overnight. Later Elisha asked, “Can something be done for her?” His servant Gehazi answered, “Yes! She has no son, and her husband is getting on in years.” Elisha said, “Call her.” When the woman had been called and stood at the door, Elisha promised, “This time next year you will be fondling a baby son.”

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 89:2-3, 16-17, 18-19

R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
The promises of the LORD I will sing forever,
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever;”
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
Blessed the people who know the joyful shout;
in the light of your countenance, O LORD, they walk.
At your name they rejoice all the day,
and through your justice they are exalted.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
You are the splendor of their strength,
and by your favor our horn is exalted.
For to the LORD belongs our shield,
and the Holy One of Israel, our king.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

Second Reading:  Romans 6:3-4, 8-11

Brothers and sisters:
Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life. If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him. As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God. Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus.

Gospel:  Mt 10:37-42

Jesus said to his apostles:
“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because the little one is a disciple— amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”

Homily

“Whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me . . . Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward …” Matthew 10:37-42

            For more than fifty of his more than eighty years, Nurney Mason was a barber in the United States House of Representatives. Mason cut hair out of a tiny booth in the basement of the Rayburn Office Building – his little stall saw nearly as much history as the floor of the Capitol itself. And every day, he brought to his job not only his barbering skills, but kindness, optimism and encouragement. He would greet everyone – whether powerful Congressman or lowest-level staffer – with a solid handshake and a knowing smile. Mason stayed upbeat, day after day, the vibrations of his clippers surely jarring his wrists over the half century he worked.

            He was asked by one of his Congressional customers how he stayed so upbeat and happy all the time.

            Nurney Mason replied simply, “I just make it right here. I create joy where I stand.”

[From The President’s Devotional by Joshua DuBois.]

            Nurney Mason possesses the heart and soul of the prophet that Jesus exalts in today’s Gospel. Such a “prophet” responds to God’s call to “create joy where I stand,” to reveal God’s compassion and peace “right here,” wherever he or she lives and works and plays. “Prophetic faith” is to seek out every opportunity to use every gift God has given us, to devote every resource at our disposal to make the love of God a living reality in every life we touch.

            The true disciple of Christ takes a very different approach to resolving conflict — an approach totally at odds with the winning-is-everything creed of our world.  We are called to work for reconciliation at all costs, to risk our ego, pride and prestige for the sake of family, community and friendship.  The first tentative step in bridging the distance between us and others and the last-ditch effort in healing whatever hurt estranges us from others is the duty of the faithful disciple.  Jesus calls us to rise from the grave of self to live the Father’s love for all his children.

            To imitate the love of Jesus demands more than being nice to one another — to imitate Jesus is to recognize Christ in one another, to serve Christ in one another, to welcome Christ in one another.  To imitate Jesus is to take up the cross and what it stands for; unconditional forgiveness, the total emptying of ourselves of our wants and comfort for the sake of another, the spurning of safety and convention in order to do what is right and just.  Jesus asks of us to embrace the faith that opens our hearts and spirits to recognize and honor Christ in every human being.

            The woman of Shumen hungered for what Elisha brought: God’s word.  The author of the Second Book of Kings describes her as a woman of influence.  She could have dismissed Elisha as a man of no importance, but she did not.  Because she hungered for what Elisha brought, she provided a room for him.  Elisha foretold that this middle-aged woman and her husband would have a child within 12 months.  Years later when the child dies, Elisha restored him to life.  How poor might that woman’s life have been if she had judged Elisha a failure because he was not wealthy or powerful.

            Paul tells the Christians in Rome that they were baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection.  The Christians in Rome knew very well that Jesus died on a cross, the most horrible form of execution that the Romans administered.  Following such a leader takes courage.  Jesus was successful because he was faithful to the Father, obedient and generous.  To people who saw the crucifixion as proof that he failed, Jesus remained a terrible failure.  Approximately seven years later, after Paul wrote his letter to the Romans, the persecution of Christians began under the Emperor Nero.  The question of what a follower of Jesus meant would become much more urgent when it could mean death.  Paul urges the Romans – and us – to be “alive for God in Christ Jesus.”  Jesus became their new measuring device for evaluating success and failure.

            Often the cause of violence of whatever kind is prejudice.  We can easily presume racist attitudes under the guise of preserving our culture, maintaining our standards and so on.  The violence of prejudice is that it is so selective and so protective.  We do not mind immigrants digging our ditches, sweeping our roads and driving our buses … but we don’t want them moving into our neighborhood.  We don’t want too many of their children in our schools.  And yet St. Paul says that all distinctions are gone because we are all one in Christ.

            Jesus says that following him can very well cause tension within our family but what is called for is the effort.  Even a cup of cold water given in his name is worthwhile, if that is all we can muster. Hospitality offered in the name of Jesus is offered to Jesus.  The “least little ones” count as much as the high and mighty.  Jesus says: “He who seeks only himself brings ruin …”  Maybe we need to rethink what are our goals and aspirations.  Maybe it is time to be a faithful follower of Jesus to strive for a goal larger than my own happiness.

            The scripture invites us to readjust our vision. As Jesus comes to us in the Eucharist, he will provide us with the strength we need to do his work.

            We are sent from here to proclaim God’s peace: peace that is centered in embracing Jesus’ attitude of compassion, a peace that enables us to bring forth the good within others, peace that is returned to us in extending the blessing of that peace to others.

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.

Extra

            I recall reading the reflections of a man who served both the police department and military in knocking on doors to bring bad news to people.  He described his job as “one of the most difficult jobs in the world: to be the Army officer and the police officer who must knock on someone’s door and tell them that a husband or wife, a son or daughter, had died.”

            He lived in Oregon and held both jobs.  He said that too many times he had to knock on a family’s door to deliver bad news.  As such, he reflected that he had become a student of doors and how to approach them.  You never bang.  Women first look to see who is there before opening the door, men just open it; children never open the door.  If he is wearing his Army uniform, people know immediately why he is there; when he is on duty as a policeman, he could be there for any number of reasons.  In discharging his duties, he must be prepared to deal with grief, anger and shock that sometimes results in medical distress.

He says of his work:

            I try to visit in late morning.  I stay as long as necessary.  I have been in some houses for hours.  Sometimes I have waited with a person all afternoon until his or her spouse comes home from work.  You mostly listen.

            “People tell stories.  Often their first reaction, after the initial shock and grief, is to tell stories.  They have to get their feelings out.  I have heard thousands of these stories.  Friends tell me I should write them down, but I say they are a private matter, that it wouldn’t be right.  I also convey information about counseling, funeral arrangements, and legal matters.  Most people aren’t ready to discuss the details.  They are too stunned.  But they do want to discuss the facts of the death.

            “It is a difficult job and it wears you down.  I try to do it with as much dignity as possible…  The hardest messages to deliver are about the deaths of children.  There is nothing I can say – other than the facts – to a mother or a father in that situation.  So, I don’t try.  I have often thought that what I am doing is a communal act, that it represents the town itself, standing there on the porch.  I stand straight, speak clearly, and wear the full uniform …”

            “I take as much time as is needed.  When I am absolutely sure the initial shock has lessened and the person is safe to be alone in the house, I express my condolences and prepare to leave.  At the door before I put on my hat, I usually add that I will keep the deceased in my prayers.  I make it clear that I am saying this as a private citizen, not as a soldier or a policeman.  In my experience, saying that and meaning it matters a lot.  Generally, I stop at the church on the way back and say the rosary.  It’s become a form of closure for me, a way to hand over the pain.”

[“The Knock” by Brian Doyle Commonweal, February 9, 2007]

            We are sent from here to proclaim God’s peace: peace that is centered in embracing Jesus’ attitude of compassion, a peace that enables us to bring forth the good within others, peace that is returned to us in extending the blessing of that peace to others.