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Parish Daily Update 1/12/21

Dear Parish Family,

“God is always trying to give good things to us but our hands are too full to receive them.”   

                ~St. Augustine

Don’t forget to call before Thursday, 4:00, for Mass reservations.  The office number is 601-856-2054.

NOON MASS – I would encourage you, if you would like to attend the Sunday noon Mass, to call for reservations.  It is becoming fuller each week, and seems to be the Mass that a lot of folks don’t make reservations for.  This past Sunday it was actually our largest Mass.  We don’t like to make you wait in the hallway for people with reservations to arrive and be seated; and we don’t want to have to turn anyone away because we are at capacity.

Next Monday is Martin Luther King Day and the office will be closed.

God bless,

Pam

Wednesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time 

First Reading:  Hebrew 2:14-18 

Since the children share in blood and Flesh, Jesus likewise shared in them, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the Devil, and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life. Surely he did not help angels but rather the descendants of Abraham; therefore, he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God
to expiate the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested through what he suffered,
he is able to help those who are being tested. 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9 

R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name;
make known among the nations his deeds.
Sing to him, sing his praise,
proclaim all his wondrous deeds.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
Glory in his holy name;
rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!
Look to the LORD in his strength;
seek to serve him constantly.
R.  The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
throughout the earth his judgments prevail.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
He remembers forever his covenant
which he made binding for a thousand generations– 
Which he entered into with Abraham
and by his oath to Isaac. 
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.

 

Gospel:  Mark 1:29-39 

On leaving the synagogue
Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them. When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases,
and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him. 

Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose, have I come.” So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee. 

Homily 

Rising very early before dawn, [Jesus] left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”  Mark 1:29‑39 

The Jesus that Mark portrays in his Gospel doesn’t stop – there are always crowds wanting a piece of him. 

Most of us feel for Jesus and understand what it’s like not to have a moment to ourselves, never to see the “things‑to‑do” list completed, running in too many directions trying to meet all the demands of family, work and community. 

In today’s Gospel reading and in tomorrow’s Gospel, the evangelist Mark includes the detail that Jesus intentionally seeks out a “deserted place, where he prayed.” That “deserted place” is what enables Jesus to keep his balance and focus on the work God had entrusted him to complete. 

Like Jesus, we all need our own “deserted place,” even though that can be especially difficult for some of us who have been confined to our homes with our families for almost a year now. Just finding a place to be alone for a few minutes can be quite a challenge. 

So, make it your goal today to find your own “deserted place.” It can be a space – a chair behind a closed door, quite time before the family wakes up; it can be a time – a walk around the block; or it can be an activity in which we can re‑connect with God – reading and reflecting on the day’s Gospel or a book by a spiritual writer whose work resonates with you. 

Whatever and wherever it may be, find your own “deserted place.” 

Lead us, O God, to that “deserted place” where we find your peace, where we can hear the reassurance and consolation of your voice, where we can drink from the spring of your grace and wisdom. Help us to see you in the midst of our busy lives and allow ourselves to be embraced by your love in the love and care of family and friends. 

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.  

Saint Hilary, Bishop and Doctor of the Church 

After becoming a Christian, he was elected bishop of Poitiers in what is now France by the laity and clergy. He was already married with one daughter named Apra. 

Not everyone at that time had the same idea of who they were. The Arians did not believe in the divinity of Christ and the Arians had a lot of power including the support of the emperor Constantius. This resulted in many persecutions. When Hilary refused to support their condemnation of Saint Athanasius, he was exiled from Poitiers to the East in 356. The Arians couldn’t have had a worse plan — for themselves. 

Hilary really had known very little of the whole Arian controversy before he was banished. Perhaps he supported Athanasius simply because he didn’t like their methods. But being exiled from his home and his duties gave him plenty of time to study and write. He learned everything he could about what the Arians said and what the orthodox Christians answered and then he began to write. “Although in exile we shall speak through these books, and the word of God, which cannot be bound, shall move about in freedom.” The writings of his that still exist include On the Trinity, a commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, and a commentary on the Psalms. He tells us about the Trinity, “For one to attempt to speak of God in terms more precise than he himself has used: — to undertake such a thing is to embark upon the boundless, to dare the incomprehensible. He fixed the names of His nature: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Whatever is sought over and above this is beyond the meaning of words, beyond the limits of perception, beyond the embrace of understanding.” 

After three years the emperor kicked him back to Poitiers, because, we are told by Sulpicius Severus, the emperor was tired of having to deal with the troublemaker, “a sower of discord an a disturber of the Orient.” But no one told Hilary he had to go straight back to his home and so he took a leisurely route through Greece and Italy, preaching against the Arians as he went. 

In the East he had also heard the hymns used by Arians and orthodox Christians as propaganda. These hymns were not based on Scripture as Western hymns but full of beliefs about God. Back at home, Hilary started writing hymns of propaganda himself to spread the faith. His hymns are the first in the West with a known writer. 

St. Hilary of Poitiers was not only the bishop of Poitiers, but also a doctor of the Church. The title doctor of the Church is given to individuals who have provided important contributions to theology and doctrine. 

Sometimes called “the Hammer of the Arians,” St. Hilary lived in the first half of the fourth century (circa 310 – 367 A.D.) His feast day is Jan. 13. In honor of this feast day, here are some quotes from some of St. Hilary’s writings: 

“They didn’t know who they were.” This is how Hilary summed up the problem with the Arian heretics of the fourth century. 

Hilary, on the other hand, knew very well who he was — a child of a loving God who had inherited eternal life through belief in the Son of God. He hadn’t been raised as a Christian but he had felt a wonder at the gift of life and a desire to find out the meaning of that gift. He first discarded the approach of many people who around him, who believed the purpose of life was only to satisfy desires. He knew he wasn’t a beast grazing in a pasture. The philosophers agreed with him. Human beings should rise above desires and live a life of virtue, they said. But Hilary could see in his own heart that humans were meant for even more than living a good life. 

If he didn’t lead a virtuous life, he would suffer from guilt and be unhappy. His soul seemed to cry out that wasn’t enough to justify the enormous gift of life. So Hilary went looking for the giftgiver. He was told many things about the divine — many that we still hear today: that there were many Gods, that God didn’t exist but all creation was the result of random acts of nature, that God existed but didn’t really care for his creation, that God was in creatures or images. One look in his own soul told him these images of the divine were wrong. God had to be one because no creation could be as great as God. God had to be concerned with God’s creation — otherwise why create it? 

At that point, Hilary tells us, he “chanced upon” the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. When he read the verse where God tells Moses “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14), Hilary said, “I was frankly amazed at such a clear definition of God, which expressed the incomprehensible knowledge of the divine nature in words most suited to human intelligence.” In the Psalms and the Prophets he found descriptions of God’s power, concern, and beauty. For example in Psalm 139, “Where shall I go from your spirit?”, he found confirmation that God was everywhere and omnipotent. 

But still he was troubled. He knew the giftgiver now, but what was he, the recipient of the gift? Was he just created for the moment to disappear at death? It only made sense to him that God’s purpose in creation should be “that what did not exist began to exist, not that what had begun to exist would cease to exist.” Then he found the Gospels and read John’s words including “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God…” (John 1:1-2). From John he learned of the Son of God and how Jesus had been sent to bring eternal life to those who believed.