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Parish Daily Update 6/5/21

Dear Parish Family,

“Let us trust in Him who has placed this burden upon us.  What we ourselves cannot bear let us bear with the help of Christ.  For He is all-powerful, and He tells us:  ‘My yoke is easy, and my burden light.’”    ~St. Boniface

SUNDAY MASS:  As you come to Mass tomorrow and going forward, we will no longer have ushers seating you! A huge thank you goes out to those men and women who have given their time over the past year to help find seats for everyone!!!   While I understand that everyone loves “their” place in the church, PLEASE be aware of the need for everyone to find a seat without having to climb over those who are hugging the aisles.  If possible, please scoot over to allow others to be safely seated.  Also, be aware of the 3-foot social distance we are still required to maintain.  (As a guide, for most people, from your nose to the fingertips of your outstretched arm is approx. 3 ft.)  Thank you all for your cooperation and for your care and concern for your fellow St. Joseph Parish family members — Let’s continue to take care of each other!!

SUNDAY MASS OBLIGATION:  Please remember that Bishop Kopacz is lifting the Dispensation from the Sunday Mass Obligation beginning tomorrow.  Once again, all Catholics in good health are Obligated to attend Mass every Sunday.  As usual, if you are sick, immune compromised, or fearful of returning to a Sunday Mass, you have the option of staying home or attending a daily Mass on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. to fulfill your Sunday obligation.  If you need to discuss your particular situation, please feel free to call me!

DAILY EMAILS:  As we are well into our “return to normal,” today will be the last of our daily emails.  Going forward, we will send one email a week, which will normally come on Wednesdays, and which will include parish information along with the readings and Father Kevin’s homily for the upcoming Sunday. 

GOOD SAMARITAN DRIVE:  Next Sunday, June 13, the KCs and Ladies Auxiliary will be sponsoring a drive to benefit the Good Samaritan Center.  The Good Samaritan Center is an organization which collects furniture, household goods, decorative items, linens, and non-perishable food items and donates them to people in need.  (Please do NOT bring clothing items!)  If you have any of these items you would like to donate, please bring them to the church, room 107, on Sunday, June 13. 

God bless,

Pam

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ  

First Reading:  Exodus 24:3-8 

When Moses came to the people and related all the words and ordinances of the LORD, they all answered with one voice, “We will do everything that the LORD has told us.” Moses then wrote down all the words of the LORD and, rising early the next day, he erected at the foot of the mountain an altar and twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. Then, having sent certain young men of the Israelites to offer holocausts and sacrifice young bulls as peace offerings to the LORD, Moses took half of the blood and put it in large bowls; the other half he splashed on the altar. Taking the book of the covenant, he read it aloud to the people, who answered, “All that the LORD has said, we will heed and do.” Then he took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words of his.” 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 116:12-13, 15-16, 17-18 

R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
How shall I make a return to the LORD
for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones.
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
you have loosed my bonds.
R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people.
R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.

 

Second Reading:  Hebrews 9:11-15 

Brothers and sisters:
When Christ came as high priest of the good things that have come to be, passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation,
he entered once for all into the sanctuary, not with the blood of goats and calves but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of a heifer’s ashes can sanctify those who are defiled so that their flesh is cleansed, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God,
cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God. For this reason he is mediator of a new covenant: since a death has taken place for deliverance from transgressions under the first covenant, those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance. 

Sequence – Lauda Sion

The shorter form of the sequence 

Lo! the angel’s food is given
To the pilgrim who has striven;
see the children’s bread from heaven,
which on dogs may not be spent. 

Truth the ancient types fulfilling,
Isaac bound, a victim willing,
Paschal lamb, its lifeblood spilling,
manna to the fathers sent. 

Very bread, good shepherd, tend us,
Jesu, of your love befriend us,
You refresh us, you defend us,
Your eternal goodness send us
In the land of life to see. 

You who all things can and know,
Who on earth such food bestow,
Grant us with your saints, though lowest,
Where the heav’nly feast you show,
Fellow heirs and guests to be. Amen. Alleluia. 

Gospel:  Mark 14:12-16, 22-26 

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb,
Jesus’ disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water. Follow him. Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house,
‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”‘
Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there.”
The disciples then went off, entered the city, and found it just as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover. While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many. Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 

Homily 

“[Jesus] took bread, said the blessing, broke it, gave it to them and said, ‘Take it; this is my body.’” Mark 14:12-16, 22-26 

                Elizabeth’s house is always filled with love, joy, comfort, good times — and fresh bread. 

Of course, things come slower these days for 82-year-old Elizabeth. The simplest tasks take more time and demand more energy than they did even just a few years ago. But on days when her grandchildren are coming to visit, Elizabeth gets up very early and plants herself in her beloved kitchen. Her hands, gnarled by arthritis, carefully mix the batter, knead the dough, blend in the sweet cinnamon swirl, and bake the loaves. The work demands much more of her physically than the first time she made the recipe for her young family, but the satisfaction of seeing the loaves rise in the oven and the sweet aroma filling the old house more than offsets the demands. 

                Her children and grandchildren, who have feasted on the bread since they first took pieces of the loaf in their tiny hands so many years ago, realize the effort it takes her now — but that makes it all the more special. They would never dare suggest that she stop making it. For Elizabeth’s cinnamon bread contains much more than the flour, water, cinnamon and other ingredients. It is not about making bread but the love it expresses. In her loving preparation of the bread for her family, Elizabeth includes a most special ingredient: a piece of herself. 

                And that special ingredient will continue to be included in every loaf her children and grandchildren and their children will bake long after Elizabeth has gone to God. 

                In much the same way that Elizabeth’s family realizes that her cinnamon bread contains her love for them, the bread and wine of the Eucharist contains the love of Christ for us – the Christ who suffered, died and rose. Christ places “a piece of himself” in this bread and invites us to feast on him, to be nourished and sustained by his life until we take our places for eternity at the great banquet of heaven. The Eucharist that is the focus of today’s feast of the Body and Blood of the Lord is the living memory of the Christ who gave himself for us so that we might become what we receive here: to become the one body of Christ, to become family to one another.  

                The Eucharist we celebrate is much more than a re-enactment of the last supper event.  In participating in the Eucharist as Augustine put it, we become what we have received.  In Jewish thought, life itself was contained in blood — blood therefore belonged to God alone.  That is why even today a devout Jew will never eat any meat which is not completely drained of blood. 

                When Jesus then invites us to drink his blood, he is inviting us to take his life into the very core of our beings.  We are called not to accept faith like a cloak we can take on or off but to let the life of God become part of our very beings, like the blood flowing in our veins and the flesh on our bones.  To receive the bread and wine of the Eucharist is to receive the very life of Christ himself. 

                The words of Paul to the Corinthians remind us of another dimension of the Eucharist as well.  All who share in this bread and wine partake of the life of Christ.  And our recognition of this oneness with Christ and other Christians needs to move us to action.  This awareness leads us to: protect the reputation of other members of Christ’s body, we are led to help the hungry, and poverty-stricken members so that the body may be whole and healed.  We are led to pray for the hurting members of the body – those involved in various addictions. 

                We need to be reminded of our basic needs and of the simple reality that we can’t meet our needs alone.  Our Hebrew ancestors wandered for long and hungry years in the desert totally dependent on God for their very survival.  Even as God was giving them all they needed from day to day, they wanted something more, something different.  We, like them, do not like to realize that someone else is responsible for putting food in our mouths.  We like to think we make our own way.  Amazed at the realization that God freely gives all we need, we grumble to cover our embarrassment. 

                Wandering in the desert, the Israelites were ever mindful of the difficulty of obtaining food and water.  Moses often reminded them of God’s provident care of them, giving them food and water when they were in danger of starving to death.  The manna was given each day and could not be preserved for the future.  Gradually the people learned to put their faith in God, trusting in his constant care of them.  Moses used this experience of the people to teach them that bread alone was not sufficient.   

                In the Eucharist we are called to a meal where our God shares his very life.  “If you do not eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood you have no life in you.”   Such life lived to the full can make amazing and terrifying demands on us.  When Jesus wanted his followers to remember him, he gave them himself as bread and wine.  He said “Whenever you eat and drink remember.”  We eat and drink several times a day and often in our fast-paced world it is on the go.  Do we remember?   

                Jesus promised to give himself to fill the needs of the human heart for love and salvation.  Many Americans may not be suffering from physical hunger but have hearts that are empty.  One who comes to the Eucharist has the ability to respond to the many hungers of others.  Sharing in one bread and one cup we become one body, united with God and one another.  Let us commit ourselves to live this reality. 

                Jesus calls us to his table.  Here we come to celebrate our identity as his disciples, to seek the sustaining grace to live the hard demands of discipleship.  We come to this table seeking the peace and hope of the risen Jesus.  At this table we always belong and are welcome.  It is my prayer that this parish family find at this table reconciliation and compassion.  I pray that you work together to make your family tables places of love and safety where Jesus is always welcome.  

                In the Eucharist, bread and wine are transformed by the Spirit of God into the body and blood of Jesus; the sacrament we receive should transform us into sacraments, as well – sacraments of God’s love for one another, signs of God’s presence to our families and communities.  As the Eucharist makes us Christ, the Eucharist makes each one of us a minister of reconciliation.   

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 

This has been a heart-breaking time in American politics. Families have been fractured and friendships shattered in these divisive times. 

                In an essay in “The Boston Globe Magazine,” [April 11, 2021], environment and nature writer Terry Tempest Williams shares her own family’s story of how the current state of politics has divided her family. 

                She and her Uncle Rich have always been close, even though he is right of right and she is left of left. Both are committed to their beliefs, but the two always got along. 

                But during the tense days of the election last fall, Rich avoided talking to his niece. After the election, Terry managed to have a telephone call with her uncle. 

                “Can we bridge this divide between us?” 

                Both knew full well that the other would not change their views on gun control, climate change or immigration. 

                “So what do we do?” she asked. 

                Terry and Rich shared a deep love of nature. “You have a gift,” Rich told his niece. “[I]f you are serious about bridging this divide in our country, go back to beauty, Terry. Write about the beauty of nature, so I can read what you [write] and be moved.” 

                Terry said she understood what he was saying and promised to try. 

                “And what will you do to bridge this gulf between us?” 

                “I will keep talking to you.” 

                The conversation was an epiphany for Terry. What holds her family together is not their stands or votes on individual issues, but the spirituality they share, the beauty of nature that inspires them, the love and respect for one another that transcends whatever their differences. What keeps Terry and her uncle together will be softer, less angry, and fewer politically charged words that are listened to with openness of heart.  

                “It’s not about our opinions or even our beliefs, it’s about our bonds,” Terry Tempest Williams writes. “That’s why my uncle didn’t want to talk to me — he was afraid talking would destroy us. Healing this uncivil war, especially within our own families, is not about changing our minds or even our hearts but first creating a space where we can meet unarmed . . . 

                “Perhaps, the divide between us in this country is not about politics, but imagination. Can we imagine something beyond individual points of view? Do we have the capacity to listen beyond words to a deeper place of dwelling, in the way nature asks us to be still and present with other species: a great egret fishing the edges, a mink who surfaces like a wish? I will try depoliticizing my writing as my uncle has exhorted me to do, because I know beauty is the bedrock of my political life — and I will trust our conversations will continue with an unexpected grace.” 

                The Jesus of the Gospels comes to restore the bond that unites our human race as a family under the fatherhood of God, making us sisters and brothers to one another. We are bound to one another in the humanity we share, a humanity that not only transcends those things that divide us but becomes even stronger in the wake of loss, pain and suffering. As Terry Tempest Williams and her family come to understand that common bond of love, respect, and consolation enables us to begin to bridge what divides us. Humility and gratitude for the wonders of God around us makes us “brother and sister and mother” to one another, enabling us to imagine a world transformed by God’s forgiveness, compassion and peace.