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Parish Weekly Update 6/10/21

Dear Parish Family,

“Do not worry over things that generate preoccupation and anxiety.  One thing only is necessary:  to lift up your spirit and love God.”   ~St. Padre Pio

GERMANFEST!!!  Good news!  We WILL be having Germanfest this year!!!  Sunday, September 26, 11:00 – 5:00 – PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDARS!  Now is the time to begin your canning, pickling, and crafting for the Country Store.  If you are interested in helping Chair a committee, please contact the parish office – 601-856-2054 – and let us know.  Post-COVID we are anticipating a BIG year and we need “all hands on deck” for our Germanfest!

GOOD SAMARITAN DRIVE:  Our KCs and Ladies’ Auxiliary are sponsoring a drive to benefit the Good Samaritan Center this Sunday between 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.  There will be a collection truck in the parking lot on the East side of the church to collect your items.  This drive will be for furniture, household items, linens, non-perishable food items, etc.  No clothing please!  Items collected are donated directly to families in need.

BLOOD DRIVE:  We will be having our annual Parish Blood Drive this Sunday, 8:00 – 1:00 in the Parish Hall.  If enough blood is donated, the entire parish’s blood needs will be covered for a year.  If you would like to sign up for a specific time slot you can go to https://www.mbsonline.us/donor/schedules/drive_schedule/15435 or you can just come to the Parish Hall to donate.

CHICKENPENDANCE DAY SMOKED CHICKEN:  The KCs will be hosting an applewood smoked chicken plate fundraiser on July 4.  They will be preparing applewood smoked chicken leg quarters, baked beans, and potato salad.  A plate will be $7.00 and you can also order items ala carte.  Pre-orders will be taken June 20 – 27 by filling out a form.  The link to the form is on the KC webpage:  www.kofc11934.org

BUSINESS:  Offertory for the weeks of 5/30 and 6/6:

General                              $21,645.00

Building                             $901.00

Cemetery                          $50.00

Peter’s Pence                   $45.00

Our Daily Bread               $315.00

Home Missions                $10.00

The methods we have set up to make it convenient to make your offering are:

                ~Place your offering in the basket as you come to Mass;

~Mail checks directly to 127 Church Rd., Madison, MS 39110;

~Your bank’s online bill-pay page, having the bank send a check to the

  church;

~ACH Auto-draft of your account.  Call the office – 601-856-2054 – and we will

  send you the form to have that set up.

~Texting your contribution to 601-391-6645; or

~https://giving.parishsoft.com/app/giving/stjosephgluckstadt for on-line giving. 

We are grateful for your generosity to our parish!!

The readings for this Sunday, June 13, along with Father Kevin’s homily, follow.

God bless and have a great weekend!

Pam

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time 

First Reading:  Ezekiel 17:22-24 

Thus says the Lord GOD:
I, too, will take from the crest of the cedar, from its topmost branches tear off a tender shoot, and plant it on a high and lofty mountain; on the mountain heights of Israel, I will plant it. It shall put forth branches and bear fruit, and become a majestic cedar. Birds of every kind shall dwell beneath it, every winged thing in the shade of its boughs. And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the LORD, bring low the high tree, lift high the lowly tree, wither up the green tree, and make the withered tree bloom. As I, the LORD, have spoken, so will I do. 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 92:2-3, 12-14, 15-16

R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
to sing praise to your name, Most High,
To proclaim your kindness at dawn
and your faithfulness throughout the night.
R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
The just one shall flourish like the palm tree,
like a cedar of Lebanon shall he grow.
They that are planted in the house of the LORD
shall flourish in the courts of our God.
R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
They shall bear fruit even in old age;
vigorous and sturdy shall they be,
Declaring how just is the LORD,
my rock, in whom there is no wrong.
R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you. 

Second Reading:  2 Corinthian 5:6-10 

Brothers and sisters: We are always courageous, although we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.
Yet we are courageous, and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord.
Therefore, we aspire to please him, whether we are at home or away. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil. 

Gospel:  Mark 4:26-34 

Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day and through it all the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.” 

He said,
“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it. Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private. 

Homily 

“[The kingdom of God] is as if a man would scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and through it all the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how… 

“It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”  Mark 4: 26-34 

This year’s Academy Award for Original Music Score was won by composer Jon Batiste for his work on the Pixar film “Soul,” the animated tale of a jazz pianist who has a near-death experience and gets stuck in the afterlife, causing him to re-think the choices he made in the existence he mostly took for granted. 

Batiste is the band leader on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.  In accepting the Oscar, he celebrated the moment by giving thanks for the “12 notes” – He said:  

“You know what’s deep is that God gave us 12 notes. It’s the same 12 notes that Duke Ellington had, that Bach had, Nina Simone … Every gift is special. Every contribution with music that comes from the divine into the instruments into the film, into the minds, hearts and souls of every person who hears it, the stories that happen when you listen to it and watch it and the stories you share, the moments you make, the memories you create – man, it’s just so incredibly special … I’m thankful to God for those 12 notes.” 

Every song ever written and ever will be written is composed from the

same 12 notes, whether it’s “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” or Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.  

God gives us all “12 notes” to create the soundtrack of our lives. That “scale” includes compassion, mercy, forgiveness, justice, empathy and peace; everyone can make music with those “notes” – saint and sinner, scientist and laborer, venerable grandparent and curious child, corporate executive and forgotten homeless. To realize the “music” of God demands the same vision to hope, the love to create for the good of others and the commitment to grow and nurture as that of the farmer planting seed in today’s Gospel. Jesus challenges us to embrace the faith of the Gospel Sower and the hope of the mustard seed: to be willing to plant seeds of kindness and joy wherever and whenever we can in the certain knowledge that it will, in some way, result in a harvest of God’s life and love; to play the notes we are able to string together that creates the music of God’s Spirit playing through our lives. 

What is Jesus trying to tell us when he says the reign of God is like a mustard seed? A mustard shrub is an ordinary and ugly bush that grows to about seven feet and multiplies readily. I think He is telling us the reign of God is found in the ordinary, unattractive, mundane things of everyday life. 

For example, in a married couple ministering the love of God to one and another and their children. 

In the owner of a business who sacrifices some of her profit in order that her employees may be paid a salary adequate to provide for their family and insurance coverage. 

In people who welcome into their homes those seeking refuge from poverty and violence. 

In the man confined to bed who offers his suffering for those who do not know God. 

In the people here in our congregation who are striving to love the least of our brothers and sisters.  Ones we do not understand or question why they do what they do. 

Jesus told us that whatever we do to the least we do to him. 

And in all those who are honestly searching to know and live the truth.  For in seeking the good and the true we will encounter God. 

Here we are invited to renew our baptismal commitment to further the reign of God.  It need not be in anything grand or profound, but like the mustard seed it may be ordinary and ugly, it may be mundane and unattractive.  But that is how God’s kingdom grows. 

The cedar mentioned in today’s First Reading is packed with symbolism. The cedars of Lebanon were frequently mentioned in the Bible. A cedar can live up to two thousand years, so it grows into a pyramid shape that is wide and tall, so it is a symbol of strength and power.  Its redwood is fragrant and exudes gum.  It resists insects and decay and is very durable, so it was used for making musical instruments, chests, and household furnishings. It was also used for buildings: Solomon’s Temple had panels of cedar incorporated into the design, and both David and Solomon’s palaces were built of cedar. 

The cedar in today’s First Reading is a precious wood, representing the line of David, and the shoot, the Messiah, taken from the cedar is destined for a long life that is strong, powerful, and useful. 

The growing parables in today’s Gospel passage reveal two essential characteristics about life in the Kingdom of God, two things we need always to keep in mind so that we can live deeply our friendship with the King. 

After all, we are not just members of a religious club; we are followers and ambassadors of the eternal King. 

First, the life of our relationship with God comes not from ourselves, but from God. 

Where does the power of growth in the seeds come from? 

Not from the farmer. 

It comes from the Creator. 

Likewise, if God were not constantly breathing his grace into our lives, no matter how hard we might try, we would never be able to grow in intimacy with him – just as the farmer could never make a rock grow into an ear of corn. 

Our life of union with God depends primarily on God. We cannot achieve Christian success based solely on our own efforts. But the good news is that we don’t have to, since God is always at work, even while we’re asleep. 

As Psalm 127:2 puts it: “It is vain for you to rise early and put off your rest at night, to eat bread earned by hard toil — all this God gives to his beloved in sleep.” 

God is the source of our Christian lives, and no matter how hard we may try to make our lives worthwhile, without his help, we can do nothing. 

Second, growth in holiness is a gradual process; it takes time. 

We Christians are unlike Hollywood heroes, who go from wimp to world champion in the course of a mere ninety minutes. 

Rather, Christians develop their incomparable wisdom, joy, courage, and self-mastery through a patient and consistent effort to cooperate with God over the long haul. 

This is hard for us to accept, and it is even harder for us to understand, because our culture has developed such an immediate gratification and fast-results mentality. 

But developing a beautiful soul isn’t like making a cup of instant coffee. Instead, it’s like building a beautiful cathedral. 

The magnificent Gothic cathedrals that leave even the most modern visitor speechless and awestruck.  They were not the work of a few days or even a few years. They took decades to construct, sometimes even more than a century. 

                There are cases where three or even four generations of stone-masons worked on the same cathedral. Think about that for a moment. That means that your grandfather, your father, you, and your son would have all worked on the same building, each one of you for your whole working-life. But only your son would have had the satisfaction of seeing the finished product. 

This is an analogy for the growth of God’s Kingdom in our soul and world. 

It’s not something we can work hard at, put in some extra hours on the weekend, pull a couple of all-nighters, and then cross off our to-do list. It’s the adventure of a lifetime, it’s our life-project, the only project, in fact, that really matters. 

So, if discouragement and frustration don’t come from God, where do they come from? From our own diabolical pride, our own spiritual immaturity, egged on by the devil. 

If our prayer life doesn’t produce spiritual fireworks right away, if our bad habits don’t go away with a snap of our fingers, if we don’t understand perfectly all of Catholic doctrine after a weekend seminar, we tend to slacken off in our efforts, or even give up entirely, like spoiled children. 

Humble children who trust their parents are much less likely to have anger management problems. Wise Christians who truly trust in God’s action and God’s pace are much less likely to give in to the temptations of discouragement and frustration. 

Imagine a farmer or gardener standing out in the field and yelling down at some recently planted seeds: “Grow faster, you fools! Faster!!” 

It’s an absurd picture, but a common one: when we get frustrated at our slow progress or God’s apparently slow pace, we’re futilely screaming at the seeds to speed up their growth. 

Jesus calls us to embrace the faith of the Gospel farmer and the hope of the mustard seed: to be willing to plant whatever “seeds” of Gospel hope and compassion that we possess, wherever and whenever we can, in the certain knowledge that it will, in some way, result in a harvest of God’s life and love. By such faith, may we possess the grace and wisdom of those in our lives who are a blessing to us, and so become a blessing 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.