Dear Parish Family,
“Nothing ever happens in the world that does not happen first inside human hearts.” ~Fulton Sheen
BUSINESS: Offertory for the week of 6/20/21:
Peter’s Pence $40.00
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
~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 very grateful for your continued support of our St. Joseph Parish family!!!
KC CHICKENPENDENCE FUNDRAISER: The KCs have extended pre-orders for the Chickenpendence smoked chicken meals/ala carte items until tomorrow, Thursday, July 1. The link to the order form is on the KC webpage: www.kofc11934.org or follow this link: KC 4th of July BBQ Chicken Plate Order Form – Google Forms. Orders can be picked up on Saturday, July 3, in the Parish Hall.
Have a safe and happy Independence Day Weekend!!!
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 4, 2021
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.” Mark 6: 1-6
God knows, there are plenty of reason these day for cynicism. Many feel let down by the institutions we thought we could trust. We have been betrayed, disappointed, and outraged too many times to simply hope. Jim Wallis, a theologian, once wrote:
“Perhaps the only people who view the world realistically are the cynics and the saints. Everybody else may be living in some kind of denial about what is really going on and how things really are. And the only difference between the cynics and the saints is the presence, power, and possibility of hope . . .
“More than just a moral issue, hope is a spiritual and even religious choice. Hope is not a feeling; it is a decision. And the decision for hope is based on what you believe at the deepest levels – what your most basic convictions are about the world and what the future holds – all based on your faith. You choose hope, not as a naive wish, but as a choice, with your eyes wide open to the reality of the world – just like the cynics who have not made the decision for hope.” Certainly we have Mary as an example of a person who hoped throughout one tragedy after another in her life.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus’ hearers cannot believe that he can possibly possess such “wisdom”. They are isolated by their cynicism; hope is beyond their reach, and so they reject Jesus with scorn and ridicule. Jesus calls us – dares us – to embrace “prophetic” hope: to change our perspective, our belief systems, and ourselves, in order to realize the possibilities we have for creating God’s kingdom of peace and compassion for all his sons and daughters in this time and place of ours.
We have all heard stories of the Wright Brothers, and for most us, their story begins and ends on a windy sand dune at Kitty Hawk: two bicycle-makers from Ohio put a motor on a glider and invented the airplane. And the rest is history.
But David McCullough, in his book “The Wright Brothers” (May 2016) tells the fascinating story of brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright – and what happened before and after their one-minute flight on that North Carolina beach on December 17, 1903.
The two brothers did not just invent a machine, McCullough writes: they invented the art and craft of aviation itself. Their studies of wind currents, the countless hours they spent observing birds riding those winds without flapping their wings, their detailed drawings of the shape and structure of their wings, convinced them that human beings could fly in a heavier-than-air machine. And once the brothers built a “flyer” that could fly on its own power, they learned how to fly: how to ride with the wind and control the wings’ angles in order to stay in the air, how to maneuver the craft in whatever direction they wanted to go. The Wrights discovered the science of aerodynamics.
What most impressed McCullough about The Wright Brothers was their exceptional courage and dedication, their limitless curiosity, and their infinite patience. No problem seemed insurmountable. They had no more than a high school education, little money, and no contacts in high places, – none of that ever stopped them in their “mission” to take to the air – not even the reality that every time they took off in one of their machines, they risked being killed.
They carried on despite the perception that they were bonkers.
But they were anything but eccentric. They were smart, careful, cultured men, devoted to the goal of human flight. They relied on their imaginations, inexpensive materials, bicycle-related ideas about balance and steering, and the modest sums they earned building bicycles at their Dayton, Ohio, shop. They read everything they could about flight and wrote to anyone who might reply. They conducted painstakingly detailed experiments in a homemade wind tunnel, regrouped after many wrong turns and wrecked models, and endured several long stints roughing it on the desolate, cold, buggy North Carolina seashore. The two brothers built several versions of their “flyer” until they finally got it right that December day at Kitty Hawk.
The Wright Brothers weren’t into flight in order to become famous or rich – they despised the limelight and avoided it whenever possible. They were in it to do it right. And to that end, they devoted every dollar they had as well as their lives.
David McCullough writes, “They had this passion, this mission; they were obsessed to succeed.”
The story of the Wright Brothers is not just that of two homespun geniuses but of two brothers dedicated to seeking wisdom and understanding regarding the possibility of flight. They are nothing less than prophets: the Wrights possessed the single-minded determination to make the unimaginable possible and understood that the realization of that vision would not come without cost or sacrifice. Just as Wilbur and Orville Wright carried on with singular determination despite the ridicule and risk, Jesus’ teachings on mercy and justice, calling the people of his hometown beyond their own safe, insulated world, are rejected with scorn and skepticism.
Like the people of Jesus’ hometown (and his own family), when Jesus’ prophetic words became too difficult and uncomfortable to hear, when his Gospel threatened their own safe, comfortable and insulated world, when Jesus challenged their own incomplete and myopic view of God, they reject him. We often seek instead a new prophet, a new authority, a new church, a new God. Discipleship, however, demands that we look to changing our perspective, our understanding, changing ourselves.
Mother Teresa said, “God does not expect us to be successful. God expects us to be faithful.” In the first reading Ezekiel was told to bring God’s message to the people whether they heed it or not.
The hometown folks take offense at Jesus. They know his humanness and therefore were not able to accept his divinity. Sometimes we keep Jesus in his divinity so we don’t have to accept his humanity. The reality is he is both human and divine. All the qualities that go with his humanity that people found difficult to accept, as well as the challenges that were/are divine, call us to be more than we are comfortable with. Jesus was not able to perform any mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith. The greatest obstacle to building the reign of God, is a lack of faith.
Faith is a verb describing our interpersonal relationship with God. There is tension in the relationship because God is always drawing us into closer and closer intimacy. Our Catholic imagination can make us more receptive to the awesome mystery of God’s presence. But what we are called to is not just an awe of God but a relationship with God that is personal.
We, the Church, are the Body of Christ, and as such are very human with lots of foibles and idiosyncrasies. We are also the Mystical Body of Christ, and therefore a mystery. We are called to be a sacrament of God’s reconciling, healing presence in the world we touch with our lives.
At each one of our baptisms, we were anointed, oil was put on our forehead and we were told that we have been baptized to share in the prophetic ministry of Jesus, we were anointed to be priest, prophet and king. To comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.
This weekend we celebrate the founding of our country and the developments we have made as a community of people. We do well to remember those who committed themselves to this endeavor. The 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence. They signed that Declaration and they pledged their fortunes, honor and sacred trust to one another.
Five of them were captured by the British and tried as traitors, they were tortured before they were killed. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons while serving in the Revolutionary War; another two had sons who were captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds of the Revolutionary War.
What kind of men were they?
Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General, Cornwallis, had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly waited and wanted General George Washington to open fire. He did and the property was destroyed and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.
Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn’t. These men believed in and were willing to sacrifice.
Jesus was not able to perform any mighty deeds in his hometown because of their lack of faith. The greatest obstacle to building the reign of God is a lack of faith.
St. Mark tells us that the people’s lack of faith was the reason Jesus couldn’t perform many miracles there. Sometimes we think that miracles, blessings, and spiritual consolations ought to be given to us in order to inspire us to believe, to take away the risk factor that comes with following Jesus.
The opposite is the case. First, Jesus appeals to us on a personal level, as a friend: inviting us to come and follow him, to get involved in his Kingdom and to let him get involved in our lives.
Then, once we have taken a step of faith, a step of trust, he rewards us with signs that confirm our faith with blessings that boost our trust. To demand assurances from God before following God is to treat Christianity like a business, not a friendship – like a contract, not a covenant.
If God wanted followers who were slaves, he would win them over with impressive displays of power and might. But he wants us to follow him out of love, not fear.
Today we should ask ourselves, what invitations has God been sending to our hearts, and how have we been responding? Has he been speaking through our conscience, inviting us to give up some sinful, selfish habit and accept his forgiveness in the sacrament of confession?
Has he been speaking through circumstances and inspirations, inviting us to follow him more closely? Has he been nudging us to do something for the Church or for our neighbors?
Today, as Jesus renews his commitment to us, let’s listen closely to his voice in our hearts, and courageously follow wherever he leads, thereby unleashing the full power of his grace.
Earlier in that passage, we saw how those same people were “astonished” when they listened to the Lord’s preaching. How do these two things go together?
On the one hand they heard what Jesus was telling them, and it made an impact on them.
But on the other hand, what they heard didn’t change their lives; they perceived the truth of Jesus’ words, but refused to welcome that truth into their hearts. This refusal, St Mark tells us, is a “lack of faith.”
Faith, then, which is the foundation of Christian life, involves two things. It involves hearing God’s word, and also heeding that word. God is always speaking to us, and we usually hear him – in our conscience, in the teachings of the Church, in the words of the Bible – but oftentimes we don’t heed what we hear, and that stunts our spiritual growth.
This was God’s constant complaint in the Old Testament, as we just listened to in today’s First Reading. God sent them prophets over and over again, to show them the way to a meaningful and abundant life, and they heard what the prophets had to say, but they didn’t heed it; they “resisted” it, they “revolted” against it.
Following Jesus means both hearing and heeding (living) the Word of God.
St. Mark tells us that because the people of Nazareth lacked faith, Jesus “was not able to perform any mighty deed there.” If we want to unleash God’s power in our lives, we must take the risk of faith, of both hearing and living God’s word.