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Parish Daily Update 4/21/21

Dear Parish Family,

“For I do not seek to understand in order to believe, but I believe in order to understand.  For I believe this:  unless I believe, I will not understand.”     ~St. Anselm of Canterbury

Remember to call the office – 601-856-2054 – before Thursday at 4:00 to make Mass reservations for this weekend.

God bless,

Pam

Thursday of the Third Week of Easter 

First Reading:  Acts 8:26-40 

The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, “Get up and head south on the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route.” So he got up and set out. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, that is, the queen of the Ethiopians,
in charge of her entire treasury, who had come to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning home. Seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. The Spirit said to Philip,
“Go and join up with that chariot.” Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?”  So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him. This was the Scripture passage he was reading: 

Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who will tell of his posterity?
For his life is taken from the earth.
 

Then the eunuch said to Philip in reply, “I beg you, about whom is the prophet saying this?
About himself, or about someone else?” Then Philip opened his mouth and, beginning with this Scripture passage, he proclaimed Jesus to him. As they traveled along the road
they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look, there is water. What is to prevent my being baptized?” Then he ordered the chariot to stop, and Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water, and he baptized him.  When they came out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, but continued on his way rejoicing. Philip came to Azotus, and went about proclaiming the good news to all the towns until he reached Caesarea. 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 66:8-9, 16-17, 20 

R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Bless our God, you peoples,
loudly sound his praise;
He has given life to our souls,
and has not let our feet slip.
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare
what he has done for me.
When I appealed to him in words,
praise was on the tip of my tongue.
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Blessed be God who refused me not
my prayer or his kindness!
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
 

Gospel:  John 6:44-51 

Jesus said to the crowds: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him,
and I will raise him on the last day. It is written in the prophets: 

They shall all be taught by God. 

Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father.  Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world.” 

Homily 

“Your ancestors are the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may it and not die.”  John 6:44-51 

For the Jews of Gospel times, the word “manna” became synonymous with “gift”: any unexpected blessing or good that was freely given and gratefully received was considered a manifestation of God’s providence, just as the Lord provided “manna” to the Israelites during their Exodus in the desert. 

Look around your “desert” and see the “manna” that blesses your life: 

The trusted friend who is there for you in times of crisis and despair . . . 

The teacher or mentor who always makes time to talk . . . 

The parent or relative whose advice who have come to trust . . . 

God continues to feed his people with “manna” – gifts from heaven. 

And more often than we realize, we can be such manna for others. 

Father, in your Risen Christ you give us bread to nourish us on our journey to your dwelling place; may his “living bread” of compassion and justice make us “manna” for our desert places of struggle and pain, transforming them, by our selflessness and humility, into your Kingdom of mercy and peace. 

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. 

Parish Daily Update 4/20/21

Dear Parish Family,

“We may say with confidence: ‘The Lord is my helper, [and] I will not be afraid.  What can anyone do to me?’”       Hebrews 13:6

Please pray for our children who are preparing to receive their First Eucharist on May 1, and for our young people who are preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation, also on May 1.  May they approach these beautiful sacraments with a sense of wonder and awe and may God touch their lives that day and every day with His love, grace and mercy!

MASS RESERVATIONS:  Set yourself a reminder on your phone to call the parish office each week, Monday thru Thursday, 8:30 – 4:00 to make your weekly Mass reservations.  601-856-2054

God bless,

Pam

Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter 

First Reading:  Acts 8:1-8 

There broke out a severe persecution of the Church in Jerusalem, and all were scattered
throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria, except the Apostles. Devout men buried Stephen and made a loud lament over him. Saul, meanwhile, was trying to destroy the Church; entering house after house and dragging out men and women, he handed them over for imprisonment. Now those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.
Thus Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed the Christ to them. With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing. For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice, came out of many possessed people, and many paralyzed and crippled people were cured. There was great joy in that city. 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7 

R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Shout joyfully to God, all the earth,
sing praise to the glory of his name;
proclaim his glorious praise.
Say to God, “How tremendous are your deeds!”
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
“Let all on earth worship and sing praise to you,
sing praise to your name!”
Come and see the works of God,
his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam.
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
He has changed the sea into dry land;
through the river they passed on foot;
therefore let us rejoice in him.
He rules by his might forever.
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
 

Gospel:  John 6:35-40 

Jesus said to the crowds, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst. But I told you that although you have seen me,
you do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me, because I came down from heaven not to do my own will
but the will of the one who sent me. And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day.
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him
may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.” 

 Homily 

“entering house after house and dragging out men and women, [Saul] handed them over for imprisonment . . . With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing.”  Acts of the Apostles 8:1b-8 

The image in today’s first reading of Saul “entering house after house and dragging out men and women” is a particularly disturbing one. History recounts too many such authoritarian figures who have targeted those they deem enemies and sought to eliminate them. What is terrifying about these figures is their ability to justify the horror they inflict as the means for “saving” and “purifying” their nation or tribe from the evil of a particular race or class or religious group. 

Contrast Saul’s aggression to Philip’s humility. Philip preaches to the people of Samaria about the Jesus of healing, the Jesus of forgiveness, the Jesus of joy. Our redemption begins within our hearts, not by subduing some outside threat; we’re “saved” by our being embraced in the love of God and embracing that love in our lives. God has not “contracted” out that love to the arrogant Saul’s of the world – God speaks directly to the human heart in compassion and mercy. 

While Saul self-righteously appeals to the cold Law for obedience, Philip brings souls to God by “signs” of God’s love among them. Philip makes the Gospel a visible reality through healing, compassion and reconciliation.   

May we find our own redemption in the humble joy preached by Philip; may we find healing and direction in embracing the mercy of God that saved even Saul. 

Let your Son’s word, O God, open our hearts and spirits to embrace, with humble joy, his Gospel of peace and mercy. May we continue the work of reconciliation and justice your Christ began in our own small efforts to proclaim your word, in our seemingly insignificant work to reveal you love in our midst, in our unremarkable offerings of forgiveness and care. 

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 Anselm of Canterbury,  

Bishop and Doctor of the Church
c. 1033–1109 

His pen pierced the blue sheet above to see God 

 

Few bishops have been canonized as saints since the Catholic Counter-Reformation of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The earlier history of the Church is, however, replete with saintly bishops. In the patristic era, in the first few centuries after Christ, a vast constellation of saintly bishops shined on the Church. Today’s saint was a scholar bishop in the mold of the educated churchmen of an earlier time. Saint Anselm was a world-class thinker, a politically aware defender of the Church’s rights, a contemplative monk, a faithful son of the pope, and the greatest philosopher of the eleventh century. 

Saint Anselm entered the Monastery of Bec in Normandy, France, as a young man and quickly impressed his superiors with his character and incisive mind. He was elected prior, then abbot, at a young age. He was a deeply prayerful abbot who was close to his monks and who hated to be away from the cloister. The monastery had many dealings with England due to its close proximity to that country. Anselm travelled there regularly. These visits eventually led to his appointment as the Archbishop of Canterbury.  Anselm spent many years as archbishop in conflict with English civil power over who had the authority to “invest,” or empower, a bishop with the symbols of office at his installation Mass. The lay investiture controversy was a long simmering dispute throughout Europe. It was eventually resolved in favor of the Church’s right to invest its own bishops with crozier, miter, and ring. 

Much more than his role as a pastor in church-state conflicts, Saint Anselm’s most enduring legacy is as a philosopher and theologian. Thinking was his avocation even as the monastery was his vocation. Anselm’s famous definition of theology as “Faith seeking understanding” has guided centuries of Christian thinkers. Anselm was a working intellectual who produced erudite works on a range of complex subjects. He is the originator, in particular, of the ontological argument for the existence of God. The argument is ontological (or just “logical”) in that it is not empirical (scientifically verifiable). It does not argue from outward in, starting with external, observable evidence and then moving toward internal conclusions. The argument is powered, instead, by the raw strength of reason itself. As an example of a reason-driven argument, no one needs to search the world over for square circles to conclude that square circles don’t exist. Circles are round, by definition. And no one needs to interview every single bachelor to know that a bachelor is male. A bachelor is, by definition, male. Similarly, the very definition of God, Anselm’s holds, is proof that God exists. 

Anselm argued that God is a being than which none greater can be imagined. Supposing that the mind can imagine nothing greater than God, and further supposing that what exists in reality is greater than what exists only in the mind, then God must exist in reality. God’s non-existence is, then, logically impossible. This argument assumes that the maximum, or upper limit, to what the mind can attribute to God is self-contained in the meaning of the word God. No such upper limit exists in defining pain, temperature, length, or numbers, for example. A longer line can always be drawn, a greater number imagined, a sharper pain experienced, or a hotter temperature described. But to imagine a being greater than God would just be to imagine God more fully. As long as the mind’s concept of God is rational, then the argument is convincing. Anselm’s nuanced argument has provoked centuries of sophisticated commentary. 

Anselm’s life began among the Alps of today’s Northern Italy, a land of jagged, snow-encrusted mountains which stand over the green valleys below. One night the boy Anselm, asleep in his remote valley home, had a vision. He was called to the court of God on a high summit. Ascending to the very peak of a mountain, he entered the presence of the royal court and sat at the feet of the Master. God asked the boy who he was and where he came from. Anselm answered well and was rewarded with sweet bread from heaven. And then he woke up. Anselm never forgot this dream. He recounted it, in detail, many decades later, to the fellow monk who wrote his first biography. Saint Anselm’s mind never really came down from that high court he first visited in a childhood dream. He walked in the highest ranges, above the clouds, hiking from summit to summit, his pen piercing the blue sky to gaze directly into the realm above. 

Saint Anselm of Canterbury – My Catholic Life! 

Parish Daily Update 4/19/21

Dear Parish Family,

“May the Lord, who is good, grant pardon to everyone who has resolved to seek God, the Lord, the God of his fathers, though he be not clean as holiness requires.”   2 Chron. 30:18-19

BUSINESS:  Offertory for the weeks of 4/4 and 4/11/21:

General                                $30,977.00

Building                             $1,041.00

Rice Bowl                          $557.00

Our Daily Bread               $135.00

Holy Land                          $736.00

Easter Flowers                  $230.00

Cemetery                          $125.00

Home Missions                 $60.00

Catholic Relief                  $10.00

MS Catholic                       $20.00

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. 

Thank you for your continued support of our parish!

MASS RESERVATIONS:  Set yourself a reminder on your phone to call the parish office each week, Monday thru Thursday, 8:30 – 4:00 to make your weekly Mass reservations.  601-856-2054

The Knights of Columbus are sponsoring an online financial seminar entitled “Building Intergenerational Wealth” on May 4 at 7:00 p.m.  THIS SEMINAR IS OPEN TO ANYONE IN THE PARISH!!!  This informative presentation will discuss how to plan for your financial future and a secure retirement.  Some of the topics covered are:  the importance of ‘living a significant life’ that goes beyond merely accumulating wealth; eight steps to financial security; capital markets explained in 5 minutes; the importance of having a plan and a partner; why long-term care doesn’t have to be a financial nightmare; how to turn hard earned assets into reliable retirement income; protecting your loved ones with life insurance; why patience pays when claiming Social Security; and, six risks to a secure retirement and how you can insure against them.  This talk will give you new insights into your financial affairs without losing sight of your faith and values!  REGISTER NOW at  https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_KRe1Zco5Qzu6TthkvQki3g

God bless,

Pam

Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter 

First Reading:  Acts 7:51-8:1 

Stephen said to the people, the elders, and the scribes: “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always oppose the Holy Spirit; you are just like your ancestors. Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They put to death those who foretold the coming of the righteous one, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become. You received the law as transmitted by angels, but you did not observe it.” When they heard this, they were infuriated, and they ground their teeth at him. But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and Stephen said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened
and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out in a loud voice,
covered their ears, and rushed upon him together. They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him. The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. 
As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them”; and when he said this, he fell asleep. Now Saul was consenting to his execution. 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 31:3-4, 6, 7, 8, 17, 21 

R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety.
You are my rock and my fortress;
for your name’s sake you will lead and guide me.
R.    Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
My trust is in the LORD;
I will rejoice and be glad of your mercy.
R.    Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your kindness.
You hide them in the shelter of your presence
from the plottings of men.
R.    Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
 

Gospel:  John 6:30-35 

The crowd said to Jesus:
“What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?  What can you do?
Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written:  

He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” 

So Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” So they said to Jesus,
“Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” 

Homily 

“[Stephen] fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them’; and when he said this, he fell asleep.”  Acts of the Apostles 7:51 – 8:1 

Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, remembers the day in 1990 he was released after 27 years in prison for his anti-apartheid activism. Mandela writes of that day in his autobiography “Long Walk To Freedom: Autobiography Nelson Mandela”   

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” 

In his Gospel, Saint Luke recounts the crucifixion of Jesus; in his Acts of the Apostles, Luke tells the story of the deacon Stephen, the first Christian to die for the faith. In Luke’s writings, both Jesus’ and Stephen’s final words before dying are a prayer of forgiveness for their executioners. For Luke, the heart of the Gospel is forgiveness: to be reconciled to God by being reconciled with one another.  For Jesus and Stephen, forgiveness is the beginning of God’s re-creating the world; forgiveness is the grace that rolls away the stone and releases us from our tombs of bitterness and hatred. 

May this Easter season lead us to forgiving someone from whom we are estranged or seeking forgiveness from someone we’ve hurt – forgiveness that has the power to transform two lives in the peace of the Risen One. 

God of compassion, may your Spirit enable us to imitate the generosity and servanthood of Stephen the deacon. Inspired by his courageous faith, may we re-create our world in the forgiveness and peace of your Risen Christ. Let the hope of this Easter season enable us to heal the brokenhearted, reconcile the separated and lost, and bridge the chasms that separate us from one another. 

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.      

Parish Daily Update 4/18/21

Dear Parish Family,

“You pay God a compliment by asking great things of Him.”   ~St Teresa of Avila

A link to today’s Mass (it’s in three separate files so for a “full Mass please watch all three) can be found here:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8Eoyu_0KSM

We had some technical sound and other troubles so please turn up your volume!  Thanks for bearing with us!

The Knights of Columbus are sponsoring an online financial seminar entitled “Building Intergenerational Wealth” on May 4 at 7:00 p.m.  THIS SEMINAR IS OPEN TO ANYONE IN THE PARISH!!!  This informative presentation will discuss how to plan for your financial future and a secure retirement.  Some of the topics covered are:  the importance of ‘living a significant life’ that goes beyond merely accumulating wealth; eight steps to financial security; capital markets explained in 5 minutes; the importance of having a plan and a partner; why long-term care doesn’t have to be a financial nightmare; how to turn hard earned assets into reliable retirement income; protecting your loved ones with life insurance; why patience pays when claiming Social Security; and, six risks to a secure retirement and how you can insure against them.  This talk will give you new insights into your financial affairs without losing sight of your faith and values!  REGISTER NOW at  https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_KRe1Zco5Qzu6TthkvQki3g

Call the office this week, Monday thru Thursday, 8:30 – 4:00, to make reservations for next Sunday.  601-856-2054.

Have a great week!

God bless,

Pam

Monday of the Third Week of Easter 

First Reading:  Acts 6:8-15 

Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people. Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen, Cyreneans, and Alexandrians, and people from Cilicia and Asia, came forward and debated with Stephen,
but they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke. Then they instigated some men to say, “We have heard him speaking blasphemous words against Moses and God.” They stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes, accosted him, seized him, and brought him before the Sanhedrin. They presented false witnesses who testified, “This man never stops saying things against this holy place and the law. For we have heard him claim that this Jesus the Nazorean will destroy this place and change the customs that Moses handed down to us.” All those who sat in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him and saw that his face was like the face of an angel. 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 119:23-24, 26-27, 29-30 

R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Though princes meet and talk against me,
your servant meditates on your statutes.
Yes, your decrees are my delight;
they are my counselors.
R.    Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
I declared my ways, and you answered me;
teach me your statutes.
Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wondrous deeds.
R.    Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Remove from me the way of falsehood,
and favor me with your law.
The way of truth I have chosen;
I have set your ordinances before me.
R.    Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!

 

Gospel:  John 6:22-29 

[After Jesus had fed the five thousand men, his disciples saw him walking on the sea.]
The next day, the crowd that remained across the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not gone along with his disciples in the boat, but only his disciples had left. Other boats came from Tiberias near the place where they had eaten the bread
when the Lord gave thanks. When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus. And when they found him across the sea they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus answered them and said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. 
For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.” So, they said to him, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.” 

Homily 

“you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled.”  John 6: 22-29 

Every so often, Dad would bring home a bundle of flowers for his wife from the farmers’ market he passed on the way home from work. She loved having flowers in the house and was delighted when he brought them home. 

One afternoon, their five-year-old was out playing and saw a patch of dandelions on the lawn. He gathered up a bunch of the biggest and brightest and ran into the house. “Here, Mom – flowers!” he proudly announced. His mom broke into the same smile – bigger even – than she smiled last night when Dad brought her flowers. She gave her little boy a big hug and put the dandelions in a small vase next to Dad’s flowers. 

A child’s uncomplicated love can transform a bunch of weeds into something beautiful; a little boy can bring the same joy to his mom with dandelions that an adult brings with a $50 bouquet of cut flowers. 

It’s not the gift or the sign that’s important, Jesus says, but the love revealed in the sign.  Those who were fed by Jesus from the scraps of bread and fish were so taken with the sign that they missed the wonder: the love of God in their midst. 

Today may we work our own signs that reveal God’s love and care among us. 

Open our hearts to behold the “sign” of your presence in our midst, O God. Do not let us just fill ourselves with miraculous “loaves” but help us to work our own miracles of generosity and care that reveal your justice and peace in our time and place. 

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.      

Parish Daily Update 4/17/21

Dear Parish Family,

“The Lord does not want us to keep thinking about our failings.  He wants us to look to Him.  In our failings He sees children to help up; in our misery He sees children in need of His merciful love.”    

                ~Pope Francis

Remember to call the office each week – 601-856-2054 – Monday thru Thursday, 8:30 – 4:00, to make Sunday Mass reservations.

God bless,

Pam

Third Sunday of Easter 

April 18, 2021 

First Reading:  Acts 3:13-15, 17-19 

Peter said to the people: “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and denied in Pilate’s presence when he had decided to release him. You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses. Now I know, brothers, that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did; but God has thus brought to fulfillment
what he had announced beforehand through the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer. Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.” 

Responsorial Psalm:   Psalm 4:2, 4, 7-8, 9 

R. Lord, let your face shine on us.
When I call, answer me, O my just God,
you who relieve me when I am in distress;
have pity on me, and hear my prayer!
R.  Lord, let your face shine on us.
Know that the LORD does wonders for his faithful one;
the LORD will hear me when I call upon him.
R.  Lord, let your face shine on us.
O LORD, let the light of your countenance shine upon us!
You put gladness into my heart.
R.  Lord, let your face shine on us.
As soon as I lie down, I fall peacefully asleep,
for you alone, O LORD,
bring security to my dwelling.
R.  Lord, let your face shine on us.
 

Second Reading:  1 John 2:1-5 

My children, I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world. The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments. Those who say, “I know him,” but do not keep his commandments are liars, and the truth is not in them. But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him. 

Gospel:  Luke 24:35-48 

The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way, and how Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of bread. While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were startled and terrified
and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled?
And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them. He said to them,
“These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said to them, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” 

Homily 

“While they were still speaking about this, [Jesus] stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you . . . Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see, I have.’”  Luke 24:35-48 

                In this Easter Season as we hear all the stories of Jesus’ resurrection it gets confusing.  Last Sunday from the Gospel of John we heard about the disciples gathered in a locked room and Jesus standing before them offering peace and giving the gift of the Holy Spirit.  This Sunday we hear from the Gospel of Luke and he picks up with the story of the two disciples who were heading out of town to Emmaus and Jesus walked with them, and they recognized him when they sat down to eat and Jesus took the bread, broke it and gave it to them.  Immediately they recognized that it was Jesus who had been with them.  They could not wait, they had to go back to Jerusalem and tell the ‘brothers’ that they had just met Jesus, the Lord.   And as they are telling their story Jesus comes and stands in their midst again and, again, they are filled with fear and doubt.  You might think why didn’t they get it.  Well maybe they thought they were seeing a ghost, maybe they didn’t know what to think.  What would you do if someone from the dead was all of a sudden in your kitchen talking to you.  Maybe you would question what you were seeing or wonder if you are losing your mind. 

                Three days after Good Friday. So much to take in, so much confusion and uncertainty. 

These two disciples represent every man and woman who seeks to walk the path of faith and truth.  But like the rest of us they walk in darkness.  All that they had believed in and hoped for had seemingly disappeared.  Isn’t that true of us as well.  I know for myself there are many things happening around me and in the world that cause me to wonder and ask why, to ask what can I do.  It certainly was part and parcel of the preaching of Jesus.  Faith involves seeing in a new way and understanding life.  On the way to Emmaus, like a good teacher, Jesus asks his disciples to first reflect on their own experience.  He asks them to retell the story of the events of the past few days.  He then interprets those events for them in light of the Old Testament and Jewish teachings. 

                Once there was a small monastery led by a very wise abbot. A young man, who had recently entered the monastery, was having a hard time adjusting to the monastic life. He was constantly complaining and criticizing. The older monks of the community had grown tired of his constant whining and went to the abbot with their concerns about the young novice. 

                One morning the abbot sent the novice to fetch some salt. When the novice returned, the abbot instructed the unhappy monk to put the salt in a glass of water and drink it. The novice did as he was instructed. “How does it taste?” the abbot asked. “Bitter!” spit the novice. 

                The abbot smiled. “Get some more salt and follow me.” 

                The abbot and the novice, clutching another handful of salt, walked to a small lake near the monastery. “Throw the salt into the lake.” Again, the novice did as the abbot asked. 

                Father Abbot said, “Now, take a drink from the lake.” 

                As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the abbot asked, “How does it taste?” 

                “Sweet and clean,” the young man, said wiping his mouth on his sleeve. 

                “Do you taste the salt?” 

                 “No,” the novice said. 

                The abbot sat next to the serious young man – and explained, “Brother, the pain of life is pure salt. The bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, when you hurt, when you feel broken, the only thing you can do is enlarge your sense of things. Stop being a glass. Become a lake.”  [Anon.] 

                The Jesus of the Gospel enlarges our sense of things; the light and hope of his resurrection enables us to become a “lake” that can absorb the hard and difficult “salt” of our lives in order to taste the clear, sweet “water” of love, reconciliation, peace and mercy that are part of every one of our lives. The Risen One walks among us in family and friends who offer their love to us and receive the love we yearn to give; the Risen One is the poor and troubled who challenges us to imitate his compassion and servanthood. Authentic Easter faith enables us to transform the pessimism of being a glass into the optimism of becoming a lake in which the compassion and forgiveness of God springs forth in hope. 

                This is an important lesson for us as well, to stop and reflect on our lives in the light of the Bible and what the Church teaches.  At times we experience God profoundly like at the time of a birth or a death, times when emotions are strong.  At other times we experience God simply, like walking through the woods or in conversation with a friend, or at Mass. 

                Luke certainly is interested in conveying much more than a past incident here.  His point is hopefully clear to us: through the eyes of faith, we too can see the presence of the risen Jesus in the Eucharist, in the breaking of the bread.  The breaking of the bread reaches so deep into who we are as Catholics.  But hopefully we also are able to recognize Jesus present to us in the scripture we share and the faces of the people gathered around us.  We are the Body of Christ.  The story reveals that faith is more than intellectually agreeing that Jesus is present in the Eucharist, it is a journey in which we see through a glass darkly. 

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 

A minor Easter miracle on — of all places — social media: 

Twelve-year-old Molly Steinsapir was seriously injured when she fell from her bike. In the ambulance with her daughter, her mother Kaye took out her phone and began to type: Please, please, please. Everyone PRAY for my daughter Molly. She has been in an accident and suffered a brain trauma. 

“I was so helpless,” Kaye would say later. “I just wanted to broadcast to anyone who could lift Molly up in prayer and could lift me up in prayer, too.” 

Kaye’s plea for prayers went viral. More than 600,000 responded with prayers, messages of support and stories of survival from traumatic brain injury. “Team Molly” had been set into motion. 

“The hope that all these strangers gave us sustained us,” Kaye remembers. “If we didn’t have that hope, I don’t know how we would have been able to do what we needed to do, to parent Molly and parent our [two] boys,” Nate and Eli. 

When she sent out that first tweet, Kaye never imagined that it would be the beginning of a 16-day-long conversation among thousands of strangers from all over the world about life, death, family, faith and ritual. Because of the restrictions of the pandemic, other family members could not gather at the hospital with the Steinsapirs, so most of the time, Dad was at home taking care of their boys and Mom was alone at the hospital, keeping vigil, waiting and praying for her daughter to wake up. As she shared her daughter’s condition, Kaye heard regularly from moms and dads and medical professionals from around the country. 

“When I’m sitting here in this sterile room hour after hour, your messages of hope make me feel less alone,” Kaye typed in one tweet. 

Kaye reported on the ups and downs of Molly’s care, praised her doctors and nurses, and told stories of her daughter, an environmentalist and animal lover who decided to become a vegetarian in kindergarten, a girl on the threshold of adolescence who was devoted to her Jewish faith – but mostly, Kaye called for support through prayers. 

Then, on February 15, Kaye announced to Team Molly that her beloved daughter had “been called home” to God. 

“While our hearts are broken in a way that feels like they can never be mended,” Kaye tweeted, “we take comfort knowing that Molly’s twelve years were filled with love and joy. We are immensely blessed to be her parents.” 

Kaye only agreed to tell her story because Molly would have wanted to console all those families who have lost loved ones. Molly’s last act on earth was to bring together people from around the world in compassion and peace. [“The New York Times,”February 21, 2021] 

Compassion manages to form a community of grace on Twitter. The support and prayers of those good folks who connected via “Team Molly” mirrors the scene in today’s Gospel: the peace of God’s Risen Christ restores hope and mends the broken hearts and spirits of Jesus’ friends.  

In the Easter Gospels, the Risen Jesus appears, greeting the disciples with “peace” – but the “peace” of Easter is nothing like our understanding of “peace.” We often settle for peace that’s merely the absence of conflict, peace that settles for nothing bad happening, peace that is equated with the status quo – but too often fear and tension lie just below the surface of such “peace.” True peace is rooted in the Gospel of justice and mercy; lasting peace is possible only when the reasons for fear and doubt are confronted. Peace – Christ’s peace – is realized when all are respected and honored as sisters and brothers in the light of the Risen One. Thomas Merton wrote that “instead of loving what you think is peace, love other[s] and love God above all. And instead of hating the people you think are warmongers, hate the appetites and the disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed – but hate these things in yourself, not in another.” May we become “witnesses” of Christ’s peace in our families and communities, our churches and workplaces – and may the work of peace begin within ourselves.  

Parish Daily Update 4/16/21

Dear Parish Family,

“My child, life on earth is a struggle indeed; a great struggle for my kingdom.  But fear not, because you are not alone.  I am always supporting you, so lean on Me as you struggle, fearing nothing.”  

                ~Jesus to St. Faustina – Diary, 1488

Have a wonderful weekend!!

God bless,

Pam

Saturday of the Second Week of Easter 

First Reading:  Acts 6:1-7 

As the number of disciples continued to grow, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table. Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” The proposal was acceptable to the whole community, so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit,
also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the Apostles who prayed and laid hands on them.
The word of God continued to spread, and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly; even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith. 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19 

R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Exult, you just, in the LORD;
praise from the upright is fitting.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises.
R.    Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R.    Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R.    Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you. 

Gospel:  John 6:16-21 

When it was evening, the disciples of Jesus went down to the sea, embarked in a boat, and went across the sea to Capernaum. It had already grown dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea was stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they began to be afraid. But he said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid.” They wanted to take him into the boat, but the boat immediately arrived at the shore to which they were heading. 

Homily 

“Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task ….”Acts of the Apostles 6:1-7 

Lt. Richard Zimmerman is the longest-serving officer in the Minneapolis Police Department. A 36-year veteran of the force, he heads the Minneapolis homicide unit. Lt. Zimmerman was called to testify on the fifth day of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd.  

In his testimony, Lt. Zimmerman explained that when a police officer handcuffs someone, “that person is yours. He’s your responsibility. His safety is your responsibility, his wellbeing, and he is your responsibility.” 

All police officers are trained, Lt. Zimmerman said, that once an officer can restrain the person, making them less combative, “you may just have them sit down on the curb. . . the idea is to calm the person down. If they are not a threat to you at that point, you try to help them, so that they’re not as upset as they may have been in the beginning.” 

“That person is yours.” That basic principle was at the heart of the first Christian community we have been reading about in the Acts of the Apostles. To care for another in the spirit of Jesus’ Gospel led Peter and the Apostles in Jerusalem to “lay hands” on the seven who were to become the Church’s first “deacons” – from the Greek word diakonos, meaning “servant.”   

Every one of us is called to the role of diakonos, of taking seriously our responsibility for the care and safety of one another, no matter our social status, education or income, regardless of our nationality, race or gender. In baptism, we commit ourselves to live the Gospel Jesus has taught by imitating his service to the poor, the needy, the suffering, the lost. In Christ, “every person is yours.” 

Sometime today, you can be diakonos – diakonos to a family member, a friend, a salesclerk or waiter, someone you meet in line. For the care and safety of everyone is our responsibility; the neediest and most vulnerable among us is “ours.” 

Lord Jesus, instill in us your spirit of “diakonos.” Help us to imitate your spirit of servanthood in our church, to recognize that everyone of sisters and brothers is “ours.” May we live our baptism in works of compassion and charity; may our small and simple offerings of consolation and peace mirror your spirit of Gospel servanthood. 

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.      

Parish Daily Update 4/15/21

Dear Parish Family,

“Am I, who have so often received God’s mercy, merciful to others?  Let us not live a one-way faith, a faith that receives but does not give.  Having received mercy, let us now become merciful.”  

                ~Pope Francis

Remember to call before 4:00 today for Mass reservations for this Sunday.

God bless,

Pam

Friday of the Second Week of Easter 

First Reading:  Acts 5:34-42 

A Pharisee in the Sanhedrin named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, respected by all the people, stood up, ordered the Apostles to be put outside for a short time, and said to the Sanhedrin, “Fellow children of Israel, be careful what you are about to do to these men.
Some time ago, Theudas appeared, claiming to be someone important, and about four hundred men joined him, but he was killed, and all those who were loyal to him were disbanded and came to nothing. After him came Judas the Galilean at the time of the census.
He also drew people after him, but he too perished and all who were loyal to him were scattered. So now I tell you, have nothing to do with these men, and let them go. For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God.”
They were persuaded by him. After recalling the Apostles, they had them flogged, ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them. So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name. And all day long, both at the temple and in their homes, they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Christ, Jesus. 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 27:1, 4, 13-14 

R. One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R.    One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
One thing I ask of the LORD
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R.    One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R.    One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
 

Gospel:  John 6:1-15 

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee. A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. The Jewish feast of Passover was near. When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough
for each of them to have a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people recline.” Now there was a great deal of grass in that place.  So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted. When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.” So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat. When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.”  Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone. 

Homily  

“Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted.”   John 6:1-15 

More than five thousand had come to hear Jesus that day.  

The sick certainly had come, hoping that what they had heard about this wonderworker was true. Maybe he’ll see my pleurisy, my shattered limb, my disfigurement and heal me.  

The crowd must have included exhausted moms with their babies in tow, who needed a break from their 24/7 juggling of family and household.  

There must have been unemployed workers and struggling farmers there, too, whose lives had become a fog of hopelessness. 

Among those who had come to hear Jesus there must have been more than one soul dealing — quietly and alone — with a shattered relationship, a serious illness, a lost son or daughter.  

The depressed, the homeless, the disabled also found a patch of grass to sit that afternoon. 

In the back, on the edges of the crowd, were those who were embarrassed to be there or who did not want to be noticed: tax collectors, prostitutes, thieves, alcoholics, addicts, abusers. Also looking on from the shadows, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible, were Jesus’ harshest critics: Pharisees, scribes, priests. 

The happy and troubled, the doubting and the curious, the believer and the skeptic, the grateful and the broken — all found a place on the grass. 

Jesus welcomed every one of them. 

And he fed them. He fed them all. 

[Adapted from“The Sacred Meal,”by Nora Gallagher.] 

The scene on that grassy plain mirrors the gathering at this table today. In the miracle of the loaves and fish, Jesus transforms a crowd of all ages, talents, abilities and backgrounds into a community of generosity. That vision of being a Eucharistic community is re-created each time we gather here.  

What happens on that grassy plain, what happens here at this table, reveals the fullness of the Eucharist: to take up the hard work of reconciliation and compassion begun by God; to bring the peace of God’s presence humbly and lovingly into our own dwellings; to become the body and blood of Jesus that we receive at his table where all — saints and sinners – are welcomed.  

May we come to this table seeking to become what we receive here: one bread, one cup, one body, one family.    

Father of all that is good, help us to act first and always out of love. In imitating your Son’s selflessness and humility, may our most insignificant and ordinary offerings of generosity, consolation and forgiveness enable us to realize Easter miracles of resurrection and reconciliation in our home, school, church and community. 

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.      

Parish Daily Update 4/14/21

Dear Parish Family,

“The wounds of Jesus are open channels between him and us, shedding mercy upon our misery.  They are pathways that God has opened up for us to enter into his tender love and actually “touch” who he is.  Let us never again doubt his mercy.”     ~Pope Francis

The Knights of Columbus are sponsoring an online financial seminar entitled “Building Intergenerational Wealth” on May 4 at 7:00 p.m.  THIS SEMINAR IS OPEN TO ANYONE IN THE PARISH!!!  This informative presentation will discuss how to plan for your financial future and a secure retirement.  Some of the topics covered are:  the importance of ‘living a significant life’ that goes beyond merely accumulating wealth; eight steps to financial security; capital markets explained in 5 minutes; the importance of having a plan and a partner; why long-term care doesn’t have to be a financial nightmare; how to turn hard earned assets into reliable retirement income; protecting your loved ones with life insurance; why patience pays when claiming Social Security; and, six risks to a secure retirement and how you can insure against them.  This talk will give you new insights into your financial affairs without losing sight of your faith and values!  REGISTER NOW at  https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_KRe1Zco5Qzu6TthkvQki3g

Reminder – call the office for your Sunday Mass reservations – 601-856-2054 – before Thursday, 4:00.

God bless,

Pam

Thursday of the Second Week of Easter 

First Reading:  Acts 5:27-33 

When the court officers had brought the Apostles in and made them stand before the Sanhedrin, the high priest questioned them, “We gave you strict orders did we not,
to stop teaching in that name. Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and want to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the Apostles said in reply, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins. We are witnesses of these things, as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.” When they heard this, they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death. 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 34:2, 9, 17-18, 19-20 

R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
Many are the troubles of the just man,
but out of them all the LORD delivers him.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
 

Gospel:  John 3:31-36 

The one who comes from above is above all. The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things. But the one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy. For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit. The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him. 

Homily 

“For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God.”   John 3:31-36 

We often hear “the words of God” at unexpected moments, sometimes spoken by surprising voices: 

The unexpected call that comes from someone we’ve lost touch with: “Hi, haven’t seen or heard from you in a while. Thought I’d check in to make sure everything is OK.” 

The teacher or coach who pulls a student aside: “You’ve got the skill. You just need to understand the mechanics. Let me show you.” 

The chair or team leader who senses that the group isn’t on the same page: “Look, we all want this to work. Let’s put aside the negatives and focus on the positives. How about if we try this?” 

As Jesus preaches, God speaks in words of compassion, generosity and reconciliation. 

And anyone who speaks those words in the spirit of Easter peace is sent by God. 

This Easter season, let’s give thanks for those God has sent into our lives to speak God’s words – and may God send us to speak such words to others. 

Open our hearts and spirits to hear your words, O God, spoken by those who bless our lives with their compassion and love. May they inspire us to go forth and speak those same words to others, that we may be your voice that enables our families and churches and communities to be transformed in your Easter grace. 

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.      

Parish Daily Update 4/13/21

Dear Parish Family,

“Let us try to forgive immediately; this is most pleasing to the Heart of Jesus and a sure means to attain God’s mercy for us.  The key to victory is to forgive right away.  The Bible teaches us to not allow the sun to go down on our anger.”    ~Father Ed Broom, OMV

The Knights of Columbus are sponsoring an online financial seminar entitled “Building Intergenerational Wealth” on May 4 at 7:00 p.m.  THIS SEMINAR IS OPEN TO ANYONE IN THE PARISH!!!  This informative presentation will discuss how to plan for your financial future and a secure retirement.  Some of the topics covered are:  the importance of ‘living a significant life’ that goes beyond merely accumulating wealth; eight steps to financial security; capital markets explained in 5 minutes; the importance of having a plan and a partner; why long-term care doesn’t have to be a financial nightmare; how to turn hard earned assets into reliable retirement income; protecting your loved ones with life insurance; why patience pays when claiming Social Security; and, six risks to a secure retirement and how you can insure against them.  This talk will give you new insights into your financial affairs without losing sight of your faith and values!  REGISTER NOW at  https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_KRe1Zco5Qzu6TthkvQki3g

Reminder – call the office for your Sunday Mass reservations – 601-856-2054 – before Thursday, 4:00.

God bless,

Pam

Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter 

First Reading:  Acts 5:17-26 

The high priest rose up and all his companions, that is, the party of the Sadducees, and, filled with jealousy, laid hands upon the Apostles and put them in the public jail. But during the night, the angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison, led them out, and said,
“Go and take your place in the temple area, and tell the people everything about this life.”
When they heard this, they went to the temple early in the morning and taught. When the high priest and his companions arrived, they convened the Sanhedrin, the full senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the jail to have them brought in. But the court officers who went did not find them in the prison, so they came back and reported, “We found the jail securely locked and the guards stationed outside the doors, but when we opened them, we found no one inside.” When the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard this report, they were at a loss about them, as to what this would come to. Then someone came in and reported to them, “The men whom you put in prison are in the temple area and are teaching the people.”  Then the captain and the court officers went and brought them,
but without force, because they were afraid of being stoned by the people.  

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9 

R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.

Gospel:  John 3:16-21 

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.
And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light
and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God. 

Homily 

“…light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil.”   John 3: 16-21 

The dark can be a very comfortable place. Staying in the shadows, we can hide from situations we want to avoid. Preferring not to know, disengaging, turning away can relieve us from a great deal of responsibility. 

And light can be dangerous. Light illuminates things we don’t want to see. Light reveals our ignorance, our hypocrisies, our betrayals. Such transparency can make our lives very difficult and complicated. 

But in the resurrection of his Son our Christ, God makes clear that light will always overcome darkness, that justice and righteousness will have the last word over avarice and hatred, that truth – truth that is centered in the holy – will, in the end, come to light. 

We who have been baptized in the life and death of Jesus, who seek to follow him as his disciples, have committed ourselves to the light, no matter how much it demands of us, no matter how painful its revelations, no matter how unsettling the change to our perspective. 

This Easter, may we leave the comfortable and safe darkness to walk in the light of the Risen One. 

In this Easter season, O God, we are humbled by your complete and constant love for us and all of creation. In the simplicity of our lives, in the ordinariness of our days, may we walk in the light that reveals your love in our love for one another, your peace in our patience and empathy, your healing in our support for the grieving and our hand to the needy. 

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.      

Parish Daily Update 4/12/21

Dear Parish Family,

“This fire of mercy needs to be passed on to the world.  In the Mercy of God the world will find peace and mankind will find happiness!”      ~Pope St. John Paul II

Call the office, 601-856-2054, before Thursday at 4:00 for Mass reservations for Sunday.

Have a great week!

God bless,

Pam

Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter 

First Reading:  Acts 4:32-37 

The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the Apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the Apostles,
and they were distributed to each according to need. Thus Joseph, also named by the Apostles Barnabas (which is translated son of encouragement”), a Levite, a Cypriot by birth,
sold a piece of property that he owned, then brought the money and put it at the feet of the Apostles. 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 93:1, 1-2, 5

R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
The LORD is king, in splendor robed;
robed is the LORD and girt about with strength.
R.    The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
And he has made the world firm,
not to be moved.
Your throne stands firm from of old;
from everlasting you are, O LORD.
R.    The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed:
holiness befits your house,
O LORD, for length of days.
R.    The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.

 

Gospel:  John 3:7-15 

Jesus said to Nicodemus: “‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus answered and said to him,
‘How can this happen?” Jesus answered and said to him, “You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this? Amen, amen, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony. If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” 

Homily 

“The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common.”  Acts of the Apostles 4: 32-37 

In her book “The Cloister Walk,” Kathleen Norris writes: 

“Even when I find church boring, I try to hold this in mind as a possibility: like all the other fools who have dragged themselves to church on Sunday morning, including the pastor, I am there because I need to be reminded that love can be at the center of all things, if we will only keep it there.” 

Over the past year, with many of us missing the physical connection of church, we’ve come to realize the “heart and mind” of church is the same as it was in those early days: our communion with one another as an extension of our communion with God in Word and sacrament. We’ve experienced that communion in so many ordinary and small ways during the pandemic: helping one another with everything from providing a listening ear to picking up a roll of paper towels; giving our time to keep parish ministries going that serve the especially vulnerable and at-risk among us; checking in with one another to make sure everything is OK. 

During this particular Easter season, as hope in a return to “normal” becomes a reality, may we continue to be a parish community of “one heart and mind,” where, as Kathleen Norris notes, “love is the center of all things” – from our altar to our worktables, from our religious education program to our food pantry, from our finance committee to our parish landscape group. 

In the light of Easter peace, O God, may we rediscover that love is the “center of all things.” Help us to make compassion and reconciliation the heart of our common life together so that we may reflect your loving presence in our midst. May the needy and vulnerable find places of welcome and peace at that “center” among us. 

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 Martin I, Pope and Martyr
c. 590–655 

Exiled, alone, abandoned, and starving, a Pope dies for sound theology 

After being elected the Bishop of Rome in 649, today’s saint called a local Council which established the correct theology of the Church regarding the two wills of Christ. For this teaching and its broad dissemination, Martin was abducted in Rome by emissaries of the Byzantine Emperor Constans II, brought to Constantinople, and humiliated. Martin refused to retract or bend to the Emperor’s incorrect theology, which denied that Christ had a human will. Martin was imprisoned, publicly flogged, maltreated, condemned for treason, and exiled from Constantinople to the Crimean Peninsula on the Black Sea. And there the Pope died – naked, starving, forgotten, and alone—far from Rome, in the year 655, a victim of bad theology and the last pope, so far, venerated as a martyr. 

The Council of Chalcedon in 451 had synthesized centuries of theological debate by teaching, authoritatively, that the divine nature of the Second Person of the Trinity and the human nature of Jesus were distinct but united in the one person of Jesus Christ. This merging of divine natures in one person is called the hypostatic union. The Son of God, then, truly took flesh and experienced all things, save sin, that a man experiences. So, when Jesus said, “I thirst” (Jn 19:28), He didn’t mean to say, “Just my human nature is thirsty.” And when His majestic voice echoed off the stone walls of Bethany calling, “Lazarus, Come Out!” (Jn 11:43), He didn’t mean to say, “The divine nature inside of me, and only the divine nature, says ‘Lazarus, Come Out!” 

Yet Eastern Christians, primarily in Egypt and Syria, clung to a Monophysite, or one nature, theology of Jesus Christ long after Chalcedon had settled the matter. The Second Council of Constantinople in 553 attempted, unsuccessfully, to pull the Monophysites back into the orbit of Chalcedon. By the 600s, tensions between Chalcedonians and Monophysites were a political problem for the Byzantine empire. So, some Eastern theologians, supported by the Emperor, looked for common ground and proposed a one-willed Christ, instead of a one-natured Christ. This one-will heresy is called Monothelitism (monos = one; thelos = will). The issue of Christ’s will(s) had never been formally resolved, so the Emperor hoped a one-willed, instead of a one-natured, Christ would placate the Monophysites and unite his theologically diverse subjects. 

Chalcedon’s teaching on Christ’s two natures was ontological, or just logical, and did not explain how a person operates with dual intellects and wills. Monothelitists argued that if Christ’s two natures could seamlessly unite in one person, then so could His two wills. There was no human will in Christ, the argument went, because it was totally subsumed into the mightier divine will. But Pope Martin and others knew that this was theologically impossible, since a Christ without a functioning human will would have been a zombie, a ghost of a man. Nor could one argue that Jesus had one will divided into a divine and a human sphere, as Jesus was not a schizophrenic with a split identity. 

Martin’s theology of the two wills was vindicated when it was explicitly defined by the Third Council of Constantinople in 681. This Council taught Christ’s human will was “in subjection to his divine and all-powerful will.” That is, Christ’s two wills were separate in their natures but freely united in their object. How do two wills inside of one person enter into communion? In the same way that two wills in two different persons enter into communion. Each will gives free and independent assent to a principle, idea, or truth shared with the other will. The two wills retain their independence but freely unite in their assent to a common value. Thus, Jesus’ human will, in total freedom, submitted to the will of the Son of God. 

During his captivity, Martin was hurt by the indifference which the Church of Saint Peter in Rome paid to one of their own. Martin was also deeply pained when a new Pope was elected though he was still alive. It is every pope’s duty to preserve the unity and integrity of the Church by preserving the unity and integrity of Christ. Martin did just that. The fruits of Martin’s martyrdom advanced theology toward its correct conclusion on Christ’s two wills in the decades after he died, even though poor Martin himself has been largely forgotten. His remains were returned to the Eternal City after his death and he now rests in peace somewhere under the marble floor of Saint Peter’s Basilica.   

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