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Parish Weekly Update 7/21/21

Dear Parish Family,

“If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself.”     ~St. Augustine

“Push back against the age as hard as it pushes against you.  What people don’t realize is how much religion costs.  They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross.”   

~Flannery O’Connor

SAUERKRAUT PACKING:  Our first kraut packing will be TODAY, July 21, beginning at 4:00.  If you have never made sauerkraut, it is a very simple process, but many hands are required for the volume we make!  Come experience this tradition and meet and visit with your fellow parishioners!!  If you can’t be here at 4:00, come as soon as you can.  Also, this is a great opportunity for service hours our students may need for school.

BUSINESS:  Offertory for the week of 7/11/21 –

General Fund –                  $14,496.00

Building –                            $430.00

Our Daily Bread –             $110.00

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 supporting our parish!!!

MASS SCHEDULE:  Beginning August 8we will return to our ‘regular,’ pre-Covid Mass schedule – 8:15 a.m., 10:45 a.m., and 5:00 p.m. Sundays.  Please make a note of this up-coming change!!

PARISH BOOKKEEPER:  We are searching for a bookkeeper for our parish.  The part-time, paid position requires around 6 hrs. a week, and the applicant must be familiar with Microsoft Word, Excel, and be willing to learn Diocesan accounting software.  Applicant must also have experience with accounting practices and principles.  For a more detailed job description, questions, or to apply, please contact Pam in the parish office – 601-856-2054.

K-6 RELIGIOUS EDUCATION CLASSES:  The new school year is quickly approaching and we are planning at this time to have in person K-6 Faith Formation classes on Sundays starting August 22 from 9:30am-10:30am.  In order to have class, we are in need of volunteers to teach! NO EXPERIENCE NEEDED – JUST THE DESIRE TO SHARE YOUR CATHOLIC FAITH WITH OUR CHILDREN! All of the materials you need will be supplied for you. We use a team-teaching approach, which means you share teaching your class with others, which allows more flexibility to accommodate everyone’s busy schedules.

We ask that you take a few moments to pray about being a part of this most precious ministry.  If you are interested in volunteering, please complete the Catechist Registration form in the back of the church or contact Karen (her info follows). 

Our children are the future of our faith!  Feel free to contact Karen Worrell, CRE, at kworrellcre@hotmail.com or 601-672-5817 with any questions.

Information about 7/8th grade and high school classes will be forthcoming.

As always, if you have any questions about any of this, feel free to call me! 

God bless,

Pam

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 

First Reading:  2 Kings 4:42-44 

A man came from Baal-shalishah bringing to Elisha, the man of God, twenty barley loaves made from the firstfruits, and fresh grain in the ear.  Elisha said, “Give it to the people to eat.” But his servant objected, “How can I set this before a hundred people?”  Elisha insisted, “Give it to the people to eat.” 
“For thus says the LORD, ‘They shall eat and there shall be some left over.’” 
And when they had eaten, there was some left over, as the LORD had said. 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 145:10-11, 15-16, 17-18

R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
The eyes of all look hopefully to you,
and you give them their food in due season;
you open your hand
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs. 

Second Reading:  Ephesians 4:1-6 

Brothers and sisters:
I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all. 

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 

“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?”John 6:1-15 

                More than five thousand had come to hear Jesus. 

The sick certainly had come, hoping that what they had heard about this wonder-worker 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 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 on 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.] 

We can learn a lot from leftovers. After feeding the crowds with the scraps of bread and fish, Jesus asks his disciples to gather up the leftovers. As the twelve wicker baskets of leftovers attested to the sign Jesus had worked, our own baskets of “leftovers” and fragments are signs of the many blessings we have received in our lives. Today’s Gospel also challenges us to realize the many things we waste in our lives that can be the difference between life and death for our brothers and sisters, that our stored “wicker baskets” of clothing, food, household goods, toys and, yes, money, can become signs of the providence of God in our midst. 

                The multiplication in today’s gospel did not start with nothing; Jesus was able to feed the crowds because one boy was willing to share what little he had; from his gift, small though it was, Jesus worked a miracle, a wonder.  The same is true with us, as we gather here to share this meal, we are reminded that only when we are willing to defer ourselves to the good of the community, only when serving others is exalted over being served, only when differences dissolve and the common and shared are honored above all else, are we also able to work miracles and wonders.  Here we gather to become what we receive: one bread, one cup, one body one family. 

                But there are other hungers that gnaw at our human hearts.  These also cry out for nourishment.  This week and the next three, our readings invite us to consider these other hungers as well as the nourishment that God offers to satisfy them.  But each time that God has filled or will fill these hungers, those who have their fill are also challenged to look beyond the gift of nourishment in order to more intimately know and appreciate the giver. 

                Karl Rahner (The Great Church Year) once explained that the people in today’s gospel were drawn to Jesus, driven by a hunger for God.  They followed Jesus into the wilderness because they were aware that their own lives were a wilderness; they hungered for the words Jesus spoke.  They wanted more than their ordinary lives were able to offer them.  But while they were hungering for God, a physical hunger seized them.  Hungering for God, they found themselves hungering for earthly life.  Then the situation turned strange. 

                Jesus, whom they were following to hear the words of life, gave them earthly bread and fish.  When they ate and had their fill, they wanted to make him king.  What was offered as nourishment to sustain them in their search for God became a temptation, prompting them to covet the “free lunch” and to lose sight of its significance.  As a result, Jesus fled from them.  Isn’t this our story as well?  Isn’t this what constantly happens in the lives of individuals?  I know it has been, and probably will be again, my story. 

                God enables us to care for our needs.  So that we have earthly bread, and even multiplies it so as to feed great multitudes who live in the many wildernesses of our world.  But instead of using the gift to seek God, and satisfy our hunger for eternity we, like the people in today’s gospel, are tempted by the miracle and want to make the bread, or the making of the bread, our God.  And so, God withdraws from us, not willing to become a part of our scheme. 

                Our readings today remind us of the balance that must be struck.  If we have been blessed with an abundance of earthly bread, or with the technical capabilities of producing an abundance, then these gifts are for sharing with the hungry.  When physical hungers are satisfied, then we are free to attend to the deeper hungers, for love, mercy, forgiveness, companionship, peace – God.  In satisfying these hungers for one another, we sharpen our hunger for God, who is eager to fill our human hearts. 

                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. That is the challenge of the Gospel, and the mandate of the Eucharist that is foreshadowed in this miracle story: to take up the hard work of reconciliation and compassion begun by God, the God who dwells here in our own town and State; to humbly and lovingly bring the peace of God’s dwelling place into our own homes; to become the body and blood of Jesus that we receive at his table where all – saints and sinners – are welcomed. Eucharist is possible only when self defers to community, only when serving others is exalted over being served, only when differences dissolve and the common and shared are honored above all else. In the Eucharist of Christ, the humble Servant-Redeemer, we seek to become what we receive: one bread, one cup, one body, one family. 

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  

She had a wonderful time at her prom. But she couldn’t help noticing that some of the girls she knew weren’t there. Later that week she asked around and was stunned to learn the number of girls who could not afford a dress for the prom. So she and a couple of her friends talked to their moms about giving their dresses to girls for next year’s prom. A local dry cleaner agreed to be a clearing house next spring. Their three dresses were the beginning of a miracle the following spring for seniors who thought going to the prom was a pipe dream. 

It started a few years ago when a young mom with two children was seriously ill. Neighbors and friends organized to provide supper for them. They soon discovered how many other families experienced similar crises (not to mention that “food insecurity” during the pandemic was a reality in their community, as well). The local parish got involved and now a freezer in the church basement is kept stocked with casseroles, hamburgers and all kinds of prepared foods for families in need. The organizers never forget that it started with one dish of lasagna. 

It was his first semester student teaching. He returned to the dorm each night with stories of the funny things his second graders did and said. One evening he asked two of his friends if they had an hour or two to help a couple of his students who were struggling in math and reading. His pals cautiously said yes — teaching elementary school was not part of their career trajectories. But they came to the school one afternoon and each worked with a student — and never spent a more fulfilling half hour in their lives. The kids were great — and the short time they spent together made a big difference in the second-grader’s school work. That first completed math sheet and vocabulary list were the beginnings of a new after-school tutoring program organized by the college. 

A prom dress, a casserole, an elementary school reader – all pieces of “bread and fish” that become the beginnings of a miracle. Like the boy in today’s Gospel who gives the little he has, these good folks make use of the opportunities and resources they have — all simple and ordinary — to make good things happen for others in need. The community of generosity and gratitude that Jesus gathers on that plain is re-created each time we gather here to celebrate the Eucharist. We are called by Christ to become the Eucharist we receive at this altar: giving thanks for what we have received by sharing with one another our “scraps” of bread and fish — our talents, our riches, ourselves — working our own miracles of creating communities of Christ-like charity. 

Parish Weekly Update 7/14/21

Dear Parish Family,

“If you believe what you like in the Gospel,

and reject what you don’t like,

it is not the Gospel you believe,

but yourself.”

     ~St. Augustine

SAUERKRAUT PACKING:  Our first kraut packing will be next Wednesday afternoon, July 21, beginning at 4:00.  If you have never made sauerkraut, it is a very simple process, but many hands are required for the volume we make!  Come experience this tradition and meet and visit with your fellow parishioners!!  If you can’t be here at 4:00, come as soon as you can.  Also, this is a great opportunity for service hours our students may need for school.

MASS SCHEDULE:  Beginning August 8we will return to our ‘regular,’ pre-Covid Mass schedule – 8:15 a.m., 10:45 a.m., and 5:00 p.m. Sundays.  Please make a note of this up-coming change!!

OFFERTORY for the week of 7/4/21:

General                              $14,220.00

Building                             $437.00

Our Daily Bread               $125.00

Cemetery                          $175.00

MS Catholic                      $20.00

Solemnity of Mary          $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. 

Thank you for supporting our parish!!!

PARISH BOOKKEEPER:  We are searching for a bookkeeper for our parish.  The part-time, paid position requires around 6 hrs. a week, and the applicant must be familiar with Microsoft Word, Excel, and be willing to learn Diocesan accounting software.  Applicant must also have experience with accounting practices and principles.  For a more detailed job description, questions, or to apply, please contact Pam in the parish office – 601-856-2054.

God bless,

Pam

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time  

First Reading:  Jeremiah 23:1-6 

Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture, says the LORD. 
Therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, against the shepherds who shepherd my people: You have scattered my sheep and driven them away. You have not cared for them,
but I will take care to punish your evil deeds. I myself will gather the remnant of my flock
from all the lands to which I have driven them and bring them back to their meadow;
there they shall increase and multiply. I will appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them
so that they need no longer fear and tremble; and none shall be missing, says the LORD. 

Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David;
as king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah shall be saved, Israel shall dwell in security. This is the name they give him:
“The LORD our justice.” 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6 

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
with your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. 

Second Reading:  Ephesians 2:13-18 

Brothers and sisters:
In Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh,
abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God,
in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it.  He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 

Gospel:  Mark 6:30-34 

The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. 
He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”  People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place. People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them. 

When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. 

Homily

“‘Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while . . .’  Jesus was moved with pity for the vast crowd, for they were like sheep without a shepherd.” Mark 6:30‑34 

There is a commercial that perhaps you have seen. A little girl is drawing with chalk on her front walk when a delivery man walks by, juggling boxes. Clearly, he’s having a bad day and just glares at her. His grumpiness gives her an idea. She takes her chalk and draws a hopscotch grid on the sidewalk in front of her house. It’s a wonderfully colorful and inviting work. As she watches, everyone who passes by – teenagers, a woman jogging, a senior couple — stops to play the game, cheering and waving at her when they successfully dance their way through her design. 

Then the grumpy delivery man reappears. He stops and scowls at the hopscotch challenge in front of him. He looks at the young artist, and to her surprise, he smartly jumps through the grid. He then walks away with a sly smile.  

Adding to the charm of the moment is the background jazz music of the great American song “The Sunny Side of the Street.” 

A little girl’s hopscotch challenge is an example of the “deserted place” envisioned by Jesus in today’s Gospel. The “deserted place” can be a physical place of quiet and solitude to re‑connect with God and the things of God – but the “deserted place” can also be time: a few minutes we set aside to stop, to realize God’s presence in our midst, to feel grateful for God’s grace in the love of family and friends. We all need “deserted” places – “hopscotch” moments – to escape the demands and expectations of our over‑scheduled lives to hear anew the voice of God in the quiet of our hearts, to realize anew God’s presence in our lives in the love and care of family and friends. 

The pity Jesus felt in today’s gospel, seeing the shepherd-less crowd, can be applied to our society today.  He would pity us too, as he surveyed the damage we are doing to ourselves through our abuses.  We abuse a whole host of items and people; certainly, there are abuses of alcohol, tobacco and firearms, but there are also abuses of food, some abuse sex, others abuse children and spouses, some abuse their parents.  We live in a time where we don’t have to look too far nor listen too hard to learn of any number of abuses surrounding us.  There are attempts on the law books to control the abuses around us, but aside from restrictions, abuse goes on. 

Make no mistake about it, we are not immune.  Our abuses are one of the reasons why Jesus pities us.  We need to examine our lifestyles, the ways in which we entertain, the things we choose to ignore or overlook.  The family of God cannot grow if everyone is looking out only for themselves. Unless its members care for one another, a family will not survive.  Admitting less than loving motives for our actions requires change.  A mother who realizes she scrubs the floors to satisfy her own need for the cleanest house in the neighborhood rather than for her family’s comfort, as she has always claimed, must rethink her priorities.  A hardworking father has some tough value choices to make when he realizes that all the time he spends at work to support his family was really motivated by his need for success.  We must die to ourselves in order to serve others. 

It is apparent that today’s first reading and Gospel are setting up a contrast between the bad shepherds of Israel and God’s shepherd, who will govern with wisdom and bring justice to the people. Jeremiah criticizes Judah’s political and religious leaders for being selfish, looking after their own needs and neglecting the flock entrusted to them.  Jeremiah reminds us that the special shepherd-like love, with which God led the people of the first covenant, is to be the model for all of us.   The gospel shows Jesus acting as a generous shepherd, taking the apostles away for needed rest.  We need to be able to strike a balance in our lives, we need to be renewed by rest.  Jesus also offers an example of his compassion for others, a motivation that enabled him to put the needs of others ahead of his own.  As Christians, as people who have taken on for ourselves Jesus’ name, we are to follow in his example. We, as Christians, see Jesus as the fulfillment of this good shepherd image. 

We can easily dismiss it and say he is addressing the leaders, government, or our church leaders.  But he is not.  He is addressing all of us.  We are all called to shepherd one another.  To look to promote the good of each other.  We all have the ability to shepherd others: we teach how to forgive by forgiving, we teach respect in the way we are attentive to others and their needs.  Something you do today that you may consider minor could have a lasting impact on someone else.  As disciples of Jesus let us do what is just and right in this land. 

We are called to enact the justice of God and the love of Jesus right where we are.  Our day and age may not strike us as a likely place for heroism.  Distance lends a certain enchantment; when we look back in time, we are inclined to take a “those were the days of the giants, the saints, the heroes” approach.  Certain times in the past seemed to demand larger-than-life heroes. 

For instance, we look back at Germany and the Nazi era and say it cried out for someone, anyone, to oppose the evil apparent.  But it is quite humbling to look back and note how few really did protest the evil of that day.  Is our day any different, certainly there are evils around us today that need to be corrected? 

The “good shepherd” sees the pain of others and acts to alleviate it.  So many times in the Gospel, Jesus is able to perceive what people need and brings healing to the situation.  In today’s passage he senses that the crowd is lost, searching for something.  He leads.  A movie several years ago about the Nazi era was called Schindler’s List, and there was, what I thought, a powerful scene where Schindler orders water to be hosed into the sweltering cattle cars where the Jews are penned up, waiting to be shipped to Auschwitz.  The Nazis laugh uproariously at what they take to be the “antics” of Schindler.  They assume he is doing this to further torment the suffering prisoners.  But then the camera cuts to the inhabitants of the rail car, their tongues outstretched to catch even a drop of the water as it splashes through the siding of the car or drips from the ceiling.  Yes, these people needed their freedom and human dignity but at that moment, the simple gift of water tasted pretty good.  Part of the horror of this scene was that the soldiers didn’t even recognize goodness anymore.  At the end we learn that, for all of his faults, Schindler turned out to be a pretty good shepherd. 

As people, we look at the problems and needs of our world and say they are too large for me to do anything about.  But Jesus is asking us to start right where we live, with the people around us.  The good shepherd sees the need of others and acts to alleviate them. 

The real miracle we are in need of today is to become a caring community.  When you look around at your immediate world what needs do you see?  And, as a pretty good shepherd, how will you respond? 

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 Weekly Update 7/7/21

Dear Parish Family,

“Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you.”    

~St. Thomas Aquinas

PARISH BOOKKEEPER:  We are searching for a bookkeeper for our parish.  The part-time, paid position requires 4 – 6 hrs. a week, and the applicant must be familiar with Microsoft Word, Excel, and be willing to learn Diocesan accounting software.  Applicant must also be very familiar with accounting practices and principles.  For a more detailed job description, questions, or to apply, please contact Pam in the parish office – 601-856-2054.

OFFERTORY for the week of 6/27/21:

General               $10,361.00

Building               $200.00

Peter’s Pence    $648.00

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 supporting our parish!!!

RETURN TO PRE-COVID MASS SCHEDULE:   Beginning August 8 we will return to our ‘regular,’ pre-Covid Mass schedule – 8:15 a.m., 10:45 a.m., and 5:00 p.m. Sundays.  Please make a note of this up-coming change!!

God bless!

Pam

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 

July 11, 2021 

First Reading:  Amos 7:12-15 

Amaziah, priest of Bethel, said to Amos, “Off with you, visionary, flee to the land of Judah! There earn your bread by prophesying, but never again prophesy in Bethel; for it is the king’s sanctuary and a royal temple.” Amos answered Amaziah, “I was no prophet, nor have I belonged to a company of prophets;
I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores. The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me, Go, prophesy to my people Israel.” 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14 

R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD —for he proclaims peace.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and prepare the way of his steps.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation. 

Second Reading:  Ephesians 1:3-14 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. 
In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved. In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us. 
In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times,
to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth. In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ. In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him,
were sealed with the promised holy Spirit, which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory. 

Gospel:  Mark 6:7-13 

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two
and gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick – no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic. 
He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave. 
Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.” So they went off and preached repentance. The Twelve drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.  

Homily 

“Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclear spirits.”Mark 6:7-13 

Early in the pandemic, “Time”Magazine columnist Belinda Luscombe started walking around her New York neighborhood just to get out of the house to make human contact. In her May 24/May 31 essay, she writes about some of the characters she met. 

There’s the postal carrier, with the unusual name Archimedes, who had been delivering the mail for years but she had never met. Now they talk just about every day (even though Archimedes can never remember Belinda’s name). 

Belinda also checks in regularly with Kenny, the superintendent of a building nearby, “a lovely man with a beautiful spirit” who knows everything that’s happening in the neighborhood and doesn’t hesitate to tell you how he feels about a given issue. 

Amid the many padlocked restaurants in the neighborhood, one Indian restaurant managed to stay open. Belinda’s family became regular take-out customers. Ram, the owner, has come to know each family member’s order and preferences. Keeping his business open has been a challenge, but his optimism is “as nourishing as the tikka masala.” 

Elijah lives in the building next door – but it’s a world away from Belinda’s. Elijah is a survivor of abandonment, addiction, divorce, incarceration and an arrhythmia that could kill him at any time. In their conversations, Belinda and Elijah have shown each other different experiences of life. 

But the most unexpected rapport Belinda developed during the pandemic has been with “this interesting young woman who lived in my house. I already knew her a bit, since I gave birth to her about two decades ago.” The moody, sullen teenager had moved away for college but came home when the campuses closed. “The child who moved out was perpetually indignant about something, usually me” but the individual who moved back was “a reasonable and charming” young woman who “astonishingly, sometimes laughed at my jokes.” 

“That’s the weird thing about the people you meet during a pandemic,” Belinda Luscombe writes in “Time.”  “They’ve been there the whole time.” 

Our lives are a “walking tour” of sorts during which we encounter God in the people we meet along the way – and, if we do it right, they see something of the love of God in us. Belinda Luscombe writes how her life has been enriched by her encounters during her walks through her neighborhood these past few months; in that same spirit, Jesus sends forth the Twelve not to organize, rule or manage but to heal, comfort and encourage. So may we travel “light” through this time and place, leaving behind our own interests and expectations and fears to experience God’s grace and peace in the wisdom and insight of God’s daughters and sons we meet along the way. 

Today’s readings remind us that we, like the apostles and prophets, have been chosen and sent into the world to share the Gospel. 

In today’s First Reading the prophet Amos is accused by the priest in charge of the shrine at Bethel of prophesying as a scam to get some food. 

Amos responds that he owned a flock and sycamore trees: he had property and possessions and was not a beggar being creative to get some food. 

Amos was a prophet because the Lord chose him and sent him to prophesy.  Like the Twelve in the Gospel today, being a prophet doesn’t mean we venture out on our own nor that we know what it is God wants us to say or that we have it all figured out. 

Amos was chosen to be a prophet and leave his possessions behind. Clearly, he was mistaken for a beggar, but he had everything he needed to accomplish his mission. 

In the Second Reading St. Paul teaches us that we were not chosen to become rich in the material sense of the term, but to be holy and without blame before God the Father, thankful for all that God has given. 

Only a worldly person sees a holy person as poor just because they are not swayed or burdened by material well-being. 

The Lord lavishes spiritual treasures upon the holy: the call to become his adopted children, forgiveness for our sins, and the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

In choosing us, he has also revealed his plan of salvation and our part in it. 

When we accept his calling, we receive all these treasures and the opportunity to help others to receive them too. 

In today’s Gospel Jesus teaches the Twelve that to be an apostle means to be an example to foster a more effective proclamation. One example is simplicity. 

He tells them to take what they need, but to keep it simple. Our testimony of Gospel simplicity in the things we use is also a way we evangelize. We live this simplicity to fulfill our mission as apostles.  This Gospel poverty also helps us to see the true treasure we possess; a treasure so eloquently expressed in the Second Reading. 

Holiness is the ultimate happiness, even if it seems tough at times, and a great peace comes from having our sins forgiven. 

When we were baptized, we became members of his body, that same body that reaches out to men and women in every age in order to lead them to God. 

That’s the mission Jesus gave his apostles in today’s Gospel.  In fact, the very word “apostle” comes from the Greek word meaning: “to be sent.”  It is the mission we were given at our baptism. 

Every Christian is sent out to bear witness to Christ, to bring his wisdom and his healing touch to those who are in need, spiritually and physically. 

Therefore, the missionary instructions that Jesus gives to his first followers apply to all his followers, us included. 

I would like to suggest that they can be summed up as: trust and perseverance. 

Besides the clothes on their backs, the Apostles are only supposed to bring a walking stick and their sandals. 

Every need they have along the way will be met, but it will be met by God’s providence, not by their own self-sufficiency: we are to trust in God. 

The walking stick and the sandals symbolize, I think, a determination to continue moving forward, to persevere in their efforts to fulfill God’s will.  They must not give up. 

Even when they face opposition, persecution, and a cold welcome (which they will – Jesus leaves no room for doubt about that), they are not to be deterred; they are to persevere. 

Trust and perseverance – two key qualities of the Christian whose relevance will never run out. 

Do you remember the movie “The Matrix,” the first one that came out in 1999? 

The first movie made a splash and had an impact on people because it tapped into a truth. 

In the film, the main character, Neo (a name which actually means “new”), is offered a choice. 

Morpheus, his mentor figure, holds in front of him two capsules. 

If he swallows the blue one, he will return to his normal, everyday, pleasant condition – a condition that appears real and reasonable, but, in the context of the movie, is actually a computer-generated illusion in which he will be comfortable. 

But if he swallows the red capsule, he will be violently awakened and painfully extracted from the computer-generated illusory world. 

From then on, he will be a renegade, and the evil antagonists will never stop trying to destroy him. 

He will have to live in hardship, danger, and constant discomfort, but he will be truly free, truly awake, and truly capable of living a meaningful and fulfilling life. 

The choice is clear: the comfort of a lie, or the discomfort of the truth. Jesus

is like that with us. 

He has shown us that following him entails following the way of the crossand self-denial, not comfort and self-indulgence. 

But he has also shown us that his cross is the door to the resurrection – eternal life, the adventure of friendship with God that gives an everlasting meaning to all we do. 

Each day, we are like Neo: free to make a choice between the risk of Christ or the comfort of self. 

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

Benedictine Father Godfrey Diekmann was one of the leaders of the liturgical renewal movement during the remarkable years of the Second Vatican Council. He put the mystery of the Eucharist this bluntly: 

“What difference does it make if the bread and wine turn into the Body and Blood of Christ and we don’t?” 

Christ calls us to this table not just to receive his body but to become his body: to embody his Gospel of mercy and justice, to reflect God’s love in our midst by our compassion and empathy, to realize God’s Kingdom here and now, in this time and place.  

That’s quite a transformation Jesus has put into motion – and, in today’s Gospel, he warns us of the cost of becoming the bread we receive here, the price Jesus asks of us to follow him as his disciples.  

So may we come to this table aware of the cost of becoming what we receive here and committed to paying that price out of love for one another; may we come to this table emptying ourselves of our fears and cynicism in order to be filled with the Spirit of God’s compassion and grace that makes us a Eucharistic community. 

KC Chicken Dinners

REMINDER:  KC Chicken Dinners can be picked up today, Saturday, July 3 in the Parish Hall from 1:00pm -4:00pm.  Extra dinners and sides are available on a first-come basis. 

Wishing everyone a Happy 4th of July Weekend!!

Parish Weekly Update 6/30/21

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:

General               $13,099.00

Building              $200.00

Peter’s Pence    $40.00

Cemetery            $50.00

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 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!!!

God bless!

Pam

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.   

EXTRA   

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.   

Parish Weekly Update 6/23/21

Dear Parish Family,

“Today, if we listen to the Spirit, we will not be concerned with conservatives and progressives, traditionalists and innovators, right and left.  … The Paraclete impels us to unity … the harmony of diversity.  He makes us see ourselves as parts of the same body, brothers and sisters of one another.”      ~Pope Francis

BUSINESS:  Offertory for the week of 6/13/21:

General                              $19,516.00

Building                             $585.00

Diocesan Missions           $50.00

Cemetery                          $50.00

Peter’s Pence                   $115.00

Our Daily Bread               $200.00

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 very thankful for your generosity to our parish!!!

CHICKENPENDANCE DAY SMOKED CHICKEN:  The KCs will be hosting an applewood smoked chicken plate fundraiser on July 4 Weekend.  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—on-line only – through June 27 by filling out a form.  The link to the 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.

KC LADIES’ AUXILIARY:  The Ladies’ Auxiliary will hold their (re-scheduled) monthly meeting on Monday, June 28, 6:00 p.m., in the Parish Hall.

God bless,

Pam

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 

June 27, 2021 

First Reading:  Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24 

God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.
For he fashioned all things that they might have being; and the creatures of the world are wholesome, and there is not a destructive drug among them nor any domain of the netherworld on earth, for justice is undying. For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him. But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who belong to his company experience it. 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11, 12, 13 

R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear
and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O LORD, you brought me up from the netherworld;
you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger lasts but a moment;
a lifetime, his good will.
At nightfall, weeping enters in,
but with the dawn, rejoicing.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me;
O LORD, be my helper.
You changed my mourning into dancing;
O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me. 

Second Reading:  2 Corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15 

Brothers and sisters:
As you excel in every respect, in faith, discourse, knowledge, all earnestness, and in the love, we have for you, may you excel in this gracious act also. 

For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. Not that others should have relief while you are burdened, but that as a matter of equality your abundance at the present time should supply their needs, so that their abundance may also supply your needs, that there may be equality. As it is written:
Whoever had much did not have more, and whoever had little did not have less. 

Gospel:  Mark 5:21-43 

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea. One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, “My daughter is at the point of death.
Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.” He went off with him, and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him. There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?” But his disciples said to Jesus, “You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.” While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?” Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. So he went in and said to them, “Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” And they ridiculed him. Then he put them all out. He took along the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and entered the room where the child was. He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. At that they were utterly astounded. He gave strict orders that no one should know this and said that she should be given something to eat. 

Homily 

“One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, ‘My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.’ … There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years: ‘If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.’” Mark 5: 21‑43 

This year’s Oscar for the Best Documentary went to a beautifully photographed story about a friendship that was developed between a diver and an octopus. 

The documentary’s title says it all: My Octopus Teacher.  It is available on Netflix. 

South African film maker Craig Foster needed a break as his work had taken a toll on his family and personal life, so he retreated to his boyhood home on South Africa’s Western Cape. Every morning he would free dive in the frigid waters along the stormy coast. A favorite spot was a quiet, offshore kelp forest where all kinds of sea life lived. 

One morning he came across a beautiful, intelligent, and typically shy octopus. The creature was fascinating to watch: her jetting through the water, her creativity in camouflaging herself to capture lobsters and crabs for food, her outsmarting her predators, her perseverance in surviving the loss of a tentacle, sliced off by a shark.   

Every day Foster returned to the area around the octopus’ den under a large rock. After a few weeks, the octopus came to trust her visitor. In the film’s most tender and perhaps transcendent moment, the octopus reaches out a tentacle to touch Foster’s finger and then grasp his hand. The “octopus teacher” establishes a level of connection and empathy her human pupil could never imagine. The animal would later ride on his hand through the water and rest on Foster’s chest. 

For the next twelve months, Foster is “schooled” by the octopus. Foster wisely does not treat the octopus as a pet (he does not “name” her); he does not interfere in the natural order of things. The relationship is one of genuine awe and respect between two creatures naturally curious about the other. 

A wild octopus rarely lives beyond 18 months. When Foster stumbles upon the rare sight of the octopus mating, he knows her end is near. A mother octopus gives her life bringing her deposit of fertilized eggs to birth, watching over them until they hatch. Foster can only stand by as his “teacher’s” life comes to an end. 

In the film’s breath‑taking images, Foster’s “octopus teacher” instructs us, as well, teaching us reverence and respect for all element of creation. She schools us in the ways of empathy and humility, making us realize in new ways that our place in God’s creation is something greater than ourselves and that we have a responsibility to every life God has set forth. She inspires us to hope in the possibilities for healing and meaning in this wondrous world that God has set into motion. 

The lessons of “The Octopus Teacher” are all around us in every experience of humble generosity, in every offering of healing forgiveness. In the same way, we can “touch” the cloak of Jesus (as the hemorrhaging woman does) when we hope enough to bring consolation and understanding into the life of someone in crisis; we can make the “dead rise” from the darkness of despair and isolation when we reach out to them with mercy and compassion. A mind set centered in such faith enables us to see our lives and world with a conviction of hope, an understanding of our connection to others, an awareness of God’s presence in our midst in the generosity and compassion of others. The “power” of Jesus’ mercy is revealed in the “lessons” taught by one of God’s most awesome creatures, enabling a dispirited film maker – and us – to bring resurrection and transformation to our own homes and hearts. 

Jairus in today’s Gospel, as a leader of the synagogue, is an establishment figure, and we see him grasping at any hope for his daughter as he comes to Jesus.  He asks Jesus to save his daughter. Jairus’ love for his daughter enables him to set aside his importance in the community, his pride, and to plead for his daughter. 

What will we not do for our children? What dragon we will not slay to protect them? What chasm we will not cross to bring them to the promised land? For many moms and dads, their joys and dreams are inextricably linked to their children’s. Jairus, in today’s Gospel, is just such a dad: to save his beloved daughter, Jairus does not hesitate to risk his standing in the community and career to approach the controversial rabbi reputed to work wonders. A parent’s complete and unconditional love is the very reflection of the love of God in our midst. Whether a parent or friend, a neighbor or mentor, we can mirror that same love in our own generosity of heart, in our own resolve to lift up the fallen, to bring healing to the suffering, to restore life to the dead.  

In the story of the woman who has suffered with hemorrhages for years, embedded in the story of Jairus and his daughter, we learn some important lessons as well.  Certainly, the woman wanted to simply touch his cloak, be healed and never tell anyone about it.  Only she and God needed to know what had happened. But Jesus was not going to let that happen. That is not how Jesus works. Perhaps we love our privacy too much.  Jesus insists that the woman make herself known.  We are created to be a part of a community.  We are created to care for and about each other.  We are created to love and be loved and that does not happen in private or secret. 

At times our sensitivity needs to be awakened to the grace that life’s detours can bring. I recall the story of how one Sunday morning a deacon was traveling his regular route to church, and on the side of the road he saw a car.  Its hood was open and dark smoke was billowing out.  A woman with four little children stood by the car.  Frantically she tried to wave him down to stop and help.  But the deacon only slowed down a little and shouted out the window, “I’m sorry I can’t help right now I’m on my way to church.” 

The story points out the challenge of setting priorities and making plans and then being flexible enough to change them.  Paul describes the readiness of Jesus to be at the service of others regardless of his present plans or agenda.  By letting go of who he was/is, and becoming poor for our sake, Jesus has done a most gracious act and taught how important God believes us to be.  He asks that we treat each other the same. 

Hopefully, we can imitate that same compassion for healing like Jesus, risking our own sense of safety and satisfaction in order to bring that love into the lives of others. 

EXTRA 

An elderly woman, despondent over the recent death of her husband of 60 years, was moved into a nursing home. She didn’t speak to any one; she never made any requests of the staff. All she would do is sit in an old rocking chair in the day room and rock. 

The old woman didn’t have many visitors, and the few family members who came stayed only after a few awkwardly quiet minutes. 

But every couple of mornings, a young nurse would go into the day room. She didn’t try to engage her in conversation or ask questions. She simply pulled up another rocking chair beside the woman and rocked with her. After a few minutes, the nurse would continue her rounds. Before leaving, she would touch the old woman on the arm, squeeze her hand, or offer her a tissue. 

Many weeks later, the old woman finally spoke. She turned to the nurse and took the young woman’s hand and smiled. 

“Thank you,” she said. “Thank you for rocking with me.”  [Adapted from InspirationPeak.com] 

The story of the sick woman in today’s Gospel is told as an afterthought ‑ indeed, her whole life is an afterthought. She counts for little in the social structure of her time; her problems and illness elicit neither concern nor care from those around her. Her hemorrhages, in fact, mark her as unclean, someone to be avoided. But like the kindness of the nurse who does not let the widow’s despondency “mark” her, the “power” of Jesus transcends the woman’s isolation.  This week let us pull up our own rocking chairs to care for those who are estranged or forgotten, because of grief or illness, or for whatever reason they have been separated by society, that the power of Jesus’ compassion and peace may touch their hearts through our care and concern.  We are sent to seek out the needy, the lost and despairing in our midst.   

When he was eight years old, he wanted to be an altar boy ‑ he even harbored thoughts of becoming a priest. It was the summer of 1958; he just completed the third grade. He memorized all the Latin responses; he practiced all the movements. Finally, the morning came when he would serve Mass for the first time. 

To his horror, the eighth‑grader who was supposed to serve with him didn’t show. One of the sisters in the parish sat behind the flag in the sanctuary prompting instructions. But disaster struck. It came time for him to pick up the heavy missal and bring it to the other side of the altar. As he genuflected while trying to balance the book on its stand, his foot got caught in the hem of his cassock, and both he and the missal went sprawling to the floor. The priest stopped the Mass and turned. His face was red, his forehead clenched like a fist. “What’s going on?” he barked. “I want you to leave and never serve Mass for me again!” The boy ran from the sanctuary. He ripped off his cassock and surplice. And he never went back to church again. Ever. 

Thirty years later, he was traveling through the Midwest on business. He passed a cathedral he and his family had driven by many times when he was boy. The cathedral’s design was inspired by the silos of the farm belt. Both the church’s simple interior and exterior were nothing like the Gothic churches. He went inside where he struck up a conversation with a priest he met. As they talked about the beautiful simplicity and symbolism of the church, he told the priest the story of his literal “fall from grace” ‑ a story he had never told before. 

The priest listened compassionately. Then he replied, “Priests don’t always do everything right.   Please . . . forgive us.” 

Tears came to his eyes. The priest embraced him. 

And so began a long and bumpy road home. [From “‘Please … forgive us’: the story of my return to the church” by Don Lambert, National Catholic Reporter, May 15, 2018.] 

The “touch of Jesus’ cloak” can be experienced in a simple act of generosity or a kind word offering forgiveness. The hurt and humiliation suffered by this one‑time altar boy, like the illness suffered by the hemorrhaging woman, was “healed” by the simple “touch” of a priest’s compassion; the “power” of Jesus’ mercy is extended in the priest’s simple, heart‑felt apology. We are sent to do the same, to offer to the despairing and needy an experience of the power of Jesus’ compassion and peace in the “cloak” of our compassion and care. 

Parish Weekly Update 6/16/21

Dear Parish Family,

To celebrate the Eucharist, we need first to recognize our thirst for God, to sense our need for him, to long for his presence and love, to realize that we cannot go it alone.”    ~Pope Francis

CHICKENPENDANCE DAY SMOKED CHICKEN:  The KCs will be hosting an applewood smoked chicken plate fundraiser on July 4 Weekend.  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—on-line only – June 20 – 27 by filling out a form.  The link to the 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.

MANY, MANY THANKS to all who donated to the Good Samaritan Drive.  The truck was completely full and Room 107 was also full of items to be distributed to people in need! 

The readings for this coming Sunday, the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, along with Father Kevin’s homily, follow.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

God bless,

Pam

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time  

First Reading:  Job 38:1, 8-11 

The Lord addressed Job out of the storm and said:
Who shut within doors the sea, when it burst forth from the womb;
when I made the clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling bands?
When I set limits for it and fastened the bar of its door,
and said: Thus far shall you come but no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stilled! 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 107:23-24, 25-26, 28-29, 30-31 

R. Give thanks to the Lord, his love is everlasting.
They who sailed the sea in ships,
trading on the deep waters,
These saw the works of the LORD
and his wonders in the abyss.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, his love is everlasting.
His command raised up a storm wind
which tossed its waves on high.
They mounted up to heaven; they sank to the depths;
their hearts melted away in their plight.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, his love is everlasting.
They cried to the LORD in their distress;
from their straits he rescued them,
He hushed the storm to a gentle breeze,
and the billows of the sea were stilled.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, his love is everlasting.
They rejoiced that they were calmed,
and he brought them to their desired haven.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his kindness
and his wondrous deeds to the children of men.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, his love is everlasting.
 

Second Reading:  2 Corinthians 5:14-17 

Brothers and sisters:
The love of Christ impels us, once we have come to the conviction that one died for all;
therefore, all have died. He indeed died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. Consequently, from now on we regard no one according to the flesh; even if we once knew Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know him so no longer. So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. 

Gospel:  Mark 4:35-41 

On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples:  

“Let us cross to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.
They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet!  Be still!”
The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified?
Do you not yet have faith?” They were filled with great awe and said to one another,
“Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?” 

Homily 

“Jesus woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Quiet! Be still!’”   Mark 4: 35-41 

In the Middle Ages, rats were common stowaways on merchant ships.  In the mid-fourteenth century the fleas they carried also bore the bacteria that caused the bubonic plague.  In just five years, the Black Plague claimed some twenty-five million lives – three fourths of Europe’s population.  The people wondered about God’s role in this disaster.  Many today ask the same question as we grapple with the current pandemic.  Whenever tragedies occur, whether a natural disaster strikes and affects large numbers of people or a personal tragedy – the death of a loved one, the onset of a grave illness – we wonder where God is in all of this. 

The Black Plague had a profound effect on Christian belief.  Some tried to place the blame for the epidemic on the Jews.  “Surely God was trying to punish them for not accepting Jesus” and Jews, our ancestors in faith, were massacred all over Europe.  Others took the blame on themselves and performed extraordinary penances.  A large number of people wandered through the countryside, constantly whipping themselves in an act of self-mortification.  Its most lasting effect may have been to etch an image of a punishing God in believer’s minds for future generations. 

Job heard God in a storm.  Friends saw God walk on water. How do we imagine or vision God?  Jesus, of course, stressed God’s mercy.  He insisted that God’s greatest desire is to embrace sinful people.  He depicted God as the father who opened his arms to a wayward son without waiting to hear the young man’s apology.  He described himself as the shepherd who drops everything to find one lost lamb.  He scandalized the self-righteous by keeping company with public sinners.  He taught us to pray for the ability to forgive others as generously as we are forgiven. Similarly, in the book of Job, God makes a very clear point that is contrary to that of the one learned in the Black Plague.   

Job knows his conscience is clear, despite his “friends’” insistence that he must have committed some sin or offense against God.  Even though he stands up to them, he still feels that God is somehow responsible for his situation.  He wants to argue with God – even to put God on trial.  And God answers Job, essentially telling him that running a universe is no easy matter.  “Where were you when I created all this?” is the question he continually asks Job.  And Job finally has to admit that he probably couldn’t do the job at all. 

Our readings today are filled with strong symbols and images.  The first is water, a powerful and often unpredictable force of nature.  Water figures very significantly in the lives of every human being and throughout the created universe.  A source of life and sustenance, water can also be a fierce dealer of death.  Human life begins swimming in a watery womb, but the same life could later end, suddenly and shockingly, in a boating or swimming accident. 

Farmers rely on the rains to water their crops and see them through to a successful harvest, but when too much rain floods their fields, they see their livelihood and their hopes washed away.  Those who harvest the edible treasures of the sea, like the disciples, look to its waters as an ever renewable and sustaining resource, but when the seas become angry and dangerous, they become a cause for fear. 

In recent years we have seen tidal waves, tsunamis and hurricanes that have turned tourist destinations into watery deathtraps in a matter of minutes and hours.  On the other hand, the annual flooding like that of the Nile leaves behind rich silt that brings new life. 

Water also enjoys strong spiritual significance.  Creation, in the very beginning of the book of Genesis, describes God bringing life and order out of the ‘tehom’, or abyss or primordial ocean.  Remember, water was how Noah and his family escaped through the water to a new start, cleansing the earth of the unjust.  As an infant Moses was saved from death by being hidden in a basket and floated down the river.  This same Moses would lead his people through the Red Sea to freedom while the same waters would swallow up their enemy.  There in the deep dark waters also dwelled the Leviathan and Behemoth and all manner of creatures that struck fear into the hearts of the ancients. 

With Jesus, water became a strong symbol for forgiveness and freedom.  Through the waters of baptism, believers would pass from death to life and thereby become, as Paul has affirmed, a new creation. 

In the Gospel, the use of the symbol of a boat is used to signify the Church.  We, by our baptism, are in the boat.  The boat, the church, has and continues to encounter many challenges – the wind and waves.  One point of the story is that Jesus is in the boat with us but how do we react.  Do we fear the storms around us, do we fear the wind and water or do we trust that God is in the boat with us?  Do we ignore him sleeping or do we wake him up?  Do we trust and believe that there is no storm greater than our God?  Do we believe/trust that since Jesus is in the boat with us nothing can harm us?  The disciples clearly were fearful – maybe they thought that the young church would be capsized and destroyed – there certainly were many challenges to the young community as it quickly spread through Gentile communities.  Certainly, they feared for their own life – they enjoyed the way things used to be, but all these new members were requiring that they rethink what was core and central to them as the Body of Christ.   

In waking Jesus, it would appear to have been more of a desire to have him worry with them than to quiet the storm or strengthen their faith.  “Teacher do you not care if we perish?”  And even after he calms the storm they ask, “Who then is this that even the wind and sea obey him?”  Jesus gives us the solution – FAITH. “Why are you afraid, have you no faith?”  We like to say we have faith but when overcome by the waves of life and accusations of others we are filled with fear.  Hopefully we learn from this lesson that Jesus is in the boat with us and will ride the storm out with us.  Maybe like the disciples we need to wake Jesus up.  Pray – and then we need to trust that, no matter what the outcome, God is with us and wants our salvation, not destruction. 

God’s last word on the subject of suffering is the Word made Flesh because God loves even the sinful so very dearly.  Jesus suffered, as every human being does at some time in life.  But he rose in glory and now offers his Body and Blood here at this table – the food that sustains us in good times and terrible times. 

In the movie the Soloist (2009) we see the story of Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, one of Los Angeles’ 60,000 homeless poor.  The cruel voices of schizophrenia have driven him into the streets.  His only refuge: a two-string violin that he plays constantly – and beautifully.  A reporter for the Los Angeles Times hears him one day.  Muddling through another long, bad day, the reporter is gulping down his lunch in the park where Nathaniel has taken up residence.  The reporter is captivated by the music that Nathaniel is able to create on just two strings.  The two strike up an improbable friendship.  The reporter learns that Nathaniel was a promising virtuoso before his illness forced him to drop out of Julliard.  The bond between the homeless cellist and the street-smart reporter is a true story. 

The reporter wrote several columns about Nathaniel.  Moved by his plight, a reader delivers a beautiful cello to the reporter to give to Nathaniel.  It is the first shard of hope in Nathaniel’s fearful and paranoid life.  Whenever Nathaniel plays Beethoven, the music has a transforming effect on everyone and everything around him: the voices in Nathaniel’s head are stilled for the moment; the scores of homeless people milling around sit in rapt attention; even the traffic clogging LA’s freeway seems to quiet. 

But the friendship has an even deeper effect on the reporter.  Burned out and disillusioned – as many reporters and others of his day – the reporter is profoundly affected, not only by Nathaniel’s skill, but by his love of music. 

The reporter says to his editor, who happens to be his ex-wife, “You can see in his eyes how much he loves music, especially Beethoven.  I can’t imagine loving something as much as he loves music.” 

The editor replies simply, “It’s called grace” 

Music brought tranquility and hope to the fearful, schizophrenic Nathaniel. Because he set aside the turbulence in his own life so as to bring peace and hope to the life of another, he transformed the life of the reporter.   

So also, the voice of Jesus can bring peace to the storms of our own lives and light to the darkness of nights and nightmares we all suffer through.   

Within each of us is the grace of the “awakened” Jesus in today’s Gospel, the wisdom, patience and courage to discern the presence of God amid the storms of tension, fear, anxiety, and injustice we experience.  The grace of the Risen Jesus enables us to realize the presence of God amid the roar of anger and mistrust and to recognize the light of God in the darkness of selfishness and prejudice. 

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 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. 

Parish Daily Update 6/5/21

Dear Parish Family,

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

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

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

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

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

God bless,

Pam

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ  

First Reading:  Exodus 24:3-8 

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

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

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

 

Second Reading:  Hebrews 9:11-15 

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

Sequence – Lauda Sion

The shorter form of the sequence 

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

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

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

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

Gospel:  Mark 14:12-16, 22-26 

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

Homily 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Act of Spiritual Communion
My Jesus, I believe that You are present
in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
I ask You to come spiritually into my heart. I embrace You, trusting that you are already there and I unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.  Amen. 

Extra 

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

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

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

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

                “Can we bridge this divide between us?” 

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

                “So what do we do?” she asked. 

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

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

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

                “I will keep talking to you.” 

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

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

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

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

Parish Daily Update 6/4/21

Dear Parish Family,

“It is a great thing to know how to make use of the present moment.”   ~St. Faustina

FIRST FRIDAY:  Today is the First Friday of the month.  We will have Mass, followed by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, beginning at 5:30.

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

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

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

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

God bless,

Pam

Memorial of Saint Boniface, Bishop and Martyr

First Reading:  Tobit 12:1, 5-15, 20

Tobit called his son Tobiah and said to him, “Son, see to it that you give what is due to the man
who made the journey with you; give him a bonus too.” So he called Raphael and said, “Take as your wages half of all that you have brought back, and go in peace.” Raphael called the two men aside privately and said to them: “Thank God! Give him the praise and the glory. Before all the living, acknowledge the many good things he has done for you, by blessing and extolling his name in song. Honor and proclaim God’s deeds, and do not be slack in praising him.
A king’s secret it is prudent to keep, but the works of God are to be declared and made known.
Praise them with due honor. Do good, and evil will not find its way to you. Prayer and fasting are good, but better than either is almsgiving accompanied by righteousness. A little with righteousness is better than abundance with wickedness. It is better to give alms than to store up gold; for almsgiving saves one from death and expiates every sin. Those who regularly give alms shall enjoy a full life; but those habitually guilty of sin are their own worst enemies. “I will now tell you the whole truth; I will conceal nothing at all from you. I have already said to you, ‘A king’s secret it is prudent to keep, but the works of God are to be made known with due honor.’
I can now tell you that when you, Tobit, and Sarah prayed, it was I who presented and read the record of your prayer before the Glory of the Lord; and I did the same thing when you used to bury the dead. When you did not hesitate to get up and leave your dinner in order to go and bury the dead, I was sent to put you to the test. At the same time, however, God commissioned me to heal you and your daughter-in-law Sarah. I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who enter and serve before the Glory of the Lord.” “So now get up from the ground and praise God. Behold, I am about to ascend to him who sent me; write down all these things that have happened to you.”

Responsorial Psalm:  Tobit 13:2, 6, 7, 8

R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
He scourges and then has mercy;
he casts down to the depths of the nether world,
and he brings up from the great abyss.
No one can escape his hand.
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
So now consider what he has done for you,
and praise him with full voice.
Bless the Lord of righteousness,
and exalt the King of ages. 
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever. 
In the land of my exile I praise him
and show his power and majesty to a sinful nation.
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever. 
Bless the Lord, all you his chosen ones,
and may all of you praise his majesty.
Celebrate days of gladness, and give him praise.
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever.

Gospel:  Mark 12:38-44

In the course of his teaching Jesus said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers.
They will receive a very severe condemnation.” He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”

Homily

“… this widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had …”Mark 12:38-44

Last summer, 15-year-old Chris Kilpatrick was an intern with the electronics recycler Urban Mining in Jacksonville, Florida, a company that recycles electronics and computer equipment. Chris, a wizard at computer technology, knows the considerable digital divide among his peers between the haves and the have-nots. At Urban Mining, Chris wondered if some of the retired machines the company got from businesses could be refurbished instead of being ripped apart to salvage any usable parts. With the company’s blessing, Chris refurbished 20 desktops and donated them to Big Brothers/Big Sisters. 

Chris said of his project: “One great thing I learned was the importance of recycling. I think we started something good here. I like the feeling I am making a difference.” [“First Coast News,” August 13, 2020.]

The Gospel widow’s few coins can take many forms – even salvaged computer parts. As Chris Kilpatrick found during his summer internship, God’s spirit of selfless generosity and compassion can enable us to transform the smallest and most ordinary resource or skill we have – be it a few cents, a few moments in our busy day, a few recycled computer parts – into something good, something hopeful, something healing and restoring.

Today, may whatever we can give from the “poverty” of our time or the limited “coin” in our pocket bring a measure of hope and possibility to someone in need.

Instill in us, O Lord, your Spirit of wisdom that realizes the good we can make possible with our own few “coins,” be it a skill we possess, an ability to fix what is broken, an openness to listen and comfort. With generosity of heart and compassion for all, may our few “coins” build and maintain your temple of reconciliation and peace in our own Jerusalem’s.

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 Boniface, Bishop and Martyr
c. 675–754

Patron Saint of Germany

A nation builder, a man of action, is cut down in his grey hairs

In the treasury of the cathedral of Fulda, Germany, there is a medieval Codex, a large, bound book of prayers and theological documents, which very likely belonged to Saint Boniface. The rough cover of the Codex is deeply sliced with cuts from a sword. A tradition dating back to the generations just after Saint Boniface’s own time attests that he wielded this very book like a shield to ward off the blows of robbers who attacked him and a large band of missionaries in Northern Germany in 754. Our saint tried to protect himself, both metaphorically and literally, with the written truths of our faith. It was to no avail. Saint Boniface and fifty-two of his companions were slaughtered. Ransacking the baggage of the missionaries for treasure, the band of thieves found no gold vessels or silver plates but only sacred texts the unlettered men couldn’t read. Thinking them worthless, they left these books on the forest floor, to be recovered later by local Christians. The Codex eventually made it into the Treasury at Fulda where it is found today. One of the earliest images of Saint Boniface, from a Sacramentary dating to 975, depicts the saint deflecting the blows of a sword with a large, thick book. The Codex is a second-class relic, giving silent witness to the final moments of a martyr.

Saint Boniface is known as the “Apostle of the Germans” and is buried in the crypt of Fulda Cathedral. However, his baptismal name was Winfrid, and he was born and raised in Anglo-Saxon England. He was from an educated family, entered a local monastery as a youth, and was ordained a priest at the age of thirty. In 716 Winfrid sailed to the continent to become a missionary to the peoples on the Baltic coast of today’s Northern Germany. He was able to communicate with them because his Anglo-Saxon tongue was similar to the languages of the native Saxon and Teutonic tribes. Winfrid was among the first waves of those many Irish and Anglo-Saxon monks who saved what could be saved of Roman and Christian culture in Europe after the Roman Empire collapsed. Large migrations of Gothic peoples, mostly Arian Christians, pagans, or a confusing mix of the two, filled the vacuum created after Roman order disintegrated, and they needed to be inculcated in the faith to rebuild a superior version of the culture they had helped decimate.

Winfrid traveled to Rome the year after first arriving on the continent, where the pope renamed him Boniface and appointed him missionary Bishop of Germany. After this, he never returned to his home country. He set out to the north and proceeded to dig and lay the foundations of Europe as we know it. He organized dioceses, helped found monasteries, baptized thousands, pacified tribes, challenged tree-worshipping pagans, taught, preached, held at least one large Church Council, convinced more Anglo-Saxon monks to follow his lead, ordained priests, appointed bishops, stayed in regular contact with his superiors in Rome, and pushed the boundaries of Christianity to their northernmost limit. Boniface was indefatigable. He was in his late seventies, and still pushing to convert the unconverted, when he was surprised and slain in a remote wilderness.

Saint Boniface was well educated, and many of his letters and related correspondence survive. But he was, above all, a man of action. He was daring and fearless. He was a pathbreaker. His faith moved mountains and tossed them into the sea. His labors, combined with his great faith, are the stuff of legend. More incredibly, though, they are the stuff of truth.

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