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Parish Daily Update 1/25/21

Dear Parish Family,

“During this time of serous hardship, prayer is even more necessary so that unity might prevail over conflicts.  Our good example is fundamental:  it is essential that Christians pursue the path toward full visible unity.”       ~Pope Francis

NOVENA FOR LIFE – DAY 5

Intention

May each person suffering from the loss of a child through abortion find hope and healing in Christ.

Prayers

Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection

After more than four decades of legalized abortion, many children’s lives have been ended, and many parents and family members suffer that loss—often in silence. Yet God’s greatest desire is to forgive. No matter how far we have each strayed from His side, He says to us, “Don’t be afraid. Draw close to my heart.” Be assured that it is never too late to seek God’s forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

 Consider the parable of the Prodigal Son. After repenting of sinning against his father, he returns from far away to seek forgiveness and work as a servant. But the father sees him approaching, runs to warmly embrace him, and hosts a banquet to celebrate his return. So, too, does God welcome all of His repentant children, no matter how serious the sin. Let us turn confidently to Our Lord, Who is love and mercy.

Acts of Reparation

(Choose one.)

  • Abstain from meat today.​
  • Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for those who are suffering the loss of a child through abortion, asking that they find healing and peace.​
  • Offer some other sacrifice, prayer, or act of penance that you feel called to do for today’s intention.

One Step Further

If a friend confided in you that she had an abortion, would you be able to listen and respond in a way that brings her closer to healing? Learn how in How to Talk to a Friend Who’s Had an Abortion.  

PRAYERS:  Please remember in your prayers these parishioners/family members who have died over the past couple of weeks:

~ Peggy McGraw, mother of parishioners Cindy McGraw and Chuck McGraw;
~ Dan Damiens, long-time parishioner;

~ Stan Crocker, husband of parishioner Mary Crocker;

~ Jerry Beard, father of parishioner Clay Beard;

~ Ruth Stevens, mother of parishioner Duane Stevens.

May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.  Amen.

BUSINESS:  Offertory for the week of 1/17/21:

General                              $11,893.00

Building                             $930.00

Retired Religious             $35.00

MS Catholic                      $25.00

Saltillo                                $485.00

Aged & Infirm                   $140.00

Solemnity of Mary           $435.00

The methods of donation that we have in place 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 you continued support of our parish!!

Please remember to call the office before Thursday to make Mass Reservations.  Call 601-856-2054, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

God bless,

Pam

Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, bishops 

January 26, 2021  

First Reading:  2 Timothy 1:1-8 

Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God for the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
to Timothy, my dear child: grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I am grateful to God, whom I worship with a clear conscience as my ancestors did,
as I remember you constantly in my prayers, night and day. I yearn to see you again, recalling your tears, so that I may be filled with joy, as I recall your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and that I am confident lives also in you. 

For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God. 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 96:1-2, 2-3, 7-8, 10 

R. Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R.    Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R.    Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Give to the LORD, you families of nations,
give to the LORD glory and praise;
give to the LORD the glory due his name!
R.    Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R.    Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations. 

Gospel:  Mark 3:31-35 

The mother of Jesus and his brothers arrived at the house. Standing outside, they sent word to Jesus and called him. A crowd seated around him told him, “Your mother and your brothers and your sisters are outside asking for you.” But he said to them in reply, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
  

Homily 

… I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.  2 Timothy 1:1-8 

Today we celebrate the feasts of two co-workers of Saint Paul, Timothy and Titus. They’re among the first of the second generation of leaders of the new Church, after the Apostles.   

From the little we know of them, both possessed qualities worthy of a bishop or pastor: 

Timothy, the son of a Greek father and Jewish mother, followed his grandmother Lois in converting to Christianity. Timothy traveled with Paul for 15 years and became one Paul’s most trusted friends, especially during the years of Paul’s imprisonment. Paul often sent Timothy on the delicate missions of healing fractured churches and struggling communities. It is said that Timothy possessed a humble, self-effacing personality that served him well as a healer and mediator. Timothy became the first bishop of the Christian foundation in Ephesus. 

Titus was a Gentile who was baptized by Saint Paul and went on to serve as Paul’s secretary and close co-worker. Titus accompanied Paul to Jerusalem for the Council of Apostles to make the case that Gentiles need not be circumcised before Baptism (their position prevailed). A gifted administrator, Titus was entrusted with organizing the alms collection among the churches for poor Christians of Judea.  When the Christian foundation at Corinth began to implode, Titus was sent by Paul where he successfully calmed tensions and reunited the deeply divided church.  Titus would later become the first bishop of Crete. 

Timothy and Titus are models for all who serve the Church. As we read in Paul’s letters and the Acts of the Apostles, Timothy and Titus were peacemakers and healers of struggling, broken communities; they preached the Gospel entrusted to them not only by their words but by inspiring charity and sacrifice for the poor and destitute. 

May we offer a prayer today for our own bishop and for all our parish staff and ministers, that they may be inspired by the examples of Bishops Timothy and Titus. 

Lord Jesus, you have entrusted to us and to every generation of your Church the work of your Gospel. May the example of Timothy and Titus guide us in our efforts to realize your Father’s Kingdom of peace and compassion, of charity and generosity. Let whatever good we are able to do be our legacy to the next generation of the Church, inspiring them to continue the work of your Gospel in their time and place.   

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

Parish Daily Update 1/24/21

Dear Parish Family,

“God is always with us, in good times and in bad, in darkness and in light, so long as we remain one in Him.”      ~Francis Cardinal George

A link to today’s Mass can be found here:  https://youtu.be/DSt6oiYvncE

So sorry for the late post – internet issues slowed us down!

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

DAY 4

Intention

May expectant fathers lovingly support the mothers of their children in welcoming new life.

Prayers

Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection

Fatherhood has its origins in God, who chose to reveal Himself to us as Our Father, sending his only Son for the sake of our salvation. Fathers therefore have a special role “in revealing and in reliving on earth the very fatherhood of God” (Familiaris consortio 25). Fathers are called to exhibit “generous responsibility for the life conceived under the heart of the mother” (FC 25). They are uniquely entrusted with the protection and defense of both mother and child and, in this way, in safeguarding the sanctity of human life.

​As evidenced in our world today, the role of the father “is of unique and irreplaceable importance” (FC 25). Often women choose abortion because they do not have the support of the child’s father, or—even worse—the father of the child pressures her to make the decision to abort. At the same time, it is important to acknowledge with compassion that men can also be overwhelmed by an unexpected pregnancy and that society increasingly tells them that they should have no say in their children’s lives. In the face of these false messages, we pray that expectant fathers will find courage in the example of Saint Joseph—who embraced the role of father amid difficult circumstances—and offer loving, life-affirming support to the mothers of their children.

Acts of Reparation

(Choose one.)

  • Give up sleeping on your pillow—or even your bed—tonight. Offer this small sacrifice for the intention that expectant fathers will courageously answer their call to support both mother and child.​
  • Pray a decade of the Rosary for all expectant fathers, that through her intercession, Our Lady may inspire in them the virtues of Saint Joseph.​
  • Offer some other sacrifice, prayer, or act of penance that you feel called to do for today’s intention.

One Step Further

Research continues to show that one of the top reasons a woman chooses abortion is due to a lack of financial resources. Read Poverty and Abortion: A Vicious Cycle, which explores the connections between abortion and poverty, and how the absence of fathers contributes to this ongoing cycle.

God bless,

Pam

Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle  

January 25, 2021 

First Reading:  Acts 22:3-6

Paul addressed the people in these words:
“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city. At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated strictly in our ancestral law and was zealous for God, just as all of you are today.
I persecuted this Way to death, binding both men and women and delivering them to prison.
Even the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify on my behalf. For from them I even received letters to the brothers and set out for Damascus to bring back to Jerusalem
in chains for punishment those there as well. “On that journey as I drew near to Damascus,
about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ I replied, ‘Who are you, sir?’
And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.’ My companions saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to me. I asked, ‘What shall I do, sir?’
The Lord answered me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told about everything appointed for you to do.’  Since I could see nothing because of the brightness of that light, I was led by hand by my companions and entered Damascus. “A certain Ananias, a devout observer of the law, and highly spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, came to me and stood there and said, ‘Saul, my brother, regain your sight.’ And at that very moment I regained my sight and saw him. Then he said, ‘The God of our ancestors designated you to know his will,
to see the Righteous One, and to hear the sound of his voice; for you will be his witness before all to what you have seen and heard. Now, why delay? Get up and have yourself baptized and your sins washed away, calling upon his name.’” 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 117:1, 2 

R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R.    Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the Lord endures forever.
R.    Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
 

Gospel:  Mark 16:15-18

Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:
“Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”  

Homily 

“On that journey as I drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’”  Acts of the Apostles 22:3-16 

It’s has been a year of struggle, and suffering, a year of loss and death and for all of us a time of uncertainty. 

We have had to learn to adapt, to change, to do without. 

We have also learned how to grow closer to one another while staying apart. 

But this pandemic also been a time of conversion. 

The past year has required us to see our lives in new ways, to appreciate what is most important to us, to realize the work and dedication of so many dedicated professionals and workers who make it possible for our families and community to function. For many of us, COVID 19 is the “horse” that threw us to the ground; like Saint Paul, we see our lives and world in a new light of humility and gratitude, we realize our responsibility to contribute to the common good. 

In terms of faith, conversion is not just a “once-and-done” experience – true conversion is a life-long process of learning and understanding what God calls us to make of our lives. 

This pandemic may have been the most meaningful conversion experience most of us will ever experience. 

Illuminate, O God, the road we travel with the light of your grace so that we may continue to experience a conversion of perspective and wisdom. In the light of your wisdom, may we transform our world in your justice and mercy; in the light of your peace, may we create a Church dedicated to works of compassion and reconciliation for all. 

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 1/21/21

Dear Parish Family,

“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer.  Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past.  Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”   ~John F. Kennedy

Remember to call the office by 4:00 today to make your Mass reservations.

NOVENA FOR LIFE:  This Novena is offered each year by the bishops of the United States for the respect and protection of every human life. Each day, a different intention is accompanied by a short reflection, suggested actions, and related information.  You can find the daily prayers here and/or have them emailed to you daily (the national novena actually starts this Thursday, January 21st):

www.9daysforlife.com

I will also provide the daily prayers here:

DAY 1

Intention

May the tragic practice of abortion end.

Prayers

Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection

At every stage and in every circumstance, we are held in existence by God’s love. The presence of an illness, disability, or other challenging situation never diminishes the value of a human life. God does not call us to perfection of appearance or abilities, but to perfection in love. Christ invites us to embrace our own lives and the lives of others as true gifts.

​Abortion tragically rejects the truth that every life is a good and perfect gift, deserving protection. This violent practice ends the life of a human being at its very beginning and horribly wounds all those involved. But Christ came that we “might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10), taking on human flesh for the sake of our redemption. May our culture experience the power of God’s transforming love, that all eyes may be opened to the incredible beauty of every human life.

Acts of Reparation

(Choose one.)

  • Take a break from television and movies today. Consider spending some of that time praying with today’s reflection.
     
  • Pray the short prayer “Every Life is Worth Living,” reflecting on the gift of human life. (Also available to order or download.)

Heavenly Father, thank you

for the precious gift of life.

Help us to cherish and protect

this gift, even in the midst of

fear, pain, and suffering.

Give us love for all people,

especially the most vulnerable, and help us bear witness to the truth that every life is worth living.

Grant us the humility to accept help

when we are in need,

and teach us to be merciful to all.

Through our words and actions, may others encounter the outstretched hands of Your mercy.

We ask this through

Christ, our Lord.

Amen.

​Offer some other sacrifice, prayer, or act of penance that you feel called to do for today’s intention.

One Step Further

​Abortion is frequently a topic in the news, political debates, and everyday conversations with family or friends. Because abortion can be a controversial and emotional issue in any arena, many of us may feel intimidated when the topic arises, not knowing what to say. Another Look at Abortion provides a basic overview and summarizes key points. This article will help you be better prepared to witness to the sanctity of human life.

God bless,

Pam

Friday 2nd Week Ordinary 

Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children  

January 22, 2021 

First Reading:  Hebrews 8:6-13 

Brothers and sisters:
Now our high priest has obtained so much more excellent a ministry as he is mediator of a better covenant, enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, no place would have been sought for a second one. But he finds fault with them and says:  

Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will conclude a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers
the day I took them by the hand to lead them forth from the land of Egypt; for they did not stand by my covenant and I ignored them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant I will establish with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds and I will write them upon their hearts. I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his fellow citizen and kin, saying, “Know the Lord,” for all shall know me, from least to greatest. For I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sins no more.
 

When he speaks of a “new” covenant, he declares the first one obsolete. And what has become obsolete and has grown old is close to disappearing. 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 85:8 ,10, 11-12, 13-14 

R. Kindness and truth shall meet.
Show us, O LORD, your mercy,
and grant us your salvation.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R. Kindness and truth shall meet.
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. Kindness and truth shall meet.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps.
R. Kindness and truth shall meet. 

Gospel:  Mark 3:13-19

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him. He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons: He appointed the Twelve:
Simon, whom he named Peter; James, son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder; Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus; Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him. 

Homily 

[Jesus] appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.  Mark 3:13-19 

Jesuit Father James Martin is editor-at-large of “America” Magazine and the author of several best-selling books, including “The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, Jesus: A Pilgrimage”and “My Life With the Saints.” In an interview on the NPR program “On Being,” Father Martin was asked about his vocation to the priesthood. But he made this important point: 

“Everyone has a vocation. The most fundamental vocation is to become the person whom God created. And it’s both the person you already are and the person God calls you to be . . . A vocation is your deepest identity, [whether] being called to married life, or being a lawyer, or a teacher . . . I believe that your deepest desires, the things that you’re drawn to, the person you’re called to be, are really God’s desires for you.” 

As Jesus called the Twelve who would be his Apostles, Jesus calls us to the work of making the Kingdom of God a reality. That call, as Father Martin has found, is discerned in whatever life we find joy and fulfillment, in whatever work we do in which we experience the satisfaction of contributing something positive to the common good. Our response to our vocation can be realized as parents, as students, as neighbors, as parishioners; we can live our call to “apostleship” in our homes, schools, offices or construction sites.  

To follow Jesus is to understand that we have been called by God to realize his Kingdom in the time and place we are, in the work that give our lives a sense of meaning and purpose. 

Spouse or single person, lawyer or builder, teacher or cook, clerk or student, God has called us all to the vocation of revealing his presence in the holy integrity of our lives. 

Lord Jesus, help us to respond to your call to be Apostles in our time and place, within our parishes and communities. May our everyday kindnesses to one another and quiet offerings of comfort and support make us your Church: a community dedicated to your justice and compassion. 

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 1/17/21

Dear Parish Family,

“Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”     ~John 14:27

A link to today’s Mass can be found here:      https://youtu.be/0u9pXr5VMt0

9 DAYS FOR LIFE Novena is offered each year by the bishops of the United States for the respect and protection of every human life. Each day, a different intention is accompanied by a short reflection, suggested actions, and related information. St. Joseph Church will begin the novena with the 5:30 p.m. Mass on Wednesday, January 20th and end on January 28th.  You can find the daily prayers here and/or have them emailed to you daily (the national novena actually starts January 21st):

www.9daysforlife.com

The office will be closed tomorrow for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  Please call Tuesday through Thursday, 8:30 – 4:00 for Mass reservations.  601-856-2054

God bless,

Pam

Monday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time  

First Reading:  Hebrews 5:1-10 

Brothers and sisters:
Every high priest is taken from among men and made their representative before God,
to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring,
for he himself is beset by weakness and so, for this reason, must make sin offerings for himself
as well as for the people. No one takes this honor upon himself but only when called by God,
just as Aaron was. In the same way, it was not Christ who glorified himself in becoming high priest, but rather the one who said to him:
        You are my Son: this day I have begotten you;
just as he says in another place,
    You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
In the days when he was in the Flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.
Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect,
he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 110:1, 2, 3, 4 

R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand
till I make your enemies your footstool.”
R.    You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The scepter of your power the LORD will stretch forth from Zion:
“Rule in the midst of your enemies.”
R.    You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
“Yours is princely power in the day of your birth, in holy splendor;
before the daystar, like the dew, I have begotten you.”
R.    You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD has sworn, and he will not repent:
“You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.”
R.    You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek. 

Gospel:  Mark 2:18-22 

The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast. People came to Jesus and objected, “Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day. No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he does, its fullness pulls away, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”  

Homily 

“No one sews a piece of shrunken cloth on an old cloak . . . no one pours new wine into old wineskins.”  Mark 2:18-22 

Actually, we do sew “unshrunken cloth” on old coats; we do pour “new wine” into old wineskins. 

And yes, the patch eventually gives way; the worn wineskin starts to leak. 

But we just don’t have time to repair what is torn or provide the right containers for new wine – or new anything – in our lives. 

We prefer the “quick fix”: we know the right thing to say that lowers tensions for the moment; we manage to take a moment or two for the loved one or friend and still keep on schedule; we know how to pretend everything is fine when we know it isn’t. 

But eventually the “coat” is frayed beyond repair, when all we have left is an empty, badly stained wineskin. 

Today’s Gospel asks us to see what “fabric” of reconciliation, mercy and peace in our life is in need of repair and restoration, what we need to bring to our families and workplaces to store the “new wine” of hope, forgiveness and justice. 

In the spirit of Jesus, let this New Year be a time for new coats and better wine. 

O God of reconciliation and restoration, help us to mend what is torn and to fix what is broken in our lives. Do not let us be satisfied with quick fixes but set us to the hard work of bringing your love into our broken, incomplete lives. May we become “whole cloth” in which your love enfolds those we love; may we become “new wine” in which your Spirit enlivens and animates our hearts and souls.  

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 1/12/21

Dear Parish Family,

“God is always trying to give good things to us but our hands are too full to receive them.”   

                ~St. Augustine

Don’t forget to call before Thursday, 4:00, for Mass reservations.  The office number is 601-856-2054.

NOON MASS – I would encourage you, if you would like to attend the Sunday noon Mass, to call for reservations.  It is becoming fuller each week, and seems to be the Mass that a lot of folks don’t make reservations for.  This past Sunday it was actually our largest Mass.  We don’t like to make you wait in the hallway for people with reservations to arrive and be seated; and we don’t want to have to turn anyone away because we are at capacity.

Next Monday is Martin Luther King Day and the office will be closed.

God bless,

Pam

Wednesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time 

First Reading:  Hebrew 2:14-18 

Since the children share in blood and Flesh, Jesus likewise shared in them, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the Devil, and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life. Surely he did not help angels but rather the descendants of Abraham; therefore, he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God
to expiate the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested through what he suffered,
he is able to help those who are being tested. 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9 

R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name;
make known among the nations his deeds.
Sing to him, sing his praise,
proclaim all his wondrous deeds.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
Glory in his holy name;
rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!
Look to the LORD in his strength;
seek to serve him constantly.
R.  The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
throughout the earth his judgments prevail.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
He remembers forever his covenant
which he made binding for a thousand generations– 
Which he entered into with Abraham
and by his oath to Isaac. 
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.

 

Gospel:  Mark 1:29-39 

On leaving the synagogue
Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them. When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases,
and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him. 

Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose, have I come.” So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee. 

Homily 

Rising very early before dawn, [Jesus] left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”  Mark 1:29‑39 

The Jesus that Mark portrays in his Gospel doesn’t stop – there are always crowds wanting a piece of him. 

Most of us feel for Jesus and understand what it’s like not to have a moment to ourselves, never to see the “things‑to‑do” list completed, running in too many directions trying to meet all the demands of family, work and community. 

In today’s Gospel reading and in tomorrow’s Gospel, the evangelist Mark includes the detail that Jesus intentionally seeks out a “deserted place, where he prayed.” That “deserted place” is what enables Jesus to keep his balance and focus on the work God had entrusted him to complete. 

Like Jesus, we all need our own “deserted place,” even though that can be especially difficult for some of us who have been confined to our homes with our families for almost a year now. Just finding a place to be alone for a few minutes can be quite a challenge. 

So, make it your goal today to find your own “deserted place.” It can be a space – a chair behind a closed door, quite time before the family wakes up; it can be a time – a walk around the block; or it can be an activity in which we can re‑connect with God – reading and reflecting on the day’s Gospel or a book by a spiritual writer whose work resonates with you. 

Whatever and wherever it may be, find your own “deserted place.” 

Lead us, O God, to that “deserted place” where we find your peace, where we can hear the reassurance and consolation of your voice, where we can drink from the spring of your grace and wisdom. Help us to see you in the midst of our busy lives and allow ourselves to be embraced by your love in the love and care of family and friends. 

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 Hilary, Bishop and Doctor of the Church 

After becoming a Christian, he was elected bishop of Poitiers in what is now France by the laity and clergy. He was already married with one daughter named Apra. 

Not everyone at that time had the same idea of who they were. The Arians did not believe in the divinity of Christ and the Arians had a lot of power including the support of the emperor Constantius. This resulted in many persecutions. When Hilary refused to support their condemnation of Saint Athanasius, he was exiled from Poitiers to the East in 356. The Arians couldn’t have had a worse plan — for themselves. 

Hilary really had known very little of the whole Arian controversy before he was banished. Perhaps he supported Athanasius simply because he didn’t like their methods. But being exiled from his home and his duties gave him plenty of time to study and write. He learned everything he could about what the Arians said and what the orthodox Christians answered and then he began to write. “Although in exile we shall speak through these books, and the word of God, which cannot be bound, shall move about in freedom.” The writings of his that still exist include On the Trinity, a commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, and a commentary on the Psalms. He tells us about the Trinity, “For one to attempt to speak of God in terms more precise than he himself has used: — to undertake such a thing is to embark upon the boundless, to dare the incomprehensible. He fixed the names of His nature: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Whatever is sought over and above this is beyond the meaning of words, beyond the limits of perception, beyond the embrace of understanding.” 

After three years the emperor kicked him back to Poitiers, because, we are told by Sulpicius Severus, the emperor was tired of having to deal with the troublemaker, “a sower of discord an a disturber of the Orient.” But no one told Hilary he had to go straight back to his home and so he took a leisurely route through Greece and Italy, preaching against the Arians as he went. 

In the East he had also heard the hymns used by Arians and orthodox Christians as propaganda. These hymns were not based on Scripture as Western hymns but full of beliefs about God. Back at home, Hilary started writing hymns of propaganda himself to spread the faith. His hymns are the first in the West with a known writer. 

St. Hilary of Poitiers was not only the bishop of Poitiers, but also a doctor of the Church. The title doctor of the Church is given to individuals who have provided important contributions to theology and doctrine. 

Sometimes called “the Hammer of the Arians,” St. Hilary lived in the first half of the fourth century (circa 310 – 367 A.D.) His feast day is Jan. 13. In honor of this feast day, here are some quotes from some of St. Hilary’s writings: 

“They didn’t know who they were.” This is how Hilary summed up the problem with the Arian heretics of the fourth century. 

Hilary, on the other hand, knew very well who he was — a child of a loving God who had inherited eternal life through belief in the Son of God. He hadn’t been raised as a Christian but he had felt a wonder at the gift of life and a desire to find out the meaning of that gift. He first discarded the approach of many people who around him, who believed the purpose of life was only to satisfy desires. He knew he wasn’t a beast grazing in a pasture. The philosophers agreed with him. Human beings should rise above desires and live a life of virtue, they said. But Hilary could see in his own heart that humans were meant for even more than living a good life. 

If he didn’t lead a virtuous life, he would suffer from guilt and be unhappy. His soul seemed to cry out that wasn’t enough to justify the enormous gift of life. So Hilary went looking for the giftgiver. He was told many things about the divine — many that we still hear today: that there were many Gods, that God didn’t exist but all creation was the result of random acts of nature, that God existed but didn’t really care for his creation, that God was in creatures or images. One look in his own soul told him these images of the divine were wrong. God had to be one because no creation could be as great as God. God had to be concerned with God’s creation — otherwise why create it? 

At that point, Hilary tells us, he “chanced upon” the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. When he read the verse where God tells Moses “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14), Hilary said, “I was frankly amazed at such a clear definition of God, which expressed the incomprehensible knowledge of the divine nature in words most suited to human intelligence.” In the Psalms and the Prophets he found descriptions of God’s power, concern, and beauty. For example in Psalm 139, “Where shall I go from your spirit?”, he found confirmation that God was everywhere and omnipotent. 

But still he was troubled. He knew the giftgiver now, but what was he, the recipient of the gift? Was he just created for the moment to disappear at death? It only made sense to him that God’s purpose in creation should be “that what did not exist began to exist, not that what had begun to exist would cease to exist.” Then he found the Gospels and read John’s words including “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God…” (John 1:1-2). From John he learned of the Son of God and how Jesus had been sent to bring eternal life to those who believed.    

Parish Daily Update 1/7/21

Dear Parish Family,

“I will extol thee, my God and King, and bless your name for ever and ever.”   Ps. 145

The 10:00 Mass this weekend is full.  Remember to call the office – 601-856-2054 – Monday thru Thursday, 8:30 – 4:00 to make reservations each week.

A friend shared this prayer for all who are suffering the effects of Covid – and that would be ALL of us!

Jesus, during Your ministry on Earth You showed Your power and caring

by healing people of all ages and stations of life from physical, mental,

and spiritual ailments.  Be present now to people who need Your loving

touch because of COVID-19. May they feel Your power of healing through

the care of doctors and nurses.

Take away the fear, anxiety, and feelings of isolation from people receiving

treatment or under quarantine. Give them a sense of purpose in pursuing

health and protecting others from exposure to the disease.

And while it may be heartbreaking, comfort families as they decide to keep

their distance from elderly or other high-risk family members.

In Your name, we pray. Amen 

God bless,

Pam

Friday after Epiphany

First Reading:  1 John 5:5-13

Beloved:
Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

This is the one who came through water and Blood, Jesus Christ, not by water alone, but by water and Blood.  The Spirit is the one who testifies, and the Spirit is truth. So there are three who testify, the Spirit, the water, and the Blood, and the three are of one accord. If we accept human testimony, the testimony of God is surely greater. Now the testimony of God is this,
that he has testified on behalf of his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God
has this testimony within himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar
by not believing the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony:
God gave us eternal life,
and this life is in his Son. 
Whoever possesses the Son has life; whoever does not possess the Son of God does not have life.

I write these things to you so that you may know that you have eternal life, you who believe in the name of the Son of God.

Responsorial Psalm:   Ps 147:12-13, 14-15,19-20

R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.
R.  Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He has granted peace in your borders;
with the best of wheat he fills you.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them. Alleluia.
R.    Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

Gospel:  Luke 5:12-16

It happened that there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where Jesus was; and when he saw Jesus, he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.”  Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do will it.  Be made clean.” 
And the leprosy left him immediately. Then he ordered him not to tell anyone, but “Go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” The report about him spread all the more, and great crowds assembled to listen to him
and to be cured of their ailments, but he would withdraw to deserted places to pray.

Homily

“Go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.”  Luke 5:12-16

When Jesus cures the leper in Luke’s Gospel, he does not wait to bask in the thanks and praise of the now-clean man – in fact, Jesus orders him to tell no one. He tells the man to show himself to the priest of the temple and offer a gift of thanks at the temple.

Let your thanks speak for itself, Jesus tells the now-clear leper.  Let the wonder be “proof” that the love of God is now in your midst.

In this new year, let our compassion and care be the “proof” that the love of God is among us. Let our facemasks and social distancing be “proof” of our care for one another. Let our time and support of groups working to care for the poor and vulnerable be “proof” of our discipleship. Let our patience and understanding and support of those in need be “proof” of our belief in the sacred dignity of everyone as daughters and sons of God.

Forget the pious words and “church” language – “show” what God has meant in our lives by the integrity and generosity of our lives. Never mind the expressions of gratitude – give to others what we have been given by God. 

Lord Jesus, instill in us a spirit of gratitude that enables us to behold your love in even our most difficult moments. Accept the good we are able to do for others as our prayer of thanks for the good you have done for us; may the love we extend to others mirror your love in our own lives.

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 1/6/21

Dear Parish Family,

“When you say to God, ‘Our Father,’ God’s ear is next to your lips.”     ~St. Andre Bessette (1845-1937)

Be sure to call for reservations for this Sunday’s Masses before tomorrow at 4:00.

God bless,

Pam

Thursday after Epiphany

First Reading:  1 John 4:19-5:4

Beloved, we love God because he first loved us.  If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God,
and everyone who loves the Father loves also the one begotten by him. In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome,
for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 72:1-2, 14, 15, 17

R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
 and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
 and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
From fraud and violence he shall redeem them,
and precious shall their blood be in his sight.
May they be prayed for continually;
day by day shall they bless him.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
May his name be blessed forever;

as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed;
all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Gospel:  Luke 4:14-22

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region.  He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all. He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day.  He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. 

Homily

[Jesus] unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me … Luke 4:14-22a

In an essay in The New York Times published the day after Christmas, Esau McCauley, assistant professor of New Testament at Wheaton College, reflected on his family’s experience of going to church via livestream over the past several months. While not the most fulfilling experience, McCauley writes, these past several months of “remote worship” have given him a new appreciation of church and prayer:

“Humans disappoint, especially those we expect to share our beliefs and values.  We see other believers fail to display the deep love for one another and the stranger that is commended in our sacred texts.  We witness others compromise our deepest values, sacrificed for access to power.  Integrity seems in short supply.  We attend services where the people are unfriendly, the sermons aren’t great and the music is a struggle.  Instead of encountering the transcendent, we bump against the limits of human talent.”

And yet, McCauley, notes a third of Americans attend church – live or livestreamed – each week. Why? McCauley’s answer:

“We stay because attendance is not about what the church gives us; it is our way of offering something to God.  It is a small rebellion, a way of saying that there is more to life than simply the acquisition of more. It is an attempt to become the kind of people who live lives of charity and service.

“The very inadequacy of church services, Zoom and otherwise, is a reminder we do not come into churches to encounter a life lesson on how to raise our children or to learn to be good Americans, whatever that means.  Our aim is much more audacious.  We are attempting to encounter God and, in so doing, find ourselves, possibly for the first time.”

Despite our doubts and fears, our exhaustion and cynicism, the Spirit of God dwells in our very imperfect lives. It brings us together, whether around a table with bread and wine or through a computer screen, that our hearts might be moved and healed. Isaiah’s prophecy that Jesus cites in today’s Gospel is fulfilled in our own lives whenever we take on Jesus’ work of reconciliation and healing. Every act of kindness “brings glad tidings to the poor;” every effort to reconcile with the estranged and bring back the lost “proclaims liberty to captives” of despair and hopelessness; every offering of help and comfort “proclaims a year acceptable to the Lord.”

Esau McCauley has it right: We are here in this church to encounter God in our lives and so remember what God’s Spirit calls us to become. [“Why You Can’t Meet God Over Zoom -Virtual Services Are Inadequate — But I Keep Going”. By Esau McCaulley Dec. 24, 2020]

Send your Spirit upon us, O Lord, that we may be prophets of your justice and mercy; anoint us to be your disciples of compassion and peace; send us to do your work of reconciliation and justice. By your wisdom and grace, may we fulfill in our own lives your call to discipleship and prophecy.

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. 

Optional Memorial of Saint Raymond of Peñafort, priest

c. 1175–1275

Patron Saint of canon lawyers and medical record librarians

The law, scripture, the Church, and love work harmoniously together Today’s saint lived numerous lives inside of his 100 years on earth. He was an intellectual prodigy who was teaching university-level philosophy by the age of twenty, and who took degrees in civil and canon law from the premier law university of the time—Bologna. While in Bologna, he likely came to know the founder of a new religious order who had also come to Bologna, and who would die there—St. Dominic Guzman. The example of the Dominicans led Fr. Raymond to exchange the diocesan priesthood for the Dominicans.

St. Raymond’s abilities and holiness were such that everyone seemed to want him in their service. Kings and Popes and Bishops and Orders all had plans on how to utilize him best. He was called to the Pope’s service to make the great contribution for which he is still known today, the organization of a huge compendium of Church law which served as the basic reference for canon lawyers until the early 20th century. Exhausted by this three year of effort in this project, he returned in middle age to his native Barcelona.

But his life of quiet and prayer did not last long. He was shocked to learn from Dominicans sent to him from Bologna that he had been elected the second successor to St. Dominic as the master general of the Dominican Order. He served his Order well and dutifully as Master General but not long. He resigned due to old age when he was 65. But there was still a lot of life left to live.

St. Raymond’s activities in his old age included efforts to try to convert the Muslims then occupying Spain, the establishment of theology and language schools dedicated to converting Muslims, his probable personal encouragement to St. Thomas Aquinas that the young scholar write an apologetic work directed at non-Catholics, the Summa contra Gentiles, and St. Raymond’s rejection of an episcopal appointment.

St. Raymond’s life shows an admirable synthesis of traditional piety and devotion, service to the Church, obedience to his superiors, love of theology, dedication to his Order, and respect and love for the law. To know, love, and follow the law is not contrary to charity. When kept, the law promotes charity and protects the weak, the poor, and the ignorant from being taken advantage of. It takes very smart and holy people to protect simple people and bad people from themselves. Saint Raymond was smart and holy. He laid his gifts at the altar of God, and God used those gifts splendidly.

St. Raymond, teach us to see the law of God and the law of the Church as one harmonious law meant to foster true communion among men and true communion between God and men. May God’s law be our law. And may the law never be an obstacle to true love and devotion.

Parish Daily Update 1/4/21

Dear Parish Family,

“We know certainly that our God calls to a holy life.  We know that he gives us every grace, every abundant grace; and though we are so weak of ourselves, this grace is able to carry us through every obstacle and difficulty.”        ~St Elizabeth Ann Seton

Happy New Year to you all!!  I hope your Christmas and holidays were joyous and filled with many blessings!!!  As we begin our 2021, I remind you to call the office – 601-856-2054 – Monday thru Thursday, 8:30 – 4:00 – to make your weekly Mass reservations. 

I also want to thank each of you, once again, for your patience and cooperation as we continue to move forward with our diocesan protocols.  While it is inconvenient to wear masks and social-distance, our care and concern for each other and others in our community make it worth the discomfort and frustration!!  Stay safe and healthy!!

BUSINESS:  Our offertory for Christmas and 12/27:

General                                                $14,662.33

Building                                             $100.00

Retired Religious                               $500.00

Christmas Flowers                           $195.00

Christmas Giving Tree                     $85.00

Germanfest                                      $1,000.00

Christmas Offering                           $5,175.00

And for 12/31:

General                                              $13,770.00

Building                                             $25.00

Cemetery                                          $250.00

Christmas Offering                          $310.00

Charity                                              $5,000.00

The opportunities for your offertory donations are as follows:

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

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

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

  church;

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

  send you the form to have that set up.

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

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

Thank you for your continued support of our parish!

God bless,

Pam

Tuesday After Epiphany January 5, 2021

Memorial of Saint John Neumann, Bishop

First Reading:  1 John 4:7-10

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only-begotten Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 72:1-2, 3-4, 7-8

R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R.    Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
The mountains shall yield peace for the people,
and the hills justice.
He shall defend the afflicted among the people,
save the children of the poor.
R.    Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R.    Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Gospel:  Mark 6:34-44

When Jesus 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. 
By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already very late.  Dismiss them so that they can go to the surrounding farms and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 
He said to them in reply, “Give them some food yourselves.” 
But they said to him, “Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food and give it to them to eat?”  He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?  Go and see.” 
And when they had found out they said, “Five loaves and two fish.” So, he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass. The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties. Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; he also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied.  And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments and what was left of the fish. Those who ate of the loaves were five thousand men.

Homily

. . everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.  1 John 4:7-10

“To know God,” the writer of today’s first reading says. Not just to know about God, but to know God.

We know about God as the Creator of every cell and molecule that gives form to all creation. We know about God as the final Arbiter of all judgments and blessings. We know about God through all the stories and wonders recounted in the Bible.

But the writer of John’s letters calls us to a deeper understanding of God – and the only way to really know God is through love: in love, we come to understand why God put all of creation into motion; in love, we begin to realize that we and every soul are held in the hand and heart of God; in love, we see the world as God sees it and begin to realize God’s vision for humankind.

So, may we begin to know God as more than the object of our prayers or as the mighty Lord of Scripture or the mysterious Center of the cosmos too remote from the human experience to make a difference in our lives. May we deepen our relationship with God, the God who reveals himself in selfless charity, in humble justice, in sacrificial peace.

May we come to know God as God knows us.

Illuminate our vision, O God, that we may come to know you as you have been revealed by your Christ: to know you as the source of all life, to know you as the father of us all, to know you as that love that you breathed into our hearts. May we come to know your love in our love for one another, your compassion in our sacrifices for the sake reconciliation and healing, your peace in our work for justice and mercy.

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 John Neumann, Bishop

This American saint was born in Bohemia in 1811. He was looking forward to being ordained in 1835 when the bishop decided there would be no more ordinations. It is difficult for us to imagine now, but Bohemia was overstocked with priests. John wrote to bishops all over Europe but the story was the same everywhere no one wanted any more priests. John was sure he was called to be a priest but all the doors to follow that vocation seemed to close in his face.

But John didn’t give up. He had learned English by working in a factory with English-speaking workers so he wrote to the bishops in America. Finally, the bishop in New York agreed to ordain him. In order to follow God’s call to the priesthood John would have to leave his home forever and travel across the ocean to a new and rugged land.

In New York, John was one of 36 priests for 200,000 Catholics. John’s parish in western New York stretched from Lake Ontario to Pennsylvania. His church had no steeple or floor but that didn’t matter because John spent most of his time traveling from village to village, climbing mountains to visit the sick, staying in garrets and taverns to teach, and celebrating the Mass at kitchen tables.

Because of the work and the isolation of his parish, John longed for community and so joined the Redemptorists, a congregation of priests and brothers dedicated to helping the poor and most abandoned.

John was appointed bishop of Philadelphia in 1852. As bishop, he was the first to organize a diocesan Catholic school system. A founder of Catholic education in this country, he increased the number of Catholic schools in his diocese from two to 100.

John never lost his love and concern for the people — something that may have bothered the elite of Philadelphia. On one visit to a rural parish, the parish priest picked him up in a manure wagon. Seated on a plank stretched over the wagon’s contents, John joked, “Have you ever seen such an entourage for a bishop!”

The ability to learn languages that had brought him to America led him to learn Spanish, French, Italian, and Dutch so he could hear confessions in at least six languages. When Irish immigration started, he learned Gaelic so well that one Irish woman remarked, “Isn’t it grand that we have an Irish bishop!”

Once on a visit to Germany, he came back to the house he was staying in soaked by rain. When his host suggested he change his shoes, John remarked, “The only way I could change my shoes is by putting the left one on the right foot and the right one on the left foot. This is the only pair I own.”

John died on January 5, 1860 at the age of 48. He was canonized in 1977.

Parish Update 1/3/21

Dear Parish Family,

“Christ yesterday and today, the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega.  All time belongs to him and all the ages.  To him be glory and power through every age and for ever.”     ~Easter Vigil Liturgy

A link to today’s Mass can be found here:   https://youtu.be/Q6zq6XEul7I

A very blessed and Happy New Year to you!!

Pam

The Epiphany of the Lord  
 
First Reading:  Isaiah 60:1-6

 
Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem!  Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the LORD shines, and over you appears his glory. Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance. Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you: your sons come from afar, and your daughters in the arms of their nurses. Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you. Caravans of camels shall fill you, dromedaries from Midian and Ephah; all from Sheba shall come
bearing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.  

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13  

R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
The kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts;
the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute.
All kings shall pay him homage,
all nations shall serve him.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.  

Second Reading:  Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6  

Brothers and sisters:
You have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for your benefit,
namely, that the mystery was made known to me by revelation. It was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Gospel:  Matthew 2:1-12  

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.”
Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child.
When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.


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.

Homily

“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”  Matthew 2:1-12

    The history of western civilization is filled with stories of royalty, and dynasties who dictated the course of events for millions through the centuries.  Very often these stories have been marked by tragedy – there were the Romanovs of Russia for example who were blind to the suffering of their people, led them into war and were powerless to counteract a revolution; by greed – the excesses of Louis XV of France, symbolized in the sprawling wealth of Versailles, contrasted with the poverty and injustice that led to the French revolution; and yet these dynasties remain a fascinating subject to many.  Even in the democratic United States we have our own royalty of a sort, certainly there were the Kennedys, and there are many sports figures like Patrick Mahomes, or Drew Brees.

    Our Liturgy today is crafted around a theme that Matthew proposes to us: Who is our true King?”  Matthew weaves history and faith into a scenario providing us with the answer of Jesus, the light of the nations.

    In the first reading Isaiah’s vision of the restored Jerusalem where all the world will come for instruction is fulfilled in today’s gospel.  Key to the prophet’s message is the failure of earthly rulers.  Israel’s kings failed; their kingdoms were based on the illusion, the belief, that they were self-sufficient, they had no need of God.  They sought after earthly wealth and power, sure that if they had these, they had need of nothing more.  But in this reading God gives riches of a different kind, and the nations of the world come to worship God – with all the pomp and splendor that marks a restored temple.

    Matthew’s gospel draws on Isaiah, as well as the other Hebrew scriptures, to proclaim that they are fulfilled in Jesus.  The encounter of the astrologers from the east and Herod draws a powerful contrast.  The shallow worldly Herod, renowned in history for his cruelty and violence, meets the astrologers, who give life to the prophecies expressed in all the Hebrew Scriptures but especially here in Isaiah.  The contrast sets up the question, “Who is the true king?”

    This Christmas season just past was also filled with contrasts.  There was the commercialism of our world, the reshaping of a religious feast into an opportunity for profit, and the often-difficult clash of emotions between joy and sadness, the celebration of light in these the darkest days of the year.

    Perhaps we are not so far away or different from Matthew’s original audience.  They, like us, needed to hear God’s promise coming true in Jesus, the hopes of a searching world fulfilled.  Where there is shallowness, greed, cruelty, now truth has broken through.

    This story should give us pause to wonder about the gifts we give to others, the gifts we give to God, and the attitude in which we give them.  Matthew’s story of the magi’s search for the Christ and the gifts they give to honor him call us to realize the opportunities we have to honor Christ in the treasures we are able to give to others – the treasures we give from the depths of ourselves.

   In this Eucharist we bring not gold, frankincense and myrrh, but ourselves and the fruits of our work.  God accepts our gifts and in return gives us Jesus to bring us light, and sends us out to be light for others.  When we live out this epiphany vision, we become God’s epiphany for the world.  We become stars to guide others to Christ.  May the love of God be manifested in the gifts of love and compassion we seek to give to others.

    At the age of 13, her world darkened. Her happiness disappeared; she no longer found joy in her classes where she excelled or in playing her beloved clarinet; she was becoming more and more withdrawn. By the time her family and friends realized she was struggling, she was very sick. At school, counselors and therapists confronted her about her detachment; her friends collectively decided that she was not worth their concern. Everything and everyone she turned to for love and acceptance were missing when she most needed it. Something “broke” inside of her. She didn’t care if she lived or died.
 

   So, desperate for a change, she transferred to another school – a Catholic high school. She was the daughter of a non-practicing Methodist and a non-practicing Presbyterian. They left the decision of church and religion to her and her siblings – as long as they identified as “some sort of Christian.” She didn’t know whether she believed in God or not.
  

   “I found I was searching for something that refused to make itself known,” she remembers. “If God existed, I concluded, God was not interested in my soul. God did not include me, but my too-cool-for-religion friends did. That is, until they didn’t.”

    At her new school, signs of God were pretty much everywhere she looked. That first day she felt like an invader. She wasn’t interested in a new beginning; she simply wanted to put in her time. She wasn’t interested in new friends, either. She was far from convinced that she would succeed in this new school – she just knew that her last school left her defeated.

    But that’s when the unexpected happened.

    “It took time and patience, but new friends found me. They did not give up on the moody and disconnected new student. Nothing was easy, but I was taught how to assimilate. It was a new form of love I had not yet known….

    “I was 18 years old when I was baptized into the Catholic Church. The first person I was introduced to on my first day of class stood next to me at the baptismal font as my chosen godmother. Since then, I have decided that my faith lies in my journey. I do not fear a lack of acceptance because I know God has a plan in motion. With God, I am no longer an outsider looking in. With God, I have found my missing community. [From “Through the Motions: My Patient Journey With Depression” by Nicole Bazis, America, November 28, 2016.]

    Today’s solemnity of the Epiphany centers on the journey that every one of us travels, the journey that is ultimately a search for God: finding God in our life’s meaning, finding God in belonging to family and community; finding God in the satisfaction of doing good. As the magi experienced, God sets “stars” ahead of us – for this student, the star was a group of teachers and classmates who would not let her be lost to the darkness of her depression.  The understanding and support of family and friends, the forgiveness we extend and receive, the meaning we come to know in giving and serving those in need, are all “epiphanies” of God’s presence in our own Bethlehem. In the new year before us, may our hearts and spirits behold these many epiphanies in which we re-discover the love of “Emmanuel” – God in our midst.

Parish Daily Update 12/27/20

Dear Parish Family,

“He destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ!”   ~Eph. 1:5

A link to today’s Mass can be found here:   https://youtu.be/7aPJqk6apB8

There will be NO MASS on Wednesday, Dec. 30.

MASS FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF MARY, MOTHER OF GOD:  New Year’s Eve – will be at 5:30 p.m.

There will be NO DAILY EMAILS 12/28 – 1/2/21.  The office is closed and will re-open on Monday, January 4.

God bless,

Pam

There will be no weekly emails this week.  These readings and homily are for January 1st.  We will have Mass on New Year’s Eve, Wednesday December 31st at 5:30 pm.

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God 

January 1, 2021 

First Reading:  Numbers 6:22-27 

The LORD said to Moses: “Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them: This is how you shall bless the Israelites.
Say to them:
The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon
you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and
give you peace!
So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites, and I will bless them.”
  

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 67:2-3, 5, 6-8 

R May God bless us in his mercy. 

May God have pity on us and bless us;
may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
among all nations, your salvation. 

R/ May God bless us in his mercy. 

May the nations be glad and exult
because you rule the peoples in equity;
the nations on the earth you guide. 

R/ May God bless us in his mercy. 

May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you!
May God bless us,
and may all the ends of the earth fear him!  

R/ May God bless us in his mercy.
  

Second Reading:  Galatians 4:4-7 

Brothers and sisters:
When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
As proof that you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, 
crying out, “Abba, Father!” So, you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then also an heir, through God.
  

Gospel:  Luke 2:16-21 

The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph,
and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message 
that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, 
just as it had been told to them. When eight days were completed for his circumcision,
he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.  

Homily 

“I am the New Year.  I am an unspoiled page in your book of time. 

                I your opportunity to practice what you have learned during the last 12 months of life, especially in a pandemic, it put a new perspective on may things. 

                All that you sought the past year and failed to find is hidden in me; I am waiting for you to search it out again. 

                All the good that you tried to do for others and didn’t achieve last year is still an opportunity. 

                In me lies the potential of all that you dreamed but didn’t dare to do, all that you hoped but did not perform, all you prayed for but did not yet experience.  These dreams slumber lightly, waiting to be awakened by the touch of an enduring purpose. 

                I am your opportunity to renew all things in Christ, the Christ who makes all things new.” 

I am the New Year [Unknown] 

Mary knows that it is hard to keep the clutter out of our hearts.  We tend to get distracted by life’s hustle and bustle, by the shiny things of the world, even though they aren’t the most important things.  She knows we need help learning how to reflect deeply on God’s action in our lives, and she has given us that help. 

Everyone who has followed her example have come closer to God and grown in wisdom, courage, and joy. 

In a vision to St Dominic in the thirteenth century Mary gave the rosary as a tool to help. It has been used successfully by illiterate peasants and cultured queens, popes and bishops, mothers and widows, sailors and soldiers.  All of us know about it, but not enough of us use it. 

Our culture has a tradition of making a New Year’s Resolution.  Why not make the resolution to spend this year learning from our spiritual mother how to let God put order, peace, and wisdom into our lives, by “keeping all these things and reflecting on them in our hearts” maybe to begin to use the Rosary if not simply asking Mary for help and guidance.  If we take even that small step closer to Christ, he will surely take a giant leap closer to us. 

An Act of Spiritual Communion


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

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