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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.