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Parish Weekly Update 9/2/21

Dear Parish Family,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”   ~Mt. 11:28-30

BUSINESS:  Offertory for the week of 8/15/21:

General                                $15,142.00

Building                                $380.00

Cemetery                            $50.00

Ed. Of Future Priests       $1781.00

MS Catholic                        $25.00

For the week of 8/22/21:

General Fund                     $11,098.00

Building Fund                   $128.00

World Mission                 $10.00

Extension Society            $14.00

Ed. Of Future Priests       $200.00

We thank you for your continued generosity to our Parish!

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. 

ADULT EDUCATION:  Next Sunday, September 12, from 9:30 – 10:30 in the Parish Hall, we will begin our Fall Session of Adult Education with a study of Father Larry Richards’ series, “Knowing Jesus and His Church.”  Please join us as we continue to journey in our faith lives!!!  If you have any questions, call the Parish Office – 601-856-2054.

RCIA:  If you know an unbaptized adult, an adult baptized into another faith tradition, or an adult baptized Catholic who has not received the Sacrament of Confirmation, who is interested in learning more about the Catholic Church, please let us know so that we can invite them to join our RCIA sessions!  RCIA stands for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults an dis the process by which a parson is initiated into the Catholic Church.  Classes will begin this Fall.  Call the church office, 601-856-2054, for more information. 

GERMANFEST!!!!!  Germanfest is Sunday, September 26 from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  We are in high preparation mode right now – getting ready to welcome all our visitors with our St. Joseph hospitality!  Things you need to know:

SIGN-UP TO WORK THE DAY OF THE FESTIVAL begins this Sunday!!!  There will be an insert in the bulletin with the various booths and the duties for each.  Tables will be set up with sign-up sheets — We need EVERYONE to work at least one shift so choose your favorite spot and sign up!  Sign up is on a first-come-first-served basis and if a sign-up sheet is full, please choose another spot to work.

KRAUT PACKING – The 2nd round of kraut packing will be next Wednesday, Sept. 8, beginning at 4:00 p.m.  Once again, no experience is needed – on-the-job training for this simple process is provided!  This is a great opportunity for service hours for students!!!

FOOD TICKETS:  We ask each family to purchase or sell 5 tickets ($7 each).  There will be a table outside the church after each Mass where you can pick up your tickets!! 

DESSERT BOOTH:  We ask each family to make 3 desserts.  Attendees LOVE our home-baked goodies!  If you are unable to bake, we request a donation of $40 to cover the costs for those who bake in mass quantity.  If you are willing to bake extra goodies, just let us know!!  Desserts (please leave them whole) should be brought to the Parish Hall on Saturday morning (9/25), so they can be cut, wrapped, and prepared to serve our guests.

CANNED GOODS:  We are famous for our home-canned goods which are sold at the Country Store!  If you are able to make jellies, jams, pickles, or any type of preserves, there are jars available in the library at the church for you to take home, fill up, and bring back for the Festival.

COVID RESURGENCE:  PLEASE – If you are running fever or feeling “under the weather” in any way, STAY HOME!  If we have learned nothing else over the last year, it should be to stay at home when we feel poorly to avoid spreading anything to others!

                While our Bishop has not issued a mask mandate, I would strongly encourage everyone to wear masks at Masses until this spike passes.  We will not “require” masks and will not ask people to leave who choose not to wear them, but we should all do what we can to help prevent further spread of this virus, especially to our young children who are unable to be vaccinated at this time.

                For those who are uncomfortable coming to Sunday Mass because of the number of people, the bishop still has a dispensation in place for you to fulfill your Sunday obligation by attending a weekday Mass.  Our weekday Mass is on Wednesday at 5:30. There are only about 30 people who regularly attend this Mass so it is very easy to socially distance yourself from others.

ALSO – PLEASE REMEMBER THAT WE ARE STILL UNDER A 3-FOOT DISTANCE MANDATE FROM OUR BISHOP!  IF YOU COME TO MASS A BIT LATE, PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO SQUEEZE INTO THE DISTANCE OTHERS HAVE LEFT IN THEIR PEWS!  SOMEONE WILL BE HAPPY TO HELP FIND YOU A SEAT!!  If there is a certain place in church you would like to sit, please come early enough to grab that spot.  😊

God bless,

Pam

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time  

First Reading:  Isaiah 35:4-7 

Thus says the LORD:
Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not!
Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you.
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing. Streams will burst forth in the desert,
and rivers in the steppe. The burning sands will become pools, and the thirsty ground, springs of water. 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10 

R.  Praise the Lord, my soul!
The God of Jacob keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
The LORD gives sight to the blind;
the LORD raises up those who were bowed down.
The LORD loves the just;
the LORD protects strangers.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
The fatherless and the widow the LORD sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!

Second Reading:  James 2:1-5

My brothers and sisters, show no partiality as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. For if a man with gold rings and fine clothes comes into your assembly, and a poor person in shabby clothes also comes in, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes
and say, “Sit here, please,” while you say to the poor one, “Stand there,” or “Sit at my feet,”
have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil designs? 

Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Did not God choose those who are poor in the world
to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him? 

Gospel: Mark 7:31-37 

Again Jesus left the district of Tyre and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, into the district of the Decapolis. And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment
and begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him off by himself away from the crowd. 
He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!” – that is, “Be opened!”
And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly. He ordered them not to tell anyone.  But the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it. They were exceedingly astonished and they said, “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” 

Homily 

“[Jesus] put his finger in the man’s ears, and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, ‘Ephphatha!’ — that is, ‘Be opened!’”   Mark 7:31-37 

                On a hot summer morning, a 16-year-old pushed his way on to a crowded New York City subway train. He couldn’t get close enough to a pole to hold on to — all he could do was try to keep his balance by placing his palm on the ceiling of the car. It didn’t work. 

As the train lurched forward, he and his heavy backpack tumbled into the lap of woman sitting nearby. Not feeling well after a sleepless night, the teen said nothing to the woman as he struggled to get to his feet. The woman was clearly upset. 

As the day went on, he felt awful about what had happened and his failure to offer an appropriate apology. Of course, he had no idea who the poor woman was or how to reach her – so he wrote an apology to “the woman I fell onto on the 3 train” that was published in the “Metropolitan Diary” column of The New York Times [August 17, 2020]. Published every weekend, “Metropolitan Diary” is delightful collection of stories and anecdotes contributed by readers about living in New York City in all its energy and quirkiness. 

                The teen began his apology: “To the woman I fell onto on the [No.] 3 train that morning: I’m sorry, and I feel awful for the way things turned out.” 

                Retelling the story of his struggle to keep his balance, he wrote: 

                “You had a right to be annoyed with me. Nobody wants a tall 16-year-old with a heavy backpack to tumble onto them on their way to work. 

                “If you cannot accept my apology, I completely understand. If I had the opportunity to take the ride again, I would hold on to the ceiling with a tighter grip, and, if I lost my balance, apologize in person. 

                “I wish you a lifetime of peaceful commutes on the No. 3 train. I hope something like that never happens to you again. 

                “Sincerely, the tall boy who fell on you that morning.” 

                This 16-year-old possesses the gift of “Ephphatha”: the ability to put aside his own wants and troubles in order to “listen” to how his actions and attitudes affect others, especially in hurtful and costly ways. Our self-centeredness can make us deaf to the presence of God, isolating us from God’s compassion in the midst of conflict and anger, in times of brokenness and hurt. “Ephphatha” is to possess the empathy and generosity of heart to move beyond ourselves to bring peace and healing especially to those we have hurt. Throughout the Gospel, Jesus calls us to remain open — “Ephphatha!” — to the possibilities for transformation through compassion, for re-creation through forgiveness, for restoration through realizing our responsibility for our mistakes and failings. 

                Ephphatha – to be open – is to understand and be grateful for who we are and to realize the good we can do as we are. Ephphatha is to hear the voice of God in the midst of the noise and distractions that surround us. 

                The prophet and author of today’s first reading wished to impart to his hearers an optimism and willingness to persevere.  They had run into a wall, as it were, and Isaiah was offering advice on how to scale it. 

                In today’s gospel Mark made certain that we would recognize Jesus’ healing of the deaf man as the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophesy.  The particular word used for speech impediment appears only twice in all of the scriptures once in Isaiah and once in Mark, our first and Gospel readings today.  Mark would have us understand that with Jesus, the vision of Isaiah was finally realized.  Because of Jesus the wall of sin that had separated people from God was forever removed. 

                “Some people brought Jesus a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay hands on him.  Jesus took him off by himself away from the crowd.” 

                Did you notice that Mark tells us nothing of the cured man’s reaction?  He just stands there silent in the midst of the frantic, frenzied crowd. 

                Maybe we too need to find a quiet place free from the distractions to share that man’s amazement of what God is doing in our lives.  We need a respite from the frantic, and often frenetic activity to settle our souls. 

                You might not think of it but complexity smooths out the rough fringes of reality and makes bitter things sweet, it takes the edge off of responsibility.  Complexity sugarcoats things to make them go down. 

                Simplicity allows for clear, straightforward, honest responses to whatever is.  

                Complexity blunts the sharp corners of our conscience.  Lost in a moral maze among countless questions of right and wrong, we miss the more radical distinctions between good and evil.  Balancing the rights of mother and fetus or victim and criminal, we smudge the issues of life itself.  Torn between boss and client, we blur the edge of honesty. 

                In simplicity, we can confess that the world is too much with us; that getting and spending, we lay waste our lives.  In simplicity we find the courage to distinguish between real complexity and artificial confusion. 

                Throughout the Gospel, Jesus calls us to remain open – Ephphatha! – to the possibilities for transformation through selfless love, for re-creation that is enabled by humble generosity, for restoration that can be brought about by perseverance and courage in the face of destruction. In times of grief, fear, and despair, we can be “deaf” to the presence of God, isolating ourselves from God’s compassion and hope in the midst of such pain. The spirit of Ephphatha is to recognize the possibilities for transforming the lives of the broken and isolated in the completeness and hope of God’s living presence in our midst.  

                Ephphatha – openness – is a mark of the disciple of Jesus.  Ephphatha is to understand and be grateful for who we are and to realize the good we can do as we are. Ephphatha is to hear the voice of God in the midst of the noise and distractions that surround us, to sense God’s presence when we are overwhelmed by anger, jealousy, greed and disappointment.  To see the possibilities, we have and to recognize the need to open ourselves in order to possess it or better yet be possessed by God. 

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

EXTRA 

A story from NPR in 2015 

                A car bomb explodes on a commercial Baghdad street, killing ten people and injuring

many more. Sadly, such destruction is not unusual in the Iraqi capital. 

                But in the wake of this blast, something unusual did happen. 

                As police and military secured the area, a man appeared wearing a black suit jacket, his long hair combed back. He unfolded a small chair and sat down. And then, amid the rubble and ash, he began to play his cello. 

                The musician is Karim Wasfi, the renowned conductor of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra. Wasfi has been appearing at such sites around the city of Baghdad, playing an original composition titled “Baghdad Mourning Melancholy.” A deadly attack on his own Baghdad neighborhood a few weeks ago prompted him to take his cello to the streets. 

                “The other side chose to turn every element, every aspect of life in Iraq into [a] war zone. I chose to turn every corner of Iraq into a spot for civility, beauty and compassion.” 

                Karim Wasfi’s playing at the sites of such devastation attracts a wide-ranging and appreciative audience of soldiers, shop owners and residents of the destroyed neighborhoods. Many listen in tears; Wasfi’s music inspires hope and perseverance and assures his fellow Iraqis that life, not death, is reality. 

                “Unlike what people think, we have a choice of fighting back,” the maestro explains.   “We can’t just surrender to the impending doom of uncertainty by not functioning. But I think it’s an awakening for everybody to make a choice and to choose how they want to live, not how they want to die. 

                “My message as an artist, as a conductor, also as a cellist: that when things are abnormal, we make things normal.   We make things worth living for.”  [NPR, June 8, 2015]

                Throughout the Gospel, Jesus calls us to remain open – Ephphatha! – to the possibilities for transformation through selfless love, for re-creation that is enabled by humble generosity, for restoration that can be brought about by perseverance and courage in the face of destruction. In times of grief, fear and despair, we can be “deaf” to the presence of God, isolating ourselves from God’s compassion and hope in the midst of such pain – but Karim Wasfi, in the gift of his music, attempts to bring hope and possibility for life in the midst of death to his Iraqi country men and women. The spirit of Ephphatha is to recognize the possibilities for transforming the lives of the broken and isolated in the completeness and hope of God’s living presence in our midst.  

                Ephphatha – openness – is a mark of the disciple of Jesus.  Ephphatha is to understand and be grateful for who we are and to realize the good we can do as we are. Ephphatha is to hear the voice of God in the midst of the noise and distractions that surround us, to sense God’s presence when we are overwhelmed by anger, jealousy, greed and disappointment.  To see the possibilities, we have and to recognize the need to open ourselves in order to possess it or better yet be possessed by God.