Parish Weekly Update 10/27/21

Dear Parish Family,

“It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you.”   ~St. John Paul II

ALL SAINTS DAY is Monday, November 1.  This year, because the Solemnity falls on a Monday, it is NOT a day of obligation.  However, we WILL celebrate Mass here at St. Joseph at 12:00 noon on that day.  Area churches will celebrate their usual daily Masses that day.  They are:  St. Francis – 7:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.; Sacred Heart – 8:00 a.m.  In addition, the Parish Office will be closed Monday, Nov. 1.

RCIA:  It’s not too late to join our RCIA inquiry classes!  If you would like to learn more about the Catholic Faith, our next class is THIS SUNDAY, OCTOBER 31, at 9:15 a.m. in Heritage Hall.  For questions or for further information, call the church office, 601-856-2054.  

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME begins at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 7.  Remember to set your clocks BACK one hour before you go to bed Saturday evening, November 6!!

BUSINESS:  Offertory for the week of 10/17:

General Fund                     $12,071

Building Fund                    $    270

World Missions                 $      60

The methods we have set up to make it convenient to make your offering are:

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

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

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

  church;

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

  send you the form to have that set up.

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

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

Thank you for your support of our parish!!

Prayer in This Time of Pandemic

Let us pray,

Loving and faithful God, the coronavirus reminds us

That we have not power and we are dependent on you.

We place ourselves in your loving hands.

Please give eternal rest to all who have

Died from the virus

Please put your healing hand on those who are ill,

And give your protection to us in this time of fear and

Uncertainty.  Please, calm our fears and help us to

Trust you as our faithful God.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor,

Pray for us in this time of need.

~Archbishop Gregory Aymond

God bless,

Pam

Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time 

First Reading:  Deuteronomy 6:2-6 

Moses spoke to the people, saying:
“Fear the LORD, your God, and keep, throughout the days of your lives, all his statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you, and thus have long life.
Hear then, Israel, and be careful to observe them, that you may grow and prosper the more, in keeping with the promise of the LORD, the God of your fathers, to give you a land flowing with milk and honey. 

“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone! 
Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God,
with all your heart,
and with all your soul,
and with all your strength. 
Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today.” 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 18:2-3, 3-4, 47, 51 

R. I love you, Lord, my strength.
I love you, O LORD, my strength,
O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.
R. I love you, Lord, my strength.
My God, my rock of refuge,
my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold!
Praised be the LORD, I exclaim,
and I am safe from my enemies.
R. I love you, Lord, my strength.
The LORD lives!  And blessed be my rock!
Extolled be God my savior.
You who gave great victories to your king
and showed kindness to your anointed.
R. I love you, Lord, my strength. 

Second Reading:  Hebrews 7:23-28 

Brothers and sisters:
The Levitical priests were many because they were prevented by death from remaining in office, but Jesus, because he remains forever, has a priesthood that does not pass away. Therefore, he is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them. 

It was fitting that we should have such a high priest: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, higher than the heavens. He has no need, as did the high priests, to offer sacrifice day after day, first for his  own sins and then for those of the people; he did that once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints men subject to weakness to be high priests, but the word of the oath, which was taken after the law, appoints a son, who has been made perfect forever. 

Gospel:  Mark 12:28-34 

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, 
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.

The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”  The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, ‘He is One and there is no other than he.’ And ‘to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding,
with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself’ is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him,
“You are not far from the kingdom of God.” 
And no one dared to ask him any more questions. 

Homily 

“The first [of all the commandments] is this: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.  The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater that these …”  Mark 12:28‑34 

In his iconic book “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Dr. Viktor Frankl writes of the unspeakable horrors he witnessed as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. The book is not just a record of Nazi atrocities but a testament of what Frankl learned from the courage and faith of his fellow prisoners about the meaning of this life we are given. 

When he was arrested, Frankl tried to hide in his coat a book he had been writing on psychiatry. The manuscript was his life’s work. But when he arrived at Auschwitz, guards took all his possession and clothes — including the coat. The manuscript was lost forever. Frankl writes: 

“I had to surrender my clothes and in turn inherited the worn‑out rags of an inmate who had been sent to a gas chamber immediately after his arrival at the Auschwitz railway station. Instead, I found in the pocket of my newly acquired coat one single page torn out of a Hebrew prayer book, containing the most important Jewish prayer, Shema Israel.”  

The Shema is the text cited in today’s first reading and Gospel: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! Therefore, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength. 

“How could I have interpreted such a ‘coincidence’ other than as a challenge to live my thoughts instead of merely putting them on paper?” Frankl writes. “In accepting this challenge to suffer bravely, life has a meaning up to the last moment, and it retains this meaning literally to the end.” 

In the very act of creating us, God invites us to participate in the work of creation by embracing God’s spirit of love that creates, restores, heals and inspires. To love as God “commands” and Jesus teaches demands every fiber of our being — our heart, our soul, our mind, our strength — but it is in struggling to love as such that we restore our lost humanity and mend our broken world. It is in the “two great commandments” centered in the great Shema prayer that we discover a purpose and meaning to our lives much greater than our prejudices, provincialism and parochialism; in the two great commandments, we find the ultimate meaning and purpose of God’s gifts of faith and life. 

Our gospel reading today, like so many other passages from the Hebrew prophets, clearly states that God is not impressed with our sacrifices but wants us – to take time to love and care for one another and God. 

Our spouse, children, friends, and God want our love and time more than our sacrifices.  Sometimes we have to work long hours and sacrifice to feed our families and support those who need us.  Yet how many times have we heard about fathers or mothers who work extra hours to buy their children more toys rather than spend time with them in the backyard or reading them a story?  How many people near death often say they wish they had taken more time for their friends, and family? 

The two commandments Jesus gives are less things to be done than ways to act.  Jesus doesn’t seem to be interested in arguing about human behavior, about which actions are most important.  He is more concerned with where our hearts are and why we do the things we do.  He calls us to be like him and our Father, who love unconditionally and then express that love in action. 

As the Israelites prepared to enter the promised land after many years of travel and hardship, Moses was a bit skeptical of their dedication and love of God.  He is afraid that they have loved God primarily because of the things he has done for them.  What happens when they no longer need him to do things for them?  Will they love him as much then? 

To prepare the Israelites for their new relationship with God.  Moses asks them to develop a purer form of love for God – one that is based on accepting God, rather than looking for Him to do for them.  God is sometimes hard to accept, because we do not always understand or appreciate what he has done for us.  We believe, for example, that God is present in our life, and yet we often cannot feel his presence and wonder why He remains so distant.  And so, to accept God means to love him as He is rather than as we would like Him to be.  Loving Him is our act of gratitude for the love that he has given to us.  Jesus picks up on Moses’ theme and extends it to accepting others as well as God. 

Love is a lot of hard work.  Jesus tells the scribe that, in spite of his insight, he has not done what is most important; [He is close to the Kingdom of God but not in it] He has not accepted Jesus for who he is, Lord and Messiah, and so he is not ready to be his disciple.  To love with all our heart is to love with our emotions and desires, to love with our souls is to love with our wills, to love with all our mind is to love with our intellects, to love with our strength is to love with every ounce of our energy.  Jesus tells us that we are to love others to the same depth and degree. 

Love runs the gamut from the warm fuzzy feeling to the steel to hang on in spite of feelings.  Love’s history includes our ancient forbearers, the ones in our family, near and dear to us, and the unknown generations yet unborn.  Love’s command embraces the ones we touch, as well as the ones we can’t bear to be in the presence of. 

Love is letting someone into your life.  It makes another the center of your life.  Love is more than an act of the will, or the flutter of the heart, or the stirring of emotions.  It is more than doing good, because sometimes nothing can be done.  It is even more than a union – it is going out of yourself to let someone else in. 

Until Jesus there was no Rabbi who had put the two Mosaic laws of loving God and loving neighbor together and made them one.  Loving God and loving others were central to Jesus.  To be a true follower of Jesus demands a larger view of the world, than the one that is limited by our own thoughts and judgements.  A view from the perspective of 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.