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Parish Weekly Update 10/20/21

Dear Parish Family,

“Let nothing disturb you. 

Let nothing make you afraid. 

All things are passing.  God alone never changes. 

Patience gains all things. 

If you have God, you will want for nothing.  God alone suffices.”

                ~St. Teresa of Avila

RED BEANS AND RICE DINNER:    This Sunday, October 24, beginning at 5:30 p.m., our Knights of Columbus and Ladies’ Auxiliary will be sponsoring their annual Red Beans and Rice dinner.  Plates will be $7 and will include Red Beans & Rice, bread and salad.  A hot dog and chips plate will be $3.  Desserts will be available for an additional donation.  Monies raised will go towards our parish Holiday Food Basket project.  Goodie bags for children will be provided by the Youth of our parish!

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 24, at 9:15 a.m. in the church.  For questions or for further information, call the church office, 601-856-2054.  

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.

BUSINESS:  Offertory for the week of 10/10/21:

General Fund                     $15,396

               Building Fund                    $285

               Ed of Future Priests         $20

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

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time 

First Reading:  Jeremiah 31:7-9 

Thus says the LORD: Shout with joy for Jacob, exult at the head of the nations;
proclaim your praise and say: The LORD has delivered his people, the remnant of Israel. Behold, I will bring them back from the land of the north; I will gather them from the ends of the world, with the blind and the lame in their midst, the mothers and those with child; they shall return as an immense throng. They departed in tears, but I will console them and guide them; I will lead them to brooks of water, on a level road, so that none shall stumble.
For I am a father to Israel, Ephraim is my first-born. 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6 

R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those that sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy. 

Second Reading:  Hebrew 5:1-6 

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. 

Gospel:  Mark 10:46-52 

As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging.
On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say,
“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.”
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying to him,
“Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.” He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.”  Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way. 

Homily  

Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging.  

“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me…”  Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” Mark 10:46-52 

The poet and translator John Ciardi (CHAR-dee) wrote that “we are what we do with our attention.” In today’s reading from Mark’s Gospel, a blind man asks Jesus to see. Jesus responds not by mixing mud or touching the man’s eyes or looking to heaven in prayer; Jesus says, basically, Pay attention. Look with the eyes of the faith you already possess.  The man receives his sight — but Jesus also affirms the vision that Bartimaeus already possessed by faith: to realize God’s compassion in his midst, to see the possibilities for transforming hope and re-creating love to heal the brokenness in his life, to comprehend God’s call to be the means for justice and reconciliation for others.  

Mark gives a lot of attention to this blind man; he tells us his name and he focuses on his cloak.  Did you ever wonder why?  There are many others who are cured that we don’t know their names nor the details like we have here.  Clearly Mark was telling us something important.  

Mark makes a point of explaining that Bartimaeus ‘threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.’  The cloak in Jesus’ day would have been heavy and thick and a very versatile and important piece to most people, especially beggars and poor people.  It would have been protection from the rapid and frequent temperature changes, insulation against the Judean winds, and at night a blanket. 

The cloak probably for Mark, certainly for many of the early Church fathers, would have been a symbol of self-sufficiency, a symbol of our tendency to think we are capable of solving problems on our own.  Things that we wrongly depend on for happiness, that we tend to idolize: good looks, intelligence, athletic ability, strength, money, good education, popularity and so on. 

Following Jesus means putting other things, even good and valuable things, aside or into second place and trusting that our relationship with God is the real source of fulfillment. 

Even before the blind man leaves his cloak behind, he shows that he has learned this lesson by his faith-filled persistence.  Everyone was discouraging him from putting his trust in God, but Bartimaeus refused to be silenced, and the heart of Jesus didn’t let him down. Then, when he hears Jesus’ call, he doesn’t hesitate to cast off his cloak and spring forward, teaching us all that our only sufficiency should be in God. 

Bartimaeus leaving behind his cloak in order to come closer to Jesus is a perfect illustration of one of the most difficult sayings of Jesus.  It’s a saying we find in the Gospel of Matthew (Mt 10:59), and it’s one that almost always makes us uncomfortable: 

“Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.” 

Bartimaeus was willing to “lose his life,” to leave behind his comfort and sense of self-sufficiency, in order to put himself entirely in Jesus’ hands. 

It reminds me of the story about the pig and the chicken: 

A chicken and a pig were walking down the street one day.  They noticed some poor children who looked as if they hadn’t eaten anything for days. Moved with deep compassion, the chicken said to the pig, “I have an idea! Let’s give those children a nice breakfast of ham and eggs.” 

The pig thought deeply for a few moments about the chicken’s suggestion. At last, the pig, moved with even deeper compassion, said: “Well, that’s a fine idea, but since it would take a little while for you to lay some eggs, why don’t I just serve them up some chicken burritos instead?” 

The chicken would have given something to a breakfast of ham and eggs, but it would have given itself totally to a breakfast of chicken burritos.  

Jesus needs followers who are willing to give themselves totally. 

Insofar as we trust him completely and follow him unconditionally, leaving all cloaks behind, we will be able to experience the full power of his transforming grace, as the blind beggar Bartimaeus did. 

As Jesus himself explained in the Book of Revelation (Apocalypse 3:15-16): 

“I know about your activities: how you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were one or the other, but since you are neither hot nor cold, but only lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth.” 

Leaving our cloaks behind is a risk, and it takes faith. One of the great ironies of this Gospel passage is that the one man who couldn’t see with his eyes was the only man able to see with his heart. All the other people in the crowd told him to be quiet and let Jesus pass by in peace. They didn’t think Jesus would want anything to do with a poor, blind beggar on the side of the road. But Jesus did want to have something to do with him. Jesus wants to have something to do with each one of us. He really is capable of bringing his warmth and light into the dark, cold places of our souls, just as he easily brought light to the eyes of Bartimaeus.  All we need is faith. “Your faith has saved you,” he told Bartimaeus. 

And he said that for our sake too, to point out where the path of interior renewal lies. 

It’s not through yoga, transcendental meditation, and aromatherapy; it’s through faith; it’s through trusting in the God who created us and who died on a cross to show us how much he loves us. 

We all have faith; otherwise, we wouldn’t be here today. And we all know that we need a stronger faith; otherwise, we wouldn’t be here today. How can we exercise our faith and make it grow, so God’s light can transform us more and more? We can do exactly what Bartimaeus did: pray. He begged the Lord from the bottom of his heart to have mercy on him. And when Jesus asked him what he wanted, he told him. Today, during this Mass, let’s do the same. Let’s open our hearts to God, and let his light stream right on in. 

When we are stuck in life, especially spiritually, struggling with our faults and failings and unsure how to get out of the rut we’re in, we too can ask the Lord for help.  He will help us see a way forward, but not just a few directions to get us down the road: he will help us see so that we can follow him to where we truly need to go.  Let’s follow him and also imitate him, not leaving anyone behind. 

Jesus opens our “eyes,” as well, enabling us to look at our lives and world with the eyes of faith: to realize the opportunities to bring life and light, healing and peace along our way to the dwelling place of God.  Jesus comes to us and restores our “sight” to see God’s sacred presence in our lives, to heal us of our blindness to the sins of selfishness and hatred we too easily rationalize away and see, instead, our world with a grateful eye.  

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 

Seeing “something new” 

A particular painting you see in a gallery or museum makes you stop. The scene moves you; the colors lift your spirits. The whole work makes you think, opens your heart and mind to things you had forgotten or yearn for. Maybe it leads you to a new resolve to restore or mend something broken in your life. You return to the gallery whenever you can to spend a few minutes with the painting — and every time you look at it, you see something new. 

During a hike through the woods or along a mountain trail, a morning jog along the beach, or an evening stroll through your neighborhood, you become aware of God’s handiwork in your midst. It may be a crystal-clear mountain stream, the magical flight of a falcon, a beautiful sunset that takes your breath away. In this moment, you feel a sense of humility — and gratitude that you are a small part of this wonder. This beautiful earth opens your eyes to all that has blessed your life. 

You never forget the moment you first hold your newborn or feed your child — or change the first of what will be a seemingly endless pile of diapers. You never imagined loving another human being like this child; with the birth of your daughter or son, the priorities and dreams of your life change dramatically. You’re scared to death — and you could not be happier. This child opens your eyes to a love you never dreamed capable of. 

Jesus says, basically, Pay attention. Look with the eyes of the faith you already possess.  The man receives his sight — but Jesus also affirms the vision that Bartimaeus already possessed by faith: to realize God’s compassion in his midst, to see the possibilities for transforming hope and re-creating love to heal the brokenness in his life, to comprehend God’s call to be the means for justice and reconciliation for others. Jesus opens our “eyes,” as well, enabling us to look at our lives and world with the eyes of faith: to realize the opportunities to bring life and light, healing and peace along our way to the dwelling place of God.  Christ comes to us restores our “sight” to see God’s sacred presence in our lives, to heal us of our blindness to the sins of selfishness and hatred we too easily rationalize away and see, instead, our world with a grateful eye.  

Parish Weekly Update 10/6/21

Dear Parish Family,

“While the world changes, the Cross stands firm.”    ~St. Bruno

“By your work, you show what you love…”    ~St. Bruno

CONFIRMATION CLASS for 11th grade teens is THIS SUNDAY, OCTOBER 10, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.  Important information will be presented to the candidates and all are required to attend! 

BUSINESS:  Offertory for the week of 10/3/21:

    General:                        $16,475

    Building:                         $750

    Our Daily Bread:           $340

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

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

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

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

  church;

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

  send you the form to have that set up.

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

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

We are thankful for your support of our wonderful parish!

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 and this the process by which a person is initiated into the Catholic Church.  Classes will begin October 17.  Call the church office, 601-856-2054, for more information. 

GERMANFEST WAS A TREMENDOUS SUCCESS!!!   A HUGE thank-you to everyone who helped with Germanfest preparations and who worked to make it happen!!  If you have not turned in your ticket money, please do that as soon as possible!!!  If you have receipts for reimbursement, we need those as well.  As soon as we have all income and expenses accounted for, we can give a report on profits for Germanfest 2021!

GERMANFEST TITHE:  St. Joseph tithes a minimum of 10% of Germanfest profits to local charities.  If you have a favorite local charity which you would like to be considered for a portion of those tithe monies, please write it down and give it to me or email me at pam@stjosephgluckstadt.com before Oct 17.  Our Pastoral and Finance Councils will consider your suggestions and disburse those contributions.

KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS SPONSORED “VIRTUAL” FINANCIAL SEMINAR:  FREE to ALL Parishioners!!!  Financial Success Under Any Circumstances is presented by Van Mueller on October 19, 7:00 p.m.  This one-hour seminar will help you clarify how to have financial and retirement success.   You must pre-register at http://tinyurl.com/KofC-FBN1019 or see the flyer on the bulletin board in the church and scan the QR code. 

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

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time 

First Reading:  Wisdom 7:7-11 

I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.
I preferred her to scepter and throne, and deemed riches nothing in comparison with her,
nor did I liken any priceless gem to her; because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand,
and before her, silver is to be accounted mire. Beyond health and comeliness I loved her,
and I chose to have her rather than the light, because the splendor of her never yields to sleep. Yet all good things together came to me in her company, and countless riches at her hands. 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 90:12-13, 14-15, 16-17 

R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
Make us glad, for the days when you afflicted us,
for the years when we saw evil.
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Let your work be seen by your servants
and your glory by their children;
and may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours;
prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands!
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy! 

Second Reading:  Hebrews 4:12-13 

Brothers and sisters:
Indeed the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account. 

Gospel:  Mark 10:17-30 

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him,
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”   

Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?  No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother
.”  He replied and said to him, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing.  Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”  At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. 

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the kingdom of God!”  The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!  It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”  They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, “Then who can be saved?”  

Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God.  All things are possible for God.”   Peter began to say to him, “We have given up everything and followed you.”  Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.”  

Homily 

[Jesus said to the rich young man:] “You are lacking one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. “…there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age…”  Mark 10:17-30 

Cristian Hinojosa [pronounced INN-a-hoza] came fast out of the gate. He graduated from college in 2000 and took a terrific job as an investment banker. 

And he made money. Lots of money. 

He was making a six-figure salary at the age of 21. He was traveling all over the world. His phone calls to major investors and CEOs of major corporations were always returned. He was living the dream. 

And he was miserable. 

He writes, “I remember having the thought, ‘All I’m doing is trying to make money for my clients, my bosses, and myself.’ And I said, ‘I don’t know if I can do this anymore.'” 

Cristian stuck it out for five years, then decided to chuck it all for a different job – a very different job. 

“While I was actively employed as an investment banker, I submitted an application to the Dallas Fire Department, and a few months later, I got in.” 

Sixteen years later, Captain Christian Hinojosa lives in a two-bedroom rental, with his wife and two children – making a lot less than the seven-figure salary he would now be making in investment banking. 

Yeah, he left a lot of money on the table, but he says, “My quality of life went through the roof doing what I do.” 

Amherst College psychology professor Catherine Sanderson was Cristian’s undergraduate advisor. She fully supports her former student’s decision – because, she says, money can’t buy happiness. 

“There is the assumption always, that if I just had a little bit more, then I will reach happiness . . . Like hamsters on a wheel, we keep running after new stuff, never satisfied with what we just got. 

“When you talk to people who love their jobs, overwhelmingly what they say is not, ‘I love my paycheck,'” Professor Sanderson laughs. “What they say is, ‘I find my job meaningful.'”  [CBS Sunday Morning, July 29, 2018.] 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus urges us to embrace the wisdom and the courage to become “firefighters” – or whatever work we can take on that gives our life a sense of meaning and purpose. Captain Hinojosa has grasped the lesson that the rich young man in today’s Gospel can’t comprehend . . . yet. The question is not whether money is good or bad; the Gospel challenge is what we do with our wealth, our sense of responsibility for the many blessings God has given us, for the benefit of all. Wealth should enable us to live life to the full, but too often what we have can weigh us down, preventing us from moving on with our lives – the prosperity that should enable our journey becomes more important than the journey itself. While the rich young man is entombed by his possessions, Captain Hinojosa realizes that it is the good that we are able to do with our wealth that matters, that defines the meaning and purpose of our lives. We need to possess the spirit of compassion not to become possessed by our possessions and the vision of faith to distinguish between the things of our world and the things of God. 

The saddest sadness in life is the sadness of the man who turned away from Jesus’ loving look, because he had many possessions.  It is a bitter poverty of spirit to know that there are riches far richer than we have, and a life far better than the good life we have – and not be able to give up the good for the better. 

Right now, Jesus is looking at us with love.  Do we return the gaze and say yes or do we walk away with heavy hearts? 

Listen carefully to what Jesus says in today’s Gospel: Jesus doesn’t condemn wealth and possessions as evil – what is evil is when the pursuit of wealth and riches displaces God as the center of our lives, when material wealth becomes the focus of our existence, when what we own – owns us. Given the choice between the life of God and the life of materialism, the young man opts for the latter. We need to possess the faith to center our lives on the things of God, to embrace the “wisdom and prudence” (Reading 1) to realize that the things we have are not an end in themselves but the means for living lives of meaning and purpose and re-creating our world in the justice and peace of God. 

It is much the same for us. The way we live with God and the world, as the way we live with each other, then religion and politics are inseparable.  The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of people happen at the same time, and in the same place.  There is no separate utopia where dogs do not bite, bees do not sting, and people do not suffer.  The kingdom of God is among us, and all around us. To be the disciple of Jesus we need to reorder our priorities, restructure our days to realize what Jesus has taught us is most important. May we return to God the gifts he has given us in order to embrace eternity in the time to come.   

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 

In 2010, a 20-year-old schoolteacher in Afghanistan volunteered his services as an interpreter for a Marine unit led by Major Tom Schueman. The young teacher said he wanted to help ensure a Taliban-free Afghanistan. Major Schueman and his platoon took him on and began calling him “Zak.” 

Zak proved to be more than a translator. On several occasions he risked his life for the unit. Once, Zak overheard a Taliban fighter on his radio organizing an attack on the Marines as they plodded behind an engineer with a metal detector to detect land mines. Zak ran through the field and tackled the Taliban terrorist. Zak not only prevented the attack but also marked a clear path with his footprints for the Marines to safely advance. 

Zak spent three years working for the military. He was assured that he would receive a visa to come to the U.S. for his service. 

But that’s not how things worked out. Zak began the application process six years ago for a special visa designed for Afghans who assisted American forces, but his application got bogged down in red tape and lost records. 

With the Americans leaving, Zak was a marked man in Afghanistan. The Taliban tracked down Zak and his family and promised retribution. 

But Marines never forget their own. Back home in the United States, Major Schueman stayed in contact with Zak and promised, “I will keep working this for you every day and every night until we get this taken care of. I’ll never forget you, brother.” 

As the Taliban marched through the provinces in August taking control of the country, Schueman worked every contact he had to get Zak and his family out of Afghanistan. Seven thousand miles away, from his home in Rhode Island, Major Schueman helped Zak get his visa application together. He provided money for Zak to get his wife and four children – all under the age of five – from their village to the airport in Kabul (most of the money was for used for bribes at the various checkpoints along the way). Schueman wrote letters and made calls, soliciting help from members of Congress – Illinois Senator Dick Durbin personally brought Zak’s case to the attention of the Secretary of State.   

With the situation becoming more and more desperate, Schueman posted pleas on Facebook and other apps to U.S. military in Kabul begging for help. A U.S. Air Force officer offered to get Zak’s family on a plane if they made it to a specific gate. Schueman texted Zak with directions: “Put your kid with the blue shirt on your shoulders so they will see you,” he directed. 

And then the major waited. 

Schueman heard nothing for hours. Then his phone lit up – it was from Zak: a photo of Zak and his family on a military plane, with the two-word caption: Wheels up. 

Tom Schueman and his Marine buddies are now preparing to welcome Zak to the United States and help his family settle into a new life here. 

“He wasn’t just a translator, he was my brother, basically one of my Marines,” Tom Schueman says. “I have a lifelong commitment to the people I serve and lead.”  [MSNBC, ABC News, The New York Times. August 22, 2021] 

Many U.S. veterans are desperately trying to get Afghan civilians like Zak who helped their units get out of the country. Zak and his family were rescued, not by the “system,” but by the bravery and perseverance of Air Force and Marine troops who rallied to pull Zak’s family from outside the gate to safety. Our baptism into the life of Christ calls us to the same commitment to Christ-like service: to put everything we have and are at the service of our sisters and brothers in need. To be the disciple of Christ we seek to become the means of reordering our priorities, a restructuring of our days to realize Christ’s call to service. May we return to God the gifts he has given us in order to embrace eternity in the time to come.   

Parish Weekly Update 9/30/21

Dear Parish Family,

“Everything is a grace, everything is the direct effect of our Father’s love –

difficulties, contradictions, humiliations, all the soul’s miseries,

her burdens, her needs – everything, because through them, she learns

humility, realizes her weakness.  Everything is a grace because

everything is God’s gift.  Whatever be the character of life or its

unexpected events – to the heart that loves, all is well.”

                ~St. Therese of Lisieux

GERMANFEST WAS A TREMENDOUS SUCCESS!!!   A HUGE thank-you to everyone who helped with Germanfest preparations and who worked to make it happen!!  A special thank-you to all our Chair-persons who have the organization of their booths down to an art!  You all make things run smoothly and without a hitch!  Also, a tremendous thank-you to our Germanfest Chair, Eric Price.  Your organization and leadership were awesome!!!

If you have not turned in your ticket money, please do that as soon as possible!!!  If you have receipts for reimbursement, we need those as well.  As soon as we have all income and expenses accounted for, we can give a report on profits for Germanfest 2021!

Also, St. Joseph tithes at least 10% of Germanfest profits to local charities.  If you have a favorite local charity which you would like to be considered for a portion of those tithe monies, please write it down and give it to me or email me at pam@stjosephgluckstadt.com before Oct 17.  Our Pastoral and Finance Councils will consider your suggestions and disburse those contributions.

PROTECTION OF CHILDREN PARENT MEETING:  Our annual Protection of Children Training for K-12 graders will take place on Sunday, October 10, 2021 during a portion of your regularly scheduled classes and youth meetings.  In advance of the training, we will be having a Parent Information Meeting this Sunday, October 3, 2021 at 9:30am in the church for anyone who would like to see the material that will be covered and answer any questions you may have prior to your child’s lesson.  If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Karen Worrell at kworrellcre@hotmail.com or Patti Greene at patti@stjosephgluckstadt.com.

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 and this the process by which a person is initiated into the Catholic Church.  Classes will begin October 17.  Call the church office, 601-856-2054, for more information. 

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, he is strongly encouraging everyone to wear masks at Masses until this spike passes.  We should all remember that the common good of the community is always an important part of Catholic social teachings.  

                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.

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

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time 

First Reading:  Genesis 2:18-24 

The LORD God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.” So the LORD God formed out of the ground various wild animals and various birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each of them would be its name. The man gave names to all the cattle,
all the birds of the air, and all wild animals; but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man. So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man, the man said: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called ‘woman, ‘
for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one flesh. 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6 

R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
Blessed are you who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.
R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
your children like olive plants
around your table.
R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
May you see your children’s children.
Peace be upon Israel!
R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives. 

Second Reading:  Hebrews 2:9-11 

Brothers and sisters:
He “for a little while” was made “lower than the angels, “
that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 

For it was fitting that he, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering.
He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated all have one origin.
Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them “brothers.” 

Gospel:  Mark 10:2-16 

The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked,
“Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?” 
They were testing him. He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?” 
They replied, “Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her.”
But Jesus told them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment. 
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh.  Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate.”  In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” 

And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 
Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them. 

Homily 

“Because of the hardness of your hearts, [Moses] wrote this commandment …“[T]hey are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”  “Whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” Mark 10:2-16 

Tom Coughlin is the two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach with the New York Giants. He also coached the Jacksonville Jaguars, as well as the Boston College Eagles. 

But Coughlin is not on the sidelines this fall. He’s at the bedside of his beloved wife, Judy. A year ago, Judy was diagnosed with a progressive brain disorder that has left her unable to walk, speak, think and control her body. Judy’s condition is incurable; it has taken her memory and her ability to express emotions. 

In a heart-breaking essay in “The New York Times” [August 24, 2021], Coughlin writes candidly about taking on the role of caregiver:  

“The first year I was home was frustrating. Judy had always taken care of everything at the house, and I had always thrived on the structure of football. That was gone, and I was lousy at my new job. I would constantly tell myself; I shouldn’t be here. But now, even though I am still lousy at being at home, I know there is no other place I could ever be…. 

“When Judy is having a good day, then my day is good. But then there are dark days – those days that are so full of frustration and anger, they have me feeling like a failure and pondering the unfairness of the disease. I’ve spent my entire life preparing for some of the biggest games a person could play, but nothing can prepare you to be a caregiver who has to watch a loved one slip away. 

“I am not seeking sympathy. It’s the last thing I want.  It’s the last thing that most caregivers want. Taking care of Judy is a promise I made 54 years ago when she was crazy enough to say I do. I do want the players I coached in college and in the N.F.L., who thought all my crazy ideas about discipline, commitment and accountability ended when they left the field, to know that is not the case. The truth is that this is when those qualities matter most. A friend said we don’t get to choose our sunset, and that’s true, but I am so blessed to get to hold Judy’s hand through hers…” 

Tom and Judy Coughlin’s experience resonates with every married couple who has journeyed together through the unexpected and the challenging, who have seen some of their dreams realized and some expectations dashed. The only constant is the faithfulness of two hearts that have been joined by God into a single heart that loves, that lifts up, that mends and heals. That’s the mystery and wonder of the marriage covenant. Marriage demands not perfection but commitment; it requires the hard work of patience, understanding and humility. In every stage of a couple’s life, a marriage centered in the love of God always moves beyond “hardness of heart” to embracing God’s spirit of generosity and selflessness. In such a marriage, Christ is the ever-present Wedding Guest who makes a couple’s simple, everyday life together a miraculous sacrament in which the love of God is revealed to 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 Weekly Update 9/22/21

Dear Parish Family,

“(In John 6:41-51) Jesus reveals Himself as the Bread of Life.  For He alone nourishes the soul, He alone makes us feel loved even if everyone else disappoints us, He alone gives us the strength to love and forgive in difficulties, He alone gives eternal life.”   ~Pope Francis

GERMANFEST IS UPON US!!!!!  Germanfest is this Sunday – September 26 from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.    Things you need to know:

FRIDAY AND SATURDAY ARE PREPARATION DAYS:  We need help on Friday morning cutting sausage, peppers and onions and assembling shish-k-bobs.  If you are free, please join us at about 8:30 to help.  Bring knives and cutting boards!  We are usually finished by lunch and we will provide lunch for all our workers!

Saturday is “all hands-on-deck”!  There are lots and lots of preparations to be made so please come and help!  Again, we begin about 8:30 and, if we have enough hands, are finished by lunch and again, lunch will be provided!!

SIGN-UP TO WORK:  If you have not had the chance to sign up, please call the office – 601-856-2054.  We can still use more hands to help the day of the festival!!

YOUTH FESTIVAL WORKERS:  Our young people, 5th grade and up, are very valued workers, too!  If your child can work and has not signed up, please call the office and put their name on the list.  This is a great opportunity for our kiddos to contribute their time and talent to their parish and also to earn service hours if they need them!!

TAILGATE TENTS:  If you have a tailgate tent, we need two to use the day of the festival.  Please call the office, 601-856-2054 and let us know, or bring them Saturday morning!

DESSERTS:  Please bring your desserts (uncut) to the parish hall by 10:30 Saturday morning so they can be cut, plated and wrapped. 

COUNTRY STORE DONATIONS can be brought to the parish hall Saturday morning.

                LET THE FUN AND FRIENDSHIP-BUILDING BEGIN!!!!!!!

PROTECTION OF CHILDREN PARENT MEETING:  Our annual Protection of Children Training for K-12 graders will take place on Sunday, October 10, 2021 during a portion of your regularly scheduled classes and youth meetings.  In advance of the training, we will be having a Parent Information Meeting on Sunday, October 3, 2021 at 9:30am in the church for anyone who would like to see the material that will be covered and answer any questions you may have prior to your child’s lesson.  If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Karen Worrell at kworrellcre@hotmail.com or Patti Greene at patti@stjosephgluckstadt.com.

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 and this the process by which a person is initiated into the Catholic Church.  Classes will begin this Fall.  Call the church office, 601-856-2054, for more information. 

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, he is strongly encouraging 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 remember that the common good of the community is always an important part of Catholic social teachings.  

                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.

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

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time 

September 26, 2021 

Germanfest 

First Reading:  Numbers 11:25-29 

The LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to Moses. Taking some of the spirit that was on Moses, the LORD bestowed it on the seventy elders; and as the spirit came to rest on them, they prophesied. Now two men, one named Eldad and the other Medad, were not in the gathering but had been left in the camp. They too had been on the list, but had not gone out to the tent; yet the spirit came to rest on them also, and they prophesied in the camp. So, when a young man quickly told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp, ” Joshua, son of Nun, who from his youth had been Moses’ aide, said,
“Moses, my lord, stop them.” But Moses answered him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets! Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!” 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 19:8, 10, 12-13, 14 

R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
the decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
the ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
Though your servant is careful of them,
very diligent in keeping them,
Yet who can detect failings?
Cleanse me from my unknown faults!
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
From wanton sin especially, restrain your servant;
let it not rule over me.
Then shall I be blameless and innocent
of serious sin. 
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart. 

Second Reading:  James 5:1-6 

Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries. Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten, your gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you;
it will devour your flesh like a fire. You have stored up treasure for the last days. Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields are crying aloud; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure; you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter. You have condemned; you have murdered the righteous one; he offers you no resistance. 

Gospel:  Mark 9:38-48 

At that time, John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us. Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward. “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'” 

Homily 

“There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me … Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward…”  Mark 9: 38-48 

In the June [2021] issue of America Magazine, Frank DiFulvio writes a touching essay about his father’s last days. Frank’s dad had been suffering from Stage 4 kidney failure, made progressively worse by complications from open-heart surgery. Dad was taken to the hospital for the last-time in mid-August of 2017. After some blood tests, doctors confirmed that he had had a heart attack and he was admitted for more tests. The next morning, the doctor called Frank aside. “Your dad is dying, Mr. DiFulvio. His kidneys are failing, which is causing fluid to build up in his body.” All they could do was make him as comfortable as possible. 

Before falling asleep, his father whispered, “Did you say August 16 is Isabella’s birthday, Frankie?” Isabella is Frank’s eldest daughter. He was puzzled by his dad’s sudden interest in his daughter’s birthday, several days away, but confirmed the date for his dad before he drifted off to sleep. 

Hospice care was suggested but, to Frank’s surprise, his dad rejected it. “I decided to give dialysis a try, which might give me an extra few weeks of life, Frankie,” his dad said. “It probably won’t work in my current condition, but I wanted to give it a try. I have nothing to lose.” 

Neither Frank nor the doctors could dissuade Dad, so he went through five hours of dialysis the next day, August 13. Two days later, August 15, Dad went through a second dialysis treatment. Around midnight, the doctor told Frank that his dad had received his last dialysis treatment and would transition to hospice. “I still don’t understand why he decided to take this path. I just hope that we can make him as comfortable as possible. He is a good man,” the doctor concluded, with tears in his eyes. 

The senior DiFulvio died early in the morning of August 21, 2017. His son had spent the night with him and held him in his arms “until God called him home.” 

Frank said some final prayers and hugged his dad for the last time. As he was about to leave, the nurse came in and asked Frank to see her outside. 

“I have to tell you something, Mr. DiFulvio,” she blurted out. “Your dad told me that there was only one reason he decided to try dialysis rather than go immediately into hospice care. He told me never to tell you, but I just have to do it. You need to know,” she insisted. She then explained that his dad would not die on his granddaughter’s birthday, which would have been a possibility if he entered hospice care. 

The nurse confided to Frank, “He told us that he wanted you and your younger daughter Sofia to celebrate Isabella’s birthday with her without having to think about his death.” 

A dying grandfather’s selfless generosity of heart for his family in his last moments is the “cup of water” that Jesus speaks of in today’s Gospel: a selfless, heart-felt sign of the compassion that Christ asks of all who would be his followers. Jesus promises us that even the simplest act of love and kindness will be honored by God. Anyone and everyone in need or in trouble have a claim on our care and charity because they belong to Christ. In whatever opportunities we have, with whomever we meet and are able to help, may we not hesitate to act in Jesus’ name. 

We see in the readings today the mindset of some who want to build fences, claim special rights, look with suspicion on those outside.  All of the readings show that the ways of the Spirit are to share freely what has been given.  To do otherwise is destructive.  St. James tells us that when we are busy condemning the greedy, we fail to recognize that they are no different than we are.  Their sins are only more obvious and their selfishness more apparent.  “Those people have failed to use properly what God has given them.  We have a similar difficulty with our priorities.” 

In the first reading the gifting of Eldad and Medad was a testimony to the utter unconventionality and freedom of God’s Spirit.  Moses tried to help Joshua and us understand that the sharing of the Spirit in no way diminished Moses’ authority.  His prayer, “Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets!  Would that the Lord might bestow the Spirit on them all.”  Only when we recognize that the Spirit moves within all who believe will each of us be able to work together toward that unity only the Spirit can achieve.  Jesus saw that the real divisions between people were a matter of the heart.  If the miracle worker had a conversion of heart, it was not that important to be part of “us” instead of “them”. 

We all too easily pit ourselves against others, we versus them, ours versus theirs, we label others a stranger, “not one of us.”  How can we be callous about the suffering of the destitute – they are strangers, people without faces?  How can we be rude to other drivers – they are strangers?  Can you imagine acting that way if you knew the other driver, if it was a friend, a neighbor, a client, your mother? 

In like fashion, Jesus offers us some very difficult sayings as well.  At first, they even sound absurd.  If your hand is your problem cut it off.  If your foot is your undoing, cut it off.  Taken literally we would be without limbs.  Yet, Jesus is making an important point.  If anything gets in the way of our becoming inheritors of the kingdom it must be removed.  It is easy to see how the rich might be capable of oppressing the poor in order to obtain more wealth.  Unfortunately, very often we don’t see how things can interfere with our own becoming members of God’s kingdom.  Our skewed priorities may not be as obvious as those of others, but we too hurt others in seeking some gain for ourselves. 

If your government, community or organization has taken a stand which you know in your heart of hearts is unjust, if acceptance into a group you eagerly want to be a part of demands that you compromise your value system, Jesus would say you need to walk away, regardless of the consequences.  Better for you to live in the presence of God than die in the company of the godless. 

There are people in business who at least occasionally make use of the achievements of others to look good in the eyes of higher ups.  There are spouses who give everything for their children or their own hobbies, they extend more energy on their daily devotions than they extend in a week to their mate.  There are parents and children who say they have no time for each other when in fact there is something else they would rather do.  When viewed from this angle the possibilities for self-destructive, self-seeking at the expense of others become infinite.  Most importantly we realize that all of us separate ourselves from God.  If negativity, hopelessness, alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs are destroying you or your family, it is better to do whatever you have to do in order to tear those things out of your life. Better to possess the life of God than to destroy yourself trying to be the life of the party. 

The gospel has one other important lesson for us, it reminds each of us of our role as examples.  “But it would be better if anyone leads astray one of these simple believers were to be plunged in the sea with a great millstone fastened around their neck.”  Certainly, we think of those who intentionally lead others astray but just as harmful are those who lead astray by poor example.  The husband who speaks despairingly about his wife gives his son an example.  The manager who treats his employees as slaves is training others to develop impersonal and insensitive management skills.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Once a president of a major corporation had a moment of truth in which he realized, “I have children who are getting ready to leave school, and I realized that I wouldn’t want them to work for this firm.  It’s not a healthy place to work.” 

To be faithful means letting nothing, nothing, dissuade us or derail us in the search for the things of God, not allowing the pursuit of prestige, wealth, social status or instant gratification desensitize us to the presence of God in our lives or diminish the love of God we cherish in family and friends. 

The gifts of the spirit multiply when shared. Love shared multiplies.  A peaceful spirit begets a peaceful spirit.  Justice rendered inspires more justice.  Joy is contagious.  One who acts patiently encourages patience in others.  One act of kindness starts a chain of kindness which eventually comes around full circle.  And on and on with all the gifts of the spirit.  “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.”  The Son continues to give himself to us.  We give to others down through the generations. Jesus is inviting us to let go of whatever makes us less than what God has created us to be – that includes not only cutting off the sinful hand, or tearing out the evil eye, but removing whatever comes between us and God.  In doing so we recreate the world in light of the Kingdom of God. 

Hell is to be cut off from God, and the Kingdom or reign of God.  It is our choice. 

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 

There is a little parable told about a remote people who lived on the side of a steep cliff. 

A huge boulder rolled down the mountain and landed in the middle of a narrow, curving road.  An approaching car rounded the turn and crashed into the boulder.  Families living nearby rushed to rescue the injured passengers, brought them into their own homes and tended to them until they were well.  That was charity.   

Well, not too many weeks later, another unwitting vehicle collided with the boulder and again the families took them in and cared for them also.  Again, that was charity.   

Within a month, still another carload of travelers hit the boulder.  After seeing to the needs of the victims, the people in the area got together to decide how to get rid of the boulder.  That is social justice. 

When James in today’s second reading called upon the rich to attend to the needs of the poor, he was not recommending charity; he was calling for social justice.  He was not pleading with the wealthy to dip into their surplus in order to throw a few crumbs to the needy.  James charged the rich to give the poor what was their due on two counts.  First as members of the same community, all were, therefore responsible for the well-being of one another.  If one was in need, those who had the means were bound to assist.  Second, what was being withheld from the poor was their just wages.  To refuse to pay the farmhands who had harvested the fields was not only an injustice but an affront to God. 

Certainly, what James had to say was not new, there exists a whole history of similar accounts in Deuteronomy, Leviticus, Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Malachi, Proverbs, Tobit, Ecclesiasticus, Wisdom, and the words of Jesus. 

If your hand is your difficulty cut it off.  We say Jesus was speaking figuratively here.  But do we take his words to heart.  Do we look at our lives and consider what will get us thrown into Gehenna and cut it out or off?  What are we living for?  What are we willing to die for?  Very often we are driven to seek prestige, wealth, success – but what happens when the music stops, when we realize we have danced our last step?   

Michelangelo spent a good part of his career climbing through the quarries of Carrara and Piersanti, searching for just the right vein of marble.  Then the blocks that he ordered had to be cut to size and hauled by road and river to his workshop.  Much of the stone ended up as chips on his studio floor.  As good as the marble looked on the outside, Michelangelo had to cut away at it to reveal the deeper beauty of a gigantic David, or a stern Moses. 

To cut and chisel, we don’t often appreciate these as constructive moments.  We are called to build God’s kingdom.  We are called to weave the name of Christ into the very fabric of our lives, to see as Jesus did that all is God’s to persevere as he did to pursue what is right, just and good, to be courageous in welcoming others, even those the rest of the world has thrown away. 

Hell is to be cut off from God, and the Kingdom or reign of God.  It is our choice. 

Parish Weekly Update 9/15/21

Dear Parish Family,

“A lie doesn’t become truth,

wrong doesn’t become right,

and evil doesn’t become good,

just because it’s accepted by a majority.”

           ~Booker T. Washington

GERMANFEST IS ALMOST UPON US!!!!!  Germanfest is ONE WEEK from this 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 continues this Sunday!!!  We still need many workers to make the fest a success!  Tables are set up in the hallway with sign-up sheets — We need EVERYONE to work at least one shift so choose your favorite spot and sign up! 

YOUTH FESTIVAL WORKERS:  Our young people, 5th grade and up, are very valued workers, too!  There are special sign-up sheets for them on the small table near the main entrance to the church.  This is a great opportunity for our kiddos to contribute their time and talent to their parish and also to earn service hours if they need them!!

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 and return your ticket money!

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) before 10:30 a.m., 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.

T-SHIRTS – are available after each Mass – $10 each!  Start wearing them now and advertise the Germanfest!

POSTERS are available in church as well.  Grab some and put them up at your place of employment and wherever you do business!

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 and this the process by which a person is initiated into the Catholic Church.  Classes will begin this Fall.  Call the church office, 601-856-2054, for more information. 

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, he is strongly encouraging 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 remember that the common good of the community is always an important part of Catholic social teachings.  

                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.  😊

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

Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time 

First Reading:  Wisdom 2:12, 17-20 

The wicked say:
Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings, reproaches us for transgressions of the law and charges us with violations of our training. Let us see whether his words be true; let us find out what will happen to him. For if the just one be the son of God, God will defend him and deliver him from the hand of his foes. With revilement and torture let us put the just one to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience. Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.  

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 54:3-4, 5, 6, 8 

R. The Lord upholds my life.
O God, by your name save me,
and by your might defend my cause.
O God, hear my prayer;
hearken to the words of my mouth.
R. The Lord upholds my life.
For the haughty have risen up against me,
the ruthless seek my life;
they set not God before their eyes.
R. The Lord upholds my life.
Behold, God is my helper;
the Lord sustains my life.
Freely will I offer you sacrifice;
I will praise your name, O LORD, for its goodness.
R. The Lord upholds my life. 

Second Reading:  James 3:16-4:3 

Beloved:
Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity. 
And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace. 

Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? 
Is it not from your passions that make war within your members? 
You covet but do not possess. You kill and envy but you cannot obtain;
you fight and wage war. You do not possess because you do not ask. 
You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 

Gospel:  Mark 9:30-37 

Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee,
but he did not wish anyone to know about it.  He was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.”  But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him. They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, he began to ask them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they remained silent. They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest.  Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Taking a child, he placed it in their midst,
and putting his arms around it, he said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.” 

Homily 

“If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”   

Taking a child, he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it, he said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”  Mark 9:30‑37 

Most of us are familiar with the movie Forest Gump.  Tom Hank’s portrays a good-natured simple man from rural Alabama, who manages to stumble into many of history’s major events.  Forest Gump is a character of uncomplicated love in an overwhelmingly complicated world.  He is a man of simple honesty and integrity in a complex society at war with itself.  Gump is a man who has lived through an America torn apart by war, assassination, racism, violence and drugs.  In his own life, he has known the pain of a broken family, he has suffered the indignities of prejudice because of his slowness, he has suffered through the deaths of those closest to him. 

But by the end of the movie, Gump is neither cynical, nor bitter, he is a source of healing and a model of faithfulness.  In his simplicity, Forest Gump’s only concern is to care for those whom he loves – his badly wounded lieutenant from Vietnam, and the troubled, beautiful Julie, the abused hometown girl he loves with doggish devotion throughout his life. 

As Forest Gump proclaims to Julie when he first proposes to her, “I know I am not a smart man, but I know how to love.” 

In today’s readings God warns us about the superficial worldly values which corrupt our spirit and close our hearts to each other.  Conventional wisdom is not God’s wisdom.  The first reading identifies those who try to wrestle all they can from the world, oppressing whoever gets in their way – they are called fools.  Naturally these people are bothered by just people and want to get rid of them, or at least get them out of their way.  The just make them look bad.  It’s hard to justify our own greed when its opposite is staring us in the face.  St. James likewise condemns false values pointing to the consequences of self-seeking ambition which leads to divisiveness and disharmony in the community.  As opposed to wisdom which comes from God and draws the community together in strength and compassion. 

But in the gospel, we see much more of our own world.  The disciples make real for us the struggle to believe.  The disciples were arguing about who was first among them.  Who was the most important.  Three of them had just witnessed the transfiguration and they assumed that the miracle must have been for their benefit.  So, they argued about who will be rewarded the most.  If we think life is a celebration of myself, God will not be able to speak through me.  It is only when we can step aside that we see the image of God.  God usually indicates his will for us through the simple events and the ordinary people and places in our daily lives.  When we learn to understand the Godly significance of our lives we then also learn how to better believe. 

Jesus had spent a lot of time with the disciples.  And the surest sign that they were slow to understand him is their obvious maneuvering for positions of power. The disciples did not get what Jesus was teaching them. Instead, they were arguing about who was the most important.  They didn’t yet understand that their first duty was not to self. Today’s gospel it is a story about failing to recognize the bigger picture.  Did God intend that the disciples inhabit positions of prominence from which to wield political influence, and earthly power and control over the lives of others?  We cannot possibly hear the voice of God unless we see the needs of others around us. 

The transforming power of the Eucharist changes simple bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.  The transforming power of the Eucharist changes simple people into the power of God.  A power of love un-leashed on our world ready to suffer in love for and with one another.  On the outside, the Eucharist looks entirely worthless.  It is flimsy, pale, plain, and fragile. And yet, beneath those unimpressive appearances is God himself, Jesus the Christ, the creator and redeemer of the Eucharist. When God reigns in our hearts, we may look plain and fragile on the outside, but on the inside, we are filled with everlasting treasures. And just as through the centuries the Eucharist, whose appearance is so humble, has inspired some of the most magnificent achievements like: 

towering cathedrals, 

breathtaking works of art, 

exquisite music and literature, 

and heroic self-sacrifice, 

the same is true for when we allow God to rule our hearts from within, we become powerful forces of inspiration in the world.  Not because we are beautiful, eloquent, or talented in some kind of exterior way, but because we are full of God’s grace, a supernatural influence that works in hidden ways. 

Think for example of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta.  She was only a tiny, frail, humble Albanian nun, and yet Christ reigned fully in her heart, and she continues to inspire the world. 

Or think of St. Therese of Lisieux. She was a young, middle-class French girl who entered the convent at 15 years old and died before she was 25.  She lived such a hidden life, that when she died, her companions didn’t even know what to write in the convent diary. 

Such an uneventful life, from the outside, but gradually the richness of her interior, spiritual experience of God became known.  And now her autobiography has become one of the best-selling books of all times, in dozens of languages, and she has been named a Doctor of the Church. 

The child Jesus places among the twelve is not only a role model, but a reminder.  Jesus asks us to consider what our selfishness will do to this child.  By continuing to accept conventional wisdom which indulges our egoism we are perpetuating systems and societies of war, violence, racism, greed and fear. Jesus calls us to the simple faith of a child, to love God and one another with honesty and faithfulness.  The power of such simple faith is its ability to overcome every rationalization, fear, complication and personal agenda.  In embracing the simple kindness, compassion, generosity and forgiveness we can attain true greatness in the kingdom of God. 

To put another’s needs, hopes and dreams ahead of our own, to seek to bring forth and affirm the gifts of others for no other reason than the common good, to seek reconciliation no matter the cost is to be the Gospel “servant” in the spirit of Jesus.  

 In the service we give and respect we hand over to others, Jesus says, we welcome into our midst the very presence of God. Our empathy and care for the child and child‑like in our midst mirrors the love of God for us despite our own failings and fears. 

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 

In so many ways, children mirror for us adults a simple, authentic faith centered in compassion and generosity. One grandfather writes about his own discovery of such faith:   

“My grandson, a toddler on the go, and I, his grandfather with Parkinson’s, have a closeness around matters of motion. He knows that I can’t carry or lift him, so he climbs into my lap. It worries me that he might only think of me as ‘Papa on the couch.’    

“Yesterday, I got off the couch with difficulty. Before I knew it, my grandson came up behind me, placing his hands behind my knees. He helped me walk, using all of his 30 pounds to support me. I was in tears.  [“Everything.” Lawrence Zelnick. Psy.D.] 

Children possess an honesty and a generosity.  Jesus calls us to embrace the uncomplicated but genuine faith of a child: to love God and others without condition or expectation. “Child‑like faith” is never discouraged, never becomes cynical or jaded, never ceases to be amazed and grateful for the many ways God reveals his presence in our lives. Such faith is not complicated or compromised by ego or expectation; such faith is centered in the joy and happiness of the beloved. The power of such simple faith is its ability to overcome every rationalization, fear, complication and agenda in order to mirror the selflessness of Jesus.  We are called to take on the simple faith of a child: to love without condition or return, with honesty and faithfulness. For it is only in embracing such child‑like kindness, compassion, generosity and forgiveness that we can attain true greatness in the Kingdom of God. 

There was a nine-year-old that went into a restaurant and took a seat at the counter.  “How much is an ice cream sundae?” he asked. 

“One dollar.” the waitress said 

The boy looked down and opened his hand.  He silently counted his coins and did some quick figuring in his head. 

“How much for just a dish of plain ice cream?” 

“Seventy-five cents,” the waitress replied, somewhat impatiently.

 Again he turns away, opens his hand, counts the coins and does some more quick mental number crunching.  “I’ll have a dish of plain ice cream,” he announces. 

“Flavor?” the waitress brusquely asks. 

“Um … chocolate, please” the boy says. 

The waitress brings the ice cream, takes the boy’s money and goes on to her next customer. 

A few minutes later she returns.  The dish is empty, the boy is gone.  But what she sees moves her deeply. 

There next to the empty dish, are two nickels, a dime and five pennies. The boy ordered the plain ice cream in order to have enough for her tip. 

God calls us to embrace the uncomplicated but generous faith of a child: to love God and others.  “Childlike faith is never discouraged, never becomes cynical or jaded, never ceases to be amazed and grateful for the many ways God makes himself known.  The power of such simple faith is the ability to overcome every rationalization, fear, complication and agenda in order to mirror the selflessness of Jesus.  Only in embracing the child-like kindness, compassion, generosity and forgiveness can we attain true greatness in the kingdom of God. 

Parish Weekly Update 9/8/21

Dear Parish Family,

“Broad-mindedness, when it means indifference to right and wrong, eventually ends in a hatred of what is right.”   ~Venerable Fulton J. Sheen

ADULT EDUCATION:  This 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 and this the process by which a person is initiated into the Catholic Church.  Classes will begin this Fall.  Call the church office, 601-856-2054, for more information. 

GERMANFEST!!!!!  Germanfest is TWO WEEKS from this 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 continues this Sunday!!!  There will be an insert in the bulletin with the various booths and the duties for each.  Tables are set up in the hallway 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 it full, please choose another spot to work.

KRAUT PACKING – The 2nd round of kraut packing will be TODAY 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.

T-SHIRTS – are available after each Mass – $10 each!  Start wearing them now and advertise the Germanfest!

POSTERS are available in church as well.  Grab some and put them up at your place of employment and wherever you do business!

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, he is strongly encouraging 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 remember that the common good of the community is always an important part of Catholic social teachings.  

                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.  😊

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

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time 

First Reading:  Isaiah 50:5-9 

The Lord GOD opens my ear that I may hear; and I have not rebelled, have not turned back. I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. The Lord GOD is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame. He is near who upholds my right;
if anyone wishes to oppose me, let us appear together. Who disputes my right?
Let that man confront me. See, the Lord GOD is my help; who will prove me wrong? 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 116:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9 

R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
I love the LORD because he has heard
my voice in supplication,
Because he has inclined his ear to me
the day I called.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
The cords of death encompassed me;
the snares of the netherworld seized upon me;
I fell into distress and sorrow,
And I called upon the name of the LORD,
“O LORD, save my life!”
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
Gracious is the LORD and just;
yes, our God is merciful.
The LORD keeps the little ones;
I was brought low, and he saved me.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
For he has freed my soul from death,
my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
I shall walk before the LORD
in the land of the living.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.

Second Reading:  James 2:14-18 

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?  So also, faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 

Indeed, someone might say, “You have faith and I have works.” Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works. 

Gospel:  Mark 8:27-35 

Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” They said in reply,
“John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?”  Peter said to him in reply, “You are the Christ.” Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him. He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the Chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days.  He spoke this openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.” 

Homily 

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.   For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.” Mark 8:27-35 

A rabbi tells the story of his great aunt Sussie who lived in Munich during World War II: One snowy evening, Sussie was riding the bus home. Suddenly, SS officers stopped the coach and began examining the identification papers of the passengers.  Jews without the required papers were taken off the bus and herded into a truck around the corner. Sussie watched from her seat in the rear as the soldiers systematically worked their way down the aisle.  She began to tremble, tears streaming down her face.  The man sitting next to her noticed her distress and asked what the matter was. “I don’t have the papers you have.  I am a Jew.  They’re going to take me.” Suddenly, the man exploded with disgust.  He began to curse and scream at her.  “You stupid

[woman]

!” he roared.  I can’t stand being near you!” The SS asked what all the yelling was about. “Damn her,” the man shouted angrily.  “My wife has forgotten her papers again!”  I’m so fed up.  She always does this!” 

The soldiers laughed and moved on. 

Sussie never saw the man again.  She never even knew his name. [Rabbi Shifra Penzia.] 

A stranger’s quick thinking saved a woman’s life. In that moment, something other than self-interest directs his actions; he places himself squarely against the corruption around him; he puts himself at risk for the sake of another. He mirrors the taking up of the cross that Jesus speaks of in today’s Gospel reading. In some of the hardest words he speaks in the Gospel, Jesus reminds his disciples that real discipleship means to “crucify” our own needs and safety and comfort for that of others; to take on, with humility and gratitude, the demanding role of servant to those in need and distress; to intentionally seek the happiness and fulfillment of others regardless of the cost to ourselves. 

Isaiah tells us he has been given a well-trained tongue.  And how does he use it?  Not to make a fortune, or to gain power for himself, but to rouse the weary.  How about us, what do we do with the talents we have?  You might ask how does someone go about rousing the weary.  Well maybe it is not making a negative critical comment or passing on some social media debate, or holding your tongue when you want to make a cutting remark.  Maybe it’s offering a smile or an encouraging word to someone, or even thanking them for what they do. Like to the clerk in the store or the garbage collectors.  It is not an orator’s skill. Rather it is an attitude.  The true hope-giver does not speak of defeat or of giving in to an unjust system.  No matter what they say “God is my help there is no one I should fear.”  Their faith gives them the power to convince others that they can change the world. 

But what about the question Jesus puts before us today.  “So, who do you say that I am?  Do you know me?  I think if Jesus were standing here asking us that question, many would look at the floor, maybe have an inquisitive look on our face, trying to fashion a good response, certainly there would be a cough or two and I think most of us, like the disciples, would wait for someone else to answer. 

So, think of the question from the opposite direction, from the answer that Peter gives.  You are the Christ, the Messiah.  In English that would be you are the Savior.  Some said John the Baptist, Elijah, one of the prophets. So, who would we think of as a savior, who is it we think can help us out, or help turn a bad situation around?  Clearly, we would think of this person as someone important.  Sadly, our definitions of importance are very often formed by the standards of this world.  And very often they are connected with our definitions of power, wealth, and fame.  To be important is to be recognized in the world, to be a person of prestige, or influence.  In our society important people hold a central place.  We look to them to actually help us in our lives. 

But back to the question who would we say is our savior?  Guess that depends on what we think we need to be saved from or for.  Many today think they need no one, they can do it themselves.  So, think about who do I turn to when I need help, when I am in a pinch, a bind and don’t know what to do? 

Jesus offers us a different view of savior.  Guess we could also say he offers a different perspective on what we need to be saved from or for.  He begins to connect the one that Israel had waited for, the great Messiah, the Christ, the Savior – with suffering and death.  So, who can blame Peter for his protest?  Peter covers his ears and says I won’t hear of it.  That’s no way for a Messiah to talk.  You are headed for a great future.  But Jesus would hear none of it.  At this turning point in his ministry Jesus was again confronted with a voice that told him to choose the way of the world, to seek power, fame and wealth, rather than the Kingdom of God.   Just like when, after fasting for 40 days in the desert, he was tempted by the devil. 

And Jesus responds here the same way he did in the desert “Get away from me Satan and let me do God’s will.”  It should make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.  “You are judging not by God’s standards but man’s” 

Each of our readings today remind us that to follow God means to relinquish the self as the core of our existence, the center of our world.  James reminds us we must take action to ease each other’s sufferings.  Isaiah reminds us that a well-trained tongue earned by enduring life’s difficulties with grace is to be put to use to build up those around us. And Jesus calls us to recognize God’s kingdom in our midst hiding just behind the things we think are important in this world. 

Jesus calls us to take up our own crosses in the everyday joys and sorrows. To put aside our own self-importance, needs and dreams to bring dignity, comfort and hope to another, to work to bring forth and affirm the gifts of others, to seek reconciliation before all else is to be the “servant” who gains life by “losing” it for the sake of God’s kingdom.   

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 deadly plague was spreading throughout the northeast regions of China. Within four months, 60,000 people died. 

Sound familiar? Actually, the year was 1910. The Chinese government recruited one of the best trained physicians in Asia at the time, Dr. Wu Lien-Teh. Dr. Wu had studied infectious diseases in England. After performing a series of autopsies, he found a bacterium similar to the one that had caused the bubonic plague in the West. Dr. Wu realized immediately that this disease was not transmitted by rats or fleas but by infected droplets humans sneezed and coughed into the air. Dr. Wu designed a face covering based on ventilators from the Victorian era: padding layers of cotton and gauze, with strings so the users could secure it to their head. The mask was simple and inexpensive to produce. 

Dr. Wu had designed the modern face mask. 

Dr. Wu’s mask was met with skepticism. A French physician was particularly critical of Dr. Wu’s findings and refused to wear the mask – but the doctor soon was infected and died of the disease. His death shocked the Chinese into following Dr. Wu’s advice. 

Dr. Wu urged everyone, especially health care professionals and law enforcement, to wear the masks. Chinese authorities mandated that everyone mask and also followed Dr. Wu’s directions to enforce stringent lock downs and quarantining the sick. Four months after Dr. Wu began his work, the plague ended. 

Dr. Wu went on to establish a teaching hospital in epidemiology and public health. 

While masks became a political flashpoint in the United States and elsewhere during the Spanish flu pandemic in the 1920s, face masks became a symbol of national pride and modern health care in China that continues today. While this is the first time that most Americans are wearing masks (however begrudgingly), the people of China and Southeast Asia have covered their faces during outbreaks of meningitis, cholera and influenza for more than a century. 

For the Chinese, masking is viewed as a matter of social responsibility and care for one another. 

After a year and half, most of us have had enough of face masks – but perhaps we would think of them much differently if our national experience was like that of the Chinese. Today’s Gospel challenges us to think of things like face masks as “crosses” we take up in the spirit of Jesus to bring healing and peace to Good Friday brokenness. In some of the hardest words he speaks in the Gospel, Jesus reminds his disciples that real discipleship calls us to “crucify” our own needs and comfort for the good of others; to take on, with humility and gratitude, the demanding role of servant to those in need and distress; to intentionally seek the happiness and fulfillment of those we love regardless of the cost to ourselves. Only in “denying ourselves” in imitation of the servanthood of Christ do we experience the true depth of our faith; only in embracing his compassion and humility in our lives do we enable the Spirit of God to renew and transform our world in God’s life and love. 

The vocation of the “anvil.” 

Among the horrors of the Nazi regime during World War II was a plan to euthanize all mentally and physically challenged children and adults throughout Germany and its occupied territories. The Catholic bishop of Münster in the Rhineland would have none of it. Bishop Clemens August von Galen exhorted the people of the region to take into their homes or find hiding places in their barns for all the exceptional children and adults being cared for by Church-related schools and institutions – and then dared the government to try to find them. 

In a famous sermon preached in his cathedral on July 20, 1941, Bishop von Galen called Catholics to resistance. 

“At this moment we are the anvil rather than the hammer. Other men, strangers, renegades, are hammering us. … Ask the blacksmith and hear what he says. The object which is forged on the anvil receives its form not alone from the hammer but also from the anvil. The anvil cannot and need not strike back: it must only be firm, only be hard! However hard the hammer strikes, the anvil stands firmly and silently in place and will long continue to shape the objects forged upon it. If it is sufficiently tough and firm and hard, the anvil will last longer than the hammer. The anvil represents those who are unjustly imprisoned, those who are driven out and banished for no fault of their own.” 

Discipleship often calls us to be the “anvil”: to sacrifice our own safety and security to absorb the blows directed at the poor, the vulnerable, the powerless. In resisting injustice, in remaining constant in seeking what is right, our lives are “shaped” in the spirit of Jesus’ servanthood and “formed” in his Gospel of justice and mercy. To be an authentic disciple of Jesus we must put ourselves in the humble, demanding anvil-strong role of servant to others, to intentionally seek the happiness and fulfillment of those we love regardless of the cost to ourselves.  

Germanfest 2021

Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make this year’s Germanfest such a great success! Thank you to the Gluckstadt community and those who came from far and wide to support this fun event! See you next year!

Reminder

The Parish Office will be closed Monday, Sept. 6 in observance of Labor Day.

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. 

Parish Weekly Update 8/18/21

Dear Parish Family,

“If peace and love are not allowed to take their rightful place at the table of negotiation, then hatred and anger will produce conflict that will continue for many years to come.  It will solve nothing, and thousands of innocent lives will be lost.  I ask you all to pray for peace.  It is such an urgent priority.”

                ~St. Mother Teresa

CATHOLIC SERVICE APPEAL SECOND COLLECTION:  This past Sunday, I mistakenly announced that the CSA second collection would be this Sunday, it is not.  THE SECOND COLLECTION WILL BE SUNDAY, AUGUST 29.  As I announced, the original collection, which was taken up in February, fell short of the Diocesan needs, most likely due to many people still being “out of the pews.”  If you pledged/contributed during the February collection, THANK YOU!!  If you did not have the opportunity to pledge or contribute at that time, I ask you to prayerfully consider a gift.  Many, many diocesan ministries (Retired priests, Campus Ministry, Youth Ministry, Family Ministry, Catholic Charities, Seminarian Education, etc.) are supported through this collection!!  Envelopes will be available on Sunday, Aug. 29 for your gifts.

K – 6 RELIGIOUS EDUCATION begins this Sunday, 9:30 – 10:30 in the education wing of the church.  The children will be required to wear masks at this time and parents, as you drop off/pick up your children, please wear masks as well as it can get crowded in the hallways!!! 

For questions or concerns contact:

Karen Worrell kworrellcre@hotmail.co…

JR HIGH/HIGH SCHOOL RELIGIOUS EDUCATION:  This Sunday, August 22 from 6-7pm in the Church our Youth Ministry team is inviting anyone who is interested to learn more about our new Life Teen “Life” and “Edge” Nights. This meeting will take the place of the teens meeting this week. Parents, teens and especially new volunteers are encouraged to attend. We will need lots of parent and parishioner support to make this year successful!! Please prayerfully consider joining us Sunday night to see how you can be a part of the Life Teen movement. Everyone will be dismissed no later than 7pm!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

  • Sunday, Aug 22 from 6-7pm – Life Teen Info Night for parents, teens and new volunteers.​​​​Open to all Parishioners.
  • Sunday, Aug 29 from 6-7pmParent Information Night. Parents of 7th-12th grade teens enrolled in Youth Ministry/Confirmation/Religious Education (Sunday School) must attend to get expectations, and fill out Diocesan Release forms.
  • Sunday, September 12th from 6-7:30pm -first Life/Edge Night for teens.

For questions or concerns contact Patti Greene  patti@stjosephgluckstadt.com

COVID RESURGENCE:  As the Delta Variant of Covid-19 has caused hospitals to be overwhelmed once again, we would offer some guidance to our parishioners.  Both the Centers for Disease Control and the MS State Dept. of Health are recommending that all people (vaccinated as well as unvaccinated) wear masks when indoors in public areas.  They also recommend that people over the age of 65 and those with underlying health conditions avoid large indoor gatherings. 

                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.  😊

Have a great week!

God bless,

Pam

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time  

First Reading:  Joshua 24:1-2, 15-17, 18 

Joshua gathered together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem, summoning their elders, their leaders, their judges, and their officers.  When they stood in ranks before God, Joshua addressed all the people: “If it does not, please you to serve the LORD, decide today whom you will serve,
the gods your fathers served beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are now dwelling.  As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” But the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the LORD for the service of other gods.  For it was the LORD, our God, who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, out of a state of slavery.  He performed those great miracles before our very eyes and protected us along our entire journey and among the peoples through whom we passed.  Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.”  

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 34:2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21 

R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
The LORD has eyes for the just,
and ears for their cry.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Many are the troubles of the just one,
but out of them all the LORD delivers him;
he watches over all his bones;
not one of them shall be broken.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord. 

Second Reading:  Ephesians 5:2, 25-32 

Brothers and sisters:
Live in love, as Christ loved us.  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church
and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,
that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.

This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church. 

Gospel:  John 6:60-69 

Many of Jesus’ disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?  It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him. And he said,
“For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.” 

As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.  We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” 

Homily 

“Many of Jesus’ disciples who were listening said, ‘This saying is hard; who can accept it …?’  Jesus then said to the Twelve, ‘Do you also want to leave?’  Simon Peter said answered [Jesus], ‘Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’” John 6:60-69 

In his book “Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander,” Thomas Merton tells the story of a tiger cub who is raised by goats.  The tiger grows up, acting and sounding like a goat.  One day he wanders off and gets lost in the jungle.  A magnificent male tiger sees him acting like a goat and with one swipe of his huge paw, knocks him halfway across the jungle. 

Merton applies the story to himself, saying, “I met a tiger in myself who was not familiar, who says, ‘Choose!’ and knocks me halfway across the jungle.” 

In the course of a given lifetime, we are confronted by a variety of crises.  When serious illness strikes, the crisis is a medical one.  Political crises accompany the wresting of power from one group or party by another.  An economic crisis is occasioned by the devaluation of a major currency, or the bankruptcy of some important financial organization.  An international crisis occurs when one nation suddenly invades, blockades, or encroaches upon another. 

Lesser crises are also frequently encountered: The car won’t start and you have to give a presentation to your boss in 20 minutes … unexpected guests arrive and you haven’t anything to offer them.  However, the word crisis is frequently misused.  For many of us, the term has a consistently negative ring about it.  Very often we think of a crisis as bleak and foreboding events which threaten our comfort, convenience and in some cases our survival. 

The term crisis belongs to a larger family of words such as: critic, critical, criticism, criterion, critique and so on.  Each of these words is ultimately derived from a Greek verb which means to “sift and separate” or decide.  And so, critics sift and separate what they deem as having value from what is valueless.  Critical skills refer to the ability to discern good from bad. A criterion is a standard or means of sifting, separating and deciding.  It is within this framework of derivatives that the word crisis should be understood. 

Quite literally a crisis is a turning point, a moment of decision which will determine a future course of direction; it is a time of sifting and separating and becoming committed to a choice. 

In today’s readings there exists a crisis both for the people of their day as well as for ourselves.  After the people of Israel had settled in the land promised them by God, Joshua assembles them and presents them with a choice, a decision that had to be made.  Would they decide to remain faithful to God, keep the law and thus be a nation in covenant/contract with God … or not?  Joshua issued it as a direct challenge, “Decide today whom you will serve: God or the idols of the people around you.” 

The decision represents a turning point.  From that point onward, their lives would necessarily be altered and redirected.  All following decisions would need to be made in light of this one.  The way they would work, what they would do with the fruits of their labor, how they would treat and deal with others.  So too with us, “Decide today whom you will serve: God or the idols of the people around you.”   immersed in a society where skepticism greed and the pursuit of pleasure are taken for granted, we can easily find ourselves going along with the crowd. 

Jesus in the gospel offers a similar choice.  In essence he asks us to decide whether or not we would accept to be fed by the bread he offered.  Jesus insists that we must eat his body and drink his blood.  Many refused to believe.  They muttered against him, shocked that he would insult their intelligence with such an outrageous teaching.  Jesus essentially says; “Look friends, if you can’t cope with the Eucharist, how are you going to deal with the scandal of the cross?  And better yet, what about the resurrection, and ascension?  Are these impossible things beyond you?” 

Treating others with reverence, whether husbands or wives, children or parents, poor neighbors or wealthy employers, churchgoers or public sinners, marks us as companions of Jesus who have chosen to serve God. 

Many people refuse Christ, not because he puzzles the intellect, but because he challenges their lives and lifestyles.  True faith demands the conviction articulated by Peter.  Today’s gospel poses some very hard questions.  How can anyone take this seriously?  Does this shake your faith?  Do you want to leave me too?  To whom can we go? 

Jesus presents his followers a clear challenge: Are you with me or not? It is not an abstract question.  Following Jesus has real consequences.  During the second World War there was a polish priest sent to the concentration camp at Dachau.  He was privileged to share the life stories of his fellow prisoners and he came to know their hopes and dreams.  When a prisoner had escaped, the officer in charge would single out a number of prisoners to be immediately executed and thus deter others from trying to escape.  On one such occasion, when the priest knew one of the men singled out, the priest knew this man was the father of a family, the priest came between the officer and the father of the family and asked to be executed in his place and thus give this man one more chance to fulfill his role as parent.  When Father Maximilian Kolbe was canonized a saint and martyr of charity, that Jewish father whose life was spared at Dachu was present for the ceremony in Rome. 

The horror of the Holocaust, and many other atrocities in our world today continue to shake many people’s faith in a loving God.  Others want to deny that such abominations ever happened.  For Maximilian Kolbe it was an opportunity to express his trust that Jesus’ words are spirit and life.  He believed Jesus’s words that the spirit gives life.  Rather than shaking his faith, it afforded him the opportunity to share in Peter’s conviction that Jesus is God’s holy one.  Perhaps we are not called to express our faith in such heroic form but there are times when we must freely choose to entrust ourselves to the care of this same God. 

Following Jesus has real consequences for us and our families still today.  Children have to consider how they treat playmates, classmates, and teammates.  Teens have to figure out whether their friends (the ones they hang out with and date) have enough respect for what we believe, especially about the dignity of human beings including ourselves.  If our friends are always putting us down, or our families, or other friends, it means we have to face them with it or leave them behind.  That is a consequence of following Jesus. 

The adults in the family have equal challenges.  Do our neighbors and friends destroy reputations, or undermine relationships – maybe even with people in our local church?  Do colleagues at work respect our beliefs, our moral stances, our convictions about honesty, civility, and fairness?  How do they even know what we believe?  Does what we do at work, or in the neighborhood make it obvious that we follow Jesus? 

These are the kinds of questions believers face today.  Like the gospel listeners, we can feel shaken, unsure, or ambivalent.  Or we can be like Peter, whose simple plaintive answer is the confession of faith that God is not present in the darkness of evil but in the light of goodness that seeks to shatter the darkness.  The good news is not always easy to hear or follow.  While we are obsessed with lifestyles, Jesus speaks to us of life – its purpose, meaning, and ultimate fulfillment.  We are called to move beyond the surface, perceptions, and styles to the eternal life and love of God.  If we really believe in something we have no choice but to go further. 

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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