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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. 

Parish Weekly Update 8/11/21

Dear Parish Family,

“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged.  They always say, ‘Do it again’; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead.  For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony.  But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony.  It is possible that God says every morning ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon.  It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them.  It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”    ~GK Chesterton

BUSINESS:   Offertory for the week of 8/1/21:

General Fund –                                  $16,885.00

Building Fund –                                 $634.00

Education of Future Priests –       $120.00

Our Daily Bread –                             $126.00

School Supplies –                             $100.00

We thank you for your continued support of 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. 

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.  😊

  We are happy to share the great news that we will be sharing the Good News with your children this Fall! In-person Faith Formation classes will begin on Sunday, August 22nd K-6th grades meet 9:30am-10:30am  7th -12th grades meet 6pm-7:30pm.   Click Here to Register     Please use the above link to register your children K-12th grades.   Know that the safety and well-being of our children and all of our parishioners is our first priority!   For questions or concerns contact : K-6th grades – Karen Worrell kworrellcre@hotmail.co…   7th-12th grades-Patti Greene  patti@stjoseph… 

SAVE THE DATE:    The Catholic Charities Journey of Hope Luncheon, featuring ELIZABETH SMART, will be held on Tuesday, September 14, 12:00 noon, at the Jackson Convention Complex.  It is free to attend, but a reservation is required.  You may remember Elizabeth as one of the most followed child abduction cases of our time, and she will be presenting “Overcoming Adversity:  The Elizabeth Smart Story.”  I will be sponsoring a table (or tables) for the luncheon.  If you are interested in attending, please contact me at the parish office, 601-856-2054.

                There will also be a “Meet and Greet” event the evening before – Monday, Sept. 13, 6-9 p.m. at Bravo.  Tickets for this event are $75.  See the bulletin for more information.

God bless,

Pam

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
August 15, 2021    Mass during the Day 

First Reading:  Revelation 11:19, 12:1-6, 10 

God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple. A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth. Then another sign appeared in the sky; it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadems. Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky and hurled them down to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth.
She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and his throne. The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: 

“Now have salvation and power come, and the Kingdom of our God and the authority of his Anointed One.” 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 45:10, 11, 12, 16 

R. The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
The queen takes her place at your right hand in gold of Ophir.
R.    The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
Hear, O daughter, and see; turn your ear,
forget your people and your father’s house.
R.    The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
So shall the king desire your beauty;
for he is your lord.
R.    The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
They are borne in with gladness and joy;
they enter the palace of the king.
R.    The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold. 

Second Reading:  1 Corinthians 15:20-27 

Brothers and sisters:
Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through man, the resurrection of the dead came also through man. For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order: Christ the first fruits;
then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ; then comes the end,
when he hands over the Kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death,
for “he subjected everything under his feet.”  

Gospel:  Luke 1:39-56 

Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” 

And Mary said: 

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm and has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, to Abraham and his children forever.”  

Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home. 

Assumption of Mary 

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord”Luke 1:39-56 

In the scriptures the last scene in which Mary appears is the feast of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit comes on the disciples in the form of tongues of fire.  After that, she disappears from the written history.  So, every question we ask beyond that point, we have to answer on the basis of what Christians did. 

Toward the end of the fifth century, this feast was celebrated at Gethsemane in the basilica where Mary’s tomb was venerated, it was called the feast of the Dormition of Mary (the falling asleep of Mary).  At the end of the sixth century the emperor Maurice made the celebration an obligatory feast for the Eastern Empire. 

Around 650, the Western Empire whose center was Rome, the 15th of August was assigned to celebrate the feast of the glorification of Mary.  About the year 770 it was called the Assumption.  It is under that name that we celebrate this feast today.  In the fairly early days of the church, Christians celebrated this feast of the Assumption of Mary.  It was on November 1, 1950 that Pope Pius XII defined or definitely clarified what the faith of Catholics was/is in regard to this feast.  He solemnly stated: 

 “The Immaculate Virgin preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory and exalted by the Lord as queen over all things, so that she might be more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of Lords, and conqueror of sin and death. 

Homily 

The text of today’s Gospel has inspired many great works of classical music. One of the most famous is a 20-minute choral version by Antonio Vivaldi, written between 1717 and 1719. 

Vivaldi was working as choirmaster at the Pieta, an orphanage in Venice. The orphanage funded its work with a fascinating and brilliant business model: it trained orphans to sing for their supper. Vivaldi’s job was to compose pieces of music for the choir to sing before wealthy benefactors. 

Mixed choirs were not condoned in Catholic Europe in the 18th century, so at the Pieta, the boys left the orphanage and entered apprenticeships, while the girls stayed to constitute the choir. So, Vivaldi composed a setting of Mary’s canticle especially for female voices. 

In his score of the Magnificat, Vivaldi pitched the vocal bass parts high enough to be sung by an all-female choir. Vivaldi knew exactly what he was doing: he was taking lower-class young girls, with no hopes, prospects or protectors, and offered them, in singing this piece, a chance to bring about their own liberation for themselves and girls like them. They were truly singing Mary’s song. Through them the Holy Spirit was exalting the humble and meek and sending the rich away a good deal emptier. 

Vivaldi’s young female voices were “incubating” the Gospel of transformation just as Mary, in her womb, was “incubating” the Word of God.  [From “Vivaldi’s Business Plan” by Samuel Wells, The Christian Century, March 5, 2014.] 

In her Magnificat, the teenage Mary gives voice to her hope and faith in God’s re-creation of her life and world. In the birth of her son, Mary sings, God is about to turn the world upside down: humility and selflessness will be honored. True power and authority are to be centered in compassion and generosity. Justice and mercy will be exalted. The places of honor at God’s table have been reserved for the poor, the forgotten, the insignificant — and, in God’s scheme of things, the most influential and powerful will be assigned to wait on them. The young working-class girl from Nazareth has glimpsed the Kingdom of God that the Child in her womb will proclaim: a Kingdom of hope and possibility that includes every girl – and boy – of every time, place and circumstance. 

In the gospel, Mary praises the Lord. The canticle embodies a very pure vision of God and of human beings in their relationship to God.  It is God who has done great things for Mary and her ancestors. God’s name is holy, God’s mercy reaches from age to age.  God puts down the mighty from the thrones and raises the lowly. 

When this God touches human lives, he makes something wonderful out of them.  God is faithful to his promises and produces great results in the believer who is among the lowly, the hungry and those who fear the Lord.  That is the message of Mary’s canticle.  And in a sense that is the meaning of today’s feast.  Mary shares in the fullness of her Son’s resurrection.  Body and soul she enters into heavenly glory.  That is the memory we recall.  That is what all of us expect to be our destiny. 

The Magnificat is Mary’s magnificent song of praise.  The words emerge from the meeting of two people who love and trust God.  That trust and love make Mary and Elizabeth – and us – blessed among people. 

We can take all the words of this magnificent song and make them our own. 

After the annunciation, Mary hurries to greet her cousin Elizabeth, already six months pregnant.  The detail about Mary’s haste into the hill country may be a deliberate reference by Luke to the passage in Isaiah where the prophet describes a herald quickly making his way over the mountains with news of Jerusalem’s restoration. 

When Mary greets Elizabeth, the new age greets the old, John the Baptist, leaps for joy at the arrival of Jesus who will transform the world with his proclamation of Good News, the Gospel.  Elizabeth speaks in a loud voice because she speaks for all who have waited for the day. 

Mary’s hymn of thanksgiving celebrates what God does for her and what God does for the world.  Mary is so graced by God that the world will always address her as “blessed”.  The world will be transformed by the presence of Jesus within it.  The kingdoms of the world, with their self-serving interests, will ultimately yield to the kingdom of heaven.  Humanity free from the illusion of the powerful, will be able to embrace the truth of the gospel. 

The mystery of the assumption has a lot to do with reverence for and acceptance of our bodies.  It is an acknowledgment that our bodies are an integral part of who we are.  The dogma proclaimed by Pius XII in 1950 shortly after the Second World War when hundreds of thousands died with mutilated bodies on the battlefields, from ceaseless bombing and in the death camps.  Because of our faith in Mary’s assumption, we have hope that one day we, as complete human beings, body and soul, will be raised from the dead into eternal life. 

This is a day to rejoice.  We celebrate the taking into heaven of Mary.  At the same time, we proclaim our belief that one day we, as adopted children of God, will join Jesus and Mary in our own resurrected and assumed body. 

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 7/21/21

Dear Parish Family,

“If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself.”     ~St. Augustine

“Push back against the age as hard as it pushes against you.  What people don’t realize is how much religion costs.  They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross.”   

~Flannery O’Connor

SAUERKRAUT PACKING:  Our first kraut packing will be TODAY, July 21, beginning at 4:00.  If you have never made sauerkraut, it is a very simple process, but many hands are required for the volume we make!  Come experience this tradition and meet and visit with your fellow parishioners!!  If you can’t be here at 4:00, come as soon as you can.  Also, this is a great opportunity for service hours our students may need for school.

BUSINESS:  Offertory for the week of 7/11/21 –

General Fund –                  $14,496.00

Building –                            $430.00

Our Daily Bread –             $110.00

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

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

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

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

  church;

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

  send you the form to have that set up.

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

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

Thank you for supporting our parish!!!

MASS SCHEDULE:  Beginning August 8we will return to our ‘regular,’ pre-Covid Mass schedule – 8:15 a.m., 10:45 a.m., and 5:00 p.m. Sundays.  Please make a note of this up-coming change!!

PARISH BOOKKEEPER:  We are searching for a bookkeeper for our parish.  The part-time, paid position requires around 6 hrs. a week, and the applicant must be familiar with Microsoft Word, Excel, and be willing to learn Diocesan accounting software.  Applicant must also have experience with accounting practices and principles.  For a more detailed job description, questions, or to apply, please contact Pam in the parish office – 601-856-2054.

K-6 RELIGIOUS EDUCATION CLASSES:  The new school year is quickly approaching and we are planning at this time to have in person K-6 Faith Formation classes on Sundays starting August 22 from 9:30am-10:30am.  In order to have class, we are in need of volunteers to teach! NO EXPERIENCE NEEDED – JUST THE DESIRE TO SHARE YOUR CATHOLIC FAITH WITH OUR CHILDREN! All of the materials you need will be supplied for you. We use a team-teaching approach, which means you share teaching your class with others, which allows more flexibility to accommodate everyone’s busy schedules.

We ask that you take a few moments to pray about being a part of this most precious ministry.  If you are interested in volunteering, please complete the Catechist Registration form in the back of the church or contact Karen (her info follows). 

Our children are the future of our faith!  Feel free to contact Karen Worrell, CRE, at kworrellcre@hotmail.com or 601-672-5817 with any questions.

Information about 7/8th grade and high school classes will be forthcoming.

As always, if you have any questions about any of this, feel free to call me! 

God bless,

Pam

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 

First Reading:  2 Kings 4:42-44 

A man came from Baal-shalishah bringing to Elisha, the man of God, twenty barley loaves made from the firstfruits, and fresh grain in the ear.  Elisha said, “Give it to the people to eat.” But his servant objected, “How can I set this before a hundred people?”  Elisha insisted, “Give it to the people to eat.” 
“For thus says the LORD, ‘They shall eat and there shall be some left over.’” 
And when they had eaten, there was some left over, as the LORD had said. 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 145:10-11, 15-16, 17-18

R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
The eyes of all look hopefully to you,
and you give them their food in due season;
you open your hand
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs. 

Second Reading:  Ephesians 4:1-6 

Brothers and sisters:
I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all. 

Gospel:  John 6:1-15 

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee. A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain,
and there he sat down with his disciples. The Jewish feast of Passover was near. When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” 
He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do. 
Philip answered him, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little.”  One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?”  Jesus said, “Have the people recline.”  Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted. When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples,
“Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.” So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat. When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.” Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone. 

Homily 

“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?”John 6:1-15 

                More than five thousand had come to hear Jesus. 

The sick certainly had come, hoping that what they had heard about this wonder-worker was true.  Maybe he’ll see my pleurisy, my shattered limb, my disfigurement and heal me. 

                The crowd must have included exhausted moms with their babies in tow, who needed a break from their 24/7 juggling of family and household. 

                There must have been unemployed workers and struggling farmers there, too, whose lives had become a fog of hopelessness. 

                Among those who had come to hear Jesus must have been more than one soul dealing – quietly and alone – with a shattered relationship, a serious illness, a lost son or daughter.   

                The depressed, the homeless, the disabled also found a patch of grass to sit on that afternoon. 

                In the back, on the edges of the crowd, were those who were embarrassed to be there or who did not want to be noticed: tax collectors, prostitutes, thieves, alcoholics, addicts, abusers. Also looking on from the shadows, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible, were Jesus’ harshest critics: Pharisees, scribes, priests. 

                The happy and troubled, the doubting and the curious, the believer and the skeptic, the grateful and the broken – all found a place on the grass.  Jesus welcomed every one of them. 

                And he fed them. He fed them all.  [Adapted from “The Sacred Meal” by Nora Gallagher.] 

We can learn a lot from leftovers. After feeding the crowds with the scraps of bread and fish, Jesus asks his disciples to gather up the leftovers. As the twelve wicker baskets of leftovers attested to the sign Jesus had worked, our own baskets of “leftovers” and fragments are signs of the many blessings we have received in our lives. Today’s Gospel also challenges us to realize the many things we waste in our lives that can be the difference between life and death for our brothers and sisters, that our stored “wicker baskets” of clothing, food, household goods, toys and, yes, money, can become signs of the providence of God in our midst. 

                The multiplication in today’s gospel did not start with nothing; Jesus was able to feed the crowds because one boy was willing to share what little he had; from his gift, small though it was, Jesus worked a miracle, a wonder.  The same is true with us, as we gather here to share this meal, we are reminded that only when we are willing to defer ourselves to the good of the community, only when serving others is exalted over being served, only when differences dissolve and the common and shared are honored above all else, are we also able to work miracles and wonders.  Here we gather to become what we receive: one bread, one cup, one body one family. 

                But there are other hungers that gnaw at our human hearts.  These also cry out for nourishment.  This week and the next three, our readings invite us to consider these other hungers as well as the nourishment that God offers to satisfy them.  But each time that God has filled or will fill these hungers, those who have their fill are also challenged to look beyond the gift of nourishment in order to more intimately know and appreciate the giver. 

                Karl Rahner (The Great Church Year) once explained that the people in today’s gospel were drawn to Jesus, driven by a hunger for God.  They followed Jesus into the wilderness because they were aware that their own lives were a wilderness; they hungered for the words Jesus spoke.  They wanted more than their ordinary lives were able to offer them.  But while they were hungering for God, a physical hunger seized them.  Hungering for God, they found themselves hungering for earthly life.  Then the situation turned strange. 

                Jesus, whom they were following to hear the words of life, gave them earthly bread and fish.  When they ate and had their fill, they wanted to make him king.  What was offered as nourishment to sustain them in their search for God became a temptation, prompting them to covet the “free lunch” and to lose sight of its significance.  As a result, Jesus fled from them.  Isn’t this our story as well?  Isn’t this what constantly happens in the lives of individuals?  I know it has been, and probably will be again, my story. 

                God enables us to care for our needs.  So that we have earthly bread, and even multiplies it so as to feed great multitudes who live in the many wildernesses of our world.  But instead of using the gift to seek God, and satisfy our hunger for eternity we, like the people in today’s gospel, are tempted by the miracle and want to make the bread, or the making of the bread, our God.  And so, God withdraws from us, not willing to become a part of our scheme. 

                Our readings today remind us of the balance that must be struck.  If we have been blessed with an abundance of earthly bread, or with the technical capabilities of producing an abundance, then these gifts are for sharing with the hungry.  When physical hungers are satisfied, then we are free to attend to the deeper hungers, for love, mercy, forgiveness, companionship, peace – God.  In satisfying these hungers for one another, we sharpen our hunger for God, who is eager to fill our human hearts. 

                The scene on that grassy plain mirrors the gathering at this table today. In the miracle of the loaves and fish, Jesus transforms a crowd of all ages, talents, abilities and backgrounds into a community of generosity. That vision of being a Eucharistic community is re-created each time we gather here. That is the challenge of the Gospel, and the mandate of the Eucharist that is foreshadowed in this miracle story: to take up the hard work of reconciliation and compassion begun by God, the God who dwells here in our own town and State; to humbly and lovingly bring the peace of God’s dwelling place into our own homes; to become the body and blood of Jesus that we receive at his table where all – saints and sinners – are welcomed. Eucharist is possible only when self defers to community, only when serving others is exalted over being served, only when differences dissolve and the common and shared are honored above all else. In the Eucharist of Christ, the humble Servant-Redeemer, we seek to become what we receive: one bread, one cup, one body, one family. 

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  

She had a wonderful time at her prom. But she couldn’t help noticing that some of the girls she knew weren’t there. Later that week she asked around and was stunned to learn the number of girls who could not afford a dress for the prom. So she and a couple of her friends talked to their moms about giving their dresses to girls for next year’s prom. A local dry cleaner agreed to be a clearing house next spring. Their three dresses were the beginning of a miracle the following spring for seniors who thought going to the prom was a pipe dream. 

It started a few years ago when a young mom with two children was seriously ill. Neighbors and friends organized to provide supper for them. They soon discovered how many other families experienced similar crises (not to mention that “food insecurity” during the pandemic was a reality in their community, as well). The local parish got involved and now a freezer in the church basement is kept stocked with casseroles, hamburgers and all kinds of prepared foods for families in need. The organizers never forget that it started with one dish of lasagna. 

It was his first semester student teaching. He returned to the dorm each night with stories of the funny things his second graders did and said. One evening he asked two of his friends if they had an hour or two to help a couple of his students who were struggling in math and reading. His pals cautiously said yes — teaching elementary school was not part of their career trajectories. But they came to the school one afternoon and each worked with a student — and never spent a more fulfilling half hour in their lives. The kids were great — and the short time they spent together made a big difference in the second-grader’s school work. That first completed math sheet and vocabulary list were the beginnings of a new after-school tutoring program organized by the college. 

A prom dress, a casserole, an elementary school reader – all pieces of “bread and fish” that become the beginnings of a miracle. Like the boy in today’s Gospel who gives the little he has, these good folks make use of the opportunities and resources they have — all simple and ordinary — to make good things happen for others in need. The community of generosity and gratitude that Jesus gathers on that plain is re-created each time we gather here to celebrate the Eucharist. We are called by Christ to become the Eucharist we receive at this altar: giving thanks for what we have received by sharing with one another our “scraps” of bread and fish — our talents, our riches, ourselves — working our own miracles of creating communities of Christ-like charity. 

Parish Weekly Update 7/14/21

Dear Parish Family,

“If you believe what you like in the Gospel,

and reject what you don’t like,

it is not the Gospel you believe,

but yourself.”

     ~St. Augustine

SAUERKRAUT PACKING:  Our first kraut packing will be next Wednesday afternoon, July 21, beginning at 4:00.  If you have never made sauerkraut, it is a very simple process, but many hands are required for the volume we make!  Come experience this tradition and meet and visit with your fellow parishioners!!  If you can’t be here at 4:00, come as soon as you can.  Also, this is a great opportunity for service hours our students may need for school.

MASS SCHEDULE:  Beginning August 8we will return to our ‘regular,’ pre-Covid Mass schedule – 8:15 a.m., 10:45 a.m., and 5:00 p.m. Sundays.  Please make a note of this up-coming change!!

OFFERTORY for the week of 7/4/21:

General                              $14,220.00

Building                             $437.00

Our Daily Bread               $125.00

Cemetery                          $175.00

MS Catholic                      $20.00

Solemnity of Mary          $10.00

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

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

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

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

  church;

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

  send you the form to have that set up.

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

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

Thank you for supporting our parish!!!

PARISH BOOKKEEPER:  We are searching for a bookkeeper for our parish.  The part-time, paid position requires around 6 hrs. a week, and the applicant must be familiar with Microsoft Word, Excel, and be willing to learn Diocesan accounting software.  Applicant must also have experience with accounting practices and principles.  For a more detailed job description, questions, or to apply, please contact Pam in the parish office – 601-856-2054.

God bless,

Pam

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time  

First Reading:  Jeremiah 23:1-6 

Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture, says the LORD. 
Therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, against the shepherds who shepherd my people: You have scattered my sheep and driven them away. You have not cared for them,
but I will take care to punish your evil deeds. I myself will gather the remnant of my flock
from all the lands to which I have driven them and bring them back to their meadow;
there they shall increase and multiply. I will appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them
so that they need no longer fear and tremble; and none shall be missing, says the LORD. 

Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David;
as king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah shall be saved, Israel shall dwell in security. This is the name they give him:
“The LORD our justice.” 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6 

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
with your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. 

Second Reading:  Ephesians 2:13-18 

Brothers and sisters:
In Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh,
abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God,
in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it.  He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 

Gospel:  Mark 6:30-34 

The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. 
He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”  People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place. People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them. 

When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. 

Homily

“‘Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while . . .’  Jesus was moved with pity for the vast crowd, for they were like sheep without a shepherd.” Mark 6:30‑34 

There is a commercial that perhaps you have seen. A little girl is drawing with chalk on her front walk when a delivery man walks by, juggling boxes. Clearly, he’s having a bad day and just glares at her. His grumpiness gives her an idea. She takes her chalk and draws a hopscotch grid on the sidewalk in front of her house. It’s a wonderfully colorful and inviting work. As she watches, everyone who passes by – teenagers, a woman jogging, a senior couple — stops to play the game, cheering and waving at her when they successfully dance their way through her design. 

Then the grumpy delivery man reappears. He stops and scowls at the hopscotch challenge in front of him. He looks at the young artist, and to her surprise, he smartly jumps through the grid. He then walks away with a sly smile.  

Adding to the charm of the moment is the background jazz music of the great American song “The Sunny Side of the Street.” 

A little girl’s hopscotch challenge is an example of the “deserted place” envisioned by Jesus in today’s Gospel. The “deserted place” can be a physical place of quiet and solitude to re‑connect with God and the things of God – but the “deserted place” can also be time: a few minutes we set aside to stop, to realize God’s presence in our midst, to feel grateful for God’s grace in the love of family and friends. We all need “deserted” places – “hopscotch” moments – to escape the demands and expectations of our over‑scheduled lives to hear anew the voice of God in the quiet of our hearts, to realize anew God’s presence in our lives in the love and care of family and friends. 

The pity Jesus felt in today’s gospel, seeing the shepherd-less crowd, can be applied to our society today.  He would pity us too, as he surveyed the damage we are doing to ourselves through our abuses.  We abuse a whole host of items and people; certainly, there are abuses of alcohol, tobacco and firearms, but there are also abuses of food, some abuse sex, others abuse children and spouses, some abuse their parents.  We live in a time where we don’t have to look too far nor listen too hard to learn of any number of abuses surrounding us.  There are attempts on the law books to control the abuses around us, but aside from restrictions, abuse goes on. 

Make no mistake about it, we are not immune.  Our abuses are one of the reasons why Jesus pities us.  We need to examine our lifestyles, the ways in which we entertain, the things we choose to ignore or overlook.  The family of God cannot grow if everyone is looking out only for themselves. Unless its members care for one another, a family will not survive.  Admitting less than loving motives for our actions requires change.  A mother who realizes she scrubs the floors to satisfy her own need for the cleanest house in the neighborhood rather than for her family’s comfort, as she has always claimed, must rethink her priorities.  A hardworking father has some tough value choices to make when he realizes that all the time he spends at work to support his family was really motivated by his need for success.  We must die to ourselves in order to serve others. 

It is apparent that today’s first reading and Gospel are setting up a contrast between the bad shepherds of Israel and God’s shepherd, who will govern with wisdom and bring justice to the people. Jeremiah criticizes Judah’s political and religious leaders for being selfish, looking after their own needs and neglecting the flock entrusted to them.  Jeremiah reminds us that the special shepherd-like love, with which God led the people of the first covenant, is to be the model for all of us.   The gospel shows Jesus acting as a generous shepherd, taking the apostles away for needed rest.  We need to be able to strike a balance in our lives, we need to be renewed by rest.  Jesus also offers an example of his compassion for others, a motivation that enabled him to put the needs of others ahead of his own.  As Christians, as people who have taken on for ourselves Jesus’ name, we are to follow in his example. We, as Christians, see Jesus as the fulfillment of this good shepherd image. 

We can easily dismiss it and say he is addressing the leaders, government, or our church leaders.  But he is not.  He is addressing all of us.  We are all called to shepherd one another.  To look to promote the good of each other.  We all have the ability to shepherd others: we teach how to forgive by forgiving, we teach respect in the way we are attentive to others and their needs.  Something you do today that you may consider minor could have a lasting impact on someone else.  As disciples of Jesus let us do what is just and right in this land. 

We are called to enact the justice of God and the love of Jesus right where we are.  Our day and age may not strike us as a likely place for heroism.  Distance lends a certain enchantment; when we look back in time, we are inclined to take a “those were the days of the giants, the saints, the heroes” approach.  Certain times in the past seemed to demand larger-than-life heroes. 

For instance, we look back at Germany and the Nazi era and say it cried out for someone, anyone, to oppose the evil apparent.  But it is quite humbling to look back and note how few really did protest the evil of that day.  Is our day any different, certainly there are evils around us today that need to be corrected? 

The “good shepherd” sees the pain of others and acts to alleviate it.  So many times in the Gospel, Jesus is able to perceive what people need and brings healing to the situation.  In today’s passage he senses that the crowd is lost, searching for something.  He leads.  A movie several years ago about the Nazi era was called Schindler’s List, and there was, what I thought, a powerful scene where Schindler orders water to be hosed into the sweltering cattle cars where the Jews are penned up, waiting to be shipped to Auschwitz.  The Nazis laugh uproariously at what they take to be the “antics” of Schindler.  They assume he is doing this to further torment the suffering prisoners.  But then the camera cuts to the inhabitants of the rail car, their tongues outstretched to catch even a drop of the water as it splashes through the siding of the car or drips from the ceiling.  Yes, these people needed their freedom and human dignity but at that moment, the simple gift of water tasted pretty good.  Part of the horror of this scene was that the soldiers didn’t even recognize goodness anymore.  At the end we learn that, for all of his faults, Schindler turned out to be a pretty good shepherd. 

As people, we look at the problems and needs of our world and say they are too large for me to do anything about.  But Jesus is asking us to start right where we live, with the people around us.  The good shepherd sees the need of others and acts to alleviate them. 

The real miracle we are in need of today is to become a caring community.  When you look around at your immediate world what needs do you see?  And, as a pretty good shepherd, how will you respond? 

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 7/7/21

Dear Parish Family,

“Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you.”    

~St. Thomas Aquinas

PARISH BOOKKEEPER:  We are searching for a bookkeeper for our parish.  The part-time, paid position requires 4 – 6 hrs. a week, and the applicant must be familiar with Microsoft Word, Excel, and be willing to learn Diocesan accounting software.  Applicant must also be very familiar with accounting practices and principles.  For a more detailed job description, questions, or to apply, please contact Pam in the parish office – 601-856-2054.

OFFERTORY for the week of 6/27/21:

General               $10,361.00

Building               $200.00

Peter’s Pence    $648.00

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

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

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

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

  church;

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

  send you the form to have that set up.

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

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

Thank you for supporting our parish!!!

RETURN TO PRE-COVID MASS SCHEDULE:   Beginning August 8 we will return to our ‘regular,’ pre-Covid Mass schedule – 8:15 a.m., 10:45 a.m., and 5:00 p.m. Sundays.  Please make a note of this up-coming change!!

God bless!

Pam

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 

July 11, 2021 

First Reading:  Amos 7:12-15 

Amaziah, priest of Bethel, said to Amos, “Off with you, visionary, flee to the land of Judah! There earn your bread by prophesying, but never again prophesy in Bethel; for it is the king’s sanctuary and a royal temple.” Amos answered Amaziah, “I was no prophet, nor have I belonged to a company of prophets;
I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores. The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me, Go, prophesy to my people Israel.” 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14 

R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD —for he proclaims peace.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and prepare the way of his steps.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation. 

Second Reading:  Ephesians 1:3-14 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. 
In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved. In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us. 
In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times,
to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth. In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ. In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him,
were sealed with the promised holy Spirit, which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory. 

Gospel:  Mark 6:7-13 

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two
and gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick – no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic. 
He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave. 
Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.” So they went off and preached repentance. The Twelve drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.  

Homily 

“Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclear spirits.”Mark 6:7-13 

Early in the pandemic, “Time”Magazine columnist Belinda Luscombe started walking around her New York neighborhood just to get out of the house to make human contact. In her May 24/May 31 essay, she writes about some of the characters she met. 

There’s the postal carrier, with the unusual name Archimedes, who had been delivering the mail for years but she had never met. Now they talk just about every day (even though Archimedes can never remember Belinda’s name). 

Belinda also checks in regularly with Kenny, the superintendent of a building nearby, “a lovely man with a beautiful spirit” who knows everything that’s happening in the neighborhood and doesn’t hesitate to tell you how he feels about a given issue. 

Amid the many padlocked restaurants in the neighborhood, one Indian restaurant managed to stay open. Belinda’s family became regular take-out customers. Ram, the owner, has come to know each family member’s order and preferences. Keeping his business open has been a challenge, but his optimism is “as nourishing as the tikka masala.” 

Elijah lives in the building next door – but it’s a world away from Belinda’s. Elijah is a survivor of abandonment, addiction, divorce, incarceration and an arrhythmia that could kill him at any time. In their conversations, Belinda and Elijah have shown each other different experiences of life. 

But the most unexpected rapport Belinda developed during the pandemic has been with “this interesting young woman who lived in my house. I already knew her a bit, since I gave birth to her about two decades ago.” The moody, sullen teenager had moved away for college but came home when the campuses closed. “The child who moved out was perpetually indignant about something, usually me” but the individual who moved back was “a reasonable and charming” young woman who “astonishingly, sometimes laughed at my jokes.” 

“That’s the weird thing about the people you meet during a pandemic,” Belinda Luscombe writes in “Time.”  “They’ve been there the whole time.” 

Our lives are a “walking tour” of sorts during which we encounter God in the people we meet along the way – and, if we do it right, they see something of the love of God in us. Belinda Luscombe writes how her life has been enriched by her encounters during her walks through her neighborhood these past few months; in that same spirit, Jesus sends forth the Twelve not to organize, rule or manage but to heal, comfort and encourage. So may we travel “light” through this time and place, leaving behind our own interests and expectations and fears to experience God’s grace and peace in the wisdom and insight of God’s daughters and sons we meet along the way. 

Today’s readings remind us that we, like the apostles and prophets, have been chosen and sent into the world to share the Gospel. 

In today’s First Reading the prophet Amos is accused by the priest in charge of the shrine at Bethel of prophesying as a scam to get some food. 

Amos responds that he owned a flock and sycamore trees: he had property and possessions and was not a beggar being creative to get some food. 

Amos was a prophet because the Lord chose him and sent him to prophesy.  Like the Twelve in the Gospel today, being a prophet doesn’t mean we venture out on our own nor that we know what it is God wants us to say or that we have it all figured out. 

Amos was chosen to be a prophet and leave his possessions behind. Clearly, he was mistaken for a beggar, but he had everything he needed to accomplish his mission. 

In the Second Reading St. Paul teaches us that we were not chosen to become rich in the material sense of the term, but to be holy and without blame before God the Father, thankful for all that God has given. 

Only a worldly person sees a holy person as poor just because they are not swayed or burdened by material well-being. 

The Lord lavishes spiritual treasures upon the holy: the call to become his adopted children, forgiveness for our sins, and the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

In choosing us, he has also revealed his plan of salvation and our part in it. 

When we accept his calling, we receive all these treasures and the opportunity to help others to receive them too. 

In today’s Gospel Jesus teaches the Twelve that to be an apostle means to be an example to foster a more effective proclamation. One example is simplicity. 

He tells them to take what they need, but to keep it simple. Our testimony of Gospel simplicity in the things we use is also a way we evangelize. We live this simplicity to fulfill our mission as apostles.  This Gospel poverty also helps us to see the true treasure we possess; a treasure so eloquently expressed in the Second Reading. 

Holiness is the ultimate happiness, even if it seems tough at times, and a great peace comes from having our sins forgiven. 

When we were baptized, we became members of his body, that same body that reaches out to men and women in every age in order to lead them to God. 

That’s the mission Jesus gave his apostles in today’s Gospel.  In fact, the very word “apostle” comes from the Greek word meaning: “to be sent.”  It is the mission we were given at our baptism. 

Every Christian is sent out to bear witness to Christ, to bring his wisdom and his healing touch to those who are in need, spiritually and physically. 

Therefore, the missionary instructions that Jesus gives to his first followers apply to all his followers, us included. 

I would like to suggest that they can be summed up as: trust and perseverance. 

Besides the clothes on their backs, the Apostles are only supposed to bring a walking stick and their sandals. 

Every need they have along the way will be met, but it will be met by God’s providence, not by their own self-sufficiency: we are to trust in God. 

The walking stick and the sandals symbolize, I think, a determination to continue moving forward, to persevere in their efforts to fulfill God’s will.  They must not give up. 

Even when they face opposition, persecution, and a cold welcome (which they will – Jesus leaves no room for doubt about that), they are not to be deterred; they are to persevere. 

Trust and perseverance – two key qualities of the Christian whose relevance will never run out. 

Do you remember the movie “The Matrix,” the first one that came out in 1999? 

The first movie made a splash and had an impact on people because it tapped into a truth. 

In the film, the main character, Neo (a name which actually means “new”), is offered a choice. 

Morpheus, his mentor figure, holds in front of him two capsules. 

If he swallows the blue one, he will return to his normal, everyday, pleasant condition – a condition that appears real and reasonable, but, in the context of the movie, is actually a computer-generated illusion in which he will be comfortable. 

But if he swallows the red capsule, he will be violently awakened and painfully extracted from the computer-generated illusory world. 

From then on, he will be a renegade, and the evil antagonists will never stop trying to destroy him. 

He will have to live in hardship, danger, and constant discomfort, but he will be truly free, truly awake, and truly capable of living a meaningful and fulfilling life. 

The choice is clear: the comfort of a lie, or the discomfort of the truth. Jesus

is like that with us. 

He has shown us that following him entails following the way of the crossand self-denial, not comfort and self-indulgence. 

But he has also shown us that his cross is the door to the resurrection – eternal life, the adventure of friendship with God that gives an everlasting meaning to all we do. 

Each day, we are like Neo: free to make a choice between the risk of Christ or the comfort of self. 

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

EXTRA

Benedictine Father Godfrey Diekmann was one of the leaders of the liturgical renewal movement during the remarkable years of the Second Vatican Council. He put the mystery of the Eucharist this bluntly: 

“What difference does it make if the bread and wine turn into the Body and Blood of Christ and we don’t?” 

Christ calls us to this table not just to receive his body but to become his body: to embody his Gospel of mercy and justice, to reflect God’s love in our midst by our compassion and empathy, to realize God’s Kingdom here and now, in this time and place.  

That’s quite a transformation Jesus has put into motion – and, in today’s Gospel, he warns us of the cost of becoming the bread we receive here, the price Jesus asks of us to follow him as his disciples.  

So may we come to this table aware of the cost of becoming what we receive here and committed to paying that price out of love for one another; may we come to this table emptying ourselves of our fears and cynicism in order to be filled with the Spirit of God’s compassion and grace that makes us a Eucharistic community. 

KC Chicken Dinners

REMINDER:  KC Chicken Dinners can be picked up today, Saturday, July 3 in the Parish Hall from 1:00pm -4:00pm.  Extra dinners and sides are available on a first-come basis. 

Wishing everyone a Happy 4th of July Weekend!!

Parish Weekly Update 6/30/21

Dear Parish Family,

“Nothing ever happens in the world that does not happen first inside human hearts.”   ~Fulton Sheen

BUSINESS:  Offertory for the week of 6/20/21:

General               $13,099.00

Building              $200.00

Peter’s Pence    $40.00

Cemetery            $50.00

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

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

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

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

  church;

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

  send you the form to have that set up.

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

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

We are very grateful for your continued support of our St. Joseph Parish family!!!

KC CHICKENPENDENCE FUNDRAISER:  The KCs have extended pre-orders for the Chickenpendence smoked chicken meals/ala carte items until tomorrow, Thursday, July 1.  The link to the order form is on the KC webpage:  www.kofc11934.org or follow this link:  KC 4th of July BBQ Chicken Plate Order Form – Google Forms.  Orders can be picked up on Saturday, July 3, in the Parish Hall.

Have a safe and happy Independence Day Weekend!!!

God bless!

Pam

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 4, 2021   

“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.”  Mark 6: 1-6   

God knows, there are plenty of reason these day for cynicism. Many feel let down by the institutions we thought we could trust. We have been betrayed, disappointed, and outraged too many times to simply hope. Jim Wallis, a theologian, once wrote: 

“Perhaps the only people who view the world realistically are the cynics and the saints. Everybody else may be living in some kind of denial about what is really going on and how things really are. And the only difference between the cynics and the saints is the presence, power, and possibility of hope . . .   

“More than just a moral issue, hope is a spiritual and even religious choice. Hope is not a feeling; it is a decision. And the decision for hope is based on what you believe at the deepest levels – what your most basic convictions are about the world and what the future holds – all based on your faith. You choose hope, not as a naive wish, but as a choice, with your eyes wide open to the reality of the world – just like the cynics who have not made the decision for hope.”  Certainly we have Mary as an example of a person who hoped throughout one tragedy after another in her life. 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus’ hearers cannot believe that he can possibly possess such “wisdom”. They are isolated by their cynicism; hope is beyond their reach, and so they reject Jesus with scorn and ridicule. Jesus calls us – dares us – to embrace “prophetic” hope: to change our perspective, our belief systems, and ourselves, in order to realize the possibilities we have for creating God’s kingdom of peace and compassion for all his sons and daughters in this time and place of ours.   

We have all heard stories of the Wright Brothers, and for most us, their story begins and ends on a windy sand dune at Kitty Hawk: two bicycle-makers from Ohio put a motor on a glider and invented the airplane. And the rest is history.   

But David McCullough, in his book “The Wright Brothers” (May 2016) tells the fascinating story of brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright – and what happened before and after their one-minute flight on that North Carolina beach on December 17, 1903.   

The two brothers did not just invent a machine, McCullough writes: they invented the art and craft of aviation itself. Their studies of wind currents, the countless hours they spent observing birds riding those winds without flapping their wings, their detailed drawings of the shape and structure of their wings, convinced them that human beings could fly in a heavier-than-air machine.   And once the brothers built a “flyer” that could fly on its own power, they learned how to fly: how to ride with the wind and control the wings’ angles in order to stay in the air, how to maneuver the craft in whatever direction they wanted to go. The Wrights discovered the science of aerodynamics.   

          What most impressed McCullough about The Wright Brothers was their exceptional courage and dedication, their limitless curiosity, and their infinite patience. No problem seemed insurmountable. They had no more than a high school education, little money, and no contacts in high places, – none of that ever stopped them in their “mission” to take to the air – not even the reality that every time they took off in one of their machines, they risked being killed.   

They carried on despite the perception that they were bonkers.   

But they were anything but eccentric. They were smart, careful, cultured men, devoted to the goal of human flight. They relied on their imaginations, inexpensive materials, bicycle-related ideas about balance and steering, and the modest sums they earned building bicycles at their Dayton, Ohio, shop. They read everything they could about flight and wrote to anyone who might reply. They conducted painstakingly detailed experiments in a homemade wind tunnel, regrouped after many wrong turns and wrecked models, and endured several long stints roughing it on the desolate, cold, buggy North Carolina seashore. The two brothers built several versions of their “flyer” until they finally got it right that December day at Kitty Hawk.   

The Wright Brothers weren’t into flight in order to become famous or rich – they despised the limelight and avoided it whenever possible. They were in it to do it right. And to that end, they devoted every dollar they had as well as their lives.   

David McCullough writes, “They had this passion, this mission; they were obsessed to succeed.”   

The story of the Wright Brothers is not just that of two homespun geniuses but of two brothers dedicated to seeking wisdom and understanding regarding the possibility of flight. They are nothing less than prophets: the Wrights possessed the single-minded determination to make the unimaginable possible and understood that the realization of that vision would not come without cost or sacrifice. Just as Wilbur and Orville Wright carried on with singular determination despite the ridicule and risk, Jesus’ teachings on mercy and justice, calling the people of his hometown beyond their own safe, insulated world, are rejected with scorn and skepticism.   

Like the people of Jesus’ hometown (and his own family), when Jesus’ prophetic words became too difficult and uncomfortable to hear, when his Gospel threatened their own safe, comfortable and insulated world, when Jesus challenged their own incomplete and myopic view of God, they reject him.  We often seek instead a new prophet, a new authority, a new church, a new God.  Discipleship, however, demands that we look to changing our perspective, our understanding, changing ourselves.   

Mother Teresa said, “God does not expect us to be successful.  God expects us to be faithful.”  In the first reading Ezekiel was told to bring God’s message to the people whether they heed it or not.   

The hometown folks take offense at Jesus.  They know his humanness and therefore were not able to accept his divinity.  Sometimes we keep Jesus in his divinity so we don’t have to accept his humanity.  The reality is he is both human and divine.  All the qualities that go with his humanity that people found difficult to accept, as well as the challenges that were/are divine, call us to be more than we are comfortable with.   Jesus was not able to perform any mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith.  The greatest obstacle to building the reign of God, is a lack of faith.   

Faith is a verb describing our interpersonal relationship with God.  There is tension in the relationship because God is always drawing us into closer and closer intimacy.  Our Catholic imagination can make us more receptive to the awesome mystery of God’s presence.  But what we are called to is not just an awe of God but a relationship with God that is personal.   

We, the Church, are the Body of Christ, and as such are very human with lots of foibles and idiosyncrasies.  We are also the Mystical Body of Christ, and therefore a mystery.  We are called to be a sacrament of God’s reconciling, healing presence in the world we touch with our lives.   

At each one of our baptisms, we were anointed, oil was put on our forehead and we were told that we have been baptized to share in the prophetic ministry of Jesus, we were anointed to be priest, prophet and king. To comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.   

This weekend we celebrate the founding of our country and the developments we have made as a community of people.  We do well to remember those who committed themselves to this endeavor.  The 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence.  They signed that Declaration and they pledged their fortunes, honor and sacred trust to one another.   

Five of them were captured by the British and tried as traitors, they were tortured before they were killed.  Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.  Two lost their sons while serving in the Revolutionary War; another two had sons who were captured.  Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds of the Revolutionary War.     

What kind of men were they?   

Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.   

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British navy.  He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.   

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly.  He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding.  His possessions were taken from him and poverty was his reward.   

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.   

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General, Cornwallis, had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters.  He quietly waited and wanted General George Washington to open fire.  He did and the property was destroyed and Nelson died bankrupt.   

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed.  The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.   

John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying.   Their 13 children fled for their lives.  His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste.  For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.   

Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn’t.  These men believed in and were willing to sacrifice.   

Jesus was not able to perform any mighty deeds in his hometown because of their lack of faith.  The greatest obstacle to building the reign of God is a lack of faith.   

EXTRA   

St. Mark tells us that the people’s lack of faith was the reason Jesus couldn’t perform many miracles there.  Sometimes we think that miracles, blessings, and spiritual consolations ought to be given to us in order to inspire us to believe, to take away the risk factor that comes with following Jesus.   

The opposite is the case. First, Jesus appeals to us on a personal level, as a friend: inviting us to come and follow him, to get involved in his Kingdom and to let him get involved in our lives. 

Then, once we have taken a step of faith, a step of trust, he rewards us with signs that confirm our faith with blessings that boost our trust. To demand assurances from God before following God is to treat Christianity like a business, not a friendship – like a contract, not a covenant. 

If God wanted followers who were slaves, he would win them over with impressive displays of power and might. But he wants us to follow him out of love, not fear.   

Today we should ask ourselves, what invitations has God been sending to our hearts, and how have we been responding? Has he been speaking through our conscience, inviting us to give up some sinful, selfish habit and accept his forgiveness in the sacrament of confession?   

Has he been speaking through circumstances and inspirations, inviting us to follow him more closely?  Has he been nudging us to do something for the Church or for our neighbors?   

Today, as Jesus renews his commitment to us, let’s listen closely to his voice in our hearts, and courageously follow wherever he leads, thereby unleashing the full power of his grace.   

Earlier in that passage, we saw how those same people were “astonished” when they listened to the Lord’s preaching. How do these two things go together?   

On the one hand they heard what Jesus was telling them, and it made an impact on them.   

But on the other hand, what they heard didn’t change their lives; they perceived the truth of Jesus’ words, but refused to welcome that truth into their hearts.  This refusal, St Mark tells us, is a “lack of faith.”   

Faith, then, which is the foundation of Christian life, involves two things. It involves hearing God’s word, and also heeding that word. God is always speaking to us, and we usually hear him – in our conscience, in the teachings of the Church, in the words of the Bible – but oftentimes we don’t heed what we hear, and that stunts our spiritual growth.   

This was God’s constant complaint in the Old Testament, as we just listened to in today’s First Reading. God sent them prophets over and over again, to show them the way to a meaningful and abundant life, and they heard what the prophets had to say, but they didn’t heed it; they “resisted” it, they “revolted” against it.   

Following Jesus means both hearing and heeding (living) the Word of God.

St. Mark tells us that because the people of Nazareth lacked faith, Jesus “was not able to perform any mighty deed there.” If we want to unleash God’s power in our lives, we must take the risk of faith, of both hearing and living God’s word.   

Parish Weekly Update 6/23/21

Dear Parish Family,

“Today, if we listen to the Spirit, we will not be concerned with conservatives and progressives, traditionalists and innovators, right and left.  … The Paraclete impels us to unity … the harmony of diversity.  He makes us see ourselves as parts of the same body, brothers and sisters of one another.”      ~Pope Francis

BUSINESS:  Offertory for the week of 6/13/21:

General                              $19,516.00

Building                             $585.00

Diocesan Missions           $50.00

Cemetery                          $50.00

Peter’s Pence                   $115.00

Our Daily Bread               $200.00

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

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

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

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

  church;

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

  send you the form to have that set up.

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

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

We are very thankful for your generosity to our parish!!!

CHICKENPENDANCE DAY SMOKED CHICKEN:  The KCs will be hosting an applewood smoked chicken plate fundraiser on July 4 Weekend.  They will be preparing applewood smoked chicken leg quarters, baked beans, and potato salad.  A plate will be $7.00 and you can also order items ala carte.  Pre-orders will be taken—on-line only – through June 27 by filling out a form.  The link to the form is on the KC webpage:  www.kofc11934.org or follow this link:  KC 4th of July BBQ Chicken Plate Order Form – Google Forms.  Orders can be picked up on Saturday, July 3, in the Parish Hall.

KC LADIES’ AUXILIARY:  The Ladies’ Auxiliary will hold their (re-scheduled) monthly meeting on Monday, June 28, 6:00 p.m., in the Parish Hall.

God bless,

Pam

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 

June 27, 2021 

First Reading:  Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24 

God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.
For he fashioned all things that they might have being; and the creatures of the world are wholesome, and there is not a destructive drug among them nor any domain of the netherworld on earth, for justice is undying. For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him. But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who belong to his company experience it. 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11, 12, 13 

R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear
and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O LORD, you brought me up from the netherworld;
you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger lasts but a moment;
a lifetime, his good will.
At nightfall, weeping enters in,
but with the dawn, rejoicing.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me;
O LORD, be my helper.
You changed my mourning into dancing;
O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me. 

Second Reading:  2 Corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15 

Brothers and sisters:
As you excel in every respect, in faith, discourse, knowledge, all earnestness, and in the love, we have for you, may you excel in this gracious act also. 

For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. Not that others should have relief while you are burdened, but that as a matter of equality your abundance at the present time should supply their needs, so that their abundance may also supply your needs, that there may be equality. As it is written:
Whoever had much did not have more, and whoever had little did not have less. 

Gospel:  Mark 5:21-43 

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea. One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, “My daughter is at the point of death.
Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.” He went off with him, and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him. There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?” But his disciples said to Jesus, “You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.” While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?” Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. So he went in and said to them, “Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” And they ridiculed him. Then he put them all out. He took along the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and entered the room where the child was. He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. At that they were utterly astounded. He gave strict orders that no one should know this and said that she should be given something to eat. 

Homily 

“One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, ‘My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.’ … There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years: ‘If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.’” Mark 5: 21‑43 

This year’s Oscar for the Best Documentary went to a beautifully photographed story about a friendship that was developed between a diver and an octopus. 

The documentary’s title says it all: My Octopus Teacher.  It is available on Netflix. 

South African film maker Craig Foster needed a break as his work had taken a toll on his family and personal life, so he retreated to his boyhood home on South Africa’s Western Cape. Every morning he would free dive in the frigid waters along the stormy coast. A favorite spot was a quiet, offshore kelp forest where all kinds of sea life lived. 

One morning he came across a beautiful, intelligent, and typically shy octopus. The creature was fascinating to watch: her jetting through the water, her creativity in camouflaging herself to capture lobsters and crabs for food, her outsmarting her predators, her perseverance in surviving the loss of a tentacle, sliced off by a shark.   

Every day Foster returned to the area around the octopus’ den under a large rock. After a few weeks, the octopus came to trust her visitor. In the film’s most tender and perhaps transcendent moment, the octopus reaches out a tentacle to touch Foster’s finger and then grasp his hand. The “octopus teacher” establishes a level of connection and empathy her human pupil could never imagine. The animal would later ride on his hand through the water and rest on Foster’s chest. 

For the next twelve months, Foster is “schooled” by the octopus. Foster wisely does not treat the octopus as a pet (he does not “name” her); he does not interfere in the natural order of things. The relationship is one of genuine awe and respect between two creatures naturally curious about the other. 

A wild octopus rarely lives beyond 18 months. When Foster stumbles upon the rare sight of the octopus mating, he knows her end is near. A mother octopus gives her life bringing her deposit of fertilized eggs to birth, watching over them until they hatch. Foster can only stand by as his “teacher’s” life comes to an end. 

In the film’s breath‑taking images, Foster’s “octopus teacher” instructs us, as well, teaching us reverence and respect for all element of creation. She schools us in the ways of empathy and humility, making us realize in new ways that our place in God’s creation is something greater than ourselves and that we have a responsibility to every life God has set forth. She inspires us to hope in the possibilities for healing and meaning in this wondrous world that God has set into motion. 

The lessons of “The Octopus Teacher” are all around us in every experience of humble generosity, in every offering of healing forgiveness. In the same way, we can “touch” the cloak of Jesus (as the hemorrhaging woman does) when we hope enough to bring consolation and understanding into the life of someone in crisis; we can make the “dead rise” from the darkness of despair and isolation when we reach out to them with mercy and compassion. A mind set centered in such faith enables us to see our lives and world with a conviction of hope, an understanding of our connection to others, an awareness of God’s presence in our midst in the generosity and compassion of others. The “power” of Jesus’ mercy is revealed in the “lessons” taught by one of God’s most awesome creatures, enabling a dispirited film maker – and us – to bring resurrection and transformation to our own homes and hearts. 

Jairus in today’s Gospel, as a leader of the synagogue, is an establishment figure, and we see him grasping at any hope for his daughter as he comes to Jesus.  He asks Jesus to save his daughter. Jairus’ love for his daughter enables him to set aside his importance in the community, his pride, and to plead for his daughter. 

What will we not do for our children? What dragon we will not slay to protect them? What chasm we will not cross to bring them to the promised land? For many moms and dads, their joys and dreams are inextricably linked to their children’s. Jairus, in today’s Gospel, is just such a dad: to save his beloved daughter, Jairus does not hesitate to risk his standing in the community and career to approach the controversial rabbi reputed to work wonders. A parent’s complete and unconditional love is the very reflection of the love of God in our midst. Whether a parent or friend, a neighbor or mentor, we can mirror that same love in our own generosity of heart, in our own resolve to lift up the fallen, to bring healing to the suffering, to restore life to the dead.  

In the story of the woman who has suffered with hemorrhages for years, embedded in the story of Jairus and his daughter, we learn some important lessons as well.  Certainly, the woman wanted to simply touch his cloak, be healed and never tell anyone about it.  Only she and God needed to know what had happened. But Jesus was not going to let that happen. That is not how Jesus works. Perhaps we love our privacy too much.  Jesus insists that the woman make herself known.  We are created to be a part of a community.  We are created to care for and about each other.  We are created to love and be loved and that does not happen in private or secret. 

At times our sensitivity needs to be awakened to the grace that life’s detours can bring. I recall the story of how one Sunday morning a deacon was traveling his regular route to church, and on the side of the road he saw a car.  Its hood was open and dark smoke was billowing out.  A woman with four little children stood by the car.  Frantically she tried to wave him down to stop and help.  But the deacon only slowed down a little and shouted out the window, “I’m sorry I can’t help right now I’m on my way to church.” 

The story points out the challenge of setting priorities and making plans and then being flexible enough to change them.  Paul describes the readiness of Jesus to be at the service of others regardless of his present plans or agenda.  By letting go of who he was/is, and becoming poor for our sake, Jesus has done a most gracious act and taught how important God believes us to be.  He asks that we treat each other the same. 

Hopefully, we can imitate that same compassion for healing like Jesus, risking our own sense of safety and satisfaction in order to bring that love into the lives of others. 

EXTRA 

An elderly woman, despondent over the recent death of her husband of 60 years, was moved into a nursing home. She didn’t speak to any one; she never made any requests of the staff. All she would do is sit in an old rocking chair in the day room and rock. 

The old woman didn’t have many visitors, and the few family members who came stayed only after a few awkwardly quiet minutes. 

But every couple of mornings, a young nurse would go into the day room. She didn’t try to engage her in conversation or ask questions. She simply pulled up another rocking chair beside the woman and rocked with her. After a few minutes, the nurse would continue her rounds. Before leaving, she would touch the old woman on the arm, squeeze her hand, or offer her a tissue. 

Many weeks later, the old woman finally spoke. She turned to the nurse and took the young woman’s hand and smiled. 

“Thank you,” she said. “Thank you for rocking with me.”  [Adapted from InspirationPeak.com] 

The story of the sick woman in today’s Gospel is told as an afterthought ‑ indeed, her whole life is an afterthought. She counts for little in the social structure of her time; her problems and illness elicit neither concern nor care from those around her. Her hemorrhages, in fact, mark her as unclean, someone to be avoided. But like the kindness of the nurse who does not let the widow’s despondency “mark” her, the “power” of Jesus transcends the woman’s isolation.  This week let us pull up our own rocking chairs to care for those who are estranged or forgotten, because of grief or illness, or for whatever reason they have been separated by society, that the power of Jesus’ compassion and peace may touch their hearts through our care and concern.  We are sent to seek out the needy, the lost and despairing in our midst.   

When he was eight years old, he wanted to be an altar boy ‑ he even harbored thoughts of becoming a priest. It was the summer of 1958; he just completed the third grade. He memorized all the Latin responses; he practiced all the movements. Finally, the morning came when he would serve Mass for the first time. 

To his horror, the eighth‑grader who was supposed to serve with him didn’t show. One of the sisters in the parish sat behind the flag in the sanctuary prompting instructions. But disaster struck. It came time for him to pick up the heavy missal and bring it to the other side of the altar. As he genuflected while trying to balance the book on its stand, his foot got caught in the hem of his cassock, and both he and the missal went sprawling to the floor. The priest stopped the Mass and turned. His face was red, his forehead clenched like a fist. “What’s going on?” he barked. “I want you to leave and never serve Mass for me again!” The boy ran from the sanctuary. He ripped off his cassock and surplice. And he never went back to church again. Ever. 

Thirty years later, he was traveling through the Midwest on business. He passed a cathedral he and his family had driven by many times when he was boy. The cathedral’s design was inspired by the silos of the farm belt. Both the church’s simple interior and exterior were nothing like the Gothic churches. He went inside where he struck up a conversation with a priest he met. As they talked about the beautiful simplicity and symbolism of the church, he told the priest the story of his literal “fall from grace” ‑ a story he had never told before. 

The priest listened compassionately. Then he replied, “Priests don’t always do everything right.   Please . . . forgive us.” 

Tears came to his eyes. The priest embraced him. 

And so began a long and bumpy road home. [From “‘Please … forgive us’: the story of my return to the church” by Don Lambert, National Catholic Reporter, May 15, 2018.] 

The “touch of Jesus’ cloak” can be experienced in a simple act of generosity or a kind word offering forgiveness. The hurt and humiliation suffered by this one‑time altar boy, like the illness suffered by the hemorrhaging woman, was “healed” by the simple “touch” of a priest’s compassion; the “power” of Jesus’ mercy is extended in the priest’s simple, heart‑felt apology. We are sent to do the same, to offer to the despairing and needy an experience of the power of Jesus’ compassion and peace in the “cloak” of our compassion and care. 

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