Archive for “2014”

November 21, 2014 – Lectio Divina

Friday, November 21 ~ Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

 

Holy Gospel: Matthew 12:46-50 While He was still speaking to the people, behold, His mother and His brethren stood outside, asking to speak to Him. But He replied to the man who told Him, “Who is My mother, and who are My brethren?” And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Here are My mother and My brethren! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother, and sister, and mother.”

 

Meditation: Jesus is God’s love incarnate – God’s love made flesh (ref. 1 John 4:9-10). That is why Jesus describes himself as the good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep and the shepherd who seeks out the sheep who have strayed and lost their way.  God is like the father who yearns for his prodigal son to return home and then throws a great party for him when he repents and comes back. Jesus offered up his life on the cross for our sake, so that we could be forgiven and restored to unity with God.  It is through Jesus that we become the adopted children of God – his own sons and daughters.  That is why Jesus told his disciples that they would have many new friends and family relationships in his kingdom. Whoever receives the Sacrament of Baptism and who does the will of God is a friend of God and a member of his family.

 

Prayer: As we venerate the glorious memory of the most holy Virgin Mary, grant, we pray, O Lord, through her intercession, that we, too, may merit to receive from the fullness of your grace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: Our life with Jesus Christ changes the order of relationships and shows that true kinship is not just a matter of flesh and blood.  Our adoption as sons and daughters of God transforms all our relationships and requires a new order of loyalty to God first and to his kingdom of righteousness and peace. The Sacrament of Baptism begins our life with Christ. “God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has freed you from sin, given you a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and welcomed you into his holy people” (Rite of Baptism). “Name of Baptized, you have become a new creation, and have clothed yourself in Christ” (Rite of Baptism). “Dearly beloved, this child has been reborn in baptism. He (she) is now called the child of God, for so indeed he (she) is” (Rite of Baptism).  Do you want to grow in love and friendship? Allow God’s Holy Spirit to conform your heart, mind, and will to enable you to faithfully live and love as Christ does.

 

November 20, 2014 – Lectio Divina

Thursday, November 20 ~ Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

 

Holy Gospel: Luke 19:41-44 As Jesus drew near Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If this day you only knew what makes for peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another within you because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”

 

Meditation: When God visits his people he comes to establish peace and justice by rooting out our enemies – sin and Satan who enslave us to fear and pride, rebellion and hatred, envy and covetousness, strife and violence, and every form of evil. That is why God both judges and purifies his people – to lead us from our sinful ways to his way of justice, peace, love, and holiness. God actively works among his people to teach us his ways and to save us from the destruction of sin and Satan. Are God’s judgments unjust or unloving? Scripture tells us that “when God’s judgments are revealed in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:9). To pronounce judgment on sin is much less harsh than what will happen if those who sin are not warned to repent. The Lord in his mercy gives us grace and time to turn away from sin, but that time is right now. If we delay, even for a moment, we may discover that grace has passed us by and our time is up.

 

Prayer: Grant us, we pray, O Lord our God, the constant gladness of being devoted to you, for it is full and lasting happiness to serve with constancy the author of all that is good. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: Jerusalem’s lack of faith and rejection of the Messiah leads to its devastation and destruction. Jesus’ lamentation and prophecy echoes the lamentation of Jeremiah who prophesied the first destruction of Jerusalem and its temple. Jeremiah’s lamentation offered hope of deliverance and restoration: “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies are new every morning …For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the sons of men” (ref. Lamentations 3:21-22, 31-32). Jesus is the hope of the world because he is the only one who can truly reconcile us with God and with one another. He gives us his Holy Spirit both to purify us and restore us as a holy people of God. Through Christ we become living temples of the Holy Spirit (ref. 1 Corinthians 6:19).

 

November 19, 2014 – Lectio Divina

Wednesday, November 19 ~ Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

 

Holy Gospel: Luke 19:11-28 While people were listening to Jesus speak, he proceeded to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem and they thought that the Kingdom of God would appear there immediately. So he said, “A nobleman went off to a distant country to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return. He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins and told them, ‘Engage in trade with these until I return.’ His fellow citizens, however, despised him and sent a delegation after him to announce, ‘We do not want this man to be our king.’ But when he returned after obtaining the kingship, he had the servants called, to whom he had given the money, to learn what they had gained by trading. The first came forward and said, ‘Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones.’ He replied, ‘Well done, good servant! You have been faithful in this very small matter; take charge of ten cities.’ Then the second came and reported, ‘Your gold coin, sir, has earned five more.’ And to this servant too he said, ‘You, take charge of five cities.’ Then the other servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your gold coin; I kept it stored away in a handkerchief, for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man; you take up what you did not lay down and you harvest what you did not plant.’ He said to him, ‘With your own words I shall condemn you, you wicked servant. You knew I was a demanding man, taking up what I did not lay down and harvesting what I did not plant; why did you not put my money in a bank? Then on my return I would have collected it with interest.’ And to those standing by he said, ‘Take the gold coin from him and give it to the servant who has ten.’ But they said to him, ‘Sir, he has ten gold coins.’ He replied, ‘I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and slay them before me.’” After he had said this, he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.

 

Meditation: How does God establish his kingdom here on the earth? The Jews in Jesus’ time had a heightened sense that the Messiah would appear soon to usher in the kingdom of God’s peace and righteousness on the earth. Jesus, in fact, spoke in messianic terms of the coming reign of God. Perhaps his entry into Jerusalem would bring about such a change and overthrow of Roman domination. Jesus speaks to their longing for a new kingdom in the parable of a nobleman who went away to receive a kingdom. The parable reveals something important about how God works his plan and purpose with humans. The parable speaks first of the king’s trust in his subjects. While he goes away he leaves them with his money to use as they think best. While there were no strings attached, this was obviously a test to see if the king’s subjects would be faithful and reliable in their use of the money entrusted to them. Third, the king rewards those who are faithful and he punishes those who sit by idly and who do nothing with his money.

 

Prayer: Grant us, we pray, O Lord our God, the constant gladness of being devoted to you, for it is full and lasting happiness to serve with constancy the author of all that is good. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: The Lord Jesus has brought us his kingdom of righteousness and peace and he calls us to live as citizens of this kingdom where he rules as Lord and Master. The Lord entrusts us with his gifts and graces and he gives us freedom to use them as we think best. With each gift and talent, the Lord gives sufficient grace and energy for using them in a fitting way. As the parable of the talents shows, God abhors indifference and an attitude that says it’s not worth trying. God honors those who use their talents and gifts for doing good. Those who are faithful with even a little are entrusted with more! But those who neglect or squander what God has entrusted to them will lose what they have. There is an important lesson here for us. No one can stand still for long in the Christian life. We either get more or we lose what we have. We either advance towards God or we slip back. Do you trust in God’s grace to make good use of the gifts and talents he has given you?

 

November 18, 2014 – Lectio Divina

Tuesday, November 18 ~ Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne, Virgin;

Dedication of Saint Peter Basilica and Saint Paul Basilica, Rome

 

Holy Gospel: Luke 19:1-10 At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy. When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”

 

Meditation: What would you do – how would you react – if Jesus Christ knocked on your door and said, “I must stay at your house today”? Would you be excited or embarrassed? Jesus often “dropped-in” at unexpected times and he often visited the “uninvited” — the poor, the lame, and even public sinners like Zacchaeus, the tax collector! Tax collectors were despised and treated as outcasts, no doubt because they over-charged people and accumulated great wealth at the expense of others. Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector and was much hated by all the people. Why would Jesus single him out for the honor of staying at his home?  Zacchaeus needed God’s merciful love and in his encounter with Jesus he found more than he imagined possible. He shows the depth of his repentance by deciding to give half of his goods to the poor and to use the other half for making restitution for fraud. Zacchaeus’ testimony included more than words. His change of heart resulted in a change of life, a change that the whole community could experience as genuine. The Lord is always ready to make his home with us.  Do you make room for him in your heart, your home, and in every area of your life?

 

Prayer (Saint Rose Philipine Duchesne): Almighty God, who filled the heart of Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne with charity and missionary zeal, and gave her the desire to make you known among all peoples, grant us to follow her way and fill us with that same love and zeal to extend your Kingdom to the ends of the earth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son. who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Prayer (Dedication of the Churches of Peter and Paul): Defend your Church, O Lord, by the protection of the holy Apostles, that, as she received from them the beginnings of her knowledge of things divine, so through them she may receive, even to the end of the world, an increase in heavenly grace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: Folks, each of us has been invited – and that invitation “to climb down from that tree” comes from no one other than Jesus Christ. He invites us to come down from that tree and embrace Him, and in doing so bring positive changes to our lives. Now is the time to come down from that tree. What’s holding you back? Simply say: “Here I am, Lord…I have come to do your will.”

 

About this Dedication: The whole Church celebrates today the dedication of the two great Roman basilicas of St. Peter at the Vatican and of St. Paul-outside-the-Walls. The basilica of St. Peter stands on the site of the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles, where stood Nero’s circus. It was here that St. Peter was executed. Recent excavations have shown that the present basilica which, in the seventeenth century replaced the ancient Constantinian basilica, was built over the tomb of St. Peter, just as the previous basilica. It was consecrated by Urban VIII on November 18, 1626. St. Paul-outside-the-Walls, situated at the other end of the city on the Ostian Way, is built near the place St. Paul was martyred. It was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1823 and was rebuilt in sumptuous fashion by Gregory XVI and Pius IX and consecrated by the latter on December 10, 1854. The celebration of the anniversary of these two dedications has been kept, nevertheless, on November 18.

November 17, 2014 – Lectio Divina

Monday, November 17 ~ Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious

 

Holy Gospel: Luke 18:35-43 As Jesus approached Jericho a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging, and hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” He shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” The people walking in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent, but he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me!” Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He replied, “Lord, please let me see.” Jesus told him, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.” He immediately received his sight and followed him, giving glory to God. When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.

 

Meditation: Have you ever encountered a special moment of grace, a once in a life-time opportunity you knew you could not pass up? Such a moment came for a blind and destitute man, named Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52). He was determined to get near the one person who could meet his need.  He knew who Jesus was and had heard of his fame for healing, but until now had no means of making contact with the Son of David, a clear reference and title for the Messiah. It took raw courage and persistence for Bartimaeus to get the attention of Jesus over the din of a noisy throng who crowded around Jesus as he made his way out of town.  Why was the crowd annoyed with the blind man’s persistent shouts? He was disturbing their peace and interrupting Jesus’ discourse. It was common for a rabbi to teach as he walked with others. Jesus was on his way to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem and a band of pilgrims followed him. When the crowd tried to silence the blind man he overpowered them with his emotional outburst and thus caught the attention of Jesus.

 

Prayer: O God, by whose gift Saint Elizabeth of Hungary recognized and revered Christ in the poor, grant, through her intercession, that we may serve with unfailing charity the needy and those afflicted. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: This incident reveals something important about how God interacts with us. The blind man was determined to get Jesus’ attention and he was persistent in the face of opposition. Jesus could have ignored or rebuffed him because he was disturbing his talk and his audience. Jesus showed that acting was more important than talking. This man was in desperate need and Jesus was ready not only to empathize with his suffering but to relieve it as well. A great speaker can command attention and respect, but a man or woman with a helping hand and a big heart is loved more. Jesus commends Bartimaeus for recognizing who he is with the eyes of faith and grants him physical sight as well. Do you recognize your need for God’s healing grace and do you seek Jesus out, like Bartimaeus, with persistent faith and trust in his goodness and mercy?

Second Collection – Byron Saunders Foundation

SECOND COLLECTION ~ THIS SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 15 & 16

HELP FEED 2,200 HUNGRY FAMILIES ON THANKSGIVING DAY

THROUGH THE BYRON SAUNDERS FOUNDATION.

$25.00 WILL PROVIDE A THANKSGIVING MEAL FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR!

 

The Byron Saunders foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides Thanksgiving meals to needy families in Franklin County and other counties in Central Ohio. Since the first year of its inception in 1997, the project has grown tremendously with the help of many volunteers. For the past several years, the Foundation has provided Thanksgiving meals to approximately 2,200 needy families. The food is distributed directly to individuals and also through schools, churches, and charitable organizations already assisting the less fortunate in the area. In this way, the Foundation serves the poor with dignity and ensures the most appropriate use of the donor funds and food

We are grateful for all the individuals, as well as groups who have contributed in a variety of ways to make the “One Meal At A Time” project successful. They have made a difference in many families’ lives by providing encouragement, hope and food. Our ministry reflects God’s unconditional love and embraces all people regardless of race, status, or creed. We believe that we can best serve God by being of assistance to those in greatest need. Finally, we ask for your prayers to guide us and maintain the purity of our mission.

Make your checks payable to Saint Joseph Cathedral or Holy Cross Church and in the “memo” section of the check write “Byron Saunders Foundation.” Place your check (or cash donation) in the second collection during Mass next weekend. We will collect all donations and write a collective check from Saint Joseph Cathedral and Holy Cross Church. You can also make on-line donations using your credit card by visiting their web site (listed below). Thank you for helping feed people on Thanksgiving Day!

For more information about the Byron Saunders Foundation, visit www.onemealatatime.org.

November 16, 2014 – In, Around and Near the Diocese

~ In, Around and Near the Diocese of Columbus ~                                                                                                           

PREPARE YOUR HOME FOR THE COMING COLD:  Make yourself a warmer home life by attending a Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekend. Plan ahead for one of the next two weekends in Columbus, in the new year on February 13-15 and April 10-12. For more information or to register, contact Paul & Marilou Clouse at 740-746-9003 or visit our website at www.wwmecolumbus.org

SAINT Martha Giving Circle Event on November 17: All Women Should Attend! Join us for a panel discussion on November 17 from 6pm-8pm at The Catholic Foundation, 257 East Broad Street, Columbus. We will hear from four organizations that support basic needs (food/shelter/clothing). Come learn about the services offered, and hear about their programs and/or projects that need funding or volunteers. This event is free and open to all women regardless of membership status, so please bring a friend! RSVP to Betsy Sewell at Bsewell@catholic-foundation.org or 614-443-8893. For more details, visit www.catholic-foundation.org/The Marthas.

The Bishop Ready Theatre Department is presenting Louisa May Alcott’s beloved novel Little Women in a play adaptation by Marisha Chamberlain on Friday Sunday, November 16 at 7 P.M. and Saturday, November 15 at 2 P.M.   The play tells the story of the March sisters, Jo, Meg, Amy, and Beth, and their interactions with each other and other family members, in 1863, during America’s Civil War. Tickets are $10 for adults; $9 for those 65+; and $8 for students.

Bishop Ready – An Open House for prospective students in grades 5 through 8 and their parents, as well as potential transfer students, will be held at Bishop Ready on Sunday, November 16, with the general session beginning at 1 P.M., followed by tours and department presentations. For more information about the play or the Open House, please call 614-276-5263.

CYSC DINNER THEATER: Mathew 16 , Who do you say that I am? :  Join us on Sunday, December 7, at Villa Milano located at 1630 Schrock Road, from 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. for a one of a kind event! Gather your family, parishioners, and friends to fill a table to enjoy a gourmet dinner, theater and music. This fundraiser supports the ministry of CYSC and provides scholarships to campers. Visit us at www.cysc.com to register or e-mail julie@cysc.com with questions.

EBOLA OUTBREAK IN WEST AFRICA: More than 4,900 people have already died from the Ebola outbreak. Catholic Relief Services has been collaborating with the Catholic Church, local leaders and health ministries in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to educate people about Ebola, train health care workers, and provide food and other critical supplies to those affected by the outbreak. CRS has trained local volunteers to go door to door—especially in rural communities—to help spread the word. You can help by praying for people affected by the outbreak and by donating to CRS. Thank you for all you do to help our brothers and sisters in need around the world. For the latest updates, please visit www.crs.org or contact the Diocese of Columbus Office for Social Concerns at 241-2540, or e-mail ecordle@colsdioc.org.

PLEASE KEEP THESE PARISHIONERS IN YOUR PRAYERS: Jack Beckman, Jennifer Bogdziewicz, Charles & Nancy Brant, Ana Buk, Christopher Clark, Jodi Elgin, Ann Marie Elkins, Max Flores, Don Fortner, Mary Gall, Robert Hackett, Ruth Harper, Bernie Hause, Pam Jurgens, Susan Luck, Fr. Mike Lumpe, Richard Masek, Ellen McMillen, Mary McNellis, Maria Paras, Linda Pauley, Marilyn Scott, David Simmons, Patty Stover, Sandra Valencia, Elizabeth Wanamaker, and Bill, Dora Zweydorff, Col. Paul Johnston, Ret., and Gloria Jefferson.

ETERNAL REST GRANT UNTO THEM, O LORD: Please remember in your prayers the repose of the souls of JoAnn Buttler, James Houck, Ronald Barna, and Sr. Paulette Boll, O.P., and their family members and friends during this time of grief and separation.

DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE CATHEDRAL AND HOLY CROSS ALMS FOR THE POOR BOXES? At the Cathedral it is located in the wall inside the Cathedral near the Broad Street entrance; at Holy Cross it is located in the rear of the Church by the Fifth Street entrance. These boxes and the funds you provide are important:

  • At the Cathedral these Alms for the Poor go to pay for the food that is distributed daily at the Cathedral to the poor and needy – up to 150 food bags (usually containing a sandwich, fruit, chips & cookie, bottled water), and on many winter days hot coffee and hot cocoa. Help us provide this most basic necessity – food – to those in need by donating to our poor box.
  • At Holy Cross these Alms for the Poor go to help needy persons with bus passes, in addition to helping the poor and needy with particular needs.

THANK YOU for helping us help those in need!

November 16, 2014 – Taking Place in Our Parishes

~ Taking Place in our Parishes ~

Sunday November 16th at 3:00 p.m. Concert organist Nathan Laube was recently appointed to the faculty at the Eastman School of Music. He studied at the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart and at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional de Toulouse as a William Fulbright Grant recipient. He possesses extensive experience with historic organs in several national styles and is a prize winner in several international competitions.Admission is a suggested donation of $10 at the door.

THE GIVING TREE: Beginning the weekend of November 22ND the Holy Cross Church and Saint Joseph Cathedral Christmas “Giving Tree” will be located in the Nave of the Cathedral and the Fifth Street entrance. The trees will be decorated with scrolls for residents of Bryden Place and Christmas, ornaments for the Joint Office for Inner-city Needs – J.O.I.N. – and tags for some of our parishioner families who are having a difficult time. The scrolls request participants to purchase a Christmas gift for a resident living at Bryden Place. The gifts will be collected each week until December 22nd and delivered to residents. Ornaments for J.O.I.N. will offer a suggestion for a gift card on the back. The gift card and ornament should be placed in an envelope marked J.O.I.N. and dropped in the Offertory basket. The gift cards will be delivered to J.O.I.N. to help those in need during and after the Christmas season. If you have registered your Kroger card to benefit Saint Joseph Cathedral, why not buy the gift card there so the Cathedral will receive a percentage back? A 2-for-1 blessing! Thank you for caring for the needs of others and for your generosity during this season of giving!

CATHEDRAL CHOIR ~ THE OFFICE OF COMPLINE: On the first Sunday of the month, the men of the Cathedral Choir chant the Office of Compline. The Office lasts about 30 minutes and consists of psalms, short passages from scripture, an office hymn, a canticle (Nunc Dimittis), a responsory, collect and additional prayers. In keeping with the earliest practices of the monastic communities, Compline is offered when the work of the day is completed, and the quietness of evening settles over the hearts and minds of those who have come together in thankfulness for the blessings of the day which has passed and in anticipation of God’s gift of a new day. The Office begins at 9:00 p.m. on the First Sunday of the month. We hope you will join us for this unique spiritual experience.

 

Are you at peace, or is your heart troubled?

Are you at peace, or is your heart troubled?

By Deacon Mike Bickerstaff

 

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be” (John 14:1-3).

 

On the occasion of the Last Supper, Jesus spoke these words to His Apostles—and to each of us. Jesus tells us that we should trust Him, have faith in Him, to place all our cares and anxieties on Him… “Do not let your hearts be troubled”—everything is going to be okay. He offers us a sanctuary in a world filled with danger.

In spite of these words directed lovingly from our God to each of us, many in the world today—and that might include you and me—have trouble really trusting in the Lord and His promise. Why is that?

Over the last few years, I have spoken to people who are greatly troubled at the state of the world.  There is definitely a lack of peace in the world. The continued, uncertain economic conditions seem only to become more uncertain as job creation seems to be hit-and-miss. Families are under assault from without and within.

One person with whom I spoke quoted the above passage to me. She was quite genuine. Although she and her family were experiencing severe financial hardship, the entire family—from the youngest to the oldest—was focused in their concern to help lessen the hardships of others. They were not naive or irresponsible; they worked diligently to overcome their difficulties. But, they did not for one minute forget that God calls them to care for others, less fortunate than themselves. This family inspired me and I asked how they managed to keep an even keel… that is when the mother cited the verse from John’s Gospel. “Surrender… turn all your cares and anxieties over to the Lord and keep plugging along. If you don’t forget those Jesus sends to you, He will not forget you.”

 

Who is Really In Charge of Your Life

This family trusts the Lord with each breath.  Again, why do so many others not do so?  The reason, I believe, is very simple.  We too often refuse, unlike this family, to simply surrender to Him. Maybe it is a part of our condition or our DNA makeup. I suspect this is true of many men I know. We tend to want to retain control. We view life in many ways as a series of problems to be solved. If you are like me, maybe you sometimes think that there is no one better suited to be the problem-solver than yourself. And so, the weight of the world seems to come down and rest on our shoulders, when it properly should rest first on His. Thus, the worth and import of Our Lord’s words are not properly understood.

 

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27).

 

Again, He tells us to place our cares and weakness on Him. He will give us a peace that we can find nowhere else. If we place our trust and faith in ourselves, we will be disappointed and troubled. Man cannot give peace that is lasting because man changes. The reality is that God is not capable of change. It is a dogma of the Church that God is absolutely immutable; in Him there is no possibility of change. Otherwise He would not be God. So we can rely totally on God. We cannot rely on ourselves, our fellow man, our institutions and our governments.  All of these are ultimately weak and subject to change.

Now I ask you to meditate on these passages and this truth. Place yourself in the very presence of your God Who has made His dwelling place in your very soul.

 

“I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you… Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him” (John 14:18,23).

 

The phrase—“come to you”—is not an allusion to the end of time and the Second Coming—it refers to the indwelling of God in the soul of each believer that takes place at our Baptism. Father, Son and Holy Spirit prepare a dwelling place within you where they take up residence. We are not left on this earthly pilgrimage as orphans, but as sons and daughters of the Most High Who is always with us.

Now that is the Peace and Salvation that only God can give. This is the peace that this world needs to receive and embrace so urgently. How is the world to receive this Peace? What is our role?

 

Leaven in the World

The Second Vatican Council addressed this question:

 

“Coming forth from the eternal Father’s love, founded in time by Christ the Redeemer and made one in the Holy Spirit, the Church has a saving and an eschatological purpose which can be fully attained only in the future world. But she is already present in this world, and is composed of men, that is, of members of the earthly city who have a call to form the family of God’s children during the present history of the human race, and to keep increasing it until the Lord returns. United on behalf of heavenly values and enriched by them, this family has been “constituted and structured as a society in this world” by Christ, and is equipped “by appropriate means for visible and social union.” Thus the Church, at once “a visible association and a spiritual community,” goes forward together with humanity and experiences the same earthly lot which the world does. She serves as a leaven and as a kind of soul for human society as it is to be renewed in Christ and transformed into God’s family.” (Gaudium et spes 40.2; Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World; Vatican Council II)

 

Jesus founded and established His Church for the salvation of mankind. This Church can be properly understood as the Family of God and we who are baptized are its members, the adopted sons and daughters of God, Our Father. When we have faith in Christ, when we trust Him, we are the leaven that transforms the world. When we refuse this gift or lack the faith and trust to embrace it, it is we who are often instead transformed by the world.

All of this depends at a personal level on our relationship with God. Before we can become agents of God and assist in the transformation of the world, we must first surrender to Jesus, give Him our love and allow Him to transform us. And to do this, each of us must come to accept that there is one greater than ourselves who can solve our problems better than we can. It is in our acceptance of our weakness that Christ can make us strong and bring us to holiness.

 

So where to from here practically speaking?

  1. Be at peace; do not let your hearts be troubled. Surrender your cares… really surrender them and your whole life to Christ. Allow Him to transform your life.
  2. Love Him with your entire being. Jesus tells us: “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him” (John 14:21).
  3. Live the life of grace. You were given new life in Baptism, retain and strengthen that life through the Sacraments, particularly Reconciliation and receiving the Holy Eucharist.
  4. Set aside time to pray; that is, prime-time throughout the day to be in prayer with God. Don’t just allot to Him what time is left over, if any.
  5. Imitate the saints. Particularly cultivate a devotion to and love of the Blessed Mother whose child you are. Jesus chose her from among all women to be His mother and from the Cross He gave her to you. No one who truly loves the Son will neglect his mother.
  6. Be faithful to your vocation. For example, if you are a husband, wife, father, mother or child, recognize that it is in the family that the transformation of the world extends beyond yourself. In Matthew 6:33—“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.”—Jesus reminds us that whatever we face, we are to first seek the Kingdom of God. This is how we are to live out our particular vocation. When we allow God to transform us, then He will use us to transform the world around us.
  7. Integrate faith, family and work.  Allow the life of faith to inform every aspect and area of your entire life: your family, your work, the market, the public square and how you respond to every person God places in your life.
  8. Trust in the Lord. In all things trust in the love and mercy and tender care of the Lord who loves you.

 

[Lord God] I believe in you, increase my faith. All my hopes are in you, secure my trust. I love you, teach me to love you more each day… I adore You as my first beginning, I long for You as my final end. I praise You as my constant helper, and call on You as my loving protector. Guide me by Your Wisdom, correct me with Your Justice, comfort me with Your Mercy, protect me by Your Power… Lord, enlighten my understanding, enflame my will, purify my heart, sanctify my soul. Help me to repent of my past sins and to rise above my human weaknesses and to grow stronger as a Christian… (excerpted from the Universal Prayer by Pope Clement XI)

Poinsettia Flowers in Your Parish Church

Honor Your Family Members, Friends and Loved Ones this Christmas with Poinsettia Flowers in Your Parish Church.

Each year our parish churches of Saint Joseph Cathedral and Holy Cross are decorated so beautifully for Christmas ~ appropriately so to celebrate the Birth of our Lord, Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

If you would like to have one or more poinsettias placed in the Church “in honor of” or “in memory of” a family member, friend or loved one, please fill out the form below and return it via the Offertory or to either parish office BEFORE THURSDAY, DECEMBER 11th TO MEET OUR EARLY BULLETIN PRINTING DEADLINE (BULLETIN GOES TO PRESS ON DECEMBER 12th) along with a check made payable to Saint Joseph Cathedral or Holy Cross Church. Poinsettias are $10.00 for each listing, and will be included in our special Christmas bulletin (bulletin listing space is limited; editing may be necessary).

Thank you for helping to adorn our churches in this special way, and for remembering someone special during this joyous time of the year.