This Week – June 21, 2019
Keep praying for our parishioner Michael Tabernero as he heads into his ordination on Saturday. Pray that the ordination (10:30 at the cathedral) will be greatly inspired. Pray too that his first Mass (4:45 at Saint Joe’s) will be a wonderful celebration. Mostly, pray that Michael’s life as a priest will be long and very fruitful, that Michael will help many people to appreciate how much they are loved by God and that he will help these people to know, love and serve God.
THIS WEEK IN PRAYER
CALLING ALL MISSAL HOGS! – You now enjoy a wonderful opportunity to help other parishioners to pray. Bring back the missals you might have left at home or in your car or wherever. Per Sunday’s announcement – no questions will be asked, and no charges will be pressed. Because so many missals have gone away, we sometimes run out when the crowds are wonderfully large. Some people take the missals so they can read the day’s scriptures before church. This is a terrific inclination and we can help you find more sustainable ways to access the lectionary. (See below.) Other people just forget they are carrying them as they walk out of the church. Missal hog or not – God loves you!
READINGS FOR SUNDAY AND DAILY MASSES – One of the very best ways to “get more out of Mass” is to take a few minutes to read the day’s readings. One of the easiest ways to do that is to bookmark the readings provided by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Pay a visit tohttp://usccb.org/bible/readings/062319.cfm and poke around the calendar on the right and the indices on the left. You will be glad you did.
GOD BLESS OUR SACRISTANS – Speaking of people who help us to pray . . . May God continue to bless our devoted and remarkably competent sacristans. The sacristans do most of the pre-Mass setups on Sunday. They also put out more fires than most would imagine arise. Their fire-stopping abilities have been used heavily in recent weeks and I am especially grateful. Greatest blessings and thanks to all of our sacristans and to members of all our liturgical ministries.
June 16, 2019 — Trinity Sunday
Millstone Missionaries Say, Part II: “You delight Jesus.”
To listen to Sunday’s homily, click here.
To read a summary of it, go to the bottom of this page.
THIS WEEK IN SERVICE:
ELIJAH’S PROMISE SOUP KITCHEN – GREATEST blessings for the many parishioners who help out at Elijah’s Promise Soup Kitchen in New Brunswick. With the inspired leadership of Terry Lee, several of our parishioners spend one Sunday afternoon each month providing a first-rate meal for the many low-income people who rely on Elijah’s Kitchen. Extra special and giant thanks to SUSAN ANGELO AND HER CHILDREN MARYROSE ANGELO AND NICK ANGELO. All three Angelos have provided invaluable help to the project since we started going there. It is with great blessings and some selfish sadness that we send Maryrose on her way to college and Nick on his cross-country road trip. Their example has been an inspirational gift to many. The people of Elijah’s Promise Soup Kitchen will miss Nick and Maryrose and will continue to cherish all our volunteers.
THIS WEEK IN COMMUNITY:
NEW PARISHIONERS – Once again, God has blessed us with more new parishioners. Each of our newest members, like every parishioner, is a gift from God who has much to offer the community and much to gain from belonging to this community. May each new parishioner find here a great welcome and a great place to use their many gifts. Please join me in welcoming and saying a prayer for:
Richard and Caroline Bartolucci and their children Caroline, Isabella and Philomena
William and Christine Kretz and their children William and Margaret
George and Marissa Sladek and their children Jonathan, Matthew and Christopher
THE MOTORCYCLE CLUB RIDES AGAIN – The weather is looking mighty good for Sunday’s ride. Our parish motorcycle group will leave from the church parking lot at 8:30 am, this Sunday, June 23. Destination? The Clinton Diner via a very scenic route. If you would like to join the pack, just jump on your bike and get to church. Even better, email the leader of the pack, Jeremy Goldstone, at firstname.lastname@example.org to let him know you would like to ride. And everyone at the 7:15, please be extra gracious if some unfamiliar folk appear in your fold carrying their helmets.
Your Pastor’s Brag
HEROS IN OUR MIDST – MIND, BODY, AND SPIRIT
AN INTELLECTUAL HERO – God bless Kaitlyn Irwin, daughter of Tom and Sue Irwin (9:30 S7). Kaitlyn just returned from her year as a Fulbright Scholar in Logrono, Spain. As an elite but oh-so-down-to-earth Fulbright scholar, Kaitlyn taught children ages three to eleven. Now that she is back in the States, Kaitlyn is entering Tufts University’s doctoral program in Occupational Therapy. May God bless Kaitlyn as she pursues her goal of becoming a pediatric occupational therapist working with a Spanish-speaking population. Becoming a Fulbright Scholar is a remarkable accomplishment and we are thrilled.
A PHYSICAL HERO – Walt Rusak (with his wife Chris, 11:30 S6) recently received a lifetime achievement award from the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials (IAABO). Walt is only the 10th member of the local chapter of the IAABO to have received the award in the organization’s 95-year history. In order to be nominated for the prize, one must have a proven record of “advancing the welfare of the game of basketball through service to the local area, district, and state.” Walt’s dedication to formative athletics is truly exemplary and we are blessed to count him among our number – AND to be the beneficiaries of all he does through his work on Buildings and Grounds.
A SPIRITUAL HERO – I won’t tell you how old he is because if I did he would punch me and it would hurt – but he is way old. And way reliant on God. Mario Lugo (8:35 and Sunday 7:15 S5) was part of the parish group that headed to south Texas last summer to serve recently arrived immigrant families. He prayed himself and our group through the whole marvelous adventure. More recently – in fact, it was just last week – Mario “rang the bell.” He completed a very long regimen of cancer treatments – and he handled it as if Jesus was sitting with him the entire time. My hat, admittedly a large one, is off to EVERY parishioner who provides an inspiring example of faith as you complete treatments for cancer. You amaze me. Each of you. Truly. And none has amazed me more than Mario who, with each treatment, seemed only to become more Christ-centered and more compassionate. God bless all of our parishioners who are in treatment and God bless Mario for being such a fine example.
PLEASE KEEP THE BRAG MATERIAL COMING – MANY PARISHIONERS HAVE LET ME KNOW THAT THEY VERY MUCH ENJOY LEARNING ABOUT OTHER PARISHIONERS’ ACCOMPLISHMENTS.
With continued blessings and gratitude for all,
June 16, 2019 — Trinity Sunday
Millstone Missionaries Say, Part II: “You delight Jesus.”
Trinity Sunday invites us to contemplate the most foundational truth of our faith: Our God is one God in three persons. This truth is also our faith’s most difficult to grasp. We will understand it fully only when we get to heaven. We will get it when we see our three-person God face-to-face when we know, at last, and forever, that our three-person God loves each of us infinitely and eternally. Meanwhile, we contemplate whatever bits of Trinitarian truth comes our way. One of those truths pertains to divine delight.
The first reading (Proverbs 8) reminds us that the Son delights the Father and we delight the Son. The Book of Proverbs describes a mysterious figure that is frequently called “Lady Wisdom.” Christians also see that mysterious figure as the Holy Spirit or as the second person of the Trinity, Jesus, before the Incarnation. Thus, we can hear Jesus speaking when Proverbs recounts “I was his delight day by day . . . and I found delight in the human race." Jesus delights the Father and we delight Jesus. Reports of the divine delight – among persons of the Trinity and between God and us – entitles us to tell ourselves “I delight Jesus.” The divine delight also prompts us to tell others “You delight Jesus.” The message echoes Psalm 149, “The Lord takes delight in his people.”
Great difficulties have a way of making us think otherwise. Exceedingly rough patches can easily sell us on the Old Testament Law of Retribution. That law interprets difficulties as indications of God’s disfavor. It says that bad things happen because we disturb rather than delight God. Job and some other Old Testament stories refute this theory. They argue that hard times are not evidence that we no longer delight God. Paul advances the argument in Sunday’s second Reading (Romans 5). He reports that he can “boast of his afflictions” rather than try to cover them. People who subscribe to the Law of Retribution must keep their afflictions a secret lest others learn of them and conclude that the afflicted one has offended God. Paul will have none of it. He says he “boasts” of his affliction. He knows that difficulties frequently befall people who delight God. He also knows that God can bring great good out of the hard times. Sunday’s second reading speaks of those goods. Paul wants people in tough times to know, as he knows, they delight God. Tough times do not disprove that delight.
Experiences of our own limitations also have a way of convincing us that we do not delight God. Encounters with our failures, weaknesses, design flaws and inabilities can easily make us wonder how we could possibly delight God. Moments of failure or foolishness can easily open our ears to the dark side’s treacherous whisper, “You are a hopeless loser in whom God takes no delight.” Jesus dismisses that whisper in Sunday’s Gospel (John 16). That passage from the Last Supper discourse reports Jesus’ reminder “I have much more to tell you but you cannot bear it now.” How he wishes the disciples could soak up every truth he utters, but they cannot, and he can handle that truth. He doesn’t upbraid them or insult them. He loves them. Even in those disappointing moments, when the disciples’ limitations complicated His life, Jesus continued to thank God for them, with as much delight as that darkest hour allowed.
So, what about you? What helps you steer clear of those two traps? What helps you hang onto the conviction that you delight God – even when life is rough or you have stumbled? What enables you to trust that God looks at you, as God looked at creation and says “This is good”? What helps you believe that – despite difficult circumstances and our human limitations – you delight God? Is it the company of other people? Is it good spiritual reading? Is it the many expressions of divine delight contained in every Mass? Is it quiet moments of you beholding Jesus beholding you? What helps you hear Jesus say “You delight me”?
And what about other people? Who in your orbit has lost sight of the truth that they delight God? Who needs to hear someone say – persuasively and subtly and, most likely, indirectly – “You delight Jesus”? Maybe it is someone who feels their relationship with God has simply grown lukewarm or even cold? Perhaps it is someone who has made a big ugly choice? Perhaps it is someone who wants to be with us in Mass.
Each of us is a missionary. Each of us is sent to spread the good news. That good news includes the truth that we delight God. Yes, we have sins to overcome and yes we have plenty of chance to grow. But, yes, the Three-Person God we worship is one who loves us infinitely and eternally. Knowing that really knowing that, and knowing that God is not in a perpetual state of disappointment, makes all the difference.