This Week in Prayer
These first three Sundays in November give us the privilege of hearing Saint Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians. It is a pioneering Epistle. Saint Paul wrote it before any other New Testament letter or Gospel had been written. It is also a very relevant Epistle. Saint Paul’s instruction to the Thessalonians is great advice for us. This week’s message is simple: work hard at whatever work God is asking you to do.
God was asking Saint Paul to teach the nations about Jesus Christ. Paul did exactly that and he did it with unswerving energy. He supported himself by making tents during the day and he answered God’s call by teaching about Jesus most evenings. This week’s reading, 1 Thessalonians 2: 7-9, 13, reminds us that Paul worked “night and day in order not to burden any of you” and that, with great “toil and drudgery” he “proclaimed . . . the gospel of God.” Paul is subtly criticizing the itinerant preachers of his day who preached little and relied heavily on others for material support. Paul wants the Christian preachers to work hard. His words and his example convey the same message.
In Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus takes aim at the Scribes and the Pharisees for, among other flaws, being so lazy. Jesus tells us to honor their words but not to imitate them. They “tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people's shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them.” They lay on both spiritual burdens and temporal burdens and are too lazy to imitate Jesus or Paul or anyone else who answered others’ calls for help.
Elsewhere in his writings, especially in Romans and Corinthians, Paul encourages us to know what our gifts are and what they are not. He advises people to use the gifts God has given them and not to try to use gifts they have not received. Paul knows that no single person can solve all the world’s problems. We are to work hard only in those ways in which God is asking us to use our God-given gifts. And in those works, we are to work very hard. We are not to sit on the sidelines.
So what about you? In what situations have you gone from not helping to helping? In what settings have you gone from thinking “that is not my problem” to thinking “God wants me to help,” and then given yourself to it energetically? Perhaps your conversion had to do with the care of an ailing loved one. Maybe you went from thinking “not my job” to thinking “how can I help?” and then helped with the sort of dedication Paul showed the Thessalonians? Maybe it had to do with household chores or with a pressing community or global problem. Maybe it was a parish ministry or a neighborhood project. Clearly, God is not asking us to take on the world, but God is asking us to say “yes” and work as hard as we can when the divine voice says, “Help me with this one.”
- Read last Sunday's readings
- Read the coming Sunday's readings
This Week in Community
A great and heartfelt welcome to our newest parishioners: Thomas and Maureen Buneo; Daniel Cunning; Darryl and Rikki Erickson and their six-year-old son; Paul and Kelly Greco and their two daughters, 6 and 2: William Herterich and the five Herterich children ranging in age from 8 to 17; Ryan and Shana McDonough and their three children, ranging in age from 6 to 11; and Dennis and Maureen Routledge. May God bless all of you abundantly in your lives at Saint Joe’s. And may you find the warmest of welcomes at Mass and everywhere else. Thank you for joining us.
Thanks in advance to the many who have worked very hard preparing our celebration for the Veterans. There will be more on that later, but for now, great thanks to all who have been hard at it all week.
We will have two Thanksgiving Masses and blessings of food. One on Wednesdayevening at 5:00 and another at the usual time, 8:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning.
Yes, it is already time to mark your calendars for our parish’s Advent and Christmas events. The family afternoon for making Advent Wreathes is Sunday, November 19 from 12:30 to 3:00 pm in the Parish Hall. Have you signed up yet?
The annual Advent Pancake Breakfast is Sunday, December 3, Feast of St Francis Xavier! That is also the morning of the CYM Young Minister’s Mass.
God bless the Blue Storm’s approaching season! May our hundreds of young parish hoopsters find great exhilaration and blessing in the new basketball season. Great thanks to the coaches and all the program organizers. Without you the program would fizzle.
The Raritan Valley Chorus will hold its Advent/Christmas/Winter concert here at St. Joe’s on Sunday, December 10 at 3:00 pm.Tickets are free for parishioners who stop by the office to pick them up. Otherwise, admission is $10.
This Week in Service
- Thanksgiving Food Collection: St. Joseph Youth Ministry is collecting food for Thanksgiving to feed those in the community. Please see the bulletin and pick up a leaflet in the gathering space for directions for food donations. All food donations need to be placed in the Memorial Hallway before Friday, November 17.
The Baby-Bottle Project is here. Proceeds from this collection enable young women to live in a safe and respectful setting as they “yes” to the graces and challenges of motherhood. Fill a bottle!
Many cheers for the many parishioners who are jumping in to host the Interfaith Hospitality Network’s upcoming session at the Dutch Reformed Church on the corner. Our shared effort with our neighbors is a great grace and it would not happen without YOU.
Thanks to all who prepared “Stars for our Troops,” especially John and Mary Kelly, Tom and Joanne Delasko, Tony D’Angelo and Mario Lugo. Veterans and families of deceased or active duty military are encouraged to take one of the stars after Mass this weekend. Each star is a small “thank you” from your grateful parish community. Happy Veterans Day!
Where would we be without the people who launder our altar linens. Did you ever wonder how the altar cloths and the purificators (used to wipe the chalices after you receive) are always so clean? We have several unsung heroes who pick up the liturgical laundry every week and keep us on track. THANKS!
With all best blessings for you and your loved ones, especially your deceased loved ones as we pray our way through the month of November.