This Week in Prayer, Service & Community - April 7, 2017

This week – April 7, 2017

Dear All: 

Christ’s Peace. 

This Week in Prayer

Once again, “carpe kindness” – “seize the opportunity to be kind.” Every Sunday in Lent has challenged us to imitate Jesus’ amazing kindness. Last Sunday it was about giving people “mulligans” – about not holding it against others when we are kind to them and they do not respond with kindness – about letting them have a do-over after they have been unkind or cranky. Jesus gives us that lesson during his visit to Bethany, and so we think of the “Bethany Mulligan.”

Jesus’ visit to Bethany was an exercise in kindness. He went to give great gifts of faith to Martha, Mary, Lazarus and their friends. Sunday’s gospel speaks four times of Jesus’ love for his friends and theirs for him. That sort of love allows only for kind initiatives. Even his delay in going to Bethany, after learning of Lazarus’ illness, was an expression of kindness. The delay enabled greater gifts to be given. 

Mary’s reply to Jesus – “Lord if you had been here my brother would not have died” – is a complex one. It expresses affection and confidence in Jesus’ power. It also reveals disappointment, an urge to accuse and an underestimation of Jesus’ affection and kindness. But Jesus does not reply harshly to Mary. He appreciates the pain and sadness behind her somewhat harsh greeting. He consoles her and helps her trust God. He gives no indication of counting it against her. Jesus, knowing she is going through a very rough patch, gives her a mulligan. He does the same with Martha when she replays the exchange.

What about you? In what moments or relationships are you, appreciating that another is going through a difficult hour, letting them off the hook for being a little cranky when you are being kind? Are you being kind to an ailing loved one and getting some harsh blowback? Are you giving a Bethany Mulligan to one of your children, being kind and getting measurable grief in response? Is it a colleague? Someone in the neighborhood, someone in class or on your team or an old friend or a new one? Chronic tolerance of bad behavior is a separate issue. The Bethany Mulligan is about being clear “A person I love is sad and off her or his game and I will absorb it.” And as you dole out the Bethany Mulligans, as you imitate Christ’s kindness toward the temporarily ungrateful and unkind, can you see God smiling on you?

  • Confessions will run from 3:30 to 4:25 this Saturday. Might it feel like time to offload your regret?

  • Our Morning of Recollection for members of many ministries is tomorrow, Saturday, April 8. All liturgical ministers are invited. So are the members of all councils and committees and all who help build up the community. Join us for Mass at 8:30 if you can – then donuts, some food for thought, some quiet time, and time to get with the other members of your ministry. Lunch is at noon.

  • The missal provides three ways to start Palm Sunday Mass: The Procession, the Solemn Entrance, and the Simple Entrance. The 9:30Palm Sunday Mass will use the Procession and will begin in the gathering space or in front of church, depending on the weather. All the other Masses will begin with the Solemn Entrance – which means that you get your palms from the ushers on the way into church and go to your place before Mass starts. With the Solemn Entrance, after the unusual opening of Mass (extra prayer and procession gospel), hold your palms up good and high for the presider to bless.

  • The men’s Cornerstone Group meets this Monday at 7:30. Jack Kirnan from the St Catherine’s group will give a “Walking with God” witness before we share the “Gift from God” and “Hand of God” moments. Jack’s witness will both provide meaningful observations of God’s ways and help us know how to do it. Jack is a partially retired banker and business teacher.

  • Check out the liturgy Holy Week schedule for Holy Week. It will be good to pray together frequently.

  • Listen to this week's readings and homily
  • Read this week's readings
  • Read next week's readings

This week in service:

  • The sign-up sheet for the Patriot Stadium ministry will be in the gathering space again this weekend. If your ministry has figured out which night it will cover, terrific. Sign up AND email Suzanne Kral.

  • 30 Hour Famine: On Friday and Saturday April 28-29 50 St. Joe's teens and adults will be going without food - all for a great cause. Their goal is to raise $15,000 for charities that are part of the solution to world hunger including Elijah's Promise, S.H.I.P., World Vision and Catholic Charities. Take a prayer/pledge card after mass and support a teen making a difference – the project needs your financial support AND your prayers. $30 makes a huge difference in the life of a child. Project success truly encourages our young people to be great priests, prophets and kings. 

This week in community:

  • The parish cookbooks will be available on Mother’s Day. We hope to provide one free copy to every household and to sell the others for $5. It has been a labor of love and the result will delight many.

  • Comedy night is May 8. Mark the date and prepare to laugh. 

  • It's not too early to signup for our 4th Annual 5K at St. Joe's.  

  • Sorry for the confusion about the Easter flowers. It would be nifty if you could help us make the church beautiful. On the Moses table in the gathering space you will find envelopes that have printed on them a big Easter lily and the phrase “flower offering.” Take one with you and put it in the collection basket when you get the chance. Once again, keep in mind, if you are having a tough financial spell – don’t even think about supporting the flower fund. And even if you are having a good year, this collection is not about giant donations. Its about $5 - $20 gifts. Thanks. This year’s gifts determine next year’s flowers.

  • Also – to clarify upcoming causes that you might want do support: Palm Sunday, retired priests; Holy Thursday, Social Ministries; Good Friday, the Holy Land. 

With all best blessings for your final days of Lent and your move into Holy Week.

Fr Hank.