Here’s to a fun, safe and attentive Fourth of July for every parishioner.
This Week in Prayer
Our celebrations of July 4 encourage us to thank God for the many forms of independence we currently enjoy. The same celebrations might also prompt us to notice our ways of being dependent.
Some modes of dependence are uninspired. They require fixing. Dependence on destructive relationships and bad habits invite declarations of independence. Dependence on God is another story. Dependence on God is supremely good. We grow when we recognize and re-declare our dependence on our caring God – as in “God, I know you care and I will keep depending on you, even though I have my doubts.”
Last Sunday’s first reading, from the middle part of the Book of Jeremiah, details the prophet’s woes. The local officials want to destroy Jeremiah. His friends have betrayed him. His “yes” to the Lord has carried him into horrendous straits. Yet, despite the nightmare, Jeremiah does his best to recall God’s care and compassion. He summons the strength to assert “The LORD is with me.” That simple declaration says, “God, I know you care and I will keep depending on you, even though I have my doubts.” The claim rescues Jeremiah.
Last Sunday’s gospel comes from Matthew’s tenth chapter. It is the “missioning chapter” in which Jesus sends the disciples into the world and advises them how to proceed. Jesus warns them that they will surely encounter violent resistance. He asks them to remember that, when the going becomes exceedingly rough and the notions of God’s care and love seem absurd, God cares profoundly. Matthew invokes the image of God’s care for sparrows. If God is attentive to the sparrows, surely God will always keep a caring eye on the apostles. Jesus is clearly hoping that, when the apostles find themselves in crisis, they will find the courage to say, “God, I know you care and I will keep depending on you, even though I have my doubts.”
What about you? In what difficult periods have you mustered the will to say “God, I know you care and I will keep depending on you, even though I have my doubts.” You surely used different words, but chances are you have made an equivalent statement to God. When have you done that? When have you re-declared dependence on God even when doing so felt illogical? And who might need to know that you're going has had its rough times and that, even in those rough times you found the courage to re-declare your dependence with “God, I know you care and I will keep depending on you, even though I have my doubts.”
- Read last Sunday's readings
- Read the coming Sunday's readings
- (The homily was not recorded this week...but will be back next week).
This Week in Service:
Thanks to all the senior servers who took time out of their busy summer schedules to show the new servers how it is done. And a great big welcome to our new servers – we are very glad to have you on our teams
Thanks to Wendy Carter and Bob Ferretti for getting 28 new people through Virtus training last night. By having Virtus these trainers right in the parish, we make it much easier for more parishioners to get the certification that enables them to serve in many settings. Stay tuned for more sessions. Onward!
Thanks to Phil Russo and Miriam Larson for accompanying 11 more households through Financial Peace University. And of course great thanks too to Rich Realbuto for getting the program going at St. Joe’s. The dozens of people who have completed the program since last year have collectively eliminated tens of thousands of dollars of debt and accumulated tens of thousands of dollars in savings. Their households are far more peaceful and grace-filled than they were in the days of debt and distress. May this program continue to flourish. And congratulations to the most recent batch of graduates. By acknowledging that you felt called to a better way, and by pursuing that better way, you are an example for every parishioner.
Nearly 350 students have already registered for next year’s religious education programs. And they have all done so at the pre-July, discounted rate. In a spirit of holiday benevolence, Mr Jungels has just decreed that the discount will stay in place until Sunday night at 11:59 pm. Hurry in for the savings!
Happy holidays to all those that supported our Catholic Heart Workcamp Giving Tree this month. The money raised will be used to offset the tools and supplies that we will be bringing with us to Tennessee as well as supporting some families finding it difficult to swing the $600 camp cost. If you haven't returned your check yet you can still do so - just make it out to "St. Joseph", write "CHWC" in the memo and put it in the "Poor Box" this weekend.
Speaking of CHWC, the Knights of Columbus have received a matching gift from their organization to assist the youth ministry with our costs for the trip. Big blessings to all the Knights!
This Week in Community:
Three cheers for our “Holy Rollers,” the recently founded “Saint Joe’s Motorcycle Club.” The founding members had a terrific ride through delightful landscapes the Sunday before last – before ending up at the Hillsborough Diner for home fries and bacon. The bikes included Harleys and Kawasakis AND two electric bikes. If you have had the urge to bike, use church as your excuse to do so.
Once again, we are making great progress in our effort to get every parishioner anointed as soon as they need it. As we strive for even more progress, please let me or the office know if you would like the Sacrament of the Sick. Also, please let us know if someone close to you has expressed a desire for the Sacrament.
Pay extra special attention to the sign up sheets for the Patriot Stadium ministry. There have been a few changes in the schedule. There is still plenty of room on the lists for newbies. Reporting from my own experience, it is great fun. If you have always wanted to sell beer or work a cash register, use church as an excuse to do so!
The Pumpkin Patrol is in full swing - there are more pumpkin mounds planted and the garden is looking great. Looking forward to a bountiful harvest in the fall! While we’re waiting lookout in the coming weeks for some other garden delights growing in our community garden. All donations will go towards the local community foodbanks.
I send this with best blessings for all of you and your loved ones and your celebrations of July 4.