THIS WEEK IN PRAYER
First Communions – All best blessings for the youngsters who made their First Communions last weekend. You inspired the congregation and we are grateful to witness your friendship with Jesus. May God continue to bless your life with Jesus in the Eucharist and may God continue to bless your families, your CCD teachers and all who brought you to this moment. Blessings too for all who will make their First Communions on May 20 at the 9:30 Mass.
Ordinations: Please join me in thanking God for the vocations of
Michael Tabernero, who will be ordained a deacon on Saturday, May 19 and will preach here later that day (remember, refreshments after the 4:45 Mass) and
Tholitho, who will be ordained a priest on Saturday, June 9 and will celebrate Mass here on Sunday, June 10 at 6:00 pm.
Sunday’s Homily – “Jesus’ Names, Part 5: “Friend”
To listen to Sunday’s homily, click here.
To read a summary of it, go to the bottom of this page.
THIS WEEK IN COMMUNITY:
Prayer Shawl Ministry – Our reactivated Prayer Shawl Ministry is off to a remarkably excellent reboot. We now have two groups, each of which gathers 4 times each month. The group welcomes all, regardless of current abilities to knit, crochet, etc. By the way, the yarn donations have been extremely impressive. Stay tuned for news about this summer’s Knitting and Crochet Camp (for moms and kids).
Saturday, June 23 – after the 4:45 Mass – celebrate the 20th anniversary of the dedication of the new church. It will be BYOB after Mass for an hour or so.
Physical Plant – As of Thursday evening, the new sound system is almost ready for prime time. Great thanks to the committee that did all the legwork and thanks to the workers from Somerset Media who have been so gracious in accommodating our daily Masses and Holy Day Masses.
Stay tuned for more information about updating your parish records. It will take only a few minutes.
Becca’s Friends Social Club (our parish community for people with special needs) is at it again. Take a look at their patriotic paintings in the Gathering Space. Like the group’s Christmas paintings, these paintings will be made into cards. The Sunshine Ministry will use them to write to veterans and active duty military. Stay tuned for information about buying cards for your own use.
Now is the perfect time to register for the St. Joe's 5th Annual 5K Run/Walkon June 9. You get healthy, add to your St. Joe's wardrobe with a cool t-shirt and help support the service trips for our youth and young adults. A trifecta!
THIS WEEK IN SERVICE:
A Beautiful Welcome – Owing to the efforts of more than 60 parishioners, our church has been able to extend a most beautiful welcome to two homeless families this week. (Both families include a very cute 14-month-old). Dozens of our parishioners gave their time to cook, welcome and sleep overnight with the two families. Great blessings for all who helped and special thanks to Sue Calamoneri, Allyson Scillatani, Sid Lentz, Kristen Mazeura and IT Guru, Gregory Scillatani. God has been glorified greatly in our parish hall these seven nights.
With all best blessings for all of you and with a special prayer for those who celebrate mother’s day and another for whom it is a sad day
Summary of this Week’s Homily:
Jesus’ Names, Part 5: “Friend”
Jesus uses the word “friends” three times in Sunday’s gospel (John 15):
“ . . . to lay down one's life for one's friends.”
“You are my friends if you do what I command you.”
“I no longer call you slaves . . . I have called you friends”
That last phrase is the puzzling one. Why does Jesus contrast “friends” with “slaves?” Wouldn’t “enemies” provide a better contrast to “friends?” Wouldn’t “free persons” be the more fitting opposite of “slaves?” Why does Jesus treat “friends” and “slaves” as opposites?
A big difference between “slaves” and “friends,” a difference on which Jesus might well be focusing, is that, in the culture of Jesus’ day, one would not feel compelled to help slaves make inspired choices. You wouldn’t help your slave to figure out the best choice because slaves generally didn’t have choices. Friends were a different story. They had choices and you loved them enough to help them figure out which choice was best.
In referring to us as his “friends,” Jesus acknowledges our freedom to choose and expresses his desire to help us figure out which choice is best. He is particularly eager for us to figure which choice is most likely to lead us toward complete joy. Yes, he gives us commandments. Yes, he takes the lead in choosing us first. And yes he sees us as free and loves us enough to help us figure out the best choice.
Peter and Cornelius, the lead characters in the first reading (Acts 10) do for each other precisely what Jesus wants to do for us. Each helps the other figure out which choice is best, which choice is more likely to lead toward more complete joy. With Cornelius’ inadvertent help, Peter figures out God wants him to baptize Gentiles. With Peter’s help, Cornelius figures out God wants him to be baptized. They help each other figure out God’s desires. They are brand new friends but they act like old friends.
The Peter/Cornelius story continues to unfold. We find it in our lives and in our world. Jesus, as much as ever, wants to help us figure it out – i.e., figure out which choice aligns with his hopes and leads to truer joy. Our friends help Jesus to help us figure out which choice leads us to truer joy. You have been that sort of a friend to others and others have been that sort of a friend to you. You have helped friends figure out what God wants and they have helped you.
Sometimes the matters are overtly spiritual and involve questions about faith or sacraments or prayer or religious practices. Sometimes the matters are not overtly religious. They involve choices about studies or sports or retirement or relationships. So many of your stories are stories of friends helping friends figure out the path to more complete joy.
What about you? Name five true friends who have helped you figure out the path toward truer joy, who have helped you make the choices that align with Jesus’ hopes for you. Maybe they were old CCD or religion teachers. Maybe they were wisdom figures – relatives or teachers or coaches. Maybe they were helping professionals. Regardless of their role, they have been friends who helped you figure it out and, in doing so, helped fulfill Jesus’ hopes. Who is on your list and how do you thank God for these true friends and for Jesus, your truest and bluest of friends – the one who, right now, is loving you, is hoping you will choose the path to his joy and is helping you figure out how to do that?