This Week – August 3, 2018
THIS WEEK IN PRAYER
- Father Tom and the Prayer for Priests by Fr. Karl Rahner, SJ – Father Tom’s death is a source of sadness for the legions of people he inspired. Father Tom’s entry into eternal life is a cause for great consolation. Amid the mix of emotions and spirits, it can be good to consider the prayer Fr. Tom arranged to have printed in the leaflet distributed at his wake. The “Prayer for Priests” was written a few decades ago by Jesuit Father Karl Rahner, SJ. (Many joke it is Rahner’s most intelligible work!)
The priest is not an angel sent from heaven.
He is a man chosen from among men, a member of the Church, a Christian.
Remaining man and Christian, he comes to you because God has told him to proclaim God’s word.
Perhaps he has not entirely understood it himself. Perhaps he betrays it even.
But he believes, and despite his fears he knows that he must communicate God’s word to you.
For must not some one of us say something about God, about eternal life, about the majesty of grace in our sanctified being?
Must not some one of us speak of sin, the judgment, and mercy of God?
So my dear friends, pray for him.
Carry him so that he might be able to sustain others by bringing to them the mystery of God’s love revealed in Christ Jesus.
- Revisiting the 23rd Psalm – The Mass for Sunday, July 22, the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, included Psalm 23. In the spirit of hearing Jesus say “Talitha Koum” to you, it can be helpful to visualize Jesus speaking Psalm 23 directly to you. Perhaps you can imagine him “looking at you with love” and saying something like:
I am your shepherd; I want you to lack nothing.
I want to lead you to green pastures and still waters.
I want to restore your soul and to guide you along right paths, for the sake of my name.
When you walk through dark valleys, I want you not to fear for I am with you. Let my rod and my staff comfort you.
Let me set a table before you, anoint your head with oil and fill your cup to overflowing.
Remember that I want you to experience goodness and mercy all the days of your life, and I want you to dwell in my house for endless days.
The truth of Jesus’ personal devotion to each of us can be hard to take in. But it is true and worth the contemplation. A second look at Psalm 23 can help us soak it up.
Sunday’s Homily – (Warning: The following sentence is grammatically correct but requires considerable concentration.) Since there was no “This Week” last week, this week’s “This Week” provides the link to last week’s homily and to the homily that would have been linked in last week’s “This Week,” i.e., the homily of July 22.
July 22nd Homily – "Talitha koum, Part Four: “You too my friend."
To listen to Sunday’s homily, click here.
To read a summary of it, go to the bottom of this page.
July 29th Homily – "Talitha koum, Part Five: The True Source of Our Good Works"
The July 29 homily will be posted in the coming weeks. Sorry for the inconvenience.
To read a summary of it, go to the bottom of this page.
THIS WEEK IN SERVICE
- Father Tom’s Funeral – There are way too many people to mention. And I would surely forget someone and that would be bad. I hope it suffices to issue a broad “Thank You” to everyone who made Fr. Tom’s funeral beautiful. The endeavor required the cooperation of several dozen people – including musicians and liturgical ministers of every stripe, new jobs for the staff and the Lazarus ministries, great work by Angelo and Rosie at the Flower Barn, Andrew and JoAnn at Culinary Creations, and all sorts of parishioners who pitched in to move furniture, wash windows and vestments and keep the train on the track. One special shout out goes to Frank Viola (Music), Carol Valone (Lazarus) and Susan Wund (Sacristan). Another special shout out goes to the young people who served. You were excellent. All these efforts helped many to pray fervently for Father Tom.
- David Sacco’s First Communion and Confirmation – Robust thanks to all who made David Sacco’s First Communion and Confirmation inspiring. Thanks to Kathy and Bill Gibson and to Deacon Tim for preparing David. Thanks to the anonymous folk who arranged the party. Most of all, thanks to David Sacco for giving our parish the privilege of welcoming him here. David, you inspire us all.
- Summer CCD – Bravo! Our summer CCD students have generated some great support for the Heifer Project. More accurate numbers will be available soon, but for now, GOOD FOR YOU.
- Our young people are home from Catholic Heart Work Camp — They returned in a state of advanced weariness, precisely because they worked so hard and gave themselves so completely to the week’s prayer, work and fellowship. Boundless thanks go to the six chaperones who gave up a week of summer vacation to accompany our young people. The young people, the chaperones, the trip organizer (our Youth Minister Bob Ferretti) give us one more reason to believe that the Spirit is alive and well and at work in our parish. Thanks to all who prayed for our travelers.
- Autumn CCD – The preliminary numbers for program teachers and aids are very encouraging! With a few more sign-ups we might altogether avoid the usual big September push for teachers. We have openings for all days and sessions. Please contact Linda Mackiw if you are feeling the Spirit’s nudge in this direction.
THIS WEEK IN COMMUNITY
- 2018/2019 Fellowship Events – The preliminary schedule has been drafted and promises to be quite excellent. We have one event planned for every month from September through May. Some of these events have already become crowd-pleasing traditions. Others are on their way to becoming so. Thanks for justifying the hope that most parishioners will participate in a few of these events and will get to know a fellow parishioner or two. Stay tuned for the details.
- Pilgrimage? – Through a very funny turn of events, the possibility of a parish pilgrimage to the Holy Land might be emerging. If it happens, it would probably take place in May of 2019, would last for about 10 days and would cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $4,000 per person (VERY rough estimate). The prospects are VERY preliminary. Send me an email if you might have any interest. Plans are just starting to take shape
Best blessings for every single parishioner as we head into summer’s finale. Remember, if you can arrange a change of scenery this summer, it is probably a very good and inspired idea to do so.
Summary of July 15 Homily:
Talitha koum, Part Four: You too my friend
Most of us are pretty good about saying “Talitha Koum” to many people. Right, you don’t use that precise Aramaic phrase. But, by your words and actions, you say to others, “You are important to me and I want to help you reach the peace that God desires for you.”
And as good as we are about saying it to others, we are frequently pretty lame when it comes to hearing Jesus say it to us through others. Sunday’s readings remind us “God wants us to hear ‘Talitha koum’ as well as to say it.” And God wants us to honor the words.
The first reading, from Jeremiah 23, portrays God’s desire for his beloved sheep to be well tended and living in peace. The passage describes the anger God feels when the shepherds he has appointed (Israel’s and Judah’s leaders) fail to say “Talitha koum” to his beloved sheep (the people they serve.) That failure has left the sheep scattered, alone, fearful, and trembling. God wants none of this. He wants his people to experience profound peace. He wants them to hear “Talitha koum.”
Sunday’s Gospel depicts Jesus as determined to care for his sheep, to have them hear “Talitha koum.” The disciples have just returned from their high-intensity missionary journeys and are thoroughly exhausted. His first words to them are “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest.” He is saying to them “Talitha koum.” Ironically, when they get to that deserted place, the crowds arrive and he feels sorry for them too. He sees them as “sheep without a shepherd” and he wants them to hear “Talitha koum” and to respond accordingly.
What about you? Are you honoring Jesus’ request that you find “Talitha koum” time for yourself – i.e., time when you put down the proverbial hoe and put up your actual feet? For some, it means summer vacation. For others, it means a quiet, sacred few minutes every day. It means different things to different people. But we know Jesus says to each of us “Talitha koum,” that is – you are dear to me and I want you to be even more at peace. How are you at answering his call?
Summary of July 22 Homily:
Talitha koum, Part Five: The True Source of Our Good Works
Elisha (pr: uh – LEE – shuh) appears as the hero in Sunday’s first reading (2 Kings 4). He enables the visitor to feed 100 students with twenty very small loaves of bread. This episode is the fifth time in chapter four that Elisha has played a pivotal role in a very impressive “Talitha koum” moment. Even a casual read of the chapter indicates that, in each moment, God is the True Source (veritas caput) of the good work and Elisha is simply the instrument of God’s “Talitha koum” work.
The disciples play a similar role in Sunday’s gospel (John 6), John’s version of the feeding of the 5,000. Jesus multiplies the loaves and the fishes and the disciples then distribute it. The 12 play a key role in facilitating the miracle but Jesus is the miracle’s True Source (veritas caput).
Jesus is always the true source of our “Talitha koum” efforts. That awareness might seem to diminish our importance or our potential glee. But a closer look yields the opposite result. Which is more satisfying, to say “I made a wonderful thing happen today” or “Jesus used me to achieve a wonderful thing today”? The second claim is both more accurate and more rewarding. Think about it. You have been chosen and sent by the one who is “God from God, light from light” the one “through whom all things were made,” the one who saved us and set us free. He is using you.
What about you? Where might you need to remember that? Name three of your most fruitful “Talitha koum” habits, those regular practices of yours that say to the other “you are dear to me and I want to help you reach deeper peace.” It’s not the heroic moments that matter most in our Talitha koum portfolios. It is the day-after-day stuff. It’s Talitha koum moments that unfold before the unforgiving dishwasher or laundry room. It’s at work and the work itself. It’s the kindness to the outsiders at school or at practice. Yes. God, the True Source uses you. Own it. Celebrate it.