This Week – March 22, 2019
I hope to see you at tonight’s Fish Fry. If you are bringing youngsters, encourage them to sit up front on the floor during the Irish dancing. The view is much better there. I hope too that your Lenten adventures are unfolding well and that God is blessing you with the graces one might associate with acts of self-denial and with next steps in prayer, service, and community.
THIS WEEK IN PRAYER
Saint Joseph Day – Great thanks to all who multiplied the blessings on Monday, the feast of our patron, Saint Joseph the Husband of Mary. (May 1 is the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker, but we can celebrate that one too.) It was a grace to have so many people at church and to consider how Saint Joseph let God direct his choices. Extra thanks to all who organized the remarkable party after Mass. That was some spread and the lessons – about how certain foods became part of the feast – were terrific.
Monday Evening Mass – It was once again very good to celebrate Mass on Monday evening. The Monday evening Masses (6:15) will continue throughout Lent.
The Little Black Books (LBBs) – We still have a small collection of LBBs to give away. Check out the Moses table. Might you have a friend or relative who would benefit from having one? Take one and share it. And what was your favorite part this week? I particularly enjoyed Tuesday’s reflection on the Transfiguration and Thursday’s description of Corrie ten Boom. What about you?
Stations of the Cross – Blessings for all who are praying the Stations here and courage for all who would sort of like to check it out but are hesitating!
March 17, 2019 – Second Sunday of Lent
A Deeper Our Father? Part 2: “Our Father?”
To listen to Sunday’s homily, click here.
To read a summary of it, go to the bottom of this page.
THIS WEEK IN SERVICE:
Ministry Morning of Recollection – Holy Smokes! – You people are completely excellent. Saturday’s morning of recollection reminded of that all over again. Great thanks to the 125 of you who were able to make time to reflect on how God uses you as instruments of divine kindness, justice, and humility. Thanks especially for your candid thoughts about what is working well in your ministry and what needs work. Great thanks to the ministry leaders for their invaluable input and boatloads of thanks to Suzanne Kral, our parish’s ministry liaison, for putting the whole thing together. Rockstars all.
Young Adults and Corned Beef ― Kudos to our Young Adult Ministry for cooking all that corned beef and cabbage for Elijah’s Promise. I’d never seen so many carrots in one pot. Your work is both inspired and inspiring and will surely engage even more of our parish’s 20 to 40-year-olds who are eager to serve, connect and pray.
The Bishop’s Annual Appeal – Thanks for all the goodwill that went into last week’s support of the Bishop’s Annual Appeal. Several have asked for clarity about filling out cards if you have already made your pledge. I am working on that. Thanks to the ushers for the extra help. Thanks to Bill Gibson (9:30 S7) for undoing the weekend’s one technological glitch. Thanks to all for supporting the Appeal.
Virtus – We will be running two Virtus sessions for anyone who volunteers with youth or the elderly/homebound on April 17. Pick the one that works best for you - 9:30AM or 6:30PM. Registration is required.
THIS WEEK IN COMMUNITY:
New Parishioners – Please join me in welcoming the newest members of our parish. Please join me in greeting them when possible and in saying a prayer for them, that their years at St. Joe’s might be many and that God will use them to bless us and us to bless them. Say hello to:
Patrick and Karen Kelly
Danny and Caitlin Murano and their son Gabriel
Robert and Alyce Vornlocker and their son John
Bill and Amy Walsh and their children Laurel, Jack and Patrick
Ministry Recruiting – Ministry Recruiting continues in the Gathering Space this weekend. Check out the tables. Maybe it is time for you to join one of this weekend’s ministries: Becca’s Friends, Healing Prayer, New Parishioner Welcome and the Ushers.
Where You Sit – Now that we all know how to describe our usual locations, it is time to take one simple and important next step. Stay tuned this weekend.
Mark Your Calendars – Tonight’s Fish Fry marks the start of our Spring Fellowship Tripleheader. Our Parish Fish Fry is tonight. The Evening of Praise and Worship is next Saturday after the 4:45 Mass and Trivia Night is the following Friday. This is a great season to meet new folks and to reinforce connections with people we already know and love.
Kentucky Derby – Yes. We will be having a Kentucky Derby party after the 4:45 Mass on Saturday, May 4 in the Hospitality Room – unless the crowd gets too big in which case we will move the action down to the Parish Hall. If the preacher doesn’t prattle on too long, Mass will be over a little more than an hour before the race goes off at 6:50. And it is definitely BYOMJ.
A Parish Columbarium? – We have several more hurdles to get over before we can make any promises, but we are still exploring plans for a parish columbarium (like a mausoleum but only for cremains/ashes). Let me know if this prospect interests you. We will make a proposal to the parish before we make the all-important proposal to the diocese’s College of Consultors. Word is that the chancery takes a brighter view of columbaria than they do of skating rinks.
Your Pastor’s Brag –
Doctors in the House? – Giant congratulations to DOCTOR Ann Harris (11:30, S5) who successfully defended her dissertation, in the Education School at Seton Hall University, on Thursday afternoon. Bravo and great strawberries and a wonderful recuperation for DOCTOR Harris. And great and overdue congratulations to Anthony Carter (11:30, S1) who, last year, was granted an honorary doctorate by Fordham University. Fordham had many wonderful reasons for conferring the honorary degree on Anthony. I still have not found out how much they considered the fact that Anthony occupied room 1106 in Walsh Hall the year before I did – and evidently left some holiness in the air.
Keeping the Faith – One of the big things we hope for our high-school grads is that when they get to college, they will not only keep going to Mass but will become active members of the community. And so it is with Fred Shaw (11:30, Lector, S1 or S5). Fred regularly plays the flute and generally helps out with the big student Mass on Sundays at 6:00 pm at, where else? Loyola in Baltimore. Fred is majoring in Accounting and Computer Science. He has made the Dean’s list again and my spies tell me he is doing an overall great job.
Please email me some of the good news you know about parishioners for “The Pastors Brag.”
With gratitude and all best blessings and hopes to see you at the Fish Fry.
March 17, 2019 – Second Sunday of Lent
A Deeper Our Father? Part 2: “Our Father?”
Sunday’s first reading (Genesis 15) describes an elaborate ritual wherein Abraham chops up livestock, lays out the pieces and then falls into a deep sleep and, while sleeping, sees a flame pass through the animal parts. The mysterious floating fire is God’s way of saying “Abraham, I am making with you the strongest possible covenant I can make. I am completely in; I trust you are too.” The covenant is a cause for great rejoicing. It does not, however, change the basic relationship between God and Abraham. Both before and after the covenant, Abraham is still God’s chosen servant.
Compare Abraham’s link with God to Jesus’. At the end of Sunday’s Transfiguration gospel (Luke 9), the Father says of Jesus "This is my chosen Son; listen to him." The link between the Father and the Son is precisely that, a father/son relationship that is, by its very nature, indissoluble.
In calling Jesus “my Son”, the Father invites us to understand their Father/Son relationship as we understand blood relationships among humans. Relationships rooted in consanguinity cannot be reversed. If you and I are related by blood, we cannot stop being related. We might move to different continents and not see each other for decades, but we are still related. Nothing can change that. Jesus is the first and only person God has called “My Son.” The Old Testament refers 14 times to those who are God’s children, but the reference is always to the nation, never to an individual. The Father acknowledges only Jesus as being the equivalent of a blood relative.
Consider the difference in the ways that Abraham and Jesus are related to the Father. Abraham is God’s beloved servant. Jesus is God’s beloved Son. Which would you rather be? Both are chosen but only one of those relationships, Jesus’, is indissoluble. Of course, we would prefer to share in Jesus’ relationship to the Father. And the good news is that we do.
Jesus has taught us to call His Father “Our Father.” He alone among all human beings has the right to do that. Doing so makes good sense. We know that Jesus is God’s Son. We also know that Jesus is truly human. He is one of us. He is our blood relative. That means God is Our Father too. And if God is Our Father, God is in an indissoluble relation with us, one that cannot be broken.
What about you? Has there been a time when, because of life’s difficulties, you wondered if God had dissolved your relationship? Maybe a profound personal tragedy made you think that? Or a major reversal of fortune? Maybe there was a time when you thought that perhaps God had forgotten or abandoned you. (NB – The Psalms are full of stories of people who wonder that very thing.) But then you regained your conviction that the appearances were misleading you. God had not forsaken or abandoned you. God was loving you “from the other side of the clouds” as the poem says. When have you gone from not wanting to call God “Our Father” back to a willingness to do so?
And who in your life might be going through a similar darkness wherein it feels goofy to call God “Our Father”? Who is living through circumstances that suggest that God has checked out, is behaving like a “deadbeat dad” and perhaps no longer wants to be Our Father? Who needs a patient, empathetic listener?
Before Jesus, it made no sense to call God “Our Father.” Since Jesus, it makes no sense to call him anything else. When have you lost sight of that? Who might be losing sight of it now?