This Week in Prayer, Service & Community - September 27, 2019

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This Week – September 27, 2019

Dear All:

Christ’s Peace.

Remember in the Book of Numbers, chapter 1, when God told Moses to gather good data about “the whole community of the Israelites”? God made the same request 25 chapters later. It seems that God sometimes invites us to develop a better understanding of our community so that we can become even more of the community God is inviting us to become. This is one of those moments in our parish. Our parish database needs a pretty thorough updating so that we can obtain even more inspired understandings of who we are and what next steps God is asking us to take.

This week’s bulletin explains our effort to upgrade our parish records. The project needs your help in two ways. First, we need all who pray here to pick up their information packets, make all needed corrections, and return them so we can enter the corrected data. Second, we need about 100 people to help us distribute the envelopes and make corrections on the upcoming weekends. If you can spare twenty minutes before and after Mass one Sunday, please sign up for a training session where we explain what will happen. The training sessions will take less than a half-hour. THANKS

THIS WEEK IN PRAYER

  • THE BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS – Bring your pet to church – NEXT SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5 AT 9:15 – for the annual blessing of the animals. If your animal has four legs, be sure to bring it on a fixed-length leash. Also, several people have asked about animals that, for various reasons, cannot get out of the car. Of course, we will figure out a way to bless them too. NO worries. Happy Saint Francis Day!

  • THE BLESSINGS OF THE BRAINS – ATTENTION ALL STUDENTS. Don’t be jealous. The animal blessing comes before the blessing of your brains because we save the best for later! Thanks to those who have already submitted their forms and pictures so we can bless your aspirations. Keep them coming. And we look forward to blessing your brains and aspirations at all the Masses October 12. College kids too. (Even if you are not physically here for the blessing, send us your info and we will pray for you.) Click hereif you would like to obtain the form electronically.

  • THE BLESSINGS FOR OUR DECEASED LOVED ONES – You still have another two weeks to submit the names of your deceased loved ones. Click here to connect to the form for having the names of your nearest and dearest loved ones put on the Memorial Scrolls. For all the others, complete one of the Green Memorial Cards on the Moses Table and put it in the Communications Box.

Sunday’s Homily

September 22, 2019 - Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Inspired Curiosity, Part Four: Wondering about Prophets and Badgers


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:

  • UNPLANNED – Thanks to the great work of our Respect Life Ministry, we will have two showings of “Unplanned” in the Parish Hall – at 7 pm on Wed. October 16 and at 2 pm on Sat. October 19. The movie tells the story of a woman who worked for an abortion provider until she underwent a Damascus Road experience that transformed her completely. It is, ultimately, a story of hope.

  • THANK YOU, USHERS – I realize I thanked you this summer, but I need to thank you again. At two Masses last weekend, we had situations that could have turned ugly but you saved the day. Thank you over and over and over for the great work that you do so graciously and reliably. We are blessed to have you.

  • MONDAY NIGHT – Thanks to all who had this joint jumping on Monday night. The number of people here might have made one think it was a Sunday morning – but it was all good people here to do good things on a Monday. Thanks to the CCD TEACHERS who came to finalize programs and strategies. Thanks to the EMs TO THE HOMEBOUND AND NURSING HOMES who were here to plan out some next steps in their superb efforts. And thanks to those who started the new WALKING WITH PURPOSE school year and special thanks to those who ORGANIZE WALKING WITH PURPOSE.

THIS WEEK IN COMMUNITY:

  • WELCOME NEW PARISHIONERS – What a great blessing it is to welcome more new parishioners. As always, my prayer for you new parishioners is that your new parish will be for you a place where you experience a sincere and warm welcome and where your relationship with our Risen Lord deepens and becomes even more transformative. Our parishioners of longer standing join me in welcoming you:

    • Charles and Deborah Chamats

    • Joe and Hope Cocuzza and their son Vincent

    • Jonathan and Angelina Durlands and their son James

    • Peter and Rosemary Giampictro

    • Eileen Palumbo

    • Pasquale and Paula Sargiotto and their children Lea and Angela,

    • Carmella Gozzo

    • John and Melissa Roger

    • John and Susan Young

  • THIS WEEKEND – Big blessings for all who are participating in The Caregivers’ Morning of Recollection on Saturday morning and to all who are participating in the Becca’s Friends Campfire party on Saturday evening. Both excellent events promise to benefit greatly from more superb weather. GIANT thanks to all who organized them.

  • FEAR of FALLING? – If you find yourself bothered regularly by a fear of falling, come to the Sages gathering on Monday, October 7. Caitlin Witucki, from the Somerset County Department of Aging, will present “A Matter of Balance – A Fall Prevention Workshop.” As with all Sages’ Monday events, the deal starts with lunch at 11:30 and the talk starts at 12:30. (More later about the week’s poker game.)

  • HOW TO USE YOUR SMARTPHONE – As my nephews have told me “smartphone, goofy user.” Have you ever felt that way? Then come to the Smartphone seminar on Wednesday, October 16 at 3 pm in the Parish Hall.

  • TRIVIA NIGHT — The fun starts right after 4:45 Mass on Saturday, October 12. The game is played in teams of 7 or 8. If you already have a team, terrific. If not, ZERO worries. Sign up early and indicate you are a free agent. The organizers will place you with a team. The evening benefits the youth service trips. Also, if you already have a team, have fun developing your theme and costumes!

  • BIBLE STUDY – The fall session of bible study (the first of the three sessions) begins on Monday, October 21. Signups will be in the Gathering Space for the next two weekends. I hope that if you sign up for the fall classes, you will also participate in the winter and spring classes.


God bless all of you extra in this glorious season
Fr Hank

September 22, 2019 - Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Inspired Curiosity, Part Four: Wondering about Prophets and Badgers


“Feed-back-free-zones” are nice places to visit but lousy places to live. Each of us could arrange our lives so that no one ever challenged us, but that arrangement would impoverish us. Severely. We need people who love us enough to challenge us when we need to be challenged.

But not all challengers are created equal. Some people challenge us in ways that God wants us challenged. They are our prophets. Others challenge us in ways that gratify them but have little to do with God’s hopes. They are our badgers. A perennial challenge is to sort out the prophets and the badgers. Prophets deserve our full attention. Badgers deserve our polite departures.

We get into trouble when we confuse the two. When we receive badgers as prophets, the badgers can manipulate us and escort us down bad roads. When we reject prophets as badgers, we miss out on God’s message. Each of Sunday’s readings depicts a true prophet – but one whom the listeners might have dismissed as a badger.

Amos (chapter 8) challenges his high-income audience to change their low-life ways. The brutally self-indulgent grain merchants cheat the subsistence farmers at every turn. They overcharge the farmers for the seed they buy and underpay them for the grain they sell. The institutionalized robbery frequently drove some farmers to sell themselves or their family members into slavery. The resulting destitution infuriated God who had Amos warn the thieves: “The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob: Never will I forget a thing they have done!” Sadly, the people being challenged regarded Amos as an intrusive, meddling badger who should mind his own business. By treating the prophet as a badger, the crooks got themselves into terrible straits.

Saint Paul challenges Saint Timothy in Sunday’s second reading (1 Timothy 2). It seems that Timothy’s congregations were not praying for the gentiles who ran the area’s governments. Paul, therefore, requested: “I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved.” Indications are that Timothy, who could have regarded Paul as a badger, regarded Paul’s advice as prophetic and made the change. (NB – There is a good chance that someone other than Paul wrote the letter, but it expressed Paul’s view.)

Jesus, the ultimate and perfect prophet, challenges his listeners (Luke 16) to check in on their priorities. He wants them to organize their lives more profoundly around him and be less concerned with making money. Jesus – a human with unmatched knowledge of the human psyche – knows that no person can have two first priorities. Jesus makes it clear, over and over, that our highest priority should be to know what God wants, want what God wants, and do what God wants. If we do that, the rest, including the money/mammon, falls into place. We know too that many of his listeners regarded Jesus as a badger – so much so that they killed him. In the rejection of Jesus, we find the most horrifying example of people mistaking prophets for badgers.

So what about you? And what about your inspired curiosity? When have you let it wander over the people who challenge you? When have you treated a challenger as a badger and then, after wondering about the person and the message, come to see that other as a prophet? Maybe there was an Amos who loved you enough to tell you “Knock it off,” and you resisted but eventually saw the wisdom of their message? When was there a Paul who said “Get going; start doing this good thing” and, after protesting the proposal, you saw it as the gift of a prophet rather than as the menace of a badger? And maybe someone has loved you enough to let you know, when you were in a misdirected period, that you needed to overhaul your priorities, put more effort into your inspired pursuits and less into your stultifying habits?

We use our inspired curiosity well when we wonder about the people who challenge us. What is your story of becoming curious about a difficult message, and letting your curiosity get you to a better place?