By endurance and
“Whatever was written previously was written for our instruction, that by endurance and by the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
St. Paul speaks of endurance. This week we experienced the passing of a man of endurance. His quote on the front of our bulletin speaks of endurance. Read again his words: “I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.” The quote is taken from Nelson Mandela’s autobiography Long Walk to Freedom, published in 1994.
Mr. Mandela endured years of struggle in the fight for freedom, including 27 years in prison. Imagine yourself as standing up for what you believe, enduring struggles, facing prison – all for what you believe, for offering the promise of freedom to your fellow man. We can all follow in his example because it is the core of Christian faith and action.
The world counts Mr. Mandela a hero because of his endurance, the encouragement he offered; for standing up in the face of oppression. Through his endurance he brought freedom to his people. Not only did he endure for freedom, but also for a spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness in the midst of political and social change.
Think on these things – freedom, forgiveness, peace, and reconciliation. Our Fathers in faith, Paul, Peter, the other apostles, the saints and martyrs throughout history and even to our day endure prison and persecutions enduring to offer the hope and encouragement of scripture, the promises of Jesus to all.
We are called in this Advent season to reconnect to our call, to endure and to encourage. We call called to strengthen our faith and to offer the deliverance foretold by Isaiah and delivered by Jesus: Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide, but he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land’s afflicted.
Let us live like Paul and Peter, like Mr. Mandela, calling all to learn, to be encouraged through scripture, to live in harmony and mutual support in the Christian community. Together in Christ we offer the world what we have – the message of true and eternal freedom, endurance, encouragement, reconciliation and forgiveness.
The first day of December and the parish newsletter is complete, posted, and mailed – talk about Advent preparation! Our newsletter for December reflects on this sacred time of preparation for the Forty Days of Christmas and Jesus’ Second Coming. Check it out, stay informed and see our action packed schedule for Advent and Christmas. You may view and download a copy right here — December 2013 Newsletter.
- Sunday, December 1st: 1st Sunday of Advent. Service at 9:30am. School of Christian Living study and presentation preparation follows.
- Sunday, December 8th: 2nd Sunday of Advent. Service at 9:30am. School of Christian Living study and presentation preparation follows.
- Sunday, December 15th: 3rd Sunday of Advent. Holy Mass at 9am with Advent Penitential Service. Children’s Christmas Presentation follows. Annual Christmas Vigil potluck Dinner with Main Fish Course provided by the parish
- Sunday, December 22nd: 4th Sunday of Advent. Service at 9:30am. Greening of the Church follows.
- Tuesday/Wednesday, December 24th-25th: Solemnity of the Nativity of our Lord – Shepherd’s Holy Mass/Pasterka at Midnight followed by a festive repast.
- Wednesday, December 25th: Solemnity of the Nativity of our Lord – Service for Christmas Day at 9:30am.
- Thursday, December 26th: Feast of St. Stephen the Proto-Martyr – please keep the persecuted Church and all deacons in your prayers this day.
- Friday, December 27th: Feast of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist – Service and Blessing of Wine at 7pm.
- Saturday, December 28th: Commemoration of the Holy Innocents – please keep all children subject to abuse and bullying in your prayers.
- Sunday, December 29th: Solemnity of the Humble Shepherds. Service at 9:30am.
- Tuesday, December 31st: Solemnity of the Holy Family – please pray for God’s blessings upon all families, that they may model the life of the Holy Family.
- Wednesday, January 1st: Solemnity of the Circumcision of our Lord – Service at 9:30am.
- Thursday, January 2nd: Solemnity of the Holy Name of Jesus – Service at 7pm.
- Sunday, January 5th: Feast of the Holy Family. Service at 9:30am.
- Monday, January 6th: Solemnity of the Epiphany of our Lord. Service with blessing of chalk, charcoal, and incense at 7pm.
- Sunday, January 12th: Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord. Service at 9:30am.
Epiphany home blessings will take place starting Tuesday, January 7th and continue through Tuesday, March 4th, 2014. Make arrangements with Deacon Jim.
“Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”
In the Holy Mass we participate in doing something extraordinary. When Jesus left us the gift of His body and blood and said, do this in memory of Me He gave us an explicit command to do what He had done that night.
Each of us has a special role in carrying out the Eucharist. Our gifts and sacrifice in the form of the bread and wine we offer is changed into Jesus’ body and blood by what the priest does during the Eucharistic prayer. Jesus’ role as servant is exemplified in the work of the deacon who serves at the altar. Each of our roles is essential. Jesus didn’t do any of what He did alone, but in the midst of community.
Jesus didn’t want us to just remember what He had done. Memory is fleeting and can fade with time. Rather, in asking us to carry out the same action as a family, to live the roles He exemplified, we are part of Jesus’ yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
In the Eucharistic moment we are at once transformed and present with Jesus at His birth and in His ministry. We are there at the Last Supper, at the foot of the Cross, His burial, His resurrection, His Ascension, and at His return.
How amazing it is that we are there with Him, that we can be so very close to Him.
We might think that this is enough. Certainly Jesus’ coming was that moment in time where our redemption occurred. We, who have accepted Jesus into our lives, have received His assurance of salvation. We have been justified. Yes, but greater things are yet to come.
This Advent, this day, is the moment we must be awake and ready for that greater thing. Those greater things are the miracles we bring to the lives of others by our ministry and by the proclamation of Jesus’ word. Faith and salvation will come to them through us as St. Paul tells us: [by] what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ.
The greatest thing yet to come, our greatest hope, is that day of Jesus’ return in glory. We cannot know, or even predict when that day will be, but it will come. We are already part of that always and this season of preparation is our moment to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand.
My Lord and King
Let us give thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light. He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
It is said that there are 3 kinds of people: Those who MAKE things happen; Those who WATCH what happens; and Those who WONDER what happened.
In today’s Gospel we read of these three sorts of people.
The Roman soldiers, the Chief Priests, the Pharisees, and the other leaders thought they had all the power. They could MAKE anyone die on the cross, and today it is Jesus along with two thieves. They considered themselves as the powerful movers and shakers. They were wrong.
Others stood by to WATCH. There was Mary, the other women who supported Jesus, and John. And, there were the thieves hanging there with Jesus. We could say that they were watching too – they had little choice.
One thief thought he could MAKE things happen. If he could mock and taunt Jesus enough, maybe there would be a grand miracle and he could go on his merry way freed from certain death. He too was wrong.
The other thief wasn’t going to stand by and just WATCH. He was not going to MAKE things happen either, at least not of his own accord. He reached into himself and found the exact kind of humility that REALLY MAKES things happen. He found the strength to place his trust in this Man, hanging next to him, badly beaten, bloody, humiliated, and dying. He saw through the blood and gore to the right and true. He saw that this Man was not just a man; rather He was God’s Son, the Messiah, who MAKES everything happen, Who will save him completely and forever.
That thief reached out in humility. He saw Jesus as the promised King whose power would free Him from death in sin to eternal life. “he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’”
People have stood by for centuries WONDERING what happened. Caught up in sin and hopelessness they have looked at this scene and have failed to trust or find humility before their King Who MAKES all things possible. They have failed to ask Jesus to remember them.
We renew our assurance that Jesus will MAKE things happen in our lives, things that bring us goodness, rest, peace, and freedom from sin. We cannot just WATCH, nor should we WONDER. We must be that 4th kind of person – the men, women, and children of FAITH who ask and are assured.
Please come and join us for Free Lunch on Sunday, November 24th, from 11:30am till 1:30pm. This event is always free and open to all. This month we’re featuring beef stew, sandwiches, desserts, drinks, and kid friendly food. Free Lunch on Sunday is held at Holy Name of Jesus in our parish hall located at 1040 Pearl St., Schenectady (CDTA Route 353 – Pearl Street stop).
- 11/17 – 1 Corinthians 1:8 – Lord Jesus, You sustain me and wash away my transgressions in Your blood. Grant me the grace to stand fast by my faith in You.
- 11/18 – Philippians 1:6 – Lord Jesus, You called me to faith by Your grace. Help me to work diligently; accomplishing the work You called me to do.
- 11/19 – Philippians 1:9-10 – Lord Jesus, by Your grace cause my love to overflow more and more as I come to know You better. Prepare me to stand pure and blameless before You.
- 11/20 – 2 Peter 3:10 – Come Lord Jesus. Grant that I may put faith in what is eternal and not in what is temporary.
- 11/21 – 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 – Lord, grant that I may hold to the true teaching of Your Holy Church. Help me to avoid the speculation of false prophets and those who do not recognize each day as Your day.
- 11/22 – Zephaniah 2:6-7 – Lord, grant me confidence in Your promise of salvation. You told me that You have prepared a place me. Grant me confidence in the beauty and joy that awaits Your faithful.
- 11/23 – Isaiah 2:17 – Lord, You will make all things right. Your justice will prevail. I trust in You.
Pray the week: Jesus, grant that I may cast all my uncertainties, fears, and doubts on You. Grant me certainty by my faith in You.