October 2014 Newsletter – Change is in the Air

September 26th and our newsletter is here four days early! That’s change in-and-of-itself.

October calls us to reflect on the change around us and how God makes all change work for our good. September blessed us with baptisms and first communion as well as the start of our School of Christian living – God bless our young people. Learn about our upcoming craft fair on October 4th and our Rummage Sale on October 18th. October brings many celebrations focused on family and heritage. We invite you be part of those celebrations right here in Schenectady. You may view and download a copy right here — October 2014 Newsletter.

October 2014 Newsletter


Reflection for the First Sunday of the Passiontide – 2014

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Sometimes I just
cry

When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Sir, come and see.” And Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.”

Jesus wept’ at the death of His friend Lazarus. While the most cited passage in scripture of Jesus weeping, it wasn’t the only time He cried. Jesus wept over Jerusalem as He approached the city: “And when he drew near and saw the city he wept over it.” Jesus wept in the garden as He prayed before His betrayal: And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zeb’edee, He began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then He said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with Me.” When Jesus was dying on the cross He felt totally abandoned and alone. He cried out to His Father in deepest sadness: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

There are several interpretations concerning Jesus’ weeping.

Jesus’ tears demonstrate that He was indeed a true man, with real bodily functions (tears, sweat, blood). His emotions and reactions were very human. In His humanity Jesus wept for His friend Lazarus.

Jesus tears also demonstrate the sorrow, sympathy, and compassion He felt for all mankind. Jesus’ tears show the rage he felt against the tyranny of death over mankind.

Jesus’ tears at the graveside showed His sympathy and empathy for all who sorrowed over Lazarus’s death. He was one with them in their sorrow.

Jesus may have cried as well at the fact that those around Him, including Martha, Mary, His apostles and disciples, and the Jewish mourners remained blind to the reality of Jesus as the Messiah. He cried in spirit because even those who were closest to him failed to recognize Him as “the resurrection and the life.

We cry for many of the same reasons. We feel hopeless, abandoned, and sorrowful. We feel compassion and empathy for friends, family, co-workers, and others who are sad. We cry in rage over injustice. We feel hurt when we are not recognized. We cry mostly in regret over our failings and sin; the way we fall short of our commitment to the Gospel.

To cry is to pray. When we pray we cry out to God in both our need and our joy. Today we walk through our failings and face our sins with regret and sadness at having hurt God and others. We weep. Jesus sits with us and weeps with us in sympathy. He holds out His hand with the gift of forgiveness – to relieve our sadness so that our tears of regret are transformed to tears of joy at our renewal.


God bless Ariel Linette

Congratulations and God bless Ariel Linette Dopp on entry into life in Christ through the waters of regeneration in baptism on Saturday, January 11th. God bless her parents Amber & Neal, grandparents, great-grandparents, and godparents Warren & Rebekah.


Reflection for the 3rd Sunday of Advent

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“Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you.”

If we have been watching television over the past several weeks we may have encountered a twenty-four days of Christmas programming marathon. Twenty-four days of non-stop Christmas movies and shows. Among the shows we will certainly encounter Dickenson’s “A Christmas Carol.”

As we recall, his former partner, Jacob Marley, first visits Scrooge. Marley is fettered in heavy chains that he drags behind him. He tells Scrooge that he created these chains throughout his life by his lack of charity and love. We immediately understand and connect. We see our sins and failings as heavy chains that bind us, that prevent us from reaching heavenward.

Jesus told John’s disciples: “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.

In sin we are the poorest of the poor. We are blind. We are crippled. We become deaf to the call of love. We reap the wages of sin, which is death. Amidst all this Jesus comes to save us.

Jesus’ salvation is an ongoing grace in our lives. In Him we find the One who will break the chains that bind us. In Him we find clear vision. In Him we are healed. In Him our ears are opened. In Him we find the guarantee of freedom from death and the hope of resurrection.

Jesus’ offer of salvation requires our cooperation. We have to be willing to lift up the chains that bind us. If we lift them before Him and His Holy Church, and ask forgiveness, He will free us. If we ask Him to hear us in the sacrament of penance, which He entrusted to His ministers, we will be forgiven for: “He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’

Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would strengthen feeble hands and knees and give strength to the frightened. He would come with vindication – freeing us from the accusation brought about by our sin. He would exonerate us completely by paying the price for us.

Jesus came to save you and me. He came to free us, to take the weight from our shoulders, our hands, and our hearts. He came so in freedom we would be ready to stand before Him at His coming.


God Bless Emjai Rose

Yesterday, Saturday, September 21st, we welcomed Emjai Rose into the family of Christ through the sacrament of baptism. It was a wonderful occasion made extra special by the presence of family who were in town. In baptism Emjai joins us in living God’s compelling over-arching story – a story in which we love, honor, serve, and sacrifice, supporting each other in living the life, the story, God calls us to live. God bless you Emjai.


Reflection for the Solemnity of Brotherly Love

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Where does it all
start?

We love, because he first loved us. If any one says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should love his brother also.

Today we celebrate two very wonderful and amazing occasions.

The first is Christina and Nick’s reception of communion. The second is our Church’s Solemnity of Brotherly Love.

These two events could not be more perfectly aligned.

Our love for each other in Jesus’ community – the Holy Church – begins in the perfect unity we find in the Holy Eucharist. Christina and Nick are now part of that communion. Together with us, Christina and Nick are intimately joined with Jesus. We are all made one in His body. Along with us, Christina and Nick will play roles that strengthen the community of faith through mutual love. As St. Peter tells us: As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.

God’s grace is received in a most unique and special way in our communion. His body is more than mere food. In receiving Jesus’ body and blood we are pulled into union with Him at each and every moment of His life. We are there at the last supper, receiving His body and blood. We stand at the foot of His cross. We are at the empty tomb. We see Him ascend into heaven – and we are at His second coming. We have total and complete unity with Jesus AND with each other.

Our roles are not to be thought of as something for our own glorification or advancement, but rather for the glorification and advancement of all the people Jesus has called to be His own.

If we are one in His body and blood, if we share in His grace, if we have Jesus with us, then we must exhibit the fruit of this unity. That fruit is brotherly love.

We cannot participate in communion thinking that it is just Jesus and me. We cannot receive thinking that we are just remembering in the sense of recollection.

When we receive Jesus we must do so with the realization that we our bound to God and each other. We have unity with every Christian who receives Jesus anywhere or at any time. We are not alone. We are not just remembering, but are living in the reality of Christ throughout all of eternity.

God loved us first. Living in union with Him, in communion, means we must love each other. His love is the start and our love for each other is full participation in His life.


First Communion 2013

God bless Christina and Nicholas and congratulations to their families on this blessed occasion. Remember to “do this to be with Me always.”


God Bless You Carson James

On Sunday, August 4th, we welcomed Carson James Hobson into the family of faith through the waters of regeneration in baptism. May our Lord and Savior watch over and protect Carson and continually fill his life with the joy of knowing, loving, and serving Him.



Reflection for Sunday in the Octave of Corpus Christi

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For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

Imagine if we were to walk into our very last class, just before graduation, and the professor says: ‘Forget everything you have ever learned, forget everything you know, and be filled with grace.’

Today, and every Sunday (and in reality every day), we are asked to do that, to surrender our intellectualism, our self-assured knowledge, and enter into the mystery of faith. We are asked to turn ourselves over to the Holy Spirit and to allow ourselves to be filled with the grace God offers us so that we can do much good in His name.

Our friends and close compatriots in the Orthodox Church have beautiful liturgies that call to mind both the majesty and mystery of God presence among us. Their tradition, unlike western tradition, does not rely on over thinking the mystery of God, with attempts to analyze and explain every nuance of God’s presence in our lives, but rather to worship and live trusting in the gift of faith handed down through God’s Word and Church Tradition.

We are in the midst of the Octave of Corpus Christi, eight days set aside to reflect on the mystery of the Body and Blood of Jesus in our lives, this wondrous gift that provides the grace through which we become more and more into the image of Christ.

As we have studied over the past few months, the Holy Mass is the occasion in which we encounter the full reality of Jesus among us. That reality is fully present in the Eucharistic action of the priest and the Christian people. In the Eucharistic action of ‘remembrance’ we live fully present at the Last Supper, at the foot of the Cross, the resurrection and ascension, and finally in Christ’s coming again. We are there with Him, present to Him, He is with us, and we are filled with His grace and tremendous love.

Our reception of the Eucharist in Holy Communion continues the mystery of Jesus in our life as Christians. In Communion we are joined as one. I could be receiving Communion on the moon, you here in Schenectady, each receiving the fullness of Jesus, each joined together as one body in Him. We are not separate and apart, alone in our communion, but together as one.

In these special eight days, and every day, let us forget what we think we know and actively be filled with grace, the glorious mystery of what we become in His Body and Blood.