This week’s memory verse: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” — Joshua 1:9

  • 6/25 – Isaiah 41:10
  • 6/26 – Psalm 34:4
  • 6/27 – Exodus 20:20
  • 6/28 – 1 John 4:4
  • 6/29 – Romans 15:13
  • 6/30 – Romans 8:28
  • 7/1 – Philippians 4:6

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, grant me a spirit of abiding trust in You. May Your strength show forth in my life.

Real, present help.
No fear!

Jesus said to the Twelve: “Fear no one. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.

I have had quite a week. Actually, a week-and-a-half. It has been filled with a constant barrage of work, travel, preparation for Church events. I have been in nine cities in seven days, with two more to go. I will be leaving to chaplain Kurs in less than a week. After that I am off to Baltimore and will be filling in for Fr. Mark at our neighboring parish. This weekend was my son’s high school graduation. We had family and friends with us with all the incumbent preparation that entails. Coincidentally, as we prepared for his graduation party, his first college bill came in the mail. Somewhere in here is a parish committee meeting.

As I read Jesus’ words and prepared for today, I said – this makes total sense. Not just “Fear no one…” but really, with Jesus, fear nothing!

This is one of those scriptures that speaks to us where we are. So it is as we enter Ordinary Time in the Church year. These scriptures will speak to where we are and will urge us to deeper spiritual formation, authentic responses to God’s call in the midst of our challenges, and to a renewed commitment to mission and evangelism.

Today’s scripture translates into a call to fearless witness. How easy it is to get overwhelmed by life, by the many pushes and pulls on our schedules. In the midst of the storm, we are called to remember that Jesus is with us. He is with us to tell us that as long as we cling to Him we will make it through. More than that, we will come out victorious. We are reminded that we can be like Jesus, in the back of the boat, in the midst of the storm – sound asleep and at peace.

Jesus tells us that we need not fear the “hosts of evil” around us however they might show up or appear in our lives. Jesus is with us and in control.

What places us in Gehenna? It is those things we think are greater than God. Is a crazy schedule, travel, messes of meetings and obligations greater than Jesus? Absolutely not! We are to take these challenges and flip them on their head. We are to see and use them as opportunity to deepen our faith in Jesus as our strength. Our authentic response is to freely praise God and to publicly acclaim Christ as Lord over all; giving public account for the hope that is in us. Let us live daily acknowledging, trusting, abiding in, and praising God’s real and present help – no fear.

This weeks memory verse: And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.” — Revelation 19:9

  • 6/18 – Acts 20:11
  • 6/19 – 1 Corinthians 11:27
  • 6/20 – Ezekiel 3:3
  • 6/21 – 1 Kings 17:6
  • 6/22 – Matthew 28:19-20
  • 6/23 – Matthew 18:20
  • 6/24 – Deuteronomy 5:32

Pray the week: Jesus, You are our food and drink. Grant that I may live of life of praise and thankfulness for Your great gift.

Turn up the
dial!

Jesus said to the Jewish crowds: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”

When I was young, it seemed everyone had a big old console stereo system. You may remember these, a really big and long wooden piece of furniture with built-in stereo speakers and all kinds of electronic equipment.

These systems had various doors and hinges that opened sections of the system. They typically had a built-in record player under a hinged top. The front doors would open to access the radio and volume controls. interestingly, these furnishings are making a comeback.

These systems were very elegant, and for me, a great temptation! (especially at home, but not only).

I would sit on the floor before this impressive set of electronics and dream of all sorts of adventures. I could control a spaceship, launch missiles and destroy the Russians, wherever the mind could take me, I could go.

The one thing my fiddling around always seemed to accomplish was the shock and surprise my parents and their guests would get when they turned the system on. Boom! the radio was turned all the way up, and people jumped. So would I when I heard my name called…

For these days, where we particularly reflect on the mystery of the Body and Blood of Jesus, we are called to do what I did with those stereo systems; turn up the volume.

This solemnity offers a unique opportunity to turn up the volume of our praise and worship, to acknowledge a love so great that its giver desired to stay with us forever. During this eight day period, we focus on celebrating and proclaiming more than a mere symbol or a nice memory – who would waste time doing that! We turn up the volume on the truth – the great giver of all love is with us here, now, and forever.

The great giver of love, Jesus Christ, is really present – body, blood, soul, and divinity in what appear to be simple bread and wine. He is in our hands. Sadly, only 40 to 91 percent of catholic churchgoers recognize Jesus. It should never be less than 100%. So, we need to turn up the volume. We need to sing out and proclaim His praises, revel in His presence. Let the world know.

Love isn’t something far off. Our great God allows us to eat His flesh and drink His blood and because of it we have eternal life. This simple fact must fill us, envelop us with such joy that we cannot help but turn up the dial on our praise. We need to live praise filled lives, overwhelmed by the fact that He is so close by, ready for a visit. Call the world to Him by loud thankful praise.

This week’s memory verse: Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory. — 1 Timothy 3:16

  • 6/11 – Colossians 1:26-27
  • 6/12 – Matthew 13:11
  • 6/13 – Deuteronomy 29:29
  • 6/14 – Romans 16:25
  • 6/15 – Job 11:7-9
  • 6/16 – Jeremiah 33:3
  • 6/17 – 2 Peter 3:8

Pray the week: God, our joy and radiance, help us to run to Your mystery and to trust in Your loving embrace.

Falling into the
arms of love.

Brothers and sisters, rejoice. Mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

The quote on our bulletin from Hildegard of Bingen, a 12th century abbess and mystic, is from a longer prayer she wrote. The main part of the prayer states:

You shine with radiant light,
in this circle of earthly existence
You shine so finely,
it surpasses understanding.
God hugs you.
You are encircled by the arms
of the mystery of God.

Trinity Sunday seems to be one of those days in the Church calendar that presents a challenge for us as believers and teachers of the Word. We work so hard to understand everything, to make sense of who God is, and to show our theological and philosophical learnings that we can miss what God is all about.

Our understanding must start with accepting the mystery of God. Our Orthodox brothers and sisters tend to accept the mystery of God in a much more open way. They don’t look to over intellectualize God. Rather, they see the whole life of a Christian as a mystery.

The joy of God’s mystery is the fact that this inestimable, incomprehensible God, this mystery beyond our understanding, encounters us and holds His arms open to us. Remember that He came to us and told us that He wishes relationship with us.

Moses encountered God in the burning bush and on Mount Sinai. In these encounters, he was surrounded by all the power and glory of God. Yet these were the words he heard: “The LORD, the LORD, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.”

In our daily lives, we should reflect back on the prayer of Hildegard. If we have relationship with God we shine brightly. We are different. We have been pulled into relationship with awesome mystery and the key aspect of that mystery is that we can run to it, run into its arms. That is what allows us to be truly radiant.

Over the past several weeks we have worked very hard. The basket social, rummage sale, bread sale. These tasks were done with joy and fellowship, but also added to our stress. We worry over the outcome. Will we have success? Will we live up to past accomplishment? In the face of these concerns, this Trinity Sunday calls us to re-encounter God’s mystery. Paying bills and life can get in the way of being radiant. God calls us back to radiance, back to His arms of love, to fall into His arms today.

Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love.

…and the greatest of these is love. Famous words we recall hearing at almost every wedding. I wonder if St. Paul, in writing to the Church at Corinth, was thinking of pretty words for marriage ceremonies? Likely not, marriage wasn’t even on his radar. Frankly, it wasn’t even on the Church’s radar at that time. Paul cared more about the way Christians interacted with each other and with the world that was awaiting the hope only Jesus could offer. Were Christians, therefore, living and showing the lives the saved and redeemed should be living? We have, in Paul’s words, a certain irony. Words we hear at a wedding – at the beginning of a new sacred vocation for a couple – are words that should inform our vocational lives as Christians. The message of Jesus and of the Christian faith is a call to vocation. We are called to participate full-time, with every breath, in God’s creative and redemptive work. The Christian life is to be vocational to the core. It is a complete and total way of living. As we celebrate and pray in this month of sacred vocations let us remember that each of us is called to the most sacred vocation of all – to love completely as Jesus loved us.

Join us beginning with the celebration of the Church’s birthday at Pentecost, through the post-Easter solemnities, and in enjoying some great fellowship. We will be having our Rummage and Bake Sale, our seniorate Corpus Christi celebration, and we will be gathering bras – that’s right, bras!

You may view and download a copy of our June 2017 Newsletter right here.

This week’s memory verse: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” — Acts 1:8

  • 6/4 – Ephesians 2:8-9
  • 6/5 – Acts 19:1-6
  • 6/6 – 1 John 4:1
  • 6/7 – 1 John 1:3
  • 6/8 – 2 Peter 1:21
  • 6/9 – John 14:26
  • 6/10 – Acts 2:38

Pray the week: Holy Spirit, You live in me. Help me to live up to the awesome gifts You have given me and to witness no matter what.

The power of
Pentecost.

They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.”

In the Book of Genesis, we find the people, the descendants of Noah who survived the great flood, were as one people. They spoke one language. They acted of one accord. They decided to build a tower to reach heaven. They had already regained the arrogance of those destroyed in the flood. They were going to reach heaven without having earned heaven, doing so by their own might and power.

So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Ba’bel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them.

Today we recall the meek Apostles, the women, and family of Jesus in quasi-hiding being empowered to speak every language. They are commissioned by the Holy Spirit to declare the mighty acts of God to the entire world. They do so not regarding any barrier.

The early Church Fathers were the first to see Divine reversal in the events of Pentecost in Jerusalem compared with Babel. At Babel one language was confused; in Jerusalem, many languages become comprehensible. At Babel the people were scattered; in Jerusalem every nation comes together. At Babel, earth arrogantly tried building its way to heaven; in Jerusalem heaven reaches down to earth. At Babel the human ego was condemned; in Jerusalem humanity realizes it can be filled with God. At Babel humanity arrogantly looked at itself; at Pentecost humans are sent out to look for and bring the Good News to others; to all their brothers and sisters.

At Babel the mission was human, the goal was measured in bricks and height. At Pentecost, the mission is God’s. Pentecost means full acceptance of the Holy Spirit’s gifts and using those gifts for God’s work. His work is not to build towers nor to create structures. It is to build the Body of Christ, the Church, by our witness in spite of obstacles or barriers. We are to make Jesus known without regard to language, difference, or background. Pentecost undermines all human plans. Pentecost lived is great witnesses to the mighty acts of God no matter what.

This week’s memory verse: Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted — 2 Timothy 3:12

  • 5/28 – John 15:18
  • 5/29 – Matthew 5:44
  • 5/30 – Matthew 5:10
  • 5/31 – 1 John 3:13
  • 6/1 – Romans 12:17-21
  • 6/2 – 2 Corinthians 4:8-12
  • 6/3 – Hebrews 12:3

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, grant that I may suffer and endure in Your Holy Name so to gain eternal life.