This week’s memory verse: “But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” — Luke 21:36

  • 11/18 – 1 Peter 3:15
  • 11/19 – Romans 13:11
  • 11/20 – Matthew 24:44
  • 11/21 – Luke 12:47
  • 11/22 – Matthew 24:13
  • 11/23 – Proverbs 21:31
  • 11/24 – 1 Peter 1:13

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, grant me the grace and foresight to be prepared for Your return. Allow me to stand among Your elect.

Who lit the
fire?

“In those days after that tribulation the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’ with great power and glory, and then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.”

There are many jobs that require a moment’s notice to be ready. Included are emergency workers, utility crewmen, soldiers and sailors. Today, Jesus speaks of the end of the world. Telling what it will be like, He reminds us that we too have to be ready at a moment’s notice. We will talk today about what we should be ready for and what we should do to prepare.

Our preparation must be centered on belief in Jesus. More easily said than done! It is very difficult for the people to believe in Jesus, not just today, but even when He walked among us. The world questioned and still questions His abilities, background, and leadership. True belief lived begets dedication, proclamation, and a deepening of relationship. We must check in to make sure our belief is doing that in our lives.

If we know Jesus, if we are growing in relationship with Him, we should consider ourselves specially blessed – and be thankful. Jesus promised that He would raise those who do believe in Him on “the last day.” What a great gift, an everlasting gift, a gift for everyone no matter who we are – as long as we believe in the Name of Jesus; no matter where or when, a gift just for us.

What we should be ready for are those things Jesus laid out for us. There is and will be tribulation. There are choices to be made, and we want to be in the group of his elect.

If you have looked into the history of our Church, you would note, as some do with a bit of humor, that our organizer, Bishop Hodur, ‘extinguished the fires of Hell.’ Well not exactly (some took it that way). What he did rather was work to remove fear of Hell fire as the motivator for preparation. We must not have fear as our motivator. Our motivator must be to grow in belief through more intimate knowledge of the grace and glory of God – to know Him, to experience the Holy Spirit, so to desire preparation for what is to come: Us on fire with belief, ready for that moment’s notice, and thankful to be so.

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood

The words above are taken from the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 20, verse 28. St. Paul is meeting with the elders – the Bishop and leadership of the Church in Ephesus. Paul speaks of how he was plotted against, how he held to the truth, and how he preached repentance. Paul focused on the example he set. He is telling the leadership to follow that example – to live it. In other letters, Paul spoke of how he worked for his own bread, how he battled temptations, and how he went willingly into the unknown for Jesus.

Many Roman Catholic faithful have been shocked and disturbed by recent and past revelations of evil doing, abuse, and how those acts have been covered over/covered up for decades. You may be among them, asking: ‘What happened to the example laid down by Paul and the other Apostles?’

All Christian faithful are supposed to live, first are foremost, the life of Jesus. We are all called to walk in the footsteps of the Blessed Virgin and all the saints. Paul did that! We ask again: ‘Shouldn’t the leadership of the worldwide Roman Church be on the same page?’

We feel for you and are sad for your experience. It is heartbreaking to have one’s trust broken repeatedly, to see one’s role models and leaders fall so hard by their own fault.

You may feel conflicted because we are all taught to forgive, to reconcile, but we know there are lines we cannot cross. We know that calls to prayer and fasting among the faithful laity are not enough. Real change is needed now. Meetings months from now isn’t soon enough. Committees and focus groups cannot be left to debate issues without real resolution. Vows of sorrow and pleas for forgiveness do not really change anything unless it is followed by action and significant change. You do not want to just sit in a pew for weeks, months, and years awaiting change. No reasonable person would.

Brothers and sisters,

We offer you an invitation. If you are looking to get away, to take a break for awhile, we can help. We offer you that break, a time away for peace, quiet, and prayer. We offer you solid Catholic worship and a chance to take a step away for healing.

We are not asking you to join our parish, or to leave the Roman Church. Come, pray and worship in surroundings that are comfortable and safe. Then, when you are ready, go back to start anew.

Note that Roman Catholics are allowed to receive the sacraments in our parish under the provisions of Canon 844.2 of the Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law. Canon 844.2 states that the sacraments are lawfully received from a priest in the National Catholic Church: “Whenever necessity requires, or, a genuine spiritual advantage requires it, and provided the danger of error or indifferentism is avoided, Christ’s faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a [Roman] Catholic minister, may lawfully receive the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist, and anointing of the sick from non-[Roman] Catholic ministers in whose churches these sacraments are valid.”

This week’s memory verse: The Lord goes out like a mighty man, like a man of war he stirs up his zeal; he cries out, he shouts aloud, he shows himself mighty against his foes. — Isaiah 42:13

  • 11/11 – Judges 6:12
  • 11/12 – Psalm 144:1
  • 11/13 – Matthew 28:19
  • 11/14 – Jeremiah 20:11
  • 11/15 – Revelation 19:11-14
  • 11/16 – Ephesians 6:10-18
  • 11/17 – Revelation 1:4-7

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, grant that I may be all-in for You. Help me to see and know the strength and bravery already in me for Your glory!

All
in.

A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”

Before I begin discussion of today’s readings and Gospel, I am going to clue you in on next week; give you a preview of what is to come. It is, in fact, about what is to come: “And then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’ with great power and glory”

The widow in today’s Gospel had all that in mind. She knew it before Jesus even said it. It was written on her heart. The end will come. God will gather His elect. Where will I stand? She decided to stand with God’s warriors; with those who were, and are today, all in.

Many gloss over today’s gospel as a lesson in generosity, about giving to the church. There is that lesson which is pretty easy to grasp. As Christians however, we are asked to look beyond mere appearance, outward signs, to what lies beneath. In the Gospel according to St. John, Jesus tells us: “Stop judging by outward appearances, and start judging justly.” Jesus wants us to get at deeper truth, the full impact of His Good News.

Going deeper into the Word of God calls us to go deeper into His life giving way. We are called to do as the widow did, to throw it all in, to say – nothing is more valuable than God’s way, to walk with Him in complete faith and confidence.

Oh, how we long for miracles. Our hearts desire healing, safety, the good of children and family, long life, financial freedom, love, comfort, security, and so much else. Yet, when we are called to be fierce warriors for God, to proclaim His name, to gather souls, to stand for God’s truth and justice over opinion and politics… Do we throw it all in? Do we go all the way? Do we believe in His miracles? Do we trust?

These are hard choices. It is a choice one poor widow made in the Temple, a choice another poor widow made in giving the last of her water, oil, and flour to an unknown holy man. They went all in in the presence of the Holy. That is the deeper truth, recognizing God’s ask and doing it. We are called to that kind of faith and courage – to all-in warrior status for God.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

The month of November is dedicated to remembering our dearly departed. As I reflect on this month, I cannot help but pause to consider what will happen to me. I do not do this to be morbid or to dwell on dark things, in fact I try to focus on those I will leave behind. I guess that’s one of those habits of a part time genealogist. I also like to annoy my family by telling them the songs I would like played at the post funeral repast. The one song I would love to have played is “Knocking On Heaven’s Door.” Any version is fine: Bob Dylan, Guns N’ Roses, or Eric Clapton. I particularly like Warren Zevon’s version or the Polish version by Babsztyl – “Pukając do nieba bram.” We often feel we are standing just outside heaven’s door. We stand there knocking. This takes two forms. One form of knocking is the kind we do every day – looking for reasons, seeking help, trying to get to an answer. The other form of knocking is the one we anticipate doing. What it will be like when I get there. Will I be left on the porch, at the gate, knocking and waiting? The hardest thing to get in our walk of faith is the sort of confidence that tells us ‘the door will be open.’ Yet, that is what Jesus promises us. The words above, taken from Matthew, Chapter 7, are the start of His promise. Jesus goes on to say: “For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” He goes on to describe how our Heavenly Father will provide good to those who ask. He didn’t say these things so we would wonder or be fearful. In the Polish version, the singer cries out: Błagam Panie otwórz mi Zanim mrok pochłonie mnie. [I beg You, Lord, open the door Before darkness consumes me.] As we face this month of memory, and perhaps some self-reflection, let us take time to ask Jesus to reinforce our confidence. Let us realize we are never outside the door. We don’t have to knock, He has already opened the door for us.

Our newsletter discusses the month of November, the remembrance of our dearly departed, and includes a memorial for our former Pastor, Rt. Rev. śp. Stanley Bilinski, who entered his eternal rest just as the month began. Taking a simultaneously somber and hopeful approach, our newsletter covers events throughout the month. We prepare for the mailing of our Valentine’s Raffle tickets, the events of Advent, and two beautiful reflections on sharing our faith – plus one positive missionary step each of us can take. We also wish everyone a great Thanksgiving. Consider using the prayer included in the Newsletter.

Check out all this and more in our November 2018 Newsletter.

This week’s memory verse: And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment — Philippians 1:9

  • 11/4 – 1 Corinthians 14:33
  • 11/5 – James 1:5
  • 11/6 – Colossians 2:8
  • 11/7 – Psalm 119:125
  • 11/8 – Proverbs 2:1-5
  • 11/9 – 1 John 2:27
  • 11/10 – James 3:17

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, grant me the grace to stay in dialogue with You so that I may spread word of Your law of love and your kingdom.

In
dialogue.

And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

Today’s reading and gospel ask us to realize the power of dialogue with Jesus. The dictionary tells us that dialogue, used as a noun, is a conversation between two or more people, especially one directed toward exploration of a particular subject or resolution of a problem. It goes on to point out all the synonyms for dialogue: conversation, talk, discussion, interchange, discourse, debate, or consultation. As a verb, dialogue means to take part in a conversation or discussion to resolve a problem.

Looking at these definitions, we see relationship is essential to dialogue. One must enter into dialogue with another, be part of it rather than just a subject of it – i.e., being talked at. Dialogue has an aim, it is not just entertainment – i.e., listening and speaking for the sake of words alone. Dialogue is about going deeper in learning and toward resolution of questions or problems.

Jesus enters into dialogue with the Scribe. The Scribe asks a question and he and Jesus have a back and forth exchange of ideas that leads to understanding. At the end, the Scribe gained understanding and both the Scribe and Jesus speak with joy.

The previous encounters between Jesus and the religious and political leaders were never a dialogue. Those were meant to entrap Jesus by stealth. Jesus silenced them. The one person who breaks the pattern is the Scribe. He enters genuine dialogue – he is close to the kingdom because he used the chance of dialogue to get closer to real understanding.

We have heard Jesus’ teachings. Now we too must break through and go deeper to real understanding of what it means to bring about the kingdom – the truth of God’s Law of love.

Bishop Stan entered dialog with Jesus. He went deeper with Jesus to understand the kingdom. He had questions answered. He met with Jesus, spoke regularly with Him, and came to understand the work Jesus was calling him to do to grow His kingdom. He worked diligently, taking those ongoing dialogues with Jesus and bringing them into his dialogue with us, with our Church’s youth, with our community. Let us take this time to honor him by taking his example to heart and living in dialogue toward the kingdom.

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

  • 10/28 – Deuteronomy 31:6
  • 10/29 – 1 Corinthians 16:13
  • 10/30 – Psalm 27:14
  • 10/31 – 2 Timothy 1:7
  • 11/1 – Proverbs 28:1
  • 11/2 – John 16:33
  • 11/3 – Philippians 4:13

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, grant me courage in the face of the world, that I may speak unafraid, not counting the cost, always ready to go.

Faith
lived.

“Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.” He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.

Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, a son of Israel had faith. Indeed, scripture notes that his faith saved him.

Bartimaeus had an amazing faith. It was a faith that allowed him to shout when others preferred silence. It was a faith that motivated him to throw aside his cloak – maybe his only earthly possession. It was a faith that motivated him to follow Jesus’ way. That we should have such faith! This is faith that is unafraid, courageous, not counting the cost, ready to go.

Friends, we are called to exactly that kind of faith in the face of anger, prejudice, political opinion, and current events. Our country and our world are turned upside down. Our ability to look past labels has been blurred. Our call to love each person as another self – to welcome each person as we would welcome Christ… What happened to that?

We spent a week in the midst of bomb scares. Yesterday, eleven killed and eight more wounded. Our elder brothers and sisters in faith come to worship God and celebrate community are slaughtered. We listen to the voice of self-interested politicians taking Jesus’ name in vain, creating an unholy drumbeat of prejudice and greed. We must in turn be more like Bartimaeus. We must stand witness to the truth of Jesus’ teaching – As I have loved you, so you must love one another. The greatest love you can show is to give your life for your friends.

In 1938, Dietrich Bonhoeffer commented to a colleague, “If the synagogues are set on fire today, it will be the churches that will be burned tomorrow.” At the same time, Catholic priest Bernhard Lichtenberg declared from the pulpit “Let us pray for the persecuted ones… Outside, the temple is in flames. That too is a place of worship to God.” He included all Jews in his prayers and for that he was arrested, imprisoned for two years, released, arrested again and killed on the way to Dachau. They lived the faith as Bartimaeus did. So must we. “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling us.”