This week’s memory verse: Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:58
  • 10/20 – James 1:12
  • 10/21 – James 1:2-4
  • 10/22 – Psalm 112:7
  • 10/23 – Titus 2:2
  • 10/24 – 2 Peter 1:5-8
  • 10/25 – Hebrews 6:18
  • 10/26 – Galatians 6:9

Pray the week: Lord, grant that we may remain in You, doing Your work, steadfast, unmoved from the path of life You have provided. Prosper us Lord!

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, Who will judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingly power: proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.

Paul is once again charging Timothy to remain strong and faithful in his ministry to his people. Paul reminds Timothy, as he has been doing, of what he learned. Paul does these recaps before he enters into the strong charge his listeners are called and recalled to.

Paul tells Timothy: Remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, because you know from whom you learned it

Now Paul was not necessarily referring to himself – you’ve got to get this, believe it, and live it just because I took the time to teach you. Paul never stood on his own words. Rather, Paul is helping Timothy to remember that his heart was touched, his soul was moved, by the Holy Spirit who imparted God’s word to him. This word – the Gospel of Jesus – has affected your life from the beginning. It has changed the course of your life and outcomes you would have otherwise been destined for.

Because God’s word comes to us by proclamation, through the insistence of faithful teachers, by the example of mentors, in ways that are ever human and ordinary, we can easily miss Who it is that is imparting the word. Paul reminds Timothy and us – you know from whom you learned it.

If we realize the source, the rest of Paul’s set of directives becomes easy: proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching. If this thing I have, that we have, is from God it will prosper by our persistence and dedication, by our patience and teaching.

Jesus brings this all home. He uses the example of the worst of the worst doing right to show us how much more our great, powerful, all just, all merciful God will do for His faithful. He will prosper our proclamation, teaching, persistence, in good times or bad, work. All we need do is ask with faith.

What we ask in faith is not just some poor request from an underling – please support me if You get a moment God. No, it is a word of power from us who remain in Jesus. Jesus guarantees we will see it done speedily. Believe that!  

This week’s memory verse: “And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

2 Corinthians 6:18
  • 10/13 – Proverbs 22:6
  • 10/14 – Genesis 2:24
  • 10/15 – 1 John 4:7
  • 10/16 – Ephesians 3:14-15
  • 10/17 – Acts 2:39
  • 10/18 – Joshua 24:15
  • 10/19 – John 17:21

Pray the week: Lord, bless and prosper every family united with You. Draw those who do not know You so that they share in our inheritance.

Merry
joymas.

He went down with them and came to Nazareth.

Merry joymas! We still have 72 days until the Solemnity of the Nativity, till Christmas. We are currently living in the secular season of Hallowthanksmas.

The Urban Dictionary defines this time as: “the holiday celebrating the most wonderful time of the year, October through December. It is a time of great warmth, sharing, parties, and of great American commercialism. People complain about overlapping holidays, but why? Embrace it as Hallowthanksmas!”

Those who wish to rile up the crowds un-celebrate this time by reminding us of Jesus being the ‘reason from the season’ and that we should always and everywhere wish everyone Merry Christmas … and not Happy Holidays. Churches jump on the bandwagon too, yet here we are, celebrating the Solemnity of the Christian Family in mid-October with scripture taken from a gospel heard in the Christmas season. We must be weird. We aren’t on the frontlines saying let ‘Christmas be Christmas.’ Rather, we are placing ourselves in the middle of the Christmas story today.

In the great grace of the Incarnation, the Son of God places Himself squarely in the middle of the human experience. The fullness of His being as true God and true man shows God’s infinite love for us, His infinite mercy, justice and power, and the Divine wisdom of His saving action. Not to save and go, stop and shop, but to join Himself totally with us so that He could model the way forward, the way we can follow as His fellow human beings. The way of family.

Those posting the memes of Jesus being the ‘reason from the season,’ those little sayings we see online or hear in conversation, have stumbled on a bit of wisdom. Jesus is indeed the reason for the season, but not just Christmas, f or every season. He is the way and the model for each and every day.

Today we place ourselves in the midst of that young Holy Family. Today we recognize that His way is the way for the totality of our existence and experience. In the Incarnation, among all the aspects of our humanity, God, Who lives as family, chose family. As our opening prayer teaches: “through family life we learn to love and care for others, we are everyone’s kin.” Today we celebrate this great gift of God’s family way of life, the way Jesus modeled. The way we must live. Happy joymas! 

This week’s memory verse: For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:21
  • 10/6 – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
  • 10/7 – Psalm 73:25-26
  • 10/8 – 1 Corinthians 10:31
  • 10/9 – Romans 12:11
  • 10/10 – Psalm 84:2
  • 10/11 – Philippians 2:2
  • 10/12 – John 14:12

Pray the week: Lord, stir up in me zeal for your gospel and strengthen me to carry out Your work with passion each day.

Stir it
up.

stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. 

St. Paul is writing a closing letter to the Bishop he installed over the Church in Ephesus. Timothy had been Paul’s student and coworker, traveling on Paul’s missionary journeys. Timothy learned from Paul and like Paul was filled with zeal for the faith. He wanted people to know about Jesus, and like him, to leave all behind to follow Jesus. Timothy cowrote some of Paul’s letters to the Churches and he was entrusted with important missions. After being installed as bishop, he oversaw the Church in Ephesus for thirty-three years.

In spite of all this, the co-work, zeal, the fact he left everything behind for Jesus, Paul issues this last letter filled with reminders. Included therein, thankfulness for Timothy’s work, today’s reminder on the gifts Timothy received, examples of the suffering Paul endured as a reminder that Timothy will also be called on to suffer at times, reminders about proper conduct as a witness to the power of the gospel, the care Timothy must use in facing the dangers of the last days, and a reminder of the reward that awaits him.

While only four very short chapters, this letter reminded Timothy, and reminds us, of the deep obligation incumbent on us to preach the word and to make Jesus known with patience, courage, constancy, and endurance. We have the gifts to do all this and more even in the face of opposition, hostility, indifference, and defection.

I mentioned, in spite of all this… Timothy could have said, look at all I have done. I don’t really need reminders. But he did and so do we. In reality it is far beyond reminders. Stirring it up is more than someone helping us recollect what we are called to. It is igniting our passion – passion for Jesus’ way of life. Passion that calls us to exemplify, in even the smallest of things, the gospel life. Passion that will not help but cause us to sing out rejoicing in our salvation. Passion that will not let us sit by and let any go unsaved.

Paul called Timothy, as he was called by Jesus. He passes those words to us: Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us. Reach up! Stir it up!

This week’s memory verse: But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused.’

Luke 14:18
  • 9/29 – Revelation 3:15-17
  • 9/30 – Proverbs 1:32
  • 10/1 – Isaiah 32:9
  • 10/2 – Hebrews 2:3
  • 10/3 – 1 Corinthians 10:12
  • 10/4 – Ezekiel 28:2
  • 10/5 – Hebrews 6:12

Pray the week: Lord, grant me the gut check I need so that I am not complacent, but rather zealous for You and Your kingdom.

Gut
check.

I charge you before God, who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus, who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate for the noble confession, to keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ

Today, the Holy Church in choosing its readings and Gospel, provides us with three quick punches to the gut, a real gut check.

Amos once again is prophesying against the failures of God’s people. Imagine, God Who loves His people deeply, is forced to look at the wholesale disregard, the coldness, His people live in. Their hearts grew distant, not just from Him and His love, but from their very neighbors. The world was falling to pieces around them. Leaders, faithless and self-centered. As long as they were comfortable, nothing else mattered. There was increasing disparity between the very wealthy and the very poor. God witnesses the glaring lack of social justice, a society living on corruption and the oppression of the poor and helpless. Even religion was corrupted, every belief and practice blended together to please the crowds. The wealthy and well-heeled thought that the superficial stuff they did could stave off economic failure, distress (for the rich), and invasion. They didn’t have to dedicate their whole selves to God; they only had to go through the motions. Amos points them to the natural and supernatural consequences of living that way. His words were echoed by Dr. Martin Luther King and others who call us back to covenant with God, to get out of our complacency and back to where we must be if we truly love the God who saves us. Gut check.

In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he reminds Timothy of his call in the fullness of the Apostolic Priesthood. No, the clergy are not exempt from living fully in Jesus, to being 100% witnesses to His salvation. He warns people like me to put aside all complacency: But you, man of God, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Gut check.

Jesus’ parable of Lazarus and the rich man runs a total of 295 words, with 21% dedicated to the set-up, and 79% dedicated to outcomes. As with anyone facing up to their consequences, the bed they made, all the bargaining in eternity makes no difference. Jesus tells us that if we are His we get it. We have listened and have not put off doing. Too late? No, but our gut check time is now. Let us set to work!

In commemoration of St. Francis of Assisi, Holy Name of Jesus at 1040 Pearl Street, Schenectady, will hold a Blessing of the Pets on Sunday, October 6th at both 9:30am and 11:30am Holy Mass.

People often ask: Is it ok to bring my pet to church with me? Can they actually come in the church? Our answer is YES! You Can. Yes! They can.

Bring your pet (dogs, cats, hamsters, gerbils, birds, fish, ferrets, turtles, lizards, any beloved animal) with you to Holy Mass or a special St. Francis blessing. They will be blessed individually as part of a special service that honor God’s creation and also recalls those beloved pets we may have lost.

Blessed are you, Lord God, Maker of all living creatures, On the fifth and sixth days of creation you called forth fish in the sea, birds in the air and animals on the land. You inspired St. Francis to call all animals his brothers and sisters. We ask you to bless these animals. By the power of your love enable them to live according to your plan. May we always praise you for all your beauty in creation. Blessed are you, Lord our God, in all your creatures! Amen.

If you wish, bring a pet food or treat to donate. They will be donated to a local humane rescue shelter.

Artist and Ithaca resident Mary Michael Shelley (AKA Folk Art Mary) will have a rare retrospective show of her hand carved and painted artwork this fall at New York Folklore, located at 129 Jay Street in downtown Schenectady.  There will be an artist meet and greet, carving demonstration and light refreshments on Friday, October 4th from 3 PM to 5:30 PM.   Works in the show will span 30 years and chart the development of the artist’s work.

Shelley lives in Ithaca, NY, the heart of the Finger Lakes region. She has been making her carved picture stories for 45 years and has produced more than 2,000 works, many of them featuring New York upstate themes.

The artist’s work is in the American Folk Art Museum, the American Museum in Britain, the High Museum, The Smithsonian Institution (White House Easter Egg Collection), and The National Museum of Women and the Arts, The Fenimore Art Museum (Cooperstown, NY) and Women’s Rights National Historical Park (Seneca Falls, NY), and on summer weekends at the Ithaca Farmer’s Market.

The exhibit will be at New York Folklore through early January, 2020.  New York Folklore is open 10AM to 4PM, Tuesday through Saturday, and 10AM to 2PM Sundays.  Please contact us at 518-346-7008, or through our website for additional information.