December 2013 Newsletter

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.

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Next Soup on Sunday, April 28th

Our next Soup on Sunday Event will be held Sunday, April 28th from 11:30am – 1:30pm featuring chicken soup this month.

Soup on Sunday is held at Holy Name of Jesus Parish Hall, 1040 Pearl St. (between Crane and Chrisler Avenues), Schenectady (CDTA Route 354, Pearl St. stop).

Soup on Sunday is the last Sunday of every month. Come enjoy a great bowl of homemade soup and a beverage, sandwiches (plus more) in a safe place. Take out available. Everyone is welcome. Soup on Sunday is absolutely FREE!!!

Soup on Sunday Flyer

A Prayer for Veteran’s Day

We thank Thee, Lord, for America, our home. We bless Thee for the liberty, the opportunity, and the abundance we share. But above all we praise Thee for the traditions which have made our country great, and for the patriots who have laid the foundations through faith, courage, and self-sacrifice. Teach us in our own day the meaning of citizenship, and help us to be faithful stewards of the responsibility which Thou entrusted to us. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. — A Prayer for our Country from A Book of Devotions and Prayers According to the Use of the Polish National Catholic Church

Reflection for the 32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

I’ve been drafted!
I will go and serve.

“‘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.'”

The widow of Zarephath and the widow who contributed to the treasury both did incredible acts of charity. Both gave totally of themselves for the good of others. They gave all they had, not out of surplus. In their giving they placed their faith in the God who provides, God who the psalmist says:

…keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry, sets captives free, gives sight to the blind, raises up those who were bowed down, loves the just, protects strangers, who sustains the fatherless and the widow.

As we reflect today, on this Veterans Day we should recall that our veterans, our service men and women have done exactly the same. Even if wealthy, they decided to place their all on the line to serve – not just their country – but the cause of freedom for their brothers and sisters.

Whatever we do, we have the God given freedom to decide. When drafted, we might choose to go, just because of the law. When we are confronted with Jesus’ command to love and serve others, whether we are clergy or laity, we may follow His commandments just because we are afraid of God’s punishment. That may be sufficient – to follow the law, or to do because we are afraid of punishment, but our faith calls us to do these things out of a greater purpose.

That purpose is God’s call to love, to lean on Him who is our protector, advocate, strength, and teacher.

When we decide to ‘go and serve,’ to give our all, we fulfill the commandment of love – loving God by doing His will and loving our brothers and sisters to the point of sacrificing ourselves for them.

The widows did that. The widow chose to prepare bread and give water to Elijah even though she and her son would be left with almost nothing. The widow gave her last pennies to the treasury for charity.

Jesus had portrayed the religious leaders who feigned piety; accepted honor from people, and stole from widows as living without love, without even acting out of obligation to the law or fear of the Lord. They chose wrongly – and served themselves, not love.

Our call is to live like our veterans, in love and service toward others – and to do so out of love. Let us honor them for their right choice and choose rightly ourselves.

Reflection for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

What did you do for me?
I served you.

“You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.”

Jesus’ disciples came to Him looking for special favors. They wanted to have positions of power, authority, and glory in the kingdom. They even offered to sacrifice a little today if they could have that promise.

Jesus turned the tables on them and used their request to teach them the true message of the kingdom. We aren’t to seek glory, honors, power, and notoriety. Instead, we are to give all we have, even our lives, in service and sacrifice for others. Only then will we come to know the glory of the kingdom. It is a glory where we give completely of ourselves for others. In turn, we are made rich through their giving, serving, and sacrificing for us. Mutual sacrifice is the way of life in the kingdom.

Our first two readings point to the fact that this type of sacrifice, this kind of giving, is not something our Lord and God demand of us as subjects. It is all captured in the key phrase – You know how it is with those who are recognized as rulers…

We do know how it is, right down to this day. Leaders demand obedience, work for personal enrichment, and do favors for “friends” who do favors for them. Money fuels power, and power rewards money.

God came to us, God who has absolute power, glory, and authority, and emptied Himself completely. He was made low, served all, and was completely crushed. In giving His life – He brought us to eternal life. He lost everything so that we might have everything.

The Letter to the Hebrews reminds us that we have a high priest, Jesus, who sympathizes with our weaknesses, because He faced the same weaknesses – facing them without sin.

Because of this there is no barrier between us and the ultimate power, authority, and glory of God. We may fully and confidently approach the throne of grace, because God will lower Himself from that throne to lift us up. He will serve us, heal us, have mercy on us, forgive us, wash our feet and feed us. He will do it all for us because we are worth that much to Him.

We must follow His example, and lower ourselves, serving and lifting others in sacrificial love.

Volunteers needed

Once again, we turn to the parish family and ask for assistance in the liturgical and parochial tasks we share as a community:

  • Altar Servers- This ministry is open to all who have made their First Holy Communion. If you would like to begin training for this ministry, please give your name to Father Stan.
  • Lectors- This ministry is open to all adult members of our parish, including those who have made their Confirmation. Additionally, if you would like to enter into this ministry, please give your name to Father Stan.
  • Women’s Society for The Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament – We are always looking for more of our parish women to join this long-standing organization. We thank the women thus organized for their ministry thus far in the service of our Lord and to this Parish. Please consider this invitation.
  • Saturday Night Workers – We are entering into a new chapter in our efforts on Saturday evening. We could always use some extra help, even if you can only give a few hours between 5-7 pm. If you can offer these or a few more, please see Father Stan.