And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.

Colossians 3:15

Welcome to this celebration of our thanksgiving.

What is expected here is the most boring and irrelevant homily / sermon ever created, which we have all heard at least 42 times (I’m guessing the average age here is 42 – and that means 42 Thanksgivings with Jesus jammed in there via a service and a sermon).

Here the preacher expounds on all the things we have to be thankful for – the stuff, the family around us, friends, our Church, and safe travels. Maybe some good luck at the casino?

Having heard all that, what are you and I left to walk away with? What has God given to be thankful for today, and for the times ahead? How is God equipping us to live everyday as His faithful followers and disciples, living in peace and thanksgiving?

Tough questions.

St. Paul was faced with a tough situation. The Church at Colossae (Colossians live in Colossae) was confused, distracted, ill-informed, going through the motions, and even getting the motions wrong. Sounds familiar? It sounds much like our lives today, even churches today. When do we catch a break?

Hey, here comes Thanksgiving. Perhaps we could get a break at Thanksgiving?

As we get nearer that day we hope to take a moment away from confusion, distraction, mis-information, and the day-to-day routines, the going through the motions, and even messing those up. We hope for respite. But one day won’t do it. The peace of Christ and thanksgiving won’t be made permanent in our lives by an annual observance.

Thanks be to God for St. Paul. As he did for the Colossians, so he does for us today. He’s writing to refocus us.To get us out of lives based on being fooled – and set on where we need to be and really want to be. Paul is working to equip us as Christ followers and disciples, to live everyday changed and on fire for God’s way of life, and to live our lives in true peace and thanksgiving.

Here’s Paul’s keys to the life we really want, to lives marked by ongoing peace and thanksgiving. Paul does this through what we call a bridge.

The musicians here, and those musically inclined know what a bridge is. It is a transformative musical statement connecting one section of music to the next.

The first section of Paul’s music is how we live together. He says: Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 

This is about how we live together as Christ’s followers and His disciples. Think of the cure that is here. We are made right with God and each other by living lives of compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another, forgiving each other by wearing lives wrapped in love. This kind of life binds everything together in perfect harmony. This is the first verse of the song. This is the equipment we need to get over confusion, distraction, mis-information, and day-to-day routines. These are the tools we have right now to draw in those who will only know Jesus through who we are. We no longer just go through the motions, we make the motions, we change life around us into lives of Christ centered peace and thanksgiving. Let this be the way we call the tune.

Then comes the bridge followed by the second verse: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Living lives of discipleship, being true full time followers of our Lord and Savior, Jesus, we focus on scripture and gathering. We teach each other, show the way forward through the wisdom we have gained, and then gather together to sing psalms and hymns with hearts focused on God the Father through His Son Jesus.

See, the bridge: And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful is the link between love of each other and toward all people and the loving and thankful service we need to completely focus on God. The “peace of Christ” ruling in our hearts binds us in the way that is more than a sermon, but rather is our toolkit for life. Equipped to live as faithful followers and disciples gives us cause to be truly thankful.

And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Wholeness, completeness – words that present a sense of the ideal, and concepts that are so hard to live on a day-to-day basis. As a Church dedicated to scripture, and considering that we classify the proclamation and teaching of God’s word as a sacrament. let’s take a moment to consider the Bible. I remember classes from grade school on up – and the oft repeated question – what is the Bible? The expected, technical answer, which most kids got wrong? The Bible is a Book of Books. A Book of Books? Makes it seem as if the Bible is a kind of library, and indeed it could be considered that. However, my classmates and I would invariably get the ‘answer’ wrong, blurting out – “It is a book.” But what if we were right? My classmates and I were right because perhaps, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we were seeing the bigger picture, the completeness, the wholeness of scripture. All of scripture, from its inspired stories, histories, prophecies, and poetry in the Old Testament is one. It points invariably to the coming salvation found only in Jesus Christ. The Gospels give us Jesus in His complete revelation – the call to live life as He lived, the call to be a true sons and daughters of the Father as He is the Son of the Father. The invitation to accept Him as our Savior by confession of our sin and belief by faith. The remainder of the New Testament interprets the Gospel into keys for daily living within the wholeness of the Christian community. We dedicate the month of November to remembering our dearly departed. We have a lesson here. The wholeness and completeness of scripture is life’s model, who we are and where we are going. Life is not a series of separate stories and events, just a book of books, or unrelated chapters. Our life extends from birth to eternity. We are not just separate people and events. We live in a continuum that has, as its goal and end, life in the eternal wholeness and completeness of God Who holds all things together.

November and days of remembrance, days of honor and prayer, days of Thanksgiving. We have an active schedule throughout the month including the most important aspect of our life together – regular worship and fellowships that renews and strengths us for the totality of our life in Jesus.

Read more in our November 2019 Newsletter.

“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.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

The Church dedicates the month of November to the memory of the faithful departed. This is a wonderful tradition through which the prayers of the faithful living help to guide those that have died to eternal life into heaven. The words above, from Revelation 21:4, give us a glimpse of what is in store for those already journeying to heaven after death, and for us – the faithful living. Frankly, it will be beyond wonderful, exhilarating, and amazing. Pure, eternal, constant joy and glory for the faithful. Reflecting on all these things should cause us to consider our faithfulness more fully. The rewards for faithfulness are great, yet sometimes it can seem so hard to remain so, especially in the face of significant challenges. These challenges are like small ‘deaths’ in our lives. It can range from sickness to breakups, economic challenges to interpersonal conflicts. Sometimes, these small ‘deaths’ make us feel alone – and that is the enemy’s work. The enemy wishes to separate us, to accuse us (I’m not good enough; No one will understand; No one will like me now; I am unworthy of God; I can’t possibly go to church; It’s better if I stay away). A funny thing happens when we let faithfulness – born out of prayer and perseverance – overcome our fears, overcome the enemy, the accuser. When faithfulness prevails, when we step back into church, we find the start of healing and the comfort of fellowship. The sacraments bring us the special graces we need for strength and renewal. The key to faithfulness is to not allow small ‘deaths’ to separate us from God’s house and family. This month, as we commemorate and look to the example of the faithful departed, let us redouble our faithfulness so that we too will be prepared to enter that place where all ‘deaths’ end and where there is no more mourning, crying, or pain.

Join us in November as we celebrate our thanksgiving to God and continue our Fall activities. We so look forward to seeing you.

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

I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life

We recall the example of the Apostles who proclaimed under persecution: “We must obey God rather than men.” As we consider our vote, let us consider a beautiful garment or a warm blanket. Each thread makes up the whole garment or blanket. Each is vital to its appearance and its strength. Christian moral positions and teaching are like that. We cannot pick out a few threads and consider them more important than the others. The sanctity of life – conception to natural death – peace, freedom, economic justice, the family in God’s image, health care for all, environmental responsibility bear equal weight. As we pray and consider, let us find those candidates who will obey God.

Join us throughout November for great prayer, the remembrance of our dearly departed, and wonderful fellowship. It is the Month of All Souls, Come pray for our country at a series for weekday Holy Masses with a Novena at 8am from October 31st through November 8th. Send in your Polish Food Sale orders. Join us as we host the Mohawk Valley Seniorate Thanksgiving Celebration on Saturday, November 19th at 11 am with Thanksgiving Holy Mass followed by a free Luncheon. All that and more… See this month’s newsletter.

You may view and download a copy of our November 2016 Newsletter right here.

Now Thank We…

As I reflect this special day, I cannot help but give thanks to God for our beautiful family in the faith right here in Schenectady. I have been so blessed to minister to all of you and our wider community. I wish on this day that many more may find the Lord — come to know, love, and serve Him — among us so that they too would know the same joy that fills my heart.

thanksgiving-give-thanks4

Now thank we all our God,
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom this world rejoices;
who from our mothers’ arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us;
and keep us still in grace,
and guide us when perplexed;
and free us from all ills,
in this world and the next.

All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given;
the Son, and him who reigns
with them in highest heaven;
the one eternal God,
whom earth and heaven adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.

Now Thank We All Our God
Text: Martin Rinkart; Trans. by Catherine Winkworth
Music: Johann Cruger; Harm. by Felix Mendelssohn

Free Lunch – Sunday, November 24th

Please come and join us for Free Lunch on Sunday, November 24th, from 11:30am till 1:30pm. This event is always free and open to all. This month we’re featuring beef stew, sandwiches, desserts, drinks, and kid friendly food. Free Lunch on Sunday is held at Holy Name of Jesus in our parish hall located at 1040 Pearl St., Schenectady (CDTA Route 353 – Pearl Street stop).

Free Lunch on Sunday Flyer

Thankful for

Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. — 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

To all our members, parishioners, benefactors, friends, neighbors, brothers and sisters in Christ, and all who dwell with us in our land,

On behalf of our Parish Committee and myself, I pray that your Thanksgiving celebration is filled with great joy, togetherness, and time to reflect on the many blessings we share in. May your day and travels be safe.

We are so thankful for each of you, for your fellowship enriches each of us. Our mutual work for the kingdom becomes an occasion for rejoicing because of you. You are in our prayers of thanksgiving this day and every day.

As we reflect today, we recount these many blessings received, in material things, but most importantly in the gift of true fellowship and freedom found in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. All thanksgiving and praise be His.

— Deacon Jim

Reflection for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

We thank You Lord.
…and anticipate Your coming.

“‘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'”

It is the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and our readings focus on the end times, the second coming of Jesus. It can seem like a scary and even depressing subject when we want to focus on celebrating.

When we hear Jesus speak of these images of darkness, falling stars, and the heavens being shaken we are shaken. Daniel reminds us that these will be times of “surpassing distress.

We grow a little frightened, what if Jesus were really to come tomorrow, or in the next hour, or minute? We certainly may consider ourselves unprepared.

Maybe we are prepared for Thanksgiving. The turkey is purchased, the potatoes, yams, vegetables, those special items unique to our family traditions are stored away. But are we prepared to meet Jesus when He returns?

As we approach Thanksgiving, let’s prepare ourselves; fill ourselves with a spirit of thankfulness. Let that thankfulness include a sense of praise and anticipation for Jesus’ coming.

Whatever the events that will precede the glorious appearance of Jesus with the angelic cohort, we should gladly celebrate Jesus’ promise and be thankful for it. We know that when He comes we will be ready to be drawn to His side.

We are the people Daniel speaks of because of our faith in Jesus. “The wise who shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament, those who lead the many to justice who shall be like the stars forever.

Like the psalmist, we can declare that the Lord is our inheritance. What a wonderful thing to be thankful for, an inheritance with God forever in His kingdom.

As we pray this Thanksgiving let us set aside our concern over the events of the end times. Any fantastic theories and predictions about the end of the world and return of Christ are worthless. Instead, praise God and be thankful for the spirit of renewal, which prepares us for Jesus. Pray Maranatha – a word meaning, “Come, O Lord.” This prayer asks for the speedy and early return of Christ.

Build desire and thankfulness for the Second Coming. This is our preparation. To live in the hope that strengthens and fortifies us seeking always to live in the power of the Holy Spirit.