Have you ever imagined how you would feel if you could not hear or talk? Take a minute to use your imagination and experience that situation. We see in the Gospel that people brought to Jesus a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment. A group of people interceded to Jesus for the healing of this man. Jesus took him away from the crowd. He touched his ears and his mouth and said, "Be open". And the man left singing the praises of God to the world.
The first reading from the Book of Isaiah reminds us that God's eyes are constantly focused on the helpless. God tells the frightened, “Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense, he comes to save you.” Isaiah’s prophesy is fulfilled in Jesus’s healing of a man who was deaf and mute. And it even continues in our time, through the Sacraments and acts of charity. This is the second Sunday we hear from St. James in the second reading. The apostle gives some basic and challenging principles of life. It is a warning against our temptation to discriminate against people in our day to day life. If we want to be away from these temptations, we need to listen to Jesus, “Be open,” open our hearts and minds for others.
All of us have the ability to hear and talk, and this weekend’s readings invite us to open our ears to hear the word of God and loosen our tongues to share the good news of God’s love and salvation to others. It is also inviting us to be humble instruments of healing in the hands of God.
You might have noticed during a baptism that the priest or deacon touches the baby’s ears and mouth and says be open. This Gospel story is a story about our lives with the Lord. This Gospel story is also a good example of the intercessory prayer. There is a great need for praying for healing and the needs of others, even people those who are struggling to pray.
The Ephphatha, or opening to Christ at baptism is just the first of many openings to Christ all during our lives. At that first opening, it was Christ who opened our ears and mouths. Since then it is up to us to open up to Christ. How many times does Christ stands before us in various ways; we have to decide to open up to Christ.
Today, are we open to receiving healing and to be an instrument of healing? We need to receive God’s love, forgiveness, and healing in a personal way and in a communitarian way. At the same, the reading reminds that we need to intercede for others for their healing. At the Eucharist, the true healer, Jesus shares with us his very life in the Body and Blood. Let us open our minds and hearts to receive his healing touch, and hear his word, “Be opened.”
Priest's Retreat: This week, Monday through Thursday, the priests of the Superior Diocese will be gathering for a retreat. Please pray for everyone. We will have on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in place of the usual Mass. Thank you.
Every human being likes to be respected, not for any title or accomplishment, but because we are created in the image and likeness of God. Labor Day is the day we can be proud of what we do, and respect others for their great service. Pope Francis pointed out, "Work is fundamental to the dignity of a person. . . . It gives one the ability to maintain oneself, one's family, to contribute to the growth of one's own nation."
After Labor Day, schools are open; it seems like we are more active, and society is more engaged and busy. It is an opportunity for us to pray for each one of us, our labor, whatever we do. It is also a special moment to pray for our children and youth, those who are going back to school. That’s their labor: to study well. Let us pray for them, their families, and their teachers.
We are back from summer, a relaxed time, to the active and vibrant beginning. It is the time to start something new. I read in an article about William Glasser who developed a method of “reality therapy” which focuses on changing our behavior patterns. He calls it “positive addiction,” and gave the examples of jogging and meditation. Beginning either of these or any new discipline is difficult. As we continue jogging or meditating, it becomes easier. If we stick with it, it becomes a healthy addiction that we simply cannot seem to do without.
It is true with our spirituality as well. For example, going to Mass, or saying a daily prayer and so on. An ancient, nameless, wise person said: “The act is the parent of the habit; the habit is the parent of the virtue.” Perseverance is key. Persevere through the hard/severe stuff to habitually praying, doing good, and attending mass.
We are back to the Gospel of Mark from John. We see in the reading, the Pharisees are scandalized that Christ’s disciples “took food with unclean hands" (Mk 7.2). The first thing to note is that Jesus does not teach at all to disobey the law. He teaches to give more importance to the dispositions of the heart rather than to the superficial gestures and rites. On one hand, Jesus invites us to follow the Commandments and on the other hand, He shows that "purity" is not a matter of washed hands or lips purified by rituals, but is a matter of the heart.
Jesus emphasizes that unclean or impure are not external things, but the bad actions and intentions that came from a heart bad and away from God. God does not exist where there is no heart because it is distracted or closed in fear. How to return the heart to God? How to approach him?
We approach God "with the frequent purification of alms, tears and the other fruits of justice that make the heart and the body pure in order to participate in the mysteries of heaven." (St Bede the Venerable). Jesus came to tell us that no law, big or small, has meaning if it is not accompanied by love and if it is not consumed in love. Every time we gather for the Eucharist, we encounter Jesus who offered himself for us and won eternal life for us. From every Mass we send out to follow in his footsteps, to live the broken and shared love. It is not easy, but let us persevere and get into a healthy addiction.
Malcolm Muggeridge accompanied a film crew to India in order to narrate a documentary on Mother Teresa. He already knew she was a good woman or he wouldn't have bothered going. When he met her, he found a good woman who was also so very compelling that he titled his documentary, Something Beautiful for God. When he asked Mother Teresa why she went to Adoration and Mass every day early in the morning she replied, "If I didn't meet my Master every day, I'd be doing no more than social work." (Victor Shepherd, December 2001.)
Every Mass, we gather to meet Christ. We are here to listen for Christ's word for our life. We are here to say, like Peter, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."
In the first reading Joshua challenged the Israelites to decide whom they would serve, the God of their fathers, or the gods of the Amorites in whose country they were then dwelling. The Israelites recall that it was the Lord, our God, who brought their fathers out of slavery, and they responded to his challenge and renewed their relationship with God of Israel. The renewal of the covenant ceremony in Joshua 24 reminds us that the Eucharist is a covenant meal that calls for a decision of faith.
Concluding the long bread of life discourse in today’s gospel, Jesus challenges His audience to make their choice of accepting the new covenant. The disciples respond to Jesus’s challenge in two ways. One group finds Jesus’s words too hard to take. They left Jesus and embraced their former ways. The second group faced the challenges and remained with Jesus.
Today’s passage describes the various reactions of the people to Jesus’s claims. As Joshua spoke to his followers, Jesus speaks to the twelve apostles and gives them the option of leaving Him or staying with Him. Jesus said to his twelve disciples, “Do you also want to leave?" Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” The disciples couldn’t reject Jesus after all that He had done for them. The apostles exercised their freedom of choice by choosing to stay with Jesus.
In the Eucharistic celebration, we, like Peter, are called to make a decision, profess our faith in God’s Son, and renew the covenant ratified in His life, death, and resurrection. We have Mass every day of the week. We have the opportunity to spend time in adoration every first Friday of the month. On first Friday we can come any time of the day if you cannot come for particular hour of the day. Let us meet him personally in Eucharist celebration.
Ask a teenage boy and girl, who are in deep love, how often do they talk to each other? Ask them how much she/he want to give the other? He/she may say, they want to give all of themselves. They may say gosh we don’t know how much we talk a day. They may say how they like to stay close always. They are in deep love; they want to give each other their heart.
This week we continue our reflection on the “bread of Life” discourse. We need the tangible. We need someone to hold us, protect us, and give us courage. The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity became one of us, but that wasn’t enough. He gave us His Flesh and Blood. He comes into us, and we come into Him. He holds us, protects us, and gives us courage.
In today’s first reading from the Book of Proverbs, wisdom represents God, who offers wisdom and understanding in the form of a rich banquet. We read in the proverb “to the one who lacks understanding, she says, Come, eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed! Forsake foolishness that you may live; advance in the way of understanding.” The early Christians often identified Jesus as the Wisdom of God. They regarded the Eucharist as Wisdom’s banquet, where they shared in the Divine Wisdom now present in Jesus.
There is a wonderful resource to learn more about the Eucharist. Follow the instruction below:
Name of the video: Presence.
Catholic Services Appeal 2018-19
First of all let me express my gratitude to all of you for your support of Catholic Services Appeal. Year after year some of you generously support towards our parish Catholic Services Appeal (CSA) goal. Your generosity makes a difference. This week is the KICK-OFF of our annual Catholic Services Appeal (CSA) for 2018-19. The theme for this year's appeal is “Called to be Saints.” “You are the visible face of the invisible Father...let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.” - Pope Francis.
Sometimes we ask why we need to give our money to diocese when it can be used by the local church. It is a valuable thought. The reality is that we are part of the universal church. We benefit from the diocese so many different ways. You should have received the Bishop James Power’s letter, which will give you an idea of how your money is used and how many lives you touched.
It can’t just be some of us; if all of us participate we can reach the goal. Please participate to reach the goal of each of our parishes. For a successful year, we need to do three things: pray for CSA first; second, make sure we each participate; and third, encourage others to participate. Even non-parishioners will participate for the right cause. Let us respond to Bishop James Power’s invitation and make it a successful year.
The 2018-19 year goal for each parish is as follows:
St. Anthony’s: $24,529
Immaculate Conception: $10,486
St. Francis: $ 5,402
Let us pray together, let us contribute towards it, then we can reach the goal.
Have you ever had a meal with someone you loved, someone who really care for you? When you leave that place, do feel loved, cared for, supported, and even strengthened? The readings for this weekend tell us that God has special love for his people.
In the first reading we see Elijah’s discouragement and frustration as he fled for his life. King Ahab of Israel married a pagan queen, Jezebel, and erected an altar to Ball. The prophet Elijah challenged 450 of the pagan god Baal’s prophets and defeated them. Queen Jezebel found out what Elijah did to Baal’s prophets and was angry, sending soldiers to kill the prophet. Elijah fled for his life. He was walking through the desert, became exhausted, and fell into a sleep under a broom tree while he was asking for a speedy death. God’s love for Elijah provided for him. God sent an angel who woke him up and said, "Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!" God’s gift of food provided nourishment and strengthened him so he could continue on his journey to Horeb where Elijah would be commissioned again as God’s prophet to carry on the struggle and anoint his successor.
In today’s Gospel Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.” God offers his people abundant life, but we can miss it. Jesus offers the very life of God himself - life which sustains us, not only now in this age, but also in the age to come. He is the true bread of heaven that can satisfy the deepest hunger we experience.
We saw in the Gospel that the Jews murmured about Jesus because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." To accept the gift of the Bread of Life, they had to first accept that Jesus was more than human. He was Divine. To understand the miracle and mystery of communion, our starting point must be that Jesus is Divine, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. He gives us who He is: Eternal Life. When we receive the Eucharist, we are united to Him, to each other, and to the whole Body of Christ.
The people had a hard time accepting Jesus, the bread of life. They murmured. Are there still people who murmur about the Eucharist? There are people who don’t know the true meaning of the Eucharist. Every Sunday, and for some of us, every day, we enter into the Mystery of the Eucharist. We receive the One who is the Bread of Life. Do we murmur?
What do I have to offer at the Eucharist? We have to think about what we want to offer every time we come for the Eucharist. It may be for someone in our family who is sick, or our own disappointments and struggles. It may be a victory or joy in our life.
Today, what are the expenses of my offering? It may be how I prepare myself for the Eucharist. I may have to get up early and take time to get ready. I had to give up some other activities or fun to get here to be in the Lord’s presence to celebrate Eucharist. There is an expense.
The Eucharistic celebration should not be a casual get together; it is a grand celebration. It should not be time to murmur, it is a great meal, sacrifice, and thanksgiving. We may be tempted to murmur. Let us stop and think, “What I am missing?” God says, "Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!"
There is story about St. John Vianney. Every day, one of his parishioners came to the church and sat there for a long time looking at the Tabernacle. Once St. John Vianney went up to him and asked, “What are you doing?” The parishioner replied simply, “I look at Jesus and Jesus looks at me.” In today’s Gospel, the second Sunday on the sixth chapter of John, the Bread of Life discourse continues.
In the first reading we see grumbling and complaining Israelites. They were excited first because they just moved out of Egypt, and God has given them freedom. Soon they found it is not an easy journey to freedom. They started to grumble and complain. Then the LORD said to Moses, "I will now rain down bread from heaven for you.” God gave food for the journey. Again they saw the providence of God. Today’s Gospel passage takes place the day after Jesus had fed the five thousand people with five barley loaves and two fish. People kept coming, not because they wanted to hear Jesus’ teaching, but because they saw an awesome miracle: five thousand people were fed from five loaves and two fish.
Jesus used their desire to eat to raise their need to an infinitely higher level. He told them that they seek food that perishes, but that he could give them food that never perishes. They spoke about the manna that God provided in the days of the Exodus, and Jesus told them that the bread the Father gives is greater than manna. This bread doesn’t just satisfy physical hunger, but gives life to the world. They asked for this bread, and Jesus said that he is the bread of life. “Whoever comes to me will never hunger, whoever believes in me will never thirst.”
We see in the first reading, in the midst of their struggle and grumbling in the dessert, he fed them and satisfied them. The Eucharist is food for our journey. The Eucharist is not going to give you everything, but it gives us strength to walk in the most difficult times. In the difficult moments we don’t have to ask where God is because he is hanging on the cross next to us. The Eucharist is our union with Jesus’ offering Himself to the Father for us. We need the Eucharist as our spiritual food. The Eucharist is the very Body of Christ.
The Eucharist is not just food for our journey, it is also the end of our journey, heaven. What does heaven look like? The heavens, saints, and angels are in full communion with God. At every Mass, heaven touches the earth. All saints and angels are present at the Mass. We can see only bread, but in the Eucharist, Jesus gives himself. In the Gospel, Jesus said, "Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
The Eucharist is a meal: participation in His Body and Blood, sacrifice; participation in Jesus’ offering of his body on the Cross and Eucharist is thanksgiving. Jesus gives himself up and thanks the Father, and we, who receive Jesus in Communion, give thanks to God for His Son. Let us celebrate joyfully this gift of the Eucharist.
Thank you: I would like to join St. Anthony Parish and Finance council to thank Jim Litwaitis for sharing his time and talent for years for our bookkeeping. Thank you, we appreciate your generosity to our parish.
Welcome: I would like to join St. Anthony Parish and Finance council to welcome Murrin & Associates, LLC, Accounting & Tax services, who will be doing our bookkeeping. Jerry Murrin is our parishioner.
When I looked at the readings for this weekend, I felt something providential. I will answer the question ‘why?’ in a few minutes. We will be reflecting on the Gospel of John chapter 6 for the next couple of weeks. This chapter is called the bread of life discourse, and it talks about the one food we need, the Eucharist. Now let me say why I felt providential when I read this passage. July 29th is my ordination anniversary. Priesthood and the Eucharist are instituted at the Last supper. It is providential that we are going to reflect on the Mass for the next couple of weeks: the very life of Jesus, and God’s continual gift that we need: Eucharist. As I celebrate my ordination anniversary, I feel like God prepared for me a mini retreat for the next couple of weeks to meditate on the Eucharist, the core of Priestly life. I take this opportunity to thank everyone who encouraged and challenged me through your prayers, presence, and support to grow in my priesthood.
Food is a very important part of our lives. We hear or talk about food every day. If we switch on the TV, on one side we hear the talk about poverty and feeding the poor, and on the other hand, we see shows about how to eat well, what is the healthiest food, and how to watch your weight and so on. Recently I was talking to couple of priests, and they asked me, do you find genuine Indian food around which you grew up? I replied, I don’t say genuine Indian food, but when there is nothing around, whatever you find is good.
We are going to look at the theme: “I am the Bread of Life.” Jesus said, "whoever comes to me will never hunger." In the first reading from the Book of Kings, we see the Prophet Elisha setting 20 barley loaves before 100 people. His servant was not sure about this, but the Prophet Elisha asked servant to do his part, and God is going to take care of it. They all eat and there is some left over. The Gospel draws a picture of Jesus feeding 5000 people. Jesus asked Philip, "Where are we going to buy the bread for these people to eat?" If someone asks you this, what will be your response? You probably thought to ask, "Are you kidding!" Philip answered him, "Two hundred days' wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little." Here Andrew comes into the scene. He said, "There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?" Then he gave thanks, blessed it, and began breaking it into pieces to pass around to the people. When they had all had enough to eat, Jesus said, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." They gathered up twelve baskets full! A miracle take place. Like the Prophet Elisha, Jesus told his disciples do their part.
Jesus multiplied the loves and fish, not to just feed the hungry bellies, but to prepare his listeners for an even greater miracle: the giving of his own body and blood in the holy sacrifice of the Mass. The sharing of the broken bread, the Body and Blood, is a sign of a community that is expected to share and provide in abundance for the needs of its members. Five loves and two fish, a humble offering to Jesus, made a difference. We bring ourselves to the Eucharist as we are, Jesus blesses us with His Body and Blood, and sends us to break and share our life with one another. There, miracles take place. Our lives are not perfect, not sufficient, but when it is in hand, miracles take place. As we celebrate Pioneer Days, let us give ourselves and community into the hands of God, who can do miracles. Happy Pioneer Days!
Today we are celebrating at St. Anthony’s the Feast of St. Anthony and the conclusion of Totus Tuus. Who is St. Anthony of Padua? He was born in Lisbon, Portugal, in a wealthy family. He gave up all the comforts of the life and joined the Augustinians, later looking at the life of Franciscan Martyrs, he decided to join Franciscan order. Anthony was an excellent preacher and traveled to Morocco to spread God's truth, but became extremely sick and was returned to Portugal. The ship was blown off course and ended up in Sicily. It was said that he was a cook for a while and was attending an ordination during that period when no one was prepared to give a homily at the ordination, and Anthony accepted this task. His speech was astounding and since then his fame spread. Anthony emphasized the ‘Crucified Lord’ in his sermons. Once he wrote: “Christ who is your life is hanging before you, so that you look at the cross as in a mirror. There you will be able to know how mortal were your wounds that no medicine other than the Blood of the Son of God could heal… Nowhere other than looking at himself in the mirror of the cross can better understand how much he is worth.” St. Anthony was a shepherd who cared for his people.
The reading talks about shepherds. In the Old Testament Israel and the nations around it the kings were often called shepherds because they had a duty to look after their people. In the first reading, the prophet Jeremiah thunders against Israel's careless leaders, because they have shown no concern for their flock. The prophet also foretells the rise of a good, new shepherd in the family line of David.
We see Jesus fulfilling this role as shepherd of the people in the Gospel. In the first part of the Gospel, Jesus is caring for his own disciples, and in the second part he took pity on the people since they were like sheep without a shepherd.
Sheep nibble themselves astray: they keep their heads down, just as we tend to keep our heads glued to our jobs – until we look up and realize we don’t know where we are. It would be a very good thing to stop and rest, as Jesus said. When we look at it rightly, there is only one Shepherd, and every one of us is the lost sheep.
The beautiful and famous Psalm we prayed today (Ps 23), “The Lord is my shepherd” was written many centuries before Jesus but when we pray this Psalm it is natural for us to think of Jesus: “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.” We see Jesus’ concern for his apostles, at the same time concern for people. He is our shepherd, and at the same time we are sent out as shepherds. In other words, in certain roles, we are the shepherd and other time we are the sheep without a shepherd.
The reading reminds us of two points: we have to find time to spend time with our shepherd and at the same time we are sent out like apostles, shepherds, to bring the “Good News” to others. Perhaps our commitment to following Jesus as his disciple leaves us feeling tired and overwhelmed. In today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus affirm the importance of times of rest and renewal. Jesus wanted his disciples to come away and spend time alone with him. This is what we seek and find in our life of prayer and in our celebration of the Eucharist. This is the place we are fed and send out to continue our mission.
The readings reminds us of our Divine adoption as God's children and of our call to preach the Good News of Jesus. I read a story of a prison chaplain that challenges us. He went to talk with a man sentenced to die in the electric chair. He urged him to believe in Jesus Christ and be baptized; that forgiveness and eternity with God awaited him if only he would turn towards God. The prisoner said, "Do you really believe that?" "Of course I do," replied the chaplain. "Go on," scoffed the prisoner. "If I believed that I would crawl and hands and knees over broken glass to tell others, but I don't see you Christians making any big thing of it!" He had a point.
We have group of vibrant, faithful college-aged evangelizers, who can effectively impact our children, junior high, and high school youth. Haley Arndt, CJ Kallevig, Charles Luke and Robbie Simon are here to run the Totus Tuus. Totus Tuus means totally yours. Totus Tuus is a summer Catholic youth program dedicated to sharing the Gospel and promoting the Catholic faith. It is a fun learning program and a great opportunity for our children and youth to learn and develop a personal relationship with Jesus. Please encourage our children and youth to participate.
Please join us, your pastor and parish council members to welcome our new Parish Council Members:
I read a story on National Catholic Register, the amazing story of 12 Anglican nuns who embraced Catholic Faith. One Sister of the community described that moment as follows:
“This community has always meant everything to me… My call at the age of 20 was hugely strong: I was absolutely clear that I was meant to be here… [But] there are two points here. Firstly, the Holy Spirit has spoken to my heart at several moments in my life about union with the Catholic Church. Secondly, yet it was also the Holy Spirit who placed in me a strong sense of call to this particular community. These two aspects of my vocation have governed my choices at moments when it was possible to become a Catholic and I have not done so. But the Ordinariate basically opened a possibility I never imagined could be there for me as a Religious.”
The Gospel describes the typical pattern of Jesus’ ministry: teaching in the synagogue followed by acts of healing. In his hometown of Nazareth, the people were amazed by what they heard, but they also could not comprehend how someone they knew so well might move them so powerfully.
The reason I brought up the story of the twelve nuns is because we see and hear a story of conversion and coming to the faith. Those stories are amazing and we need them. But as a Catholic/Christian do we posses the same mentality of those people in Nazareth?: Do we read and listen with amazement but are unable to comprehend our own faith for it to have no effect in our lives? We are human, there will be dry moments in life. Even saints faced these challenges. But if we face this challenge regularly, it is dangerous.
Jesus' kinfolk in Nazareth might have known the carpenter, the son of Mary, but they did not know Jesus, the Son of God. Today we believe in Jesus, and take time to know him and celebrate faith, especially in Eucharist. We know the stories of our faith, but do we know really what he did for us?
Let us ask him to touch our lives, so we can come to know him personally, love him and proclaim.