A couple of years ago, Fr. Jacques Hamel, whom ISIS terrorists murdered, and recently Christians in Nigeria were murdered. A couple of priests were captured and found dead. This weekend's readings encourage us to live our faith courageously. It raises two questions: are we able to live our faith in our daily life? Are we facing challenges?
In the first reading, Jeremiah was thrown into a cistern because he refused to tell the king what the king wanted to hear. The reading takes us back 600 years before Christ when the land we know now as Iraq was named Babylon. The Babylonians were mighty at that time. Jeremiah showed the courage of his prophetic conviction by telling King Zedekiah that the Lord God said he had to surrender to the mighty army of the Babylonian empire to save Israel. Such talks were viewed as unpatriotic, and Jeremiah was considered a traitor. The prophet was cast into a cistern but was saved from death by the Ethiopian official Ebed-melech. Since the king did not listen to God’s counsel given by His prophet, Babylon captured and destroyed Jerusalem. Jeremiah faced suffering and opposition for following God’s word. His life was not easy. In chapter 20 we see Jeremiah was going through the interior crisis and cursed his own life. “Cursed be the day on which I was born! May the day my mother gave me birth never be blessed!” (20:14).
The conflict that Jeremiah provoked within his own household and his ministries illustrate Jesus’ teaching in the Gospel reading (Luke 12:49-53) that he came “to set the earth on fire,” not peace, “but rather division” and that household will be divided against each other. The fire is a symbol of God’s presence and love (Deuteronomy 4:24; Acts 2:3); God’s judgment on sinners (Leviticus 10:2, Matthew 22:7), and divine purification (Luke 3:16; 1Peter 1:7).
God offers us his love, mercy, salvation, and desire that we accept and respond to his gifts. God offers these gifts freely and generously, but all are willing to accept them so that division will occur even within the families. Luke 14:26, Jesus says, “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Peace is possible only if we embrace him in faith (John 14:27).
The second reading from the Hebrews, which Paul wrote to the Judeo-Christians who had been rejected by their fellow Jews, expelled from their synagogues, and cut off from family and old friends. Christ presents the ultimate example of patients and persevering fidelity to the will of the Father through his suffering and death on the Cross. He went to Jerusalem knowing that he will be arrested and crucified.
We, too, are called to do our best until our great run for the Faith is crowned with victory. God walks with us every moment. He knows we face difficulties and temptations, so he gave us sacraments to give us nourishments, forgiveness, and healing. He also gave us fellow Christians to support each other in our faith journey. Let us grow in love for our faith and share it with many.
Cling to the Lord….
Last weekend we meditated on true treasure and this weekend how do we grow in our faith and how do prepare to embrace the true treasure? The second reading starts with the definition of Faith. “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen” (Hebrew 11:1). Faith involves trust and confidence in God’s word even if it cannot be verified by our human senses and reasoning. The virtue of hope springs from his combination of faith and confidence. We cannot see God directly as he is, face to face, but by faith, we know God and have a personal relationship with him.
In the First reading from the Book of Wisdom, we hear the faith of the Israelites. We are told how their Faith and Hope resulted in their liberation. They were warned of the coming Passover; they were prepared, escaped from the angel of death, and offered the righteous sacrifice in peace.
Our reading reflects Exodus chapters 11 and 12. While the angel of the Lord was striking down the firstborn of Pharaoh and other Egyptians, Israelites were vigilantly offering righteous sacrifice to the Lord and eating the lamb's meat to fortify themselves for their coming escape. That night was the first Passover. They were in full of hope and confidence in their God, the liberator. At the end of the Passover meal, they praise God by singing the Psalms. We read in the Gospels, that Jesus celebrated Passover with his disciples. In Matthew 26:30 we read, “Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” We read in the Gospel of Mark 14:26, the same.
The Gospel (Luke 12:32-48) warns Christians to be ready for the second coming, like servants waiting for the master’s return to the house. Luke emphasizes for his readers the importance of being faithful to the instructions of Jesus in the period before the parousia. The parable of the faithful and the unfaithful servant is about leadership and responsibility. The apostles were compared to domestic servants who were charged with various duties in the household of the kingdom.
The Gospel talks about the necessity of watchfulness. If the master comes during the second watch, which is between 10 pm and sunrise, the faithful servant would be ready to receive him. We can see a similar message in the Gospel of Matthew 25:1, “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.” The message is to be prepared, be vigilant.
According to the Fathers of the Church, Jesus’ words in this passage have two senses. In the narrower sense, the words refer to the Second Coming of Jesus, but in the broader sense, they refer to the time of our own death, when God will call us to meet Him and to give Him an account of our life on earth.
The question for reflection is how do we prepare? Gospel gives us the answer: Love and God and love one another. In the Gospel we read, Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father, is pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach, nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”
Last weekend we meditated on treasure: focus on God. This weekend we meditate on all other treasures: money, talent, time, and so on. How do use our treasures?
We should be like Israelites, who were not taken by surprise on the night of the Passover because they were saved because they had been warned. We, too, must cling to the Hope of a future that may seem too good to be true, and we, too, are expected to be steadfast in our Faith, even when we see no signs of the fulfillment of God’s promises. Be a faithful servant.
Philip Arthur Fisher was an American stock investor best known as the author of Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits, a guide to investing that has remained in print ever since it was first published in 1958. He says, “The stock market is filled with individuals who know the price of everything, but the value of nothing."
This weekend's reading talks about spiritual investment. In the first reading from the book of Ecclesiastes, the voice of the narrator (Qoheleth) talks about “Vanity.” Qoheleth means one who gathers or preacher. The author identifies himself as the “Son of David, king of Jerusalem,” so the scriptural scholars say the author is Solomon.
Solomon sets out to pursue three common human goals, three pursuits to which many people devote their entire lives: 1. Pleasure or joy which we see in Ecclesiastes 2:1 “Come, now, let me try you with pleasure and the enjoyment of good things.” See, this too was vanity. 2. Wisdom which we read in 2:12-17 “What about one who succeeds a king? He can do only what has already been done. I went on to the consideration of wisdom, madness, and folly… Therefore, I detested life, since for me the work that is done under the sun is bad; for all is vanity and a chase after wind.” 3. Toil or labor for possessions which we read in 2:18-26 “I detested all the fruits of my toil under the sun because I must leave them to the one who is to come after me… For to the one who pleases God, he gives wisdom and knowledge and joy; but to the one who displeases, God gives the task of gathering possessions for the one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a chase after wind.”
Fr. Bloom reported from Krakow, 2016 World youth day. He says, Pope Francis is a big soccer fan and when he mentioned the sport, young people cheered. When he referred to the World Cup, it brought even louder cheers. Then he paused, looked at the sea of youth, and said, "Jesus is a greater prize than the World Cup!" Young people stood, raised their hands, and gave a sustained cheer.
Jesus is the one great prize. That's what we see in today's readings. In comparison to Jesus, everything in this world is vanity. Only Jesus has ultimate worth - and only in him does anything have value. The Ecclesiastes says, “Vanity of vanities,” “All is vanity.”
In the Gospel, Jesus tells us the parable of the rich fool. This parable teaches that life centered on greedy ambition and satisfaction is empty of meaning. The fool is oblivious that his life will end, together with all his accumulated material possessions. Rich says “…so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry” (Luke 12:19). In the book of Sirach 11:19 says, “When they say: “I have found rest, now I will feast on my goods,” They do not know how long it will be till they die and leave them to others.”
Jesus is not disregarding his skills and ability to acquire wealth, but rather his selfishness. Jesus was called the rich fool because he lost his aptitude to invest wisely. His life was consumed with his possessions and his only interests were in himself. Jesus is not talking against wealth or rich, but he is talking about the use of it. A fruitful life involves charity towards others and detachment from material goods.
Our ultimate goal in life is to be eternally happy, not temporarily happy. Without God all life is meaningless. But with God, every aspect of our lives proclaims the reason for our creation: to know him, to love him, to serve him. He is our true treasure.
I hope everyone is enjoying the summer. It is moving fast. I write this note as a follow-up on the St. Anthony school building. We were thinking and praying about this matter for years. It took space in the Price County Review and Catholic Herald several times. I sent you letters informing the progress. Recently we had the 100th-anniversary celebration. A lot of people thanked me for the opportunity to walk through the building and reminiscing. I want to say thank you to the Parish and Finance Council, 100th Year Celebration Committee, KC, CCW and so many of you for making the celebration beautiful. Above all, I want to thank God for guiding us and blessing us with a beautiful day.
I hope all of you had the opportunity to participate in the celebration or read in the Price County Review or Catholic Herald. Our goal was to come up with a final decision on the 100th-anniversary celebration, but we couldn’t get there. As you know, the parish and finance council looked at three different possibilities for the school building: reopen, raze, or sell. Some of the things are repeated, but I want everyone to understand how we get to the final decision.
Last December we sent out a survey to explore the idea of reopening the St. Anthony School. 115 families participated in the survey. Of 115 families, 43 express the desire to reopen the school. 55 families answered no and the rest of them are undecided. In 43 families, 17 of them are younger families with children. We have 26 children who want to enroll in St. Anthony school. There were people who made promises of over a million dollars if we came up with a viable plan. They don't like to make any commitment until we have a viable plan. The survey was promising, but it was not enough.
Many people came and looked at the building to turn into apartments, a community center, YMCA, and so on. Most of them looked at the building to make apartments. Alpha Development Corporation gave us a purchase agreement to buy the school building to turn into apartments. As I mentioned before, the developer is interested in the school and the rectory. The developer stated that they would provide residency for the priest or give $150,000.00. The question we face as a parish is what we have for the future generation. The Parish and Finance council try to answer the question and come up with the best decision. If we sell the buildings, St. Anthony of Padua parish has nothing much left other than a parking lot. We need to look at the bigger picture, what we need to leave for the future generation.
We also looked at the cost of maintaining the building. We were spending 40,000.00 to 45,000.00 a year for basic maintenance like water and sewer, electricity, gas, insurance, and emergency repairs. Major repairs were on hold.
Finally, our discussion moved to the third option: demolishing the building. We approached different demolition companies for proposals for the demolition of the building. The lowest proposal is $ 300,000.00. The LEGEND Technical Service, Inc. is doing the asbestos/led inspection prior to the demolition. It was not an easy decision, but finally, the parish and finance council recommended demolishing the building. So, I wrote to the Bishop to inform the recommendation of the Parish and Finance Council and last Monday St. Anthony Corporate Board approved the demolition of the building. It is not an easy decision, but we pray and trust in the guidance of the Holy Spirit that we made the best decision in a given situation. We will be taking a loan for this project. If any of you can donate towards it or the parish can borrow money from you, please contact me (Fr. Shaji) or one of the Parish and Finance Council members.
This weekend's reading is perseverance in prayer. Abraham was persistent in prayer for the people in the Gospel and Jesus talked about the need for perseverance in prayer. In this difficult time, we need to come together and pray. When we pray together everything will be possible. So please message other people who are not in the church and invite them to join our Eucharistic celebration.
Hospitality to God!
The theme for this weekend is hospitality to God. The first reading and the Gospel painted very beautifully the hospitality to God.
Andrei Rublev, the great Russian icon painter, is famous for his work with his ‘Old Testament Trinity’: picturing the three angels welcomed by Abraham (Genesis 18 – today’s first reading). This icon is also called ‘Welcome to the Stranger’. The table where they are seated has four sides. There are three seated figures; the fourth is an invitation to join them. Anyone praying with this icon for any length of time will feel that the invitation is somehow mutual: as you welcome the Divine Persons into your heart, they are inviting you to sit at the table with them. They are inviting you into the heart of God.
In the first reading on a hot day, Abraham sits at the entrance. He might have been enjoying the breeze on that hot day. Suddenly, he saw the three men and he recognized that it is the Lord. Some of the Fathers of the church and Eastern iconography suggest that the three figures may be the manifestation of the Trinity. In the reading Abraham begged the visitors not to pass by, but stay, so he can serve the Lord. Then he ran to the tent and asked Sarah to prepare food for them. They both prepared a delicious meal and Abraham set these before the visitors. Both the ancient Jews and the early Christians believed that the best way to show their dedication to God was to be dedicated to hospitality. In the book of Hebrews 13:1-2, we read, “Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.”
After the meal, one of the mysterious visitors told Abraham that “I will return to you about this time next year, and Sarah will then have a son” Genesis 18:10. If we continue reading, we can see that Sarah was listening and she was laughing. In Genesis 21 we read that God did what he promised, and they had a son Isaac. In Romans chapter 9, St. Paul talks about promises and choice. He quotes from the book of Genesis 18:10 to mention the promise of the birth of Isaac. The visitors who announced that Sarah would bear a child prefigure the Annunciation made by the Archangel Gabriel to Mary. What is not possible from a human perspective.
In the first reading, Sarah is mostly involved preparing the food. We don’t see her out of the tent. Abraham is the one who spent time with visitors. In Luke’s Gospel 10: 38-42, we see Martha is engaged in serving and Mary is seated by Jesus. Martha honored God in work and Mary through her single-minded devotion. Mary sat at the feet of Jesus which means surrendered herself and gave total attention. It is part of learning. We read in the Acts of the Apostles 22:3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city. At the feet of Gamaliel, I was educated strictly in our ancestral law and was zealous for God, just as all of you are today.”
Two aspects of spirituality: first, doing something like Martha, and second, sitting and receiving like Mary. Martha has become a symbol of action-oriented, responsible people who get the job done. Our world and our parish churches need such dynamic and generous men, women, boys, and girls who get the job done. At the same, we have to adopt Mary into our lives too. The key to the Christian life is SETTING PRIORITIES: Jesus Christ first, then everything else. Active and busy, we have to find time every day to listen to God, our spouse, kids, and neighbors. Listening and quiet caring are essential for the success of pastoral life, family life, and every aspect of our life. Human love begins at home, and it begins with listening.
God is passing by my/your home. Do we invite him? Our heart is the place where he is welcomed. Mother Teresa often talked about the God appearing in disguise: poor and needy. We need to give attention to seeing who is passing by us. Abraham paid attention, so he didn’t miss the Lord.
Who is my neighbor?
On the Fifteenth Sunday, the readings answer the question "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Luke 10:25). The first reading Deuteronomy reminds us that God gives us His Commandments in Holy Scriptures, but that they are also written in our hearts, and it is in your mouth, you just need to carry it and obey them (Deuteronomy 3:14).
Moses had led the Israelites from the slavery of Egypt and was with them for many years as they traveled through the Sinai desert. The book of Deuteronomy expresses three discourses largely: The first discourse (1:6-4:43) reflects on the lessons of the early part of the journey through the desert. The second discourse (4:44-28:68) reminds the people of the law, the Ten Commandments, their call to fidelity and their special relationship with God, and the details of the covenant with God and its religious, ritual, and moral regulations. The third discourse (28:68-30:20) issues another call to the people to “choose life” – to remain faithful to the covenant – rather than to choose death by turning away from God and removing themselves from his protection.
Moses knew he would die before entering the Promised Land, so he gave them last words of wisdom. The first reading begins with these words, “If only you would heed the voice of the LORD, your God” (Deuteronomy 30:10). Moses told them that God will bless them greatly, but one condition that they need to follow the voice of the Lord. What do we need to do to inherit eternal life? We need to heed the voice of the law.
In the Gospel, Jesus answers this question. Love God with all your being, mind, heart, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself. Then Jesus explains the next question who is my neighbor? Jesus illustrates the superiority of love over legalism through the story of the good Samaritan. When the scribe in this passage tries to test him, Jesus engages him in conversation. He praises the scribe for the summary of the law.
The parable of the Good Samaritan presents both a moral and theological lesson. Morally Jesus teaches that love for our neighbor must accompany our love for God. Theologically, Jesus illustrates that the holiness as defined by the Old Covenant is now surpassed by the holiness of the New. In this parable, the priest and Levite didn’t help the victim. They had their own reason. The book of Leviticus 21 explains the purity laws. The book of Numbers 19 gives further explanation of the law of purity. The law priest and Levite (the priests’ associates, who provided music, incense, sacred bread, Temple curtains, and adornments) were forbidden to touch the corpse of anyone other than immediate family members. If they become impure, they are supposed to purify by offering the sacrifice. Also, they will be disqualified for the Temple service. Thus, they saw the wounded man on the road, not as a person needing help, but as a possible source of ritual impurity.
On the other hand, the Samaritan who does typically not mingle with Jews came forward to help the victim. He ignored the long history of enmity between his people and the Jews and opened his heart and mind to help the needy. The Good Samaritan was taking a real risk since the robbers who had assaulted the traveler might still be nearby. But he gave first aid to the wounded Jew, took him to a nearby inn, and made arrangements for his food and accommodations by providing the innkeeper two denarii. Two denarii were two days’ wage which could be enough for several days of lodging.
St. Augustine says the parable signifies Christ’s restoration of mankind. Adam is the man attacked by Satan and his legion; he is stripped of his immortality and left dead in sin. The priest and Levite represent the Old Covenant and its inability to restore man to new life. Jesus Christ comes as the Good Samaritan to rescue man from death and brings him to the inn of the Church for refreshment and healing through the Sacraments.
Who is our neighbor? Are we ready to be neighbors like a good Samaritan? A question to ponder this week.
Happy July 4th!
Wish you all a Happy July 4th! Are you excited to celebrate July 4th? We are grateful for our country, a nd we want to be good citizens. Thomas Jefferson on July 4th, 1826, wrote in a letter: “May it be to the world, what I believe it will be ... the signal of arousing men to burst the chains ... and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form, which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. ...For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights and an undiminished devotion to them."
The best thing we can do to become better citizens is to be better Christians. Every year around July 4th United States Conference of Catholic Bishops invites us to pray for religious freedom. We are excited to celebrate July 4th, but we need to hold on to that spirit every day, in every aspect of our life.
Last week, we reflected on call, response, and commitment. This weekend's reading reflects on the proclamation of Good News of Hope and Love. The first reading and Gospel talk about joy. In the first reading from the book of Isaiah, the prophet invites the Israelites to rejoice with Jerusalem. In the Gospel, the seventy-two came back with much joy.
The first reading from the book of Isaiah is from the third Isaiah (56-66). The passage for this weekend is from chapter 66 which deals with the history of rights after the Babylonian exile. They were in exile for fifty years when the Persians conquered the Babylonians and allowed the Jews to return home. What they saw when they returned was discouraging: their cities and homes were ruined. God engages with them through Isaiah and insists that they rejoice. He promises that Jerusalem is like a mother once again, nurturing them and caring for them. We see the same message about Jerusalem in several Old Testament passages. We read in Tobit 13:14 “Happy are those who love you, and happy are those who rejoice in your peace. Happy too are all who grieve over all your afflictions, for they will rejoice over you and behold all your joy forever.” God told Israelites they will enjoy prosperity once again. Psalm 66, our responsorial psalm echoes this call to rejoice.
The Gospel passage (Luke 10:1-12, 17-20) is paired with the mission of seventy-two: the preaching of the Kingdom and healing brings prosperity like in the first reading “prosperity over Jerusalem like a river” Isaiah 10:12.
The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name" (Luke 10:17). Jesus joined their enthusiasm, "I have observed Satan falling like lightning from the sky… Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven" (Luke 10:18&20).
In the Gospel of Luke chapter 9:1-6, we see Jesus sent the twelve with power and authority over all demons and diseases and sent seventy-two in the chapter 10:1-20 which is only in Luke’s Gospel. Jesus patterns his missionary effort on Moses (Numbers 11:24-26). Here Moses chose seventy elders and asked them to stand around the tent. God took some of the spirit that was on Moses and bestowed it on the seventy-two. But two men Eldad and Medad were in the tent and also received the spirit. The seventy-two bring Good News of hope and love to the people of whatever town they enter. They showed those people that evil is being defeated by curing the sick and liberating them from demons. The seventy-two returned with great joy and Jesus rejoices with them.
Who are the seventy-two today? We are seventy-two who are sent out to spread the Good News of love and hope. Jesus Christ has conquered evil through his passion, death, and resurrection. He is with us. He gave us the Sacrament of healing: Confession and Anointing, so we can receive the healing. Every time we gather to celebrate the Eucharist, he gives us nourishment and sends us out to proclaim the Good News. We can share the healing through prayer, forgiving each other, and being next to someone in need. Let us wish peace to one another. Let us be the one of the seventy-two.
Did you get a call?
Yes, we all got a call. The question is, how did we answer? This weekend’s readings are about God’s call and response with commitment.
In the first reading from the first book of Kings chapter 19, Elijah commissioned his successor, Elisha. The name Elijah means “the Lord is my God.” We see in chapter 18 Elijah called God and the fire came down and defeated pagan prophets and ordered them to kill according to the Mosaic Law. When Queen Jezebel heard the news, she was not happy. Fearing for his life under Jezebel’s threat, Elijah fled to the wilderness and prayed for natural death. God sent an angel to feed him, and he met God on Mount Horeb. And the reading for this weekend we see God asked Elijah to anoint Elisha as his successor. Elijah has thrown his mantle over the shoulder of Elisha as a sign of choosing him as a servant. Elisha abandoned everything and followed Elijah. In the second book of Elijah 2:9, before Elijah’s death, he said to Elisha, “Request whatever I might do for you before I am taken from you.” Elisha answered, “May I receive a double portion of your spirit.” While they were walking a fiery chariot and fiery horses came and took Elijah to heaven. Then Elisha succeeded in Elijah’s position and prophetic power.
The Gospel for this weekend is from Luke chapter 9, which is Jesus’ journey from Galilee to Jerusalem through Samaria. Samaritans and Jews hated each other from the time of Assyrian rule. Jews always went around the Samaria, but Jesus went through the Samaria. Jesus was a Jew, and the destination was Jerusalem, Samaritans were not ready to welcome him. James and John, sons of thunder, asked Jesus “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” We read in the first book of Kings 18:38, what Elijah had done in his day, calling the fire down to defeat the pagan prophets, and the second book of Kings 1:10 calling fire to kill King Ahaziah’s captain and company. But in the Gospel Jesus rejects the disciple’s desire to call the fire.
Jesus faces the rejection from the prospective disciple who wanted to postpone their commitment until a more convenient time. Jesus asks his followers a total commitment and detachment. All are called to imitate Christ. Throughout Jesus’ public ministry, he gave us examples of poverty. The spirit of poverty liberates human hearts and enables us to love God and one another. Jesus told the other one who came to follow, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” It sounds discouraging, but Jesus tells them they need of embracing poverty.
We are called to journey with the Lord. Jesus gave us the sacraments to give us grace and strength to make that journey. As mentioned last Sunday, the United States Bishop’s conference invites us to take time to relearn the Sacrament of Eucharist. Last Sunday, we had a Eucharistic procession. I would like to thank all those who took the time in the middle of the day to participate. It was a beautiful opportunity to adore the Lord and give public witness.
We will have other opportunities to learn and participate in adoration and learn in-depth about the Eucharist. FORMED.ORG is a very good tool for learning our faith. There is information in the bulletin and on the website. You can sit at home and watch videos on Eucharist. We all learned and need to refresh and relearn our faith. It is part of our call and journey. When you opened FORMED.ORG you can see a video called Presence. It is a wonderful resource to deepen our faith in Eucharist.
Happy Corpus Christi Sunday! Happy Father’s Day!
Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers! Five weeks ago, we honored our moms. Today, on this Father's Day, we are doing the same, offering our dads – those who are with us or gone before us, or those who are like fathers in our life – on the altar of God during this Holy Mass, invoking our heavenly Father’s blessings on them. Fathers are a blessing, and we thank them for blessing us with their lives of dedication, endurance, and love. Happy Father’s Day!!
Today we celebrate the solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ! The Eucharist is a great gift. The Bishops of the United States remind us of this truth by calling for Eucharistic Revival which is lunging on June 19, 2022, Solemnity of the Most Holy Body, and Body of Christ. The mission of this Revival is to renew the church by enkindling a living relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. The vision of the Revival is a movement of Catholics across the United States who healed, converted, formed, and unified by an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist and sent on a mission to the life of the world. Bishop James Powers invites us to hold a Eucharistic Procession on the Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. So, we are having a procession on Sunday, June 19 at 2:30 pm at Immaculate Conception, Butternut.
In the first reading from the book of Genesis, Melchizedek, king of Salem, appears to recognize Abraham’s great victory, which the five local kings were unable to achieve. He prepares a feast in his honor and declares him blessed or made powerful by God Most High, evidently the highest God in the Canaanite pantheon. Abraham acknowledges the blessing by giving a tenth of the recaptured spoils as a tithe to Melchizedek. We read this passage in Hebrews chapter 7 and it interprets Melchizedek as a prefiguration of Christ. The sacrifice offered by Abel, Abram, and Melchizedek are invoked in the Eucharistic prayer I (the Roman Canon): “Be pleased to look upon these offerings…and to accept them, as once you were pleased to accept the gift of your servant Abel the just, the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith, and the offering of your high priest Melchizedek.”
The second reading from the first letter of St. Paul to Corinthians is the account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper in the New Testament. Paul quotes Jesus' words and says after the Body of Christ has been given, Jesus’ command is to “do this in memory of me” and after the cup, “Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” The Old Covenant between God and Israel was sealed through the sacrificial blood at Mount Sinai, and the New Covenant between Christ and the Church is sealed through the blood of Christ.
Today the Gospel reading, the multiplication of loaves and fishes, a miracle foreshadows the institution of the Eucharist. In this scripture, the twelve asked Jesus to send these people away and he asked them to give some food themselves. Their reply was "Five loaves and two fish are all we have.” In a way they said, we don’t have much, but in Jesus' hands, it was plenty. When they gave what they had, a miracle took place. Jesus took the bread, looked up to heaven, said the blessing, and gave it to the disciples to give to the crowd. All had eaten and were satisfied.
I would like to share a story from my hospital ministry period. One Corpus Christi Sunday I was celebrating Mass in a hospital, a lady was sitting in a wheelchair in the center of the chapel. During the consecration, she started to cry. I made a conclusion in my mind that she might be in pain. After the Mass, I inquired of her, how she was doing. She told me that it was not tears of pain, but it was tears of joy. She was suffering for a long time; she had thoughts of committing suicide from time to time, but every time something intercepted her. She continued, that she was thinking about the reading and the homily and at the consecration, time was visualizing Jesus’s sacrifice. She said, her faith gave her the strength to live. She realizes that there is a purpose for her life. She said she may not have much to share, but in Jesus’ hand, it is plenty. God needs her for her husband and children. She said that day she felt her life is so meaningful. At the end of every Mass, we are sent out to break and share our life with others.
Holy Trinity Sunday!
Last weekend, we celebrated Pentecost. I would like to thank everyone who reads in different languages. A special thanks to everyone who helped and participated to celebrate the Centennial celebration of St. Anthony school and old Church. Thank you one and all.
The Sunday after Pentecost we celebrate the Holy Trinity. Trinity is a mystery, but Jesus makes it easier for us. Today’s Gospel, Jesus talks about the relationship. Jesus says “Everything that the Father has is mine.” Also, he talks about the Holy Spirit. Trinity is a community of self-giving love; an intimate relationship. We are made to love as the Holy Trinity loved. We read in the book of Genesis 1:26, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” God created us out of love. And we are called to love God. In Deuteronomy 6:4-5, “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone! Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole strength.” The Holy Trinity is the model for us to love God and love one another.
A simple definition of Holy Trinity is One God subsists three-person. In the Gospel of Luke 1:26-38, God the Father sent the angel Gabriel to Mary and told her the Holy Spirit will come upon her and she will conceive in her womb and bear a son, whom she will name Jesus. Luke 3:21-22, when Jesus, the Son, was baptized, the heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit came down like a dove, and the voice of the Father came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you, I am well pleased.” In the Gospel of John 15:26, at the Last Supper discourse Jesus says, “When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me.” In the second Corinthians 13:13, St. Paul gives a beautiful greeting or blessing prayer, which proclaims the Holy Trinity. St. Paul encourages them to live in peace and love and asks them to greet each other with a holy kiss, and close with these words: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.”
The First reading from the book of Proverbs says the Wisdom is divine origin. And we know that wisdom is active in creation in the second person of the Holy Trinity and fully revealed in the incarnation of Jesus Christ. The second reading from the Romans says that through faith one is justified. Reconciliation is God's gift to humanity. In the crucifixion of Jesus revealed God's love. And in the animating power of love, the Holy Spirit continues to guide us in our daily life.
A family is a simple form of community, it grows into church, different organizations and it grows into a wider community. We are invited to live in a community of love. Our families become truly Christian when we live in a relationship of love with God and with others. We can call God our Father, Son Jesus “Immanuel” and the Holy Spirit to give “strength in our weakness.” Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
St. Anthony Daycare: Please join me to welcome our new director Stephanie Roy. She will be starting on June 13th. Please see below a short note from her.
Hello! My name is Stephanie Roy, and I will be joining the St. Anthony team as the new daycare
Director. I am very excited to meet everyone and learn all about your daycare and children! I was raised in Ashland, WI. I went to Technical College and graduated in 2016. I went on to work at Our Lady of the Lake Preschool for 3 years, before getting married to my husband Thomas and moving to River Falls, WI where we welcomed our son Dylan who is 1.5 years old! I worked as a Co-Lead Teacher in an infant room for the past 2.5 years which was a dream. My husband and I recently bought a house in Park Falls and made the move to be closer to our friends and families again!
I enjoy spending time with my family and dog Luna, going on walks, yoga, and finding beach glass and rocks for my collection. I have always absolutely loved children and Early Childhood Education is my passion, as the first 5 years are the most important and impactful! This will be my first time as a Director so all I ask is that you are patient and understanding as I learn the ropes and get settled into my new spot. I am more than excited to get to know the children and families I will be working with. I hope to create a positive experience with each and every one of you and look forward to being a part of St. Anthony’s Daycare!
Have a blessed day!
Mrs. Stephanie Roy