Shortly after the pandemic lockdown began, Bobby Pantuso began recording a Sunday Mass to be placed on social media. The first recorded Mass was March 22, 2020; the last one is the Mass for this weekend. Since things have opened up more, the number of people viewing the Masses has plummeted. With more and more parishioners feeling comfortable returning to Mass in church and with all the other options available for the homebound to watch Mass online, this seems like the right time to stop. This decision was supported by the comments we received from a survey
presented to those who are watching the recorded Mass.
However, the Sunday homily will continue to be available on Facebook and YouTube as the “daily reflection” each Sunday (I have been recording a daily reflection since the beginning of the pandemic and will continue to do so indefinitely).
I thank Bobby Pantuso for his time and energy in taping the Masses and the reflections. I thank Kathy Wellenstein for planning the liturgies and playing the piano; I thank Sue Haertel, SDS and Chris Graham for alternating as cantors and lectors. I thank all of you who took advantage of these Masses to help keep your spiritual life growing during the pandemic. God bless.
Our Gospel selection today has two miracles: the cure of the woman who had been hemorrhaging for 12 years and the bringing back to life of Jairus’ daughter. Look at the sensitivity and compassion shown by Jesus in just these 22 verses:
1. He dropped what he was doing to run and help Jairus, a grieving parent.
2. He was attentive enough to know that a touch was a cry for help and he stopped to find out who it was.
3. The woman was afraid because she was a nobody who, because of her hemorrhaging blood, was ritually unclean. Jesus doesn’t simply cure her: he tells her to go in peace.
4. When Jairus is told his daughter has died, Jesus comforts him by saying, “don’t be afraid; just have faith.”
5. After he brings Jairus’ daughter back to life, he is attentive to her needs and tells them to give her something to eat.
Nowhere is Jesus thinking about Himself or what is “reasonable” or “acceptable.” All His concern is for other people. This is why the crowds felt he “taught with authority, not like the scribes and pharisees.” It was the personal authority of someone who was
always attuned to the needs of others and ready to respond to them.
I invite you to take some quiet time to reflect on people you have known who have been able to be selfless, who were
always able to think of the other person? How did you regard them? How did they influence you? Are you like that? How can you be more so?
Jesus did everything with sensitivity for the other person. May we grow in our ability to be like that! God bless.
Church sign of the week: Thou shalt not lie…in bed on Sunday morning! Come to church!
Happy Father’s Day to all our fathers! I pray for you in a special way as you perform the awesome task of modeling for your children how to be loving, caring Catholics. I pray that you always remember that
actions speak louder than words.
Last weekend, we presented the final reflection on Living the Gift of Sunday. I thank the parishioners who were willing to share their experiences in short videos that accompanied various chapters. If you have not taken advantage of these reflections during the last 10 weeks, I invite you to do so: they continue to be available here.
Our Gospel this Sunday invites us to ask ourselves if we really believe that God is in control. That all will be OK. Really! The disciples were in a boat on very rough seas. Talk about not having control! Jesus was there but they were still afraid.
Jesus is in our boat, but when things are tough it can be difficult to “feel” that; the important thing is that we BELIEVE it. The older I get, and as I look back on my life, the clearer it is to me that God has been in control. I share one incident from my life:
When I was 17, I was diagnosed with tuberculosis and was confined to a sanatorium in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Since there was no medicine at that time, it was possibly a life sentence! I struggled to calm myself and trust that all would be OK. The following happened: my parents agreed for me to take experimental drugs, they worked (they became the go-to T.B. drugs), a hospital administrator asked a friend in the State Legislature to get me released ahead of what was allowed by law, and I was released a couple days before I had to report to the Salvatorian novitiate to begin my official entrance into the community. It is incredible all the things that fell into place, allowing me to continue my journey to be a member of the Salvatorian Family. For me, it was a miracle: Jesus took control and calmed the seas of what seemed to be an impossible situation.
This is a rather dramatic example from many incidences in my life where I can see that God was in control, even though I couldn’t see it at the time. I invite you to take some time this week to reflect on your life. Were there times you felt that things were going badly but they turned out to be a blessing? Can you see God’s hand in what has happened to you? How easy is it for you to trust that God is in control?
Let us pray with St. Thomas: Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. God bless.
Church sign of the week: The quieter you become, the more you can hear.
Parishioners have been pleased with our new protocols for Mass, with one side of the church keeping social distancing and masks, while the other side has no social distancing and masks optional if you are fully vaccinated. We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust accordingly. I hope that people will feel comfortable returning: while virtual participation is better than nothing, experiencing the Body of Christ, both in the community gathered and the Eucharist, is essential to our worship experience.
Our Gospel today gives us two agricultural parables for the Reign of God: one about a seed, which is planted but then grows without the farmer knowing or controlling what is happening and the other about a mustard seed, which, while tiny, grows into a huge bush.
It helps to know the context Mark was addressing with these parables. The early Jewish Christians continued believing, as did the Jews, that if things were going well, God was pleased and blessing you. However, things were not going well: the Christians were rejected in Jerusalem and being killed in Rome. They were discouraged and their faith shaken. Mark was assuring them, through these parables, that God is in control, that the Reign of God is in His hands, and that all will be okay.
That message is summarized quite well by Paul in our second reading: “we walk by faith and not by sight.” This is a message we need to hear today. The pandemic has turned many things upside down. Gun violence, racism, inequity, injustice, partisanship, division both in our country and Church – it can seem like our world is unraveling. However, our faith tells us that God is in control and that, ultimately, all will be okay.
That does not mean we don’t have to do anything. We have to plant our little seeds. We have to live Gospel virtues such as love, forgiveness, and generosity, doing our little part to help the Reign of God grow.
As St. Julian of Norwich said, All will be well and all manner of things will be well, but we need to cooperate. I invite us to reflect on how well we are doing at planting the little seeds that will help bring about the Reign of God. Our country and world desperately need these seeds. Let us support each other in prayer, as we struggle to do so.
Church sign of the week: The will of God will never take you where the love of God will not protect you.
This is our second weekend with new Covid protocols. I thank everyone for their cooperation. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.
I enjoyed celebrating the graduation Mass this past Thursday. I promised the graduates that we would accompany them in prayer as they begin a new phase of life. Congratulations! Thank you to their parents and the staff at Wauwatosa Catholic for a great job of mentoring them.
This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). Our three readings bring together the significance of this feast, tying together all of God’s relationship with humanity.
The reading from Exodus presents the first covenant God made with His people through Moses. Blood was splashed on the altar and on the people, sealing the covenant. In the second reading, the author of Hebrews explains that Christ is the eternal High Priest. Since He Himself was blameless, His sacrifice was a once and for all offering for the salvation of all of us. No need for anything else. The Gospel is Mark’s version of the Last Supper: in anticipation of His death, Christ’s institutes the “new and eternal covenant of His Blood.”
What does this mean for us? First, it means we are redeemed by Christ’s sacrifice: He offered Himself up for us. Second, through the institution of the Eucharist, Christ incorporated us into His Body and gives us the food we need to live as His disciples. Just as the food we eat nourishes our physical bodies and gives us the health and strength we need to live a productive life, the spiritual food of Christ’s Body and Blood nourishes us spiritually and gives us the spiritual health and strength we need to live Gospel values and bring the Good News to others.
It is not easy to always think of others. It is not easy to wash feet. It is not easy to forgive. It is not easy to love others as we love ourselves. For that reason, we have been given the Holy Spirit to guide us (which we celebrated two weeks ago on Pentecost) and the Eucharist to strengthen and sustain us.
The Lord wants us to succeed. He gives us the help we need. Am I taking the best possible advantage of these great supports the Lord has given me?
With grateful hearts, let us thank the Lord for His support. May the Body and Blood of Christ bring us to everlasting life!
Church sign of the week: The one who kneels to the Lord can stand up to anything.