Our campus is beautiful and full of color. Thank you to the volunteer Garden Angels, who take such good care of it.
Our first reading from the book of Exodus has a strong lesson for us on trusting in Divine Providence. The Jews, recently escaped from slavery and living in the desert, are complaining against God and Moses because of the lack of food. They would rather be slaves and have a secure food chain!
God hears their cries and gives them manna each morning, but strictly warns them “only to take enough for the day.” Why? God was testing their faith in Him, that He would provide for them each morning. Our human urge to make ourselves secure would have impelled them to gather as much as possible and store it for future use and security. God was asking them to trust that the One who freed them from slavery would take care of them.
The human need to make ourselves secure was driving the crowd to follow Jesus in our Gospel passage. He had multiplied the bread and given them food. They wanted more. That is why Jesus accuses them of following Him only to get food.
What do we say each time we pray the Our Father? “Give us THIS DAY our DAILY bread.” Do you see the connection? We are not asking God for long term investments that will make us safe when we retire; we are asking for what we need today!
This is not to say we can’t plan for the future. But, what is my focus in life: is it me and securing the future as best I can for myself (and my family)? Or is it trusting in God’s providence that, if I live Gospel values, caring not only for myself and my family, but also for others, He will provide for me and protect me by giving me “my daily bread”?
For reflection this week: how much do I rely on myself and how much do I rely on God’s Providence? Do I need to be more trusting, so that it frees me to be more generous to others? And let us support each other in prayer. God bless.
Church sign of the week: In the center of every sin is the letter “I”.
I hope you summer continues to go well. It certainly is flying by quickly.
In our second reading, St. Paul urges the Ephesians, and us, to “live in a manner worthy of the call you have received.” What is that “call”?
There were strong divisions in the Ephesian community, especially between Jewish and Gentile Christians. The “call” was to bring unity and Paul lists four virtues that will lead to unity: humility, gentleness, patience, and bearing with one another.
There are strong and hateful divisions in our country and Church today. The call for humility, gentleness, patience, and bearing with one another is as relevant now as it was then.
We can say to ourselves, “who am I? Just one little person. How can I make a difference?” But look at our first and Gospel readings, which present large numbers of people being fed with a small amount of bread. Both Elisha’s servant and Jesus’ disciples objected that such a little bit couldn’t make a difference. But with God, it was not only possible, but happened: the bread was enough for everyone.
The point is we DO make a difference when we are humble, gentle, patient, and forbearing. My kindness, with God’s help, can have a domino effect on others. If everyone who calls themselves Christian would live these virtues, our country would be different. We would respect each other, listen to each other, and be able to come to agreements that benefit everyone, not just “my group.” That is the “one hope” that Paul refers to.
I invite us this week to reflect on how we are living the virtues of humility, gentleness, patience, and forbearance. How can I do better? As we struggle to grow, let us support each other in prayer.
Church sign of the week: Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?
With gratitude that the Church has officially recognized the charism of our Salvatorian Founder, Blessed Francis Jordan, the Salvatorian Family will be celebrating his first feast day this Wednesday, July 21st. The welcoming atmosphere and the drive to share the goodness and kindness of the Savior with others, which are so much a part of our St. Pius X community, are expressions of this charism. I thank Joann Corsten for creating the banner in honor of Blessed Francis Jordan, which is in the sanctuary.
Our readings this weekend focus on the theme of the Good Shepherd. In the first reading, the Lord laments having bad shepherds. Our responsorial psalm, Psalm 23, is probably the most well known: The Lord is my shepherd…. In our Gospel, Jesus once again demonstrates how He is the Good Shepherd.
The Gospel selection begins with the disciples returning from their first mission trip (we heard Jesus send them out two by two last weekend) and Jesus is listening carefully to them as they excitedly relate their experiences. He realizes they must be exhausted and He invites them to go with Him to rest. He wants them to take care of themselves and rejuvenate. They are the center of His focus as he cares for them, both in His listening and in His desire that they rest.
But, when they try to get away, the crowd follows. Jesus sees the crowd following and we are told, His heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd.
Despite the need for rest, Jesus is not able to say “no” to the crowd. The literal meaning of “moved with pity” is closer to a gut-wrenching experience. That is the Good Shepherd in action, able to forget about Himself in order to reach out to the needs of others.
We are told Jesus “began to teach them many things.” The Shepherd was concerned about the sheep’s spiritual welfare. He gave them spiritual food. But, as we will hear next weekend, He also took care of their bodily hunger by multiplying the loaves and fishes. The Good Shepherd was tuned in enough to His sheep that He recognized and
addressed all their needs, spiritual and physical.
How am I a Good Shepherd to others, both physically and spiritually? Do I reach out to those who are isolated or lonely? Am I able to listen to someone who needs to talk? Do I support programs that feed the hungry? And so on.
The Good Shepherd wants to continue His work. He needs to do it through us. How well am I cooperating? God bless.
Church sign of the week: A heart is happiest when it is beating for others.
I’d like to start off with a thank you to the Garden Angels for their dedication and work on our flowers and greenery. Our grounds look beautiful!
Our Gospel is Mark’s version of Jesus sending His disciples on mission. They had been following Him, observing how He interacted with people, and listening to His words; now Jesus is asking them to go out and spread the news to others.
Jesus asks us to do the same. Our religious practice has helped us to know how Jesus acted and what He said; through baptism, we have accepted the call to bring that Good News to others by what we say and do.
It is a daunting challenge. We certainly are not worthy. But we must be careful not to use our unworthiness as a “get out of jail free” card. Were the first disciples worthy?
Look at Peter: one time Jesus had to say “get behind me, Satan” to him. Despite his bravado of being willing to die for Jesus, Peter denied him three times and then ran away. Peter wasn’t under the cross; he was hiding in the upper room.
The point is that our “worthiness” is not the issue. It is not about us; it is not our mission. It is Christ’s mission and His Good News. All He asks is that we be willing to do our best to live Gospel values and He will use us, despite our mistakes and failures, to bring the Gospel to life for the people around us. Our faith is not about coming to church and staying there; it is about coming to church to be fortified, by the Word, by the Eucharist, and by the Community, so that we can go out from the church strengthened to live the goodness and kindness of Christ in a world that desperately needs it. That is evangelizing. That is what we are called to do and committed ourselves to do when we were baptized.
Reflection for the week: as I go through my day, am I aware that my words and actions affect other people? That I am called to bring Christ’s goodness and kindness to those I meet? That God wants to use me to make a difference? How can I make myself more conscious of this? Let us pray that each member of our community may grow in our ability to bring Christ to others by what we say and how we act. God bless.
Church sign of the week: it is hard to get in shape spiritually when you only work out on Sundays.
I hope everyone has a good and safe celebration of our country’s Independence Day. Let us pray for our country in a special way, asking God to help us move past senseless division to a cooperation that works for the good of all, especially the most vulnerable.
I recently read a summary of a study that linked the decline of organized religion with the stability and wealth of countries. In other words, the longer there was peace and the more the population entered the middle or upper class, the less adherence there is to
That came to mind when I read our selection from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, in which he says, “Power is made perfect in
weakness.” Perhaps what he means is this: when everything is going well and we feel like we are in control, it is easy to forget about God and rely on ourselves. Religious observance becomes a burden, rather than something that gives us strength and courage. But when we fail, when things are not going well and it is obvious to us that we are not in control, then it is easier to remember God and rely on Him. That is why Paul can say, “when I am weak, then I am strong.”
What does this say to us? It is not helpful to beat up on ourselves when we fail. No one is perfect, we will all fall short. To give up, to say “I just can’t ‘be perfect,’” is not helpful. In fact, it can be an excuse. We need to be like St. Paul and use our failings to remind ourselves that God is the one in control and we need to go to him for help and strength. That is how we will grow in doing what is right!
So, when we fail or come up short, rather than feel ashamed or beat up on ourselves, we need to use it to remind ourselves that God is the one who is in control and will help us get to where we should be. God wants nothing more than for us to be all that we can be and will help us get there, if we turn to Him for help. God bless.
Church sign of the week: Following the path of least resistance makes rivers and men crooked.