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FIRST IMPRESSIONS

14th SUNDAY -C- JULY 3, 2016

Isaiah 66: 10-14; Psalm 66; Galatians 6: 14-18; Luke 10: 1-12, 17-20

by Jude Siciliano, OP

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Dear Preachers:

PRE-NOTE:

In August three young men are coming to spend their novitiate year with us here at St. Albert Priory. This is their first year as Dominicans on the road to ordination. Our priory is 16 years old and beginning to show its age. Our bills also show it!  Would you please make a donation to help support these future priests as they begin their training with us?  Thank you

Please send tax deductible contributions to fr. Jude Siciliano, O.P.

St. Albert Priory 3150 Vince Hagan Drive Irving, Texas 75062-4736

Make checks payable to: Dominican Friars. Or, go to our webpage to make an online donation: http://preacherexchange.com/donations.htm


 

   14th

Sunday in

Ordinary

Time

 

I am writing this a few days after the slaughter in Orlando Florida. Our hearts are broken and our minds befuddled again by still one more act of random brutality. In this frame of mind I take some hope and comfort from the prophet Isaiah. He was speaking to the people returning from Babylonian exile. They were barely a nation, just a broken, depressed and discouraged people who faced the enormous task of rebuilding Jerusalem, the Temple and the nation.

Using poetic language and appealing to their imaginations, the prophet draws on images of prosperity, comfort and maternal tenderness to raise up the downcast spirits of his people. What they cannot do for themselves the God, who loves them, will do. They are like infants at the breast and their motherly God, who will nourish and, with a powerful hand, return them to strength.

That vision was never fully realized and Israel would always have to struggle under the domination of other powers. But Isaiah’s words would spur them on to the hope of being a people under God and the beacon God commissioned them to be to the nations.

The prophet’s vision speaks to us today we who, in our Pledge of Allegiance, hold before us a vision similar to Isaiah’s, "one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." It is a vision we have only partially lived up to. We are constantly being reminded of what we have not yet fully achieved. The recent mass shootings in Orlando, with their strong undertones of homophobia and religious extremism, call us back to Isaiah’s dream, as we once again turn to our nurturing and loving God for support, reconciliation and tranquility.

What Isaiah hoped to see and Jesus proclaimed, was not about an other-worldly "paradise" reserved for us after death. Rather, it was a challenge and promise for what is possible here: human beings living in mutual respect and in loving relationships, guided by justice and compassion. We will need to do what Isaiah is suggesting if we are to have healing now and a blessed future: turn to God for the help we need to truly be a nation of equality for all human beings, where the rights of every person are respected.

During this election cycle we also need to pray for the kind of leadership that will guide and challenge us to live up to what we promise our citizens in the Bill of Rights and our Constitution. We need new prophets to remind us that the dream of our founders is not dead. We hold out hope and urgently pray that our elected officials will renew and help us achieve that dream. Happy Fourth of July!

When an important dignitary is going to visit a place, he or she is preceded by representatives to plan and arrange for their grand arrival. We see examples of that when the president makes a visit to one of our cities, or a foreign country. Enormous preparations have to be done to arrange ceremonies, guest lists, security, banquets, interviews, etc. We see similar examples during this presidential campaign as the candidates go to places around the country to speak, meet supporters and raise funds. Those speaking venues don’t just pop up, all prepared to host the candidates, their entourages, the decorations, with seating and facilities for tens of thousands of supporters.

Jesus is planning "speaking engagements" too. But of a vastly different type than that of a president, or candidate for office. One could be tempted to call what he has in mind as "non–events." There will be no scripted speeches, press releases, stadiums, banners and cheering crowds prepped for his arrival. Instead, he is sending out 72 of his representatives to prepare the way in "every town and place he intended to visit."

Jesus’ "advance people" won’t arrive in these towns and places loaded down with propaganda about their candidate. There won’t be banquets for the local influential people. Nor will there be free food and drink to draw the crowds. Instead, there will be just 72 representatives, sent in pairs, to let people know something about the one who is coming. They won’t be given prepared talks and handouts, carefully scripted by PR people so that they say exactly what they are supposed to about the one who is coming. No one will be overseeing them to make sure they stay "on message.

Jesus will be represented by 72 of his followers who have been with him. They will speak out of their own experience and tell their personal stories about the difference and impact Jesus has had on their lives. Jesus tells them not to bring anything with them. These ambassadors for Christ won’t be providing for themselves. Jesus is quite clear about that, "no money, bag, no sack, no sandals."

Well then, how will they manage without the essentials? Jesus is sure there will be people who will welcome their message and open their homes to them. Middle Eastern hospitality means there will always be some to host them and provide for their needs. If the 72 aren’t preoccupied by their material needs they will be more focused on the good news they carry. And they will have to trust that it will be received by hospitable hearts. The focus will not be on them though. They will have to trust that through their unique personalities and individual gifts, Jesus’ person will come through in their words and actions. Their task is to go ahead of Jesus to prepare for his visit.

The biblical number 72 represents all the nations, all the peoples of the earth. So, when Jesus sends out 72, it’s an outreach to all people and a statement about the universality of God salvific reach. The kingdom of God, which these missionaries will announce, is coming in Jesus and is for everyone – all races and nations. No one is left out; no one is excluded.

We modern Christians are being sent as the first 72 were. Politicians may disappoint us in their promises to make us "one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." But we can’t wait for them to achieve the prophet’s vision of a peaceable kingdom with God as its ruler. We have to begin the process of change, with a conversion of ourselves, our families and even in our communities of faith.

Like those 72 we will have to rely on the power of the living Christ in us to bring about the changes we, our church and our nation need to accomplish, before we can be, "one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Click here for a link to this Sunday’s readings:

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/070316.cfm

JUSTICE BULLETIN BOARD

Come and see the works of God, his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam.
Psalm 66: 5

Anyone who studies the social teachings of the Church can see them as works of God written by many wise human hands through the ages and handed on to us today. With our being in the midst of an election cycle, the USCCB strongly recommends that all Catholics read their document, "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship" (2015 Edition). As the bishops state, in the introduction to Part 1: 2.The political realities of our nation present us with opportunities and challenges. . .These challenges are at the heart of public life and at the center of the pursuit of the common good. They are intertwined and inseparable. As Pope Francis has insisted, "We are faced . . . with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature" (Laudato Si', no. 139).

In one section of the text, the bishops ask the question, "What does the Church say about Catholic social teaching in the public square?" and then go on to spell out the four permanent principles by beginning with this quote, "The permanent principles of the Church’s social doctrine constitute the very heart of Catholic social teaching. These are the principles of: the dignity of the human person, . . .the common good; subsidiarity; and solidarity. These principles [are] the expression of the whole truth about man known by reason and faith . . ." (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, no. 160). The following highlights from the document define these four principles:

44. Human life is sacred. The dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society.

48. The principle of subsidiarity reminds us that larger institutions in society should not overwhelm or interfere with smaller or local institutions, yet larger institutions have essential responsibilities when the more local institutions cannot adequately protect human dignity, meet human needs, and advance the common good (Centesimus Annus, no. 48; Dignitatis Humanae, nos. 4-6)

49. Human dignity is respected and the common good is fostered only if human rights are protected and basic responsibilities are met.

52. "We are one human family, whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, wherever they may be. Loving our neighbor has global dimensions and requires us to eradicate racism and address the extreme poverty and disease plaguing so much of the world. Solidarity also includes the scriptural call to welcome the stranger among us" and the "preferential option for the poor" (53).

55. These four principles and related themes from Catholic social teaching provide a moral framework that does not easily fit ideologies of "right" or "left," "liberal" or "conservative," or the platform of any political party. They are not partisan or sectarian, but reflect fundamental ethical principles that are common to all people.

As leaders of the Church in the United States, the bishops conclude this section by saying, "We hope Catholics and others will seriously consider these policy applications as they make their own decisions in public life" (56).

To read the whole document: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/upload/forming-consciences-for-faithful-citizenship.pdf

---Barbara Molinari Quinby, MPS

Coordinator of Social Justice Ministries Sacred Heart Cathedral--Raleigh, N.C.

FAITH BOOK

Mini-reflections on the Sunday scripture readings designed for persons on the run. "Faith Book" is also brief enough to be posted in the Sunday parish bulletins people take home.

14th SUNDAY -C- JULY 3, 2016

Isaiah 66: 10-14; Psalm 66; Galatians 6: 14-18; Luke 10: 1-12, 17-20

From today’s Gospel reading:

At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others

whom he sent ahead of him in pairs

to every town and place he intended to visit.

Reflection:

The biblical number 72 represents all the nations, all the peoples of the earth. When Jesus sends out 72, it’s an outreach to all people and a statement about the universality of God salvific reach. The kingdom of God, which these missionaries will announce, is for everyone – all races and nations. No one is left out; no one is excluded.

So we ask ourselves:

  • By our baptism we are all appointed as prophets. To whom is Jesus sending me?
  • What am I to say to them?

POSTCARDS TO DEATH ROW INMATES

"The use of the death penalty cannot really be mended. It should be ended."
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick

Inmates on death row are the most forgotten people in the prison system. Each week I post in this space several inmates’ names and addresses. I invite you to write a postcard to one or more of them to let them know we have not forgotten them. If you like, tell them you heard about them through North Carolina’s, "People of Faith Against the Death Penalty." If the inmate responds you might consider becoming pen pals.

Please write to:

  • Marcos Mitchell #0488288 (On death row since 11/4/97)
  • Jerry Cummings #0095361 (11/11/97)
  • Elrico Fowler #0095361 (11/14/97)

----Central Prison, 4285 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-4285

For more information on the Catholic position on the death penalty go to the webpage of the Catholic Mobilizing Network: http://catholicsmobilizing.org/

DONATIONS

"First Impressions" is a service to preachers and those wishing to prepare for Sunday worship. It is sponsored by the Dominican Friars. If you would like "First Impressions" sent weekly to a friend, send a note to fr. John Boll, OP at jboll@opsouth.org.

If you would like to support this ministry, please send tax deductible contributions to fr. Jude Siciliano, O.P.

St. Albert Priory 3150 Vince Hagan Drive Irving, Texas 75062-4736

Make checks payable to: Dominican Friars. Or, go to our webpage to make an online donation: http://preacherexchange.com/donations.htm

ANNOUNCEMENTS

1. We have compiled Four CDS for sale:

  • Individual CDs for each Liturgical Year, A, B or C
  • One combined CD for "Liturgical Years A, B and C."

If you are a preacher, lead a Lectionary-based scripture group, or are a member of a liturgical team, these CDs will be helpful in your preparation process. Individual worshipers report they also use these reflections as they prepare for Sunday liturgy.

You can order the CDs by going to our webpage: www.preacherexchange.com and clicking on the "First Impressions" CD link on the left.

(These CDs have been updated twice in the last five years.)

2. "Homilías Dominicales" —These Spanish reflections on the Sunday and daily scriptures are written by Dominican sisters and friars. If you or a friend would like to receive these reflections drop a note to fr. John Boll, O.P. at Jboll@opsouth.org.

3. Our webpage: http://www.preacherexchange.com

Where you will find "Preachers’ Exchange," which includes "First Impressions" and "Homilías Dominicales," as well as articles, book reviews, daily homilies and other material pertinent to preaching.

4. "First Impressions" is a service to preachers and those wishing to prepare for Sunday worship. It is sponsored by the Dominican Friars. If you would like "First Impressions" sent weekly to a friend, send a note to fr. John Boll, OP at the above email address.



Thank you and blessings on your preaching,

St. Albert Priory

3150 Vince Hagan Drive

Irving, Texas 75062-4736

frjude@judeop.org

972-438-1626

fr. Jude Siciliano, O.P.

 


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