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"FIRST IMPRESSIONS"

14th SUNDAY -C- July 7, 2019

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:

Help! That’s what people call out when they are in need. So, "Help!" We need your support to continue our Internet preaching efforts. Our "Preacher Exchange" webpage has gotten 219,000 "hits" in the last 2 ½ months. The majority are for preaching and liturgical resources in Spanish. Those requests come from around the world. Our free email service, "First Impressions," goes out to 8,200 subscribers each week. We rely on your help to continue providing this service free.

We are expecting four novices this August for our Southern Dominican Province. Your donation will also help pay for their living expenses (they eat a lot!) and studies.

Here is how you can help: Send tax deductible checks to:

"First Impressions"

Make checks payable to: Dominican Friars

3150 Vince Hagan Dr.

Irving, Texas 75062-4736

Or: For an online donation go to: www.preacherexchange.com/donations.htm

And....Thank you for helping!


The gospel sounds like the 2020 election season; the way our candidates send out advance teams to prepare for their eventual arrival. Teams of experts go to places and cities a candidate will soon visit: to arrange meetings with potential donors; to check security measures; write candidates’ speeches for them; arrange for photo opportunities and "selfies, etc." Only hand-picked professionals are sent ahead. They are instructed what to say – "stay on message." Any mistakes may cost votes.

I take it back: that doesn’t sound like the gospel story, does it? Well, Jesus is an important person sending representatives ahead to places he intends to visit; to prepare for his arrival. But, that’s as far as it goes. Similarity ends there. Jesus is not a politician running for office. He’s not out to win votes, or popularity contests. He’s planning speaking engagements, but of a very different type.

In comparison to our presidential and congressional campaigns, what Jesus is doing is almost a "non- event." No press releases, no banquets with local elites, no barriers and parades, no enormous campaign budgets, no scripted speeches. Nor professionally trained spokespeople to go to cities and towns loaded with campaign literature. There won’t be free food and drinks to draw the crowds.

When we travel to new places, whether across town or across the country, we rely on our cell phones and GPS systems to give us directions. Our apps tell us about road conditions, rest stops, gas stations and sites along the way. Of course they didn’t have all those travel guides in Jesus’ day. But, he does ask a lot of them. He tells them the towns where he expects to visit and then it is up to them to get there. He will arrive after they prepare for his coming. And more! He doesn’t tell them what to say when they get there. They aren’t trained speakers and they haven’t been given prepared "speaking points."

Jesus’ disciples have been with him and now they are being sent to represent him. Is this beginning to sound familiar? Is it coming home to each of us? Who are they again, these personal, hand-picked ambassadors for Christ? They are ordinary, everyday folk entrusted with an important mission. "Go prepare the way for me" – wherever they go, to each and every place, he will follow…he will show up.

He does provide them with some traveling instructions. "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few, so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers to his harvest." In other words: "There is a lot for you to do out there, so pray to God for help." ("Out there" can be as close as our own supper table.)

We have done what Jesus told us to do: we have prayed for vocations. God has answered those prayers with vocations of all kinds. We see that each time we come to church. It is not just those ordained serving at the altar, but all the other ministering at our liturgical celebrations. Plus, those on the parish staff; as well as, volunteers who teach our youth, take communion to the sick, prepare and serve food for the homeless at our parish food pantry. There are musicians, artists, scripture teachers, etc. Praying for "laborers for the harvest" is a reminder that God has invested a lot in this venture, God’s only Son, and will not desert us workers in the harvest.

I know a woman who says a prayer before she visits her son and his family. "They don’t go to church," she says. "And I hope I say, or do something that moves them to return. God has given me courage and joy that have gotten me through hard times. I want them to have that same help when they need it...and someday they will."

Jesus goes on to instruct his representatives. They shouldn’t worry about even the ordinary travel needs. There will be people to welcome them and take them in. Why? Because those who represents Jesus bring peace with them. It is a peace people can feel: it will "rest on them," He says.

Is He telling them not to be polite? "Greet no one on the way." In the Middle East there is a great emphasis on hospitality. It wouldn’t just be a "good morning," or "good afternoon." It would require stopping, greeting, conversing, sharing food, and spending time. "No time" for that, Jesus is saying. "You have important work to do."

The mother who says a prayer before visiting her son and his family says, "I didn’t go to college to study religion. All I can do is say a prayer and look for a chance to share my faith." Which is exactly what Jesus wanted his disciples and us to do: say a prayer and tell people, "the Kingdom of God is at hand" – in those, or similar words.

That message was so important Jesus says it twice, "the Kingdom of God is at hand." Now what could that mean? First of all: it’s not about a faraway, other-worldly place. And it is not a place on the map, with lines, color and a label that says, "Here is the Kingdom of God." It’s not a place at all and it is not about the next life after we die, "We are hoping to go to the Kingdom." – like Dorothy and her companions trying to get to Oz against all the obstacles. As someone said: "The Kingdom of God is now, or never." Jesus called his disciples, "the light of the world." People will know by our words and actions that God is very close and doing good things: they will know that the Kingdom of God is now.

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

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/070719.cfm

JUSTICE BULLETIN BOARD

"Peace and mercy be to all. . ."

Galatians 6:16

As I am writing this column, it is the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion at Normandy. Aged soldiers are receiving the thanks for what they and their fallen fellow soldiers made possible – the beginning of the end of Hitler’s reign. In the ensuing years after the end of World War II, peace in every corner of the world has remained elusive. For Christians, peace means, "being in a right relationship with God and with one another." Often the concept of peace is tied to the Jewish word, "shalom." Shalom, however, is much more. As a Hebrew lexicon states, shalom is "a state of being whole, complete or full" and "desiring completeness to another."

Rabbi David Zaslow writes, "Contrary to popular opinion the Hebrew word shalom does not mean "peace," at least not in the English sense of the word. It comes from a Hebrew root-word that means "wholeness." And what is wholeness? In the Hebraic way of thinking, wholeness is the joining together of opposites. That’s why we say "shalom" when we greet friends and when we are wish them farewell. In the most opposite of situations (coming and going) we use the same word, "shalom." There is a hidden connection to all our comings and goings; they are wondrously linked together. When I come from somewhere, I am going to someplace else. When I realize this, I feel "wholeness," and that is the source of peace – the knowledge that all my opposing energies are somehow linked and part of a single whole. True peace must have wholeness as its foundation." https://rabbidavidzaslow.com/the-deeper-meaning-of-shalom/

Why do I mention this? It occurs to me that if we are ever to have true peace by a shalom definition, we have to realize that our opposites are connected. People, who we view as different than us, are connected to us. That which we do not understand is trying to teach us about that which we do not understand! As Pope Francis so often states, "Everything is connected!" The sooner we embrace this concept, the sooner we will achieve the peace proclaimed by Jesus and Paul.

This wholeness is not only between people but with the natural world also. We cannot continue to plunder the resources of our earth and be able to operate out of a place of wholeness. Every Catholic needs to read Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home-- http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html

Shalom!

---Barbara Molinari Quinby, MPS

Director of Social Justice Ministries

Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral, Raleigh, NC

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.

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

"One has to strongly affirm that condemnation to the death penalty is an inhuman measure that humiliates personal dignity, in whatever form it is carried out."

---Pope Francis

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:

  • Timmy Grooms #0158506 (On death row since 4/24/98)
  • Tilmon Golphin #0590940 (5/13/98)
  • Johnny Hyde #0542024 (7/23/98)

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

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

Also, check the interfaith page for People of Faith Against the Death Penalty:  www.pfadp.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: www.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.

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: 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,

fr. Jude Siciliano, O.P.

Jude Siciliano, OP - Click to send email.

 

St. Albert the Great Priory of Texas

3150 Vince Hagan Drive

Irving, Texas 75062-4736

frjude@judeop.org

972-438-1626


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