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Contents: Volume 2 - The Fourteenth Sunday - July 7, 2019


 

The

14th

Sunday

 

1. -- Lanie LeBlanc OP

2. -- Carol & Dennis Keller

3. -- Brian Gleeson CP

4. -- Deacon Russ O'Neill

5. --(Your reflection can be here!)

 

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1.

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Sun. 14 C 2019

 

        Today's Gospel selection according to Luke comes at an unusual time

in the life of my parish.  We have just had a joyous but bittersweet

celebration marking the retirement of a very beloved pastor who has been at

the parish for 17 years.  His successor, the "new guy on the block", comes

with a wonderful reputation helped by his own biography plus carefully laid

"groundwork" for the transition to us by the now former pastor.  I was

struck by how this "pair" of God's laborers has managed to work with our parish leadership team to proclaim that "the kingdom of God is at hand"

before we have even seen the "new guy".

 

    While he will come with experience and a staff here that already knows

him, he doesn't know any of the parishioners.  We are a welcoming bunch

but, well, we are human.  We hope for peace and not dust!  There will be

comparisons.  There will be awkwardness.   As the days progress, we will

still be community and will welcome him into it.  He will bring a new

perspective to us and we all will grow.

 

God's laborers have a tough job.  Our priests top that list because they do

get moved around.  My parish is staffed by diocesan priests, so they get to

"stay" awhile where they are.  No so with many Order priests.  Let us

remember the sacrifices all these men make for us, so that we may continue

to hear the Good News and be part of the Kingdom.

 

    God's laborers are not just the priests, however.  We, all the

baptized, are all workers in the vineyard of the Lord.  Our work is

important and becomes more effective if we, too, can work in pairs, that

is, not as a "lone ranger" just with our own ideas.  Being able to pray

with a partner or reflect with a friend on a plan, or visit the sick with a

companion makes the work easier and the spiritual rewards greater for all.

 

As we continue to manage the shortage of priests in various creative ways,

let us be mindful of the blessing that they are. Let us all, priests,

religious, and laity, truly work together. Let us proclaim that the kingdom

of God is at hand, now in all parts of the world, thanks to the original 12

and many pairs of 72 in the past years.

 

Blessings,

Dr. Lanie LeBlanc OP

Southern Dominican Laity

lanie@leblanc.one

 

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2.

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Fourteenth Sunday of Ordered Time July 7, 2019

 

Isaiah 66: 10-14; Responsorial Psalm 66; Galatians 6::14-18; Gospel Acclamation Colossians 3:15-16; Luke 10:1-12 & 17-20

 

The first reading this Sunday is from the third installment of the book of

the Prophet Isaiah. The prophet speaks about the release of the chosen

people from captivity in Babylon. Cyrus the Great, the Persian conqueror,

becomes an unwitting savior of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Cyrus

realized the way to peace and prosperity in his empire was to embrace the

diversity of language, culture, and religious values of each conquered

people. He realized that each tribe’s, each nation’s culture, language, and

religious ritual and faith sprang from their experience as a nation. By

encouraging those cultures, he discovered how to bring together many nations

into one great social and economic empire. Respect for each conquered

nation’s history, culture, and beliefs gave those people the freedom to

participate in the life of his Persian Empire. In accepting these

diversities and cultures there came a peace and unity.

 

With the release of the Jews from their Babylonian captivity he sought to

encourage the Jews to rebuild and to revitalize their culture and faith. He

sent artisans and engineers to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple destroyed by

Babylon. He returned the pillaged sacred vessels and art for the glory of

the Temple.  He understood that an empire at war with itself because of its

diversity and competing cultures and religious beliefs would carry the

seeds of its destruction. Previous emperors and those who would be emperors

are most often dependent on rivalries among groups within their nations to

maintain power and accumulate great wealth. Unity, not division, is the

foundation for peace and justice. It was so in the centuries before the

coming of the Son of God and it remains true even in our time of great

division and struggle.

 

Isaiah’s words paint a future of great joy and prosperity. He planted the

seeds of hope for a future of peace. That peace would allow for prosperity

for all people who came into contact with this renewed Spirit of the Chosen

People. However, the reality for these people returning from exile was

hardly an indication of a renewed and vibrant Jerusalem. The walls were

down, the infrastructure destroyed. The Temple of Solomon which was the

glory of the old city, amounted only to a wall that formed the foundation

for the west wall of that amazing edifice. That wall built by Solomon

exists even in our time. It is known as the wailing-wall, the place where

people of all faiths and nations place slips of paper into the crevices

between the great blocks of stone. Those slips of paper contain the words

of prayers.

 

But still, Isaiah painted a future for the Jews of great prosperity, of

peace, and of prestige among the nations of the world. This prophecy could

hardly be believed. The labor required and the spirit needed to lift up

this rubble and recreate the city placed high on Mount Sion seemed an

impossible task. Is Isaiah delusional? Is he overly optimistic? His

prophecy relies on God’s word to him. “Lo, I will spread prosperity over

Jerusalem like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing

torrent.” Yet, were these people coming home to great ruin, have the hope

necessary to get out of bed in the morning to face yet another day of back

breaking labor? Where would they find the vision on which to build a hoped

for result? Would we not be tempted to think such a goal was merely a

fool’s vision? Yet, the prophet insists that God has spoken, and it will be

so. God’s word springs from God’s heart which overflows with love for his

people. And the power of God resides in God’s heart.

 

Perhaps the lesson from Isaiah is obvious. What is necessary for peace is

what is in our hearts. And what is in our hearts is what the mind applies.

It is the heart that contains our vigor, our vitality, and our strength.

What we love is always in front of our eyes. And what is in our heart

directs our minds to the labor of our hands. What is in our heart

strengthens our backs to take on even the most impossible of tasks. And

what is that impossible task? What is the Impossible Dream that captures our hearts? Is it great wealth? Is it great power? Is it fame that gains for us the adulation of all people? Even the person still in school knows that power, wealth, and fame are fleeting joys. What is true about us? What is lasting? What is the city we seek to build in our hearts and minds? The gospels tell us over and over again that the city where we find peace and prosperity is the Kingdom of God. And that Kingdom exists in a place where no moth can consume, no rust reduce to dust our persons, and no enemy enter in and destroy the peace and prosperity that resides there. This is the Kingdom of God of the gospels speak. This is the Kingdom which Jesus came to establish. This is the Kingdom that the seventy-two sent out in this Sunday’s gospel proclaimed to villages and towns.

 

However, doesn’t it all seem far-fetched and merely empty promises? Do we

not judge success evidenced by power developed, of wealth accumulated, and

of prestige gained? Is our faith in the Kingdom of God just an illusion? Is

Karl Marx right in calling religion the opiate of the people? Do we rely

only on after-death rewards in a heaven we’ve not experienced? Is faith for

us about following rules and regulations? What about justice and peace and

prosperity now? What is the present day value of faith? Where do we

discover a present day hope beyond the values the world holds dear? Is

there any value of charity and love for fellow humans? Is our preaching, is

our prophetic utterances a drug that allows us to endure the outrageous

events that suppress and hold us captive?

 

Many faithful persons struggle with their children’s abandonment of the

faith. With worldly prosperity and power, there seems no need for the faith

of mothers and fathers or of grandmothers and grandfathers. Perhaps we’re

missing the point of our faith. The way of the world is busy. It distracts

us from matters of the heart. Demagogues whose shouting divides us,

advertising manipulating us to consume what we don’t need, and the

incessant mantra focusing us on winning – these forces demand we work only

for them. Such activity suppresses the movements of our hearts.

 

In the gospel this Sunday, Jesus sends out seventy-two disciples. If we

look at them from the perspective of success, we’ll think them winners.

They returned to Jesus excited that even demons obeyed them. Yet, the

majority of what Jesus teaches them how to be a prophet. The true prophet

is one who carries the message. The prophet does not get in the way of the

message; does not allow the trappings, the clothes, the money, and

welcoming hospitality to motivate them. The temptation to the things of the

world is the obstacle to being a great prophet, a great priest, and a

wonderful servant to the people.

 

All this seems well and good. Does it apply only to priests, religious, and

hierarchy? What has this gospel say to us? We nearly always forget that

each of us baptized into the assembly that is the Church are priests,

prophets, and Shepherds to each other. If we ignore our priesthood we fail

to bless our children, our food, our neighborhoods, our assembly, and our

work places. If we surrender our prophetic role we fail to speak the truth

about what’s happening in our world. We allow the spin of public relations

to twist our minds and thus silence our hearts. If we ignore our Kingship,

our Queenship, we fail to serve and support families, neighbors, the

assembly in our Church, the nation, and the world. It is the nature and

purpose kings and queens to serve others so that they flourish and thrive

in the gift of life given them.

 

The gospel this Sunday applies to each of us. We are baptized into the

assembly, the community of the faithful. The role given us in that

sacramental ritual is three-fold. We are priests to bless: we are prophets

to speak truth: and we are shepherds to bring those we meet to fresh water

and green pastures.

 

Jesus speaks to us. May our hearts be open to his words! May our hearts

direct our minds! And may our minds direct our hands in the work of the

Lord. His work is essential for the reconciliation of the world. The Will

of the Lord is that every person live the gift of life, embracing the

possibilities that life brings us. This work applies to everyone: the

unborn, those born, the refugee, the incarcerated, the wealthy, the

powerful, the educated and uneducated. Isaiah promises that the light of

Jerusalem will attract all nations, all peoples. It applies to those on the

margins, to those in the middle, and to even those who seem to have no

needs. It is our responsibility as people of faith to exercise our mission

as priests, prophets, and shepherds. The fullness of life is message and

the mission of the Christ and those who walk in his way.

 

Carol & Dennis Keller & Charlie (editor) dkeller002@nc.rr.com

 

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3.

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BEING PEACEMAKERS: 14TH SUNDAY YEAR  C

 

Helen Keller is a famous woman. She was 20 months old when she lost her

sight and hearing. Soon she lost her ability to speak as well. But through

the patience of Annie Sullivan, her teacher, she learned to read and write

in Braille. In 1904 she gained her Bachelor of Arts degree. Not long after,

she began to write books and tour the world with inspiring and encouraging

messages for deaf and blind people. One night after a lecture, someone

asked her: ‘If you could have one wish granted, what would it be?’ The

questioner expected to hear her say: ‘My wish would be to see and hear.’

But she answered: ‘My wish would be for world peace.’

 

Jesus would have applauded her answer. ‘Happy are the peacemakers’, he told the crowds on the mountain, ‘they are the children of God’ (Mt 5:9) In today’s gospel we hear him say to his disciples and therefore to us:  ‘Whatever house you go into ‘let your first words be, “Peace to this house!”’  In harmony with this, you and I will shortly be reaching out to the people near us with our sincere wish: ‘Peace be with you!’

 

For both Helen Keller and Jesus, what peace means, and what the greeting of

peace means, is what the Jewish people from way back have called ‘shalom’.

For them ‘shalom!’ was and still is the ordinary greeting. They don’t say

‘hello!’ or ‘good day!’, they say ‘shalom!’ They understand peace as a gift

from God, whom they see as peace in person. In wishing peace to others they

are wishing them perfect well-being. Such well-being comes from being in a

right relationship with God and with our fellow human beings, a

relationship we call ‘communion’.

 

For the Jews, God’s gift of peace has included rain to make the crops grow,

rich harvests of grain, freedom from enemies and wild beasts, and an

experience of God dwelling among his people and binding himself to them in

a covenant of love. But there can be no prosperity and well-being without

justice. There can be no peace without the willingness to wish for others

and to give to others what Australians call a ‘fair go’. This reminds me of

a connected saying of Indira Gandhi, one-time Prime Minister of India: ‘You

cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.’

 

Throughout the New Testament, references to peace (shalom) mean not just a

state of inner peace and calm, but also a state of harmonious relations

within the Christian community. This is what Paul means when he says again

and again in his letters: ‘Grace to you and peace from God our Father and

the Lord Jesus Christ.’ This is what your priest means when he greets you

at the start of Mass with the words: ‘The grace and peace of God our Father

and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you...’

 

But what is particularly important in the teaching of Jesus, is that we be

people of peace and good will to everybody else, peace-makers and not just

peace-lovers. One Christmas morning in Northern Ireland, in the height of

‘the troubles’, a Catholic priest went across the road to wish the minister

and his congregation a happy Christmas. The minister received him warmly,

returned his greeting, and later made a return visit. However, some elders

of his Church reacted with anger and took steps to have the minister

removed from his parish. But those two church leaders were only doing what

Jesus wanted them to do – to be instruments of peace, goodwill, friendship,

hospitality and reconciliation in a troubled and divided society.

 

Being a person of peace and working for peace means welcoming not only

those who are close to us, but also those who annoy us and disagree with

us. To take the path of peace is to accept people as they are, with all

their strengths, limits, and weaknesses.

 

We come to Mass to receive blessings from the Lord. If we took nothing else

away with us from here today but peace, our time would be well spent. The

end of Mass is not like the end of a football match or the end of a movie

where we simply get up and go. At the end of Mass we are sent out. Having

received the peace of Christ, we are then sent out as instruments and

ambassadors of the peace of Christ to others.

 

But in order to keep on being people of peace ourselves, and in order to

help break down the walls of rivalry, bigotry, hatred, prejudice,

suspicion, fear, anger and bitterness among us, we need to keep on praying

that amazing peace-prayer of St Francis of Assisi. So, let us pray:

 

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love.

Where there is injury, pardon.

Where there is doubt, faith.

Where there is despair, hope.

Where there is darkness, light.

Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much

seek to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand;

to be loved as to love.

 

For it is in giving that we receive;

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

 

Amen.

 

"Brian Gleeson CP" <bgleesoncp@gmail.com>

 

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4.

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14th Sunday in OT - year C

 

            I imagine that those of us going on vacation this week or next

are getting everything ready - luggage packed, travelers checks, tickets,

reservations and confirmations.  In fact, some of us will need that

vacation just to rest from all that is involved in getting ready.  Some

friends of ours went on a two-week trip to Ireland last year.  They had

shopped for weeks getting all the right clothes for their trip and had

spent a small fortune on a new wardrobe.  When they arrived in Ireland they

discovered that their luggage had taken a different flight. They never got

their luggage until day 10 of their 14-day stay.  They went out and bought

a couple sets of underwear and socks, but they both wore the same outfit

(the clothes they traveled in) every day, with frequent washings in the

hotel bathroom.  When they got home, the wife was ready to burn the blue

slacks and white blouse she was so tired of seeing it.  But through all

this, they discovered something interesting.  They discovered that they

really didn't need all the new, fancy stuff to have a good time.  They

discovered that the hotel personnel went out of their way to make them feel

as comfortable as possible.  They discovered that the friends they were

with (whose luggage was also lost) were far more important than what

clothes they wore.

 

            Jesus knew this when he sent his disciples out to preach the

Gospel - no luggage, no money bag, no sandals, no reservations.  Go and

rely on the goodness of the people you meet.  Go and be heralds of my word,

of my message.  Two things struck me as I reflected on this Gospel passage

- how do we respond to God's heralds and to his Word, and what is our

responsibility to be heralds.

 

            "The harvest is great but the laborers are few."  Reminds me of

the migrant workers who come to our area every summer.  They come with

little luggage, very few possessions, and rely on us to meet their needs.

They have no social security, 401Ks and endowments.  They are indeed slaves

to poverty who would not have quilts to sleep on if not for us, who would

not have Kleenex or toilet paper if not for us, who trust that we will help

supply diapers and baby lotion.  There is a real sense of faith there that

comes with that poverty, isn't there?  Something to think about as we pack

for our trips and plan our sumptuous backyard barbecues.  But we are there

for them - we do come through - and, in a very real sense, we are

responding to God's word, we are bringing the Gospel message to fruition.

 

            When God gives us his word, there comes with it the great

responsibility to respond.  Indifference will not do.  And so we are also

sent into the world to be the heralds of God's word today. Jesus gives us

the power to conquer the forces of evil, to stomp on snakes.  He gives us

the power to announce his presence with our lives.  We are heralds of God's

Kingdom and conquerors of evil when in our jobs we make moral, Christian

decisions, when we treat others with fairness and respect.  You may never

realize this, but by being a good Christian person in the business world

you are providing others with an experience of Christ.

 

            We are heralds of the Kingdom in our own homes when we continue

to work hard at treating one another with profound respect - husbands and

wives, parents and children, when we say nothing but good things about our

spouse, our children, or our parents, when we are truly a family, not just

people who live under the same roof.

 

            We are also called to be heralds of God's Kingdom in our

nation.  It took us a long time to realize that slavery opposed the very

essence of our existence.  We are only recently passing laws to ensure the

dignity of those who are physically or mentally challenged.  We are only

recently becoming concerned on a national level with the the growing number

of homeless.  Our bishops are speaking - sometimes without our support -

that the death penalty has no place in the Gospel message, something that's

hard for many to hear when we hear about vicious crimes.  But when we

Christians are active in reaching out to others, infighting for the rights

of all in our nation, then we are bringing a new way into our world.  We

are being heralds of the Gospel.

 

           Difficult?  Yes.  Challenging?  Undoubtedly.  But Isaiah tells

us that the maternal God will comfort, protect and nourish us with

tenderness and compassion.  Like a loving mother, God gives the migrant

children - and us - life-giving milk and cradles us with tenderness and

peace. And that sends our hearts rejoicing!  Jesus picked seventy.  He sent

them out to bring his power to the world.  Everyone here, everyone who

calls himself or herself a Christian, is part of the seventy.  Wherever we

go, whatever we do, we have the ability and the responsibility to proclaim

the power and the presence of Christ.  As we journey through life, let's

not let money and luggage, reservations and a schedule get in the way.

Travel light!

 

Deacon Russ O'Neill

Diocese of Youngstown

<russon2330@sbcglobal.net>

 

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5.

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Volume 2 is for you. Your thoughts, reflections, and insights on the next

Sundays readings can influence the preaching you hear. Send them to

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and Email Address.

 

-- Fr. John

 


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