Saturday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 2 TM 4:1-8

Beloved:
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus,
who will judge the living and the dead,
and by his appearing and his kingly power:
proclaim the word;
be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient;
convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.
For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine
but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity,
will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth
and will be diverted to myths.
But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances;
put up with hardship;
perform the work of an evangelist;
fulfill your ministry.
For I am already being poured out like a libation,
and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have competed well;
I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.
From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me,
which the Lord, the just judge,
will award to me on that day, and not only to me,
but to all who have longed for his appearance.

Responsorial Psalm PS 71:8-9, 14-15AB, 16-17, 22

R. (see 15ab)  I will sing of your salvation.
My mouth shall be filled with your praise,
with your glory day by day.
Cast me not off in my old age;
as my strength fails, forsake me not.
R. I will sing of your salvation.
But I will always hope
and praise you ever more and more.
My mouth shall declare your justice,
day by day your salvation.
R. I will sing of your salvation.
I will treat of the mighty works of the Lord;
O God, I will tell of your singular justice.
O God, you have taught me from my youth,
and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.
R. I will sing of your salvation.
So will I give you thanks with music on the lyre,
for your faithfulness, O my God!
I will sing your praises with the harp,
O Holy One of Israel!
R. I will sing of your salvation.

Alleluia MT 5:3

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are the poor in spirit;
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 12:38-44

In the course of his teaching Jesus said,
“Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes
and accept greetings in the marketplaces,
seats of honor in synagogues,
and places of honor at banquets.
They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext,
recite lengthy prayers.
They will receive a very severe condemnation.”

He sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
“Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury.
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood.”

 

For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Norbert, please go here.

– – –
Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Be Persistent

“..be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching…But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work on an evangelist; fulfill your ministry….” 2 Tim 4:2,5

My heart is heavy and I’m losing focus more than I usually do (which is saying something!). There is turmoil in the USA on many levels. This affects each and every person in my country.

 To fulfill our ministry as the first reading says, each of us has a lot of work to do. None of it is easy. The work starts on a personal level. Educate yourself by expanding your usual reading. There are links to several fine articles below that have fantastic resources throughout; read the ones you can, especially those on white privilege if that is how you identify yourself.

Dive into your own gut reactions to what you have seen, heard, and read over the last week. Examine the phrases and terms you use when speaking and writing about racism (in its many forms). Racism is learned. You are either racist or anti-racist; period. No ifs, ands or buts, exclusions, or special situations. You are either racist or anti-racist. Sit with that; let it sink in. Pray about what you have done and what you have failed to do focusing on racial issues.

Performing the work of an evangelist leads us to systemic change on all levels of our society here in the United States of America. It is time to fix what is broken in our social structure and in policies at all levels of our neighborhoods, local, state, and national communities; each and every one. It will take courage, humility, knowledge, wisdom, love, and prayer to come together and address the necessary changes for each situation.

Let us pray the words of  Pope Francis to begin this great and necessary work.

Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
Help us to recognize the evil latent in a communication that does not build communion.
Help us to remove the venom from our judgements.
Help us to speak about others as our brothers and sisters.
You are faithful and trustworthy; may our words be seeds of goodness for the world:
where there is shouting, let us practice listening;
where there is confusion, let us inspire harmony;
where there is ambiguity, let us bring clarity;
where there is exclusion, let us offer solidarity;
where there is sensationalism, let us use sobriety;
where there is superficiality, let us raise real questions;
where there is prejudice, let us awaken trust;
where there is hostility, let us bring respect;
where there is falsehood, let us bring truth.  Amen.
May Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of America, intercede for all those who work for peace and justice in your land and throughout the world. Amen.

How Long O Lord, Ps 13

White people let’s do our homework

I am tired

White privilege and what we can do about it

Reading James Baldwin can help heal wounds

El Paso Bishop Mark Seitz, Black Lives Matter

Pope Francis speaks about the death of George Floyd

youTube: Systemic Racism Explained

youTube: Let’s get to the root of racial injustice | Megan Ming Francis | TEDxRainier

How to raise an anti-racist white kid 

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Beth is part of the customer care team at Diocesan. She brings a unique depth of experience to the group due to her time spent in education, parish ministries, sales and the service industry over the last 25 yrs. She is a practicing spiritual director as well as a Secular Franciscan (OFS). Beth is quick to offer a laugh, a prayer or smile to all she comes in contact with. Reach her here bprice@diocesan.com.

St. Norbert

On June 6 the Catholic Church honors Saint Norbert of Xanten – who started out as a frivolous and worldly cleric, but was changed by God’s grace into a powerful preacher and an important reformer of the Church during the early 12th century. He is the founder of the Norbertine order.Born around the year 1075 in the German town of Xanten, Norbert belonged to a high-ranking family with ties to the imperial court. As a young man he showed a high degree of intelligence and sophistication – which marked him out as a contender for offices within the Church, the state, or both. None of this, however, was any guarantee of a holy life. On the contrary, Norbert’s gifts and advantages would prove to be a source of temptation even after he joined the ranks of the clergy.Norbert was ordained as a subdeacon, and enrolled with a group of clerics in his town, before moving on to an appointment with the powerful Archbishop of Cologne. He went on to serve the German Emperor Henry V, in a position which involved the distribution of aid to the poor. In all of this, however, Norbert displayed no particular piety or personal seriousness, living a rather pleasurable and luxurious life.Change would come from a brush with death, in approximately 1112: while riding on horseback near Xanten, he was caught in a storm and nearly killed by a lightning bolt. The frightened horse threw Norbert off, and he lay unconscious for some time. Sobered by the experience, he left his imperial post and began a period of prayer and discernment in a monastery. At age 35, he heard God calling him to the priesthood.Radically converted to the ideals of the Gospel, Norbert was now set against the worldly attitude he had once embodied. This made him unpopular with local clerics, who responded with insults and condemnation. But Norbert was not turning back. He gave all of his wealth to the poor, reducing himself to a barefoot and begging pilgrim who possessed nothing except the means to celebrate Mass.Pope Gelasius II gave Norbert permission to live as an itinerant preacher, and he was asked to found a religious order so that others might live after his example. He settled in the northern French region of Aisne, along with a small group of disciples who were to live according to the Rule of St. Augustine. On December 25, 1121, they were established as the Canons Regular of Premontre, also known as the Premonstratensians or Norbertines.Their founder also established a women’s branch of the order, before returning to Germany for a successful preaching tour. He founded a lay branch of the Premonstratensians (the Third Order of St. Norbert), and went on to Belgium, where he preached against a sect that denied the power of the sacraments. His order was invited into many Northern European dioceses, and there was talk of making Norbert a bishop.Though he avoided an earlier attempt to make him the Bishop of Wurzburg, Norbert was eventually chosen to become the Archbishop of Magdeburg in Germany. The archdiocese was in serious moral and financial trouble, and the new archbishop worked hard to reform it. His efforts were partly successful, but not universally accepted: Norbert was the target of three failed assassination attempts, made by opponents of his reforms.  When a dispute arose over the papal succession in 1130, Norbert traveled to Rome to support the legitimate Pope Innocent II. Afterward he returned to Germany and became a close adviser to its Emperor Lothar. In a sense, his life seems to have come full-circle: the first hints of his conversion had come on a trip to Rome two decades earlier, when he accompanied a previous emperor. This time, however, Norbert was seeking God’s will, not his own advancement.With his health failing, Norbert was brought back to Magdeburg. He died there on June 6, 1134. Pope Gregory XIII canonized St. Norbert in 1582.

Have We Fallen Short?

You have followed my teaching, way of life, purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra, persecutions that I endured.” (2 Timothy 3:10) 

This second letter to Timothy was written as an encouragement to Timothy to help him in his ministry, to help him prepare for some of the practicality of being a missionary such as planning ahead for succession. The letter doesn’t pull any punches, it isn’t going to be all fun and games. It is going to take patience, love, endurance to not only survive but thrive through the persecutions, and sufferings that come. We are told straight out that, “all who want to live religiously in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

There used to be jokes on the internet about us and our first world problems. We would bemoan the lack of a charger for our phones or that the stores were out of some luxury item to which we had become accustomed. Now, all of a sudden, these jokes aren’t so funny. Even if we aren’t in the thick of it, we are watching as freezer trucks are used to house the bodies of our fellow citizens who have not survived the pandemic. We see thousands of our countrymen waiting in line for food for their families. We are seeing video of men dying at the hands of those who have no respect for life. We are watching whole segments of our society rise up in protest because they are considered as less worthy of living a first-world life and we are seeing those who are using their anguished protests as an excuse to riot and loot. Not only are the first world jokes no longer funny, just maybe they never were. 

What do we do as Catholic Christians? How do we clarify the eyes of our hearts so that we see the face of Jesus in everyone we meet? I am not talking about being colorblind. I am talking about seeing a person for who they were created to be because that is where we find Jesus in them.

Today is the Memorial of St. Boniface. Once again, the Church in her motherly wisdom provides us with a Saint who has been there. “Boniface bears out the Christian rule: To follow Christ is to follow the way of the cross. For Boniface, it was not only physical suffering or death but the painful, thankless, bewildering task of Church reform. Missionary glory is often thought of in terms of bringing new persons to Christ. It seems—but is not—less glorious to heal the household of the faith.” (https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-boniface/) Those last sentences, “Missionary glory is often thought of in terms of bringing new persons to Christ. It seems-but it is not-less glorious to heal the household of faith.” We need to recognize where we have fallen short as a people of God. We can point to amazing people in the Church who have spent their lives working for social justice, but have we? Do we go farther than donating our used clothing? Farther than dropping off food at the food bank? Those are good things to do, but are they enough? We talk about the New Evangelization in a post-Christian world. We are not ministering to those who have never heard of Jesus Christ, but to those who have heard of or even met Jesus but haven’t allowed him to change their hearts. What lies before us is a much different task. 

2nd Timothy helps us. If we immerse ourselves in Holy Scripture and we model ourselves after the Saints who have gone before us, the Holy Spirit will guide us in discerning between trials, which are necessary for the growth of the inner man, and temptation, which leads to sin and death. (CCC 2847) As we face head-on these challenges in our modern world, as we pray and study and lead, we will come to see Jesus in each and every person, from conception to natural death. We will begin to not simply profess Catholic social teaching, we will live it. Our lives will become our testaments to the living God and his call to unity. 

Eternal God, the refuge and help of all your children,
we praise you for all you have given us,
for all you have done for us,
for all that you are to us.
In our weakness, you are strength,
in our darkness, you are light,
in our sorrow, you are comfort and peace.
We cannot number your blessings,
we cannot declare your love:
For all your blessings we bless you.
May we live as in your presence,
and love the things that you love,
and serve you in our daily lives;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Attributed to St. Boniface

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Sheryl delights in being the number 1 cheerleader and supporter for her husband, Tom who is a candidate for the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of Kalamazoo. They are so grateful for the opportunity to grow together in this process whether it is studying for classes, deepening their prayer life or discovering new ways to serve together. Sheryl’s day job is serving her community as the principal for St. Therese Catholic School in Wayland, Michigan. Since every time she thinks she gets life all figured out, she realizes just how far she has to go, St. Rita of Cascia is her go-to Saint for intercession and help. Home includes Brea, a Bernese Mountain dog and Carlyn, a very, very goofy Golden Retriever.