“It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of heaven.” There has probably been more effort expended in various sermons to explain away this uncomfortable saying of Jesus than for all the rest of his sayings combined. Pastors do not want their wealthy parishioners to be too uncomfortable. They depend upon them, after all, to sustain the parish enterprise. This was just a figure of speech, wasn’t it? So it’s OK to be rich.
Belize is an independent and sovereign country located on the north eastern coast of Central America. It is bordered on the northwest by Mexico, on the east by the Caribbean Sea, and on the south and west by Guatemala. The rolling blue waters of the Caribbean, wash over and refines the tiny pearls of glittering sands on the seashore of the nation of Belize.
From June 29 to 22 July, 2019 Sr. Josephina D’Souza, Vicar General, held an official Visitation to the communities in different districts of the Country. She visited the familiar and not too familiar grounds which she walked thirty years ago while she was in formation to be a Pallottine Missionary Sister.
"The young man went away sad, for he had many possessions"
Do we worship the Lord? Do we turn to God only to ask him for things, to thank him, or do we also turn to him to worship him? What does it mean, then, to worship God? It means learning to be with him, it means that we stop trying to dialogue with him, and it means sensing that his presence is the most true, the most good, the most important thing of all. All of us, in our own lives, consciously and perhaps sometimes unconsciously, have a very clear order of priority concerning the things we consider important. Worshiping the Lord means giving him the place that he must have; worshiping the Lord means stating, believing – not only by our words – that he alone truly guides our lives; worshiping the Lord means that we are convinced before him that he is the only God, the God of our lives, the God of our history.
Our St. Mary's Pallottine Community, Huntington, as well as all of our USA communities, had been preparing for Sr. Izabela Swierad, Superior General’s visit for weeks. The lovely prayer composed by Sr. Francesca Lowis was prayed daily by the Community, until her arrival. We were expecting Sr. Izabela to arrive on Sunday, July 14th. However she surprised us by coming one day earlier. Sr. Mary Grace Barile, our Provincial Superior accompanied her from Buckhannon. Our small Community (Srs. Mary Terence Wall, Elisabeth Heptner, Angela Madera, and Joanne Obrochta) greeted her at our supper meal. It was a great joy to see her again.
Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10; Hebrews 12:1-4; Luke 12:49-57
I have come to bring division to the earth
This Sunday’s Gospel reading contains some of the most provocative words ever spoken by Jesus: "Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law."
I received great grace from God to be a participant of the 5-month formation program for Formators organized by UISG (International Union Superiors General) in Rome. I was thrilled thinking that I would have the opportunity to be in the city of our Founder but also about the course. I didn’t regret any minutes of it.
Josh 24:14-29; Mt 19:13-15
The first reading reaffirms that our faith and our choices in our faith are in fact choices. We choose our religion and our actions. In Joshua, the tribes of Israel have to make a choice -- do they worship the Lord, or do they worship the gods of their fathers or the gods of this new land. Joshua says they can make their own choices, but that he chooses to worship the Lord. They choose the Lord as well, knowing that if they revert to their old ways they may not get a second chance. They realize that this choice is important and not a whim. They choose the Lord, reiterate that decision, and pledge to it. They acknowledge that the Lord has saved them and has seen them through hardships, and they will not forsake Him now that they are in relative safety. But technically they could. This is a choice and they have the free will to do that. They choose the Lord and they choose this life.
The last lines of today’s gospel passage prompt me to offer some reflections that one does not often hear in church, yet need to be heard. I am referring to the Lord’s words: “...some because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven”. Through baptism we are ALL called to image on earth God’s love. But God’s love is so rich in dimensions, that no one can image all those dimensions by oneself.
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo: The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 1675
A Gifted Relationship
In 1950, five years after the end of the carnage of the Second World War which had ruptured the peace of the world and during which millions of human beings made in the image and likeness of God had been consigned to oblivion and literally gone up in smoke Pope Pius XII promulgated the doctrine of the Assumption; a teaching about the value of an individual human life to the rest of humanity. He declared in the apostolic constitution Munificentissimus Deus that ‘the Immaculate Mother of God, Mary ever Virgin, on completing the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul to heavenly glory.’ The human being who most reflected the splendour of her Son’s humanity and his obedient response to the Father’s will did not undergo separation from him. She who was at his side on the Way of the Cross and who accepted the role of Mother of the Church at the foot of the cross was called to his side in heavenly glory.
"Going in search of the stray"
Adam, after his sin, experiences shame, he feels naked, he senses the weight of what he has done; and yet God does not abandon him: if that moment of sin marks the beginning of his exile from God, there is already a promise of return, a possibility of return. God immediately asks: "Adam, where are you?" (Gn 3,9) He seeks him out. Jesus took on our nakedness, he took upon himself the shame of Adam, the nakedness of his sin, in order to wash away our sin: by his wounds we have been healed(Is 53,5; 1P 2,24). Remember what Saint Paul says: "What shall I boast of, if not my weakness, my poverty?” (cf 2Co 11,30s)Precisely in feeling my sinfulness, in looking at my sins, I can see and encounter God’s mercy, his love, and go to him to receive forgiveness.