In Ekaterinburg, in the parish of St. Anna, on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the First Holy Communion of children took place. 11 young candidates received communion. After an interruption due to the pandemic, it was a much-anticipated event.
Children were prepared for this great event by S.M. Irina Chicherova. For the last 2 years, the children had weekly activities in the common room. While meetings were restricted due to the lockdown, the classes were held at home and led by parents who received materials from Sr. Irina to conduct the meeting.
Isaiah 49:1-6; Acts 13:22-26; Luke 1:57-66, 80
Today is known as “Little Christmas”. It is the birth of the sixth-month older cousin of Jesus. There were some who believed John to be the Christ, but the Gospels make it quite clear that his destiny was to be the forerunner and baptizer of the Christ.
There is nothing known or written about any friendship they enjoyed after their womb-to-womb meeting during Mary’s visitation to John’s mother, Elizabeth. John is pictured as having a light to shine toward and upon Jesus, but as the Evangelist John writes in his first chapter, “He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.” John 1, 8
"As good as bread"
Project "St. Brother Albert Chmielowski" in the Diocese of Doumé / Cameroon
Working for a long time in Caritas in the Doumé Abong-Mbang diocese, I notice how many needs there are, as people experience poverty, hunger and sickness. How many people suffer because of the lack of money necessary for surgeries, for treatments, for the repair of their homes which, for example, have lost their roofs due to high winds, which often occur in our region. Seeing the great demand and necessity of "every penny", as well as the helplessness of the local population and the powerlessness of the world affected by the pandemic - I decided to use the local natural resources at the disposal of the local population. Having been in Cameroon for many years, I realized that the "treasure" of this area are the ARACHIDS – (peanuts). The harvest is generally once a year but, often enough we harvest up to several 100 kg bags. The problem is that people have no place to sell them and really do not know what to do with them. With this commodity they pay, for example, school fees.
5. COMMUNITY OF DISCIPLES OF JESUS - COMMUNION
Patroness of the month - Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us
Unity in diversity: the nature, gift and task of the Church community. How to be together and to live together, one with the other and one for the other? We need Mary’s trust and openness to what is new, different, unknown. The Church needs to discover Her maternal heart which beats for unity.
Intention of the month
Let us pray for the Pope and all the clergy of the Church, so that God would keep them healthy, safe, and faithful to the Gospel.
Generally when I try to heed the warning to beware of the false prophet I remind myself to be cautious around political leaders and church hierarchy and other power brokers. And of course there are many times when such individuals fit the bill. But this seems too easy. It is so much more comfortable to identify the faults of others. The attribution of power, greed, and vanity to another person can help us feel safe. It is easier to diagnose the shortcomings of another than to explore the actions and thoughts and choices of ourselves.
Matthew 7:6, 12-14
In today’s gospel Our Lord advises we “enter through the narrow gate,” not the “wide one.” Both are unlocked, and each gives access to a way with its own destination. One has “Death” blazed across it and the way it opens up leads to a dead end: it gradually leads to death. The sign on the other says “Life,” and the way it opens leads to eternal life in the Kingdom of God. Our Lord leaves it up to us to choose which one to enter.
Do not judge, that you may not be judged. Is the Lord telling us to “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”, to be naive and undiscerning? Part of the prophetic role of the baptized is precisely that: to be prophetic, not to abstain from taking positions. Part of our being sent is to call evil what is evil and good what is good. But this does not necessarily mean that we have to set ourselves up as judges of others.
Job 38:1, 8-11; 2 Corinthians 5:14-17; Mark 4:35-41
With Jesus through the Storms of Life
St Mark's words might express the feelings of many people of shaky faith or none. When the storms of life rage overhead, people often can't keep themselves from a word of protest:
Where is God when I need him most?
After all, God is supposed to be at the helm of the ship. That's God's job. Instead, he sometimes seems comfortably sheltered from the maelstrom of human concerns. Perhaps he's just dozing. His captaincy sometimes seems hidden from view.
2 Cor 12:1-10; Mt 6:24-34
The Wonder of it All
“I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses,
in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.”
(2 Corinthians 12: 9)
The Christians at Corinth were divided. In his letters, Paul ministered to this community in crisis. He established his authority as a servant of Christ but not in the usual way. From childhood, we learn to boast about what sets us above others: rich friends, winning plays, top ranking, flashy electronics, big houses, fast cars. Neither wealth nor powerful allies serve as Paul’s credentials. Paul boasts in new and humorous ways. Speaking of himself in the third person, he acclaims the man who reportedly was lifted up into Paradise, where he directly encountered the mystery of God. But as for himself, it is his weakness of which he boasts. But who prizes loss and failure? This absurdity catches his readers’ attention and we listen.
The lessons for today are appropriate for people who experience distress and anxiety. At some points in our lives, all of us have fears and call out to God for rescue. But we usually don't do so from the perspective of first acknowledging that our anxieties are often due to our lack of trust and our inability to honestly confront our weaknesses and our daily need for God to reveal God's light in the midst of our lives.
We are a sinful people, easily duped by the enemy, distracted by the false lights that move our lesser selves. There are so many ways that we can transgress on our path to the Lord, countless side trips that can divert us from our true calling, to be reunited with God. I think most of us realize we are sinful, most understand that we personally are not immune from stumbling. That is why when we stop to reflect on the love of God, and the sacrifice of Jesus, we are both humbled and chastened, and with the psalmist we can give thanks for the greatness of the Lord.
Mt 6:1-6, 16-18
God loves a cheerful giver. I love this phrase from Corinthians, not just in its meaning for alms and good works. God doesn’t just mean that we smile when we write out a check or grin when we drop off clothes at Goodwill (thought I think that’s a good idea too.) When I think of God loves a cheerful giver, it reminds me of finding God in all things, in our day-to-day lives -- not only when we are in church or praying or performing service. I want to be a cheerful giver among my co-workers, my neighbors, the woman at the checkout line at the grocery store.