August is a special month in Poland when the landscape on the roads is changed. Thousands of pilgrims from various parts of Poland set off on foot pilgrimages to Jasna Góra, the National Sanctuary of Our Lady in Częstochowa. Pilgrims cover hundreds of kilometers, confidently carrying their own intentions and those entrusted to them by others.
He called in his servants and handed his funds over to them according to each one's abilities.
It is wonderful to pause today to remember that Jesus has entrusted to us - put us in charge of - tremendous resources. For us who are baptized into him, they are truly his resources. It is good to remember that I probably don't fully appreciate what I have been given, and therefore, what I have to invest. And I probably don't fully appreciate the gifts that others around me have, and what resources they might be able to share.
This reading is about wakefulness, watchfulness: a central factor in any spirituality. When I'm asleep I don’t know what is happening. If I walk in my sleep I don’t know where I'm going, or why; I'm capable of stepping through a window to my death. What then if my waking life is also a kind of sleeping? What if my fits of anger and fear, and the non-stop craving in my life, are just like wheels turning by themselves, with no one in charge? People only have to press the right button and there’s my anger; press another and I cringe with fear; show me an advertisement and I buy a product I don’t need. I'm a machine, reacting to stimuli, not a conscious being responding to life. Or, to say it another way, I'm sound asleep.
Jeremiah 1:17-19; Mark 6:17-29
A royal birthday party, a resentful and scheming wife, a dancing girl, a wine-addled king, a murder resulting in a bloody head served up on a platter—what does all this have to with the Good News of Jesus Christ? And why, in the shortest of the gospels, does Mark spend thirteen verses on this bloody flashback (sex, booze, and violence) interrupting the forward motion of his narrative? No one has ever accused Mark of wasting parchment, so this episode must be something more than a fascinating distraction.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3a, 14-17; Matthew 23:23-26
In this chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus is venting against the scribes and Pharisees. The object of his frustration and perturbation is their distorted values. Jesus points out that ritual and pious practice can be helpful, but the scribes and Pharisees have made them ends in themselves rather than means.
Monica, the mother of St. Augustine, was born in 332. A girlhood of singular innocence and piety, she was given in marriage to Patritius, a pagan. She at once devoted herself to his conversion, praying for him always, and winning his reverence and love by the holiness of her life and her affectionate forbearance. She was rewarded by seeing him baptized a year before his death.
1Thessalonians 1:2-5, 8-10; Matthew 23:13-22
The Gospel of Matthew and the reading to the Thessalonians seem to be juxtaposed for the point of comparing those who are living a holy life and those who are pretending to. We learn from the readings that the Pharisees are those who say the right things according to God’s word, but fail to act in accordance with it (Matthew 23: 3-4), while the Thessalonians endured suffering and opposition when first following Christ, but did not depart in words and actions from all that Paul had taught them about following Christ. The Thessalonians’ faith became known everywhere because of their “modeling”, their faithful actions.
The Vacation Bible School Titled Cool Kingdom was held from 8th July 2019 to 12th July 2019 at Laurel, St. Mary of the Mills Parish Day Care Center. About 105 school students attend.
The themes were based on Virtues of Mother Mary’s experiences on Obedience, Faith, Love, Purity and Joy. There was a great display of music, acting, art and craft, faith station fun and games. So much so that even the snacks were prepared in line with the theme.
Is 66:18-21; Hbr 12:5-7, 11-13; Lk 13:22-30
Someone asked him,
“Lord, will only a few people be saved?”
He answered them,
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough.” Luke 13
As I’ve prayed with this gospel, I felt a new sense of it. Jesus doesn’t answer the understandable question about whether the number who will be saved is “few” – a small number. Instead, he answers another way. He tells us not to worry about how many will be saved, but to focus on our own journey and to choose a path which is challenging. As many of who want to, can enter by this narrow gate. That is so comforting and consoling.
Michael Willmann: Häutung des Hl. Bartholomäus, Ölskizze um 1660
I suspect that Nathaniel was rather young at the time that this event occurred: he shows the sort of cynicism which I associate with young men in their late teens at the same time as being rather pure or "free from guile," again something that I would associate with a young man trying to be innocent and pure of heart. I do not think that Jesus is being sarcastic in what he says; this is just part of the amazing exchange of names and titles at the heart of this reading and the one preceding it.