StMM Statue
Mission Statement
M-T-Wed 8:00 am - Communion Service Th-F 8:00 am - Mass     
4:30 pm      SUN 8:30 & 10:30 am

Holy Days:
  8:00 am and 7:00 pm. Always check the bulletin to confirm times.

Saturday morning Mass is celebrated on a rotating basis at
St. Ann (2nd & 4th Saturdays), Assumption (1st & 3rd Saturdays) and
St. Margaret Mary (5th Saturdays) at 8:30 am.
StMM Catholic Church
Weekly Reflection for June 21, 2015
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Fortnight for Freedom 2015

THIS SUNDAY begins the focus on the Fortnight for Freedom which ends on July 4. Here is a prayer recommended by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops during this time.

Almighty God, Father of all nations, for freedom you have set us free in Christ Jesus (Gal 5:1). We praise and bless you for the gift of religious liberty, the foundation of human rights, justice, and the common good. Grant to our leaders the wisdom to protect and promote our liberties; by your grace may we have the courage to defend them, for ourselves and for all those who live in this blessed land. We ask this through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, our patroness, and in the name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, with whom you live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Weekly Reflection
for June 14, 2015
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

God the Gardener
Ezekiel 17:22-24

Some people have a knack for gardening. They hoe and plant, water and weed. Seeds sprout, leaves unfurl and branches bear fruit. When gardeners are good, gardens seem to grow at their command.
For others, it never seems to work. The soil stays hard. Seeds lie buried as if dead. And if something grows, the deer and raccoons get it first.

But some gardeners have the knack. They are messengers of God, continuing the work of creation.

In a way, all of us are plants in God’s garden. We first took root in soil we did not choose. God has let us grow there or has transplanted us to different ground—preferably more fertile, though sometimes more arid. Still, God is the master gardener, who can make things grow by command, even if they have been transplanted.

Through the prophet Ezekiel, God says, “From the topmost branches of the cedar I will tear off a tender shoot, and plant it on a high and lofty mountain. It shall put forth branches and bear fruit, and become a majestic cedar.” Sometimes we find ourselves in a place we did not expect. More fragile than we realized, we were removed from the strong support of the past and planted in a new remote region. We wonder, “How can I grow now?”

We grow as we always grow, in the skillful hands of a gardening God.

Weekly Reflection
for June 7, 2015
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

The Blood of Christ
Hebrews 9:11-15

At communion time, many Catholics do not partake of the Blood of Christ. Some churches do not offer it. In those that do, some people abstain. Some worry about the sanitation of drinking from a common cup. Others probably find the idea of “drinking blood” a bit repulsive. Perhaps it is. But so is the idea of “eating flesh.” Our communion in Christ is a bold gesture of faith and commitment.

Drinking the Blood of Christ is an important expression of our faith. Jesus asked his followers at the Last Supper to eat his Body and drink his Blood. He didn’t recommend just one or the other.

The Letter to the Hebrews expresses the significance of the Blood of Christ. In the past, the high priest entered the Holy of Holies, the heart of the temple, with the blood of goats and calves. The sprinkling of this blood forgave the sins of those who were defiled.

When Christ ascended into heaven, he entered the holiest of holy places. He brought with him his own blood—for our sakes. “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.” Drinking the Blood of Christ forgives our sins, frees us from “dead works”, and makes us more worthy to worship. It is an act of faith, thanksgiving, and forgiveness.

Weekly Reflection
for May 31, 2015
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Our Position with the Trinity
Romans 8:14-17

We do everything in the name of the Trinity. We begin and end our prayer with the sign of the cross. Many orations at church are offered to the Father, through the Son and in the Holy Spirit.

The Bible often mentions the roles of the Trinity, and one section of Paul’s Letter to the Romans is a good example. Paul says that the Father has sent the Spirit to lead us. We receive the Spirit not to be slaves, but adopted children of God. The Spirit leads us in freedom, guides our choices, and directs our steps. Because of the Spirit’s lead we call God our Father.

Jesus Christ, Paul continues, is an heir to all that the Father has promised. He suffered for us, and God has glorified him. Jesus is the Son of God. The Spirit has made us adopted children of God. Consequently, we are “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.” We share a privileged position with the Holy Trinity because of the will of the Father, who sent the Spirit, and the activity of the Spirit, who leads us to the Father.

God asks us to suffer with Christ “so that we may also be glorified with him.” Human life is filled with suffering. Sometimes we willingly increase it for the sake of others and the message of the gospel. We gain our strength by doing everything in the name of the Trinity.

Weekly Reflection
for May 24, 2015
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

The Dangerous Spirit
Galatians 5:16-25

The Spirit is a dangerous thing. You never know where the Spirit will lead. God’s Holy Spirit goes where it wills, changes the way people think, and makes them take bold action.

The fruits of the Spirit do not sound dangerous. Paul enumerates them in the Letter to the Galatians: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Those don’t sound troublesome at all. But Paul adds this comment: “Against such there is no law.” That sounds like treason.

But Paul argues there is no law against love. No law against generosity. No law against self-control. If a law seems to cross the border, Paul would argue it does not apply. “If you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”

Of course, the Spirit would have us behave. The Spirit will not lead us to do bad things. Our flesh has unhealthy desires: “immorality, impurity, lust, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies”—to name a few. Paul says the flesh and the Spirit are opposed to each other. So we must let go of these selfish desires.

But remain open to the Spirit. The Spirit will provoke you to perform acts of joy and peace, random acts of kindness and gentleness. It is a dangerous thing. But it has beautiful results. Today is Pentecost. The Spirit is coming your way today

Weekly Reflection
for May 17, 2015
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Going Away
Ephesians 4:1-13
A lot of families can tell a story like this. The oldest child had a strong character, and younger siblings seemed to pull back when the kids
were all together. Even at school, younger siblings lived in the shadow of the oldest. But then the day came when the oldest child moved on to another school. Almost overnight, the younger children began to develop personalities of their own. They took on more responsibilities and became more independent. It wasn’t that the oldest child tried to hold the other children back. But once the older child was gone, the others felt more freedom to grow their own way.

When Jesus ascended into heaven, the disciples had to step up and take responsibility for the church he left behind. They had been fearful, ignorant and inept through the previous years. But now they became a force to be reckoned with—strong leaders, eloquent speakers, and workers of wonders. Jesus had to leave for all this to happen.

The Letter to the Ephesians says that Jesus “ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.” He went away in order to be more present. He became more present especially in his disciples, who developed a multitude of gifts. “He gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers.”
Jesus has ascended. How has he equipped you to build up his body?

Weekly Reflection
for May 3, 2015
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Converting the Community
Acts 9:26-31

If Easter has worked its wonder, you are different today than you were a year ago. Lent and Easter are seasons of renewal in the Church. Each Lent we strive to face our sin, do penance, and rise with Jesus. We draw on the power of these seasons to celebrate the love of God in our lives, a love that accepts us in our sinfulness and calls us into grace.

Each year, if Easter works its wonder, we can grow in holiness. There is one problem. Even though we may be different, other people may not realize it. They may treat us the same, making it hard for us to live fully the new life of grace.

Take Saul for example. Before his conversion he persecuted Christians. After his conversion, he lived for Christ alone. There was one problem. People didn't trust Saul. When he showed up in Jerusalem among the disciples, they were afraid of him because they didn't believe he had changed. Only when Barnabas defended him could Saul move about freely.

The mystery of renewal begins in the quiet of each person's heart, and gradually it converts the community.

Weekly Reflection
for April 26, 2015
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Singles Club
1 Corinthians 7:32-35

Being single usually means being available. In our culture, singles are those who are not yet hooked up—as if the partnering is inevitable. Family and friends often put pressure on singles to find someone and get married. But some people choose to be single. They are concentrating on another vocation, for example, and cannot give marriage and family life the attention it deserves. A dedicated student will devote free time to study. Some people developing a talent in sports or the arts remain single because of the demands of their craft. And some religious figures are single in order to devote their whole lives to God.

In the New Testament tradition, several prominent figures were single, including Jesus, John the Baptist, the apostle John, and the apostle Paul. Paul explains the virtues of being single in a letter to the Corinthians. “An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But a married man is anxious about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and he is divided.”

Paul oversimplifies the case; many married people devote themselves to the things of the Lord, and many singles are trying to please a friend. But his point is that unmarried people have a unique opportunity to devote their attention to God.
Being single need not mean being available. It can also mean being taken—by study, art, sport or faith.

Weekly Reflection
for April 19, 2015
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

This Sunday, we congratulate and honor those seventh grade students who completed the last of the Sacraments of Initiation. Having been baptized and made First Communion, the Sacrament of Confirmation now declares them as fully initiated in the Catholic Church.

This does not mean that they have completed the study of the faith. Indeed, the journey of faith is a life time experience. They are strongly encouraged, as are all of us, to continually seek for more knowledge of God, our faith and life in general.

The strong life time call for all of us is to live our life as Jesus taught us; to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Following the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, making prayer a daily practice with some quiet time to listen to God’s call to us is important. As our community of faith at St. Margaret Mary prays and supports each other and the world around us, we can find many ways to imitate Jesus as we respond to others’ needs. This commitment and call is for all of us.

Need some ideas? Call the Faith Formation Office.

Weekly Reflection
for April 12, 2015
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Share and Share Alike

Share and share alike. One of the first lessons we learn in life is the importance of sharing what we have. Whether we receive freely or give freely, sharing brings happiness to all involved.

When the first Christians formed a community, they shared everything they owned. The followers of Jesus were not content with a personal relationship with their Savior. They craved a personal relationship with the community of believers.

Some believers had more than others. Those who owned property or houses sold them and gave the proceeds to the leaders, who distributed the money to those who needed it. Those who had more realized they could live with less. Those who had less got what they needed to live.

Today many Christians feel good if we tithe. If we give ten percent of what we earn to charities, we feel like we’ve done our part.
The first Christians did more. Much more. They gave until everyone in their community had the same. Share and share alike.

Do you have more than you need of something? What would it take for you to give it away? All the early church needed was faith.

Weekly Reflection
for April 5, 2015
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

All Is New
Acts 10:34a, 37-43

“What’s new?”

That’s what we ask when we want to hear a story. Stories celebrate the great moments of life. When you hear one, it fills you with delight. When you tell one, you fulfill an inner desire to share what has shaped your life anew.

After Jesus rose from the dead, the disciples did not wait for people to ask, “What’s new?” They proudly proclaimed it: “God raised Jesus on the third day and granted that he be visible to us witnesses.” Now, that’s new!

If you have kept a good Lent, you know very well what is new with you. You are what is new! You have faced your sin, admitted your fault, and accepted your dependence upon God’s help. You have prayed and fasted with the community. You have loved your neighbor. Because you have emptied a place inside yourself, you created a space for God’s Spirit to enter. Christ is risen indeed, and he has appeared to you! You are now a witness of all that God can do.

This Easter Day, tell your story. Tell your faith. Let joy radiate from your face and loosen your tongue! Jesus lives!

Weekly Reflection
for March 29, 2015
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

The Mystery of Suffering
Isaiah 50:4-7

The speaker of today’s first reading is a victim. He speaks, but people beat him, pull out the hairs of his beard, slap and spit on him. Why? He suffers all this because he has spoken God’s word. Every morning God speaks to him and enables him to speak to others. This word gets him into trouble.

But the speaker does not quit. Nor does he curse God who gives him these pointed words. He remains firm, committed to the word God gives him, even in the face of resistance.

Although Isaiah wrote about the difficulties faced by faithful Israel in the midst of enemies, Christians read through these lines and see the image of Jesus. He received God’s word, spoke it with eloquence, and suffered at the hands of his enemies.

Do your words ever get you into trouble? Does it happen even when you say the right thing? If so, you stand in a long line of those who suffer because they are servants of God.

The victim on the cross hangs in full view in our churches. Christians can face the agony of suffering as it befell Jesus and as it comes to us, because we know there is something more.

Weekly Reflection
for March 22, 2015
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Learning to Obey
Hebrews 5:7-9

Obedience includes suffering. We sometimes disobey in order to avoid suffering, but that also exacts a price.

You’re afraid you’ll show up late, so you speed and get a ticket. You’re afraid you’ll flunk a test, so you cheat and get caught. You know you shouldn’t check out some sites on the internet, but you do—and now you’re sorry. The consequences of disobedience are severe. The consequences of obedience include suffering.

When we obey, we give up something of our own preferences, goals and lusts. When we obey, we think of the good of others more than the pleasures we’d like. This brings its own pleasure, but it involves suffering.

Jesus obeyed the Father’s will, and it included suffering. The Letter to the Hebrews says, “He offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death.” He did not want to die. Yet, “He learned obedience from what he suffered.” Jesus learned what it meant to obey. He suffered, but “he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”
As Lent draws to its close, reflect back on Ash Wednesday. On that day you confessed your sins and promised to lead a better life. By now it should be clearer what you must do. It will not be easy. Suffering never is. But you will find peace when you obey God’s will.

Weekly Reflection
for March 15, 2015
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Deliverance from Exile
2 Chronicles 36:14-16, 19-23

“What did I do to deserve this?” When misfortunes come our way, we instinctively suspect that God is punishing us for something. In truth, we often find out we are our own worse enemies, judging ourselves more harshly than God would. Our own bad habits, our own selfishness, and our own negligence come back to haunt us.

“What did I do to deserve this?” is the question residents of ancient Jerusalem asked when the city fell to the Assyrians and those who escaped death were carried captive to Babylon. The temple was destroyed, the city lay in ruins, and the people were made slaves. How did this happen?

God’s chosen people had a lot of time to think over that question and find an answer. In captivity, they came to a spiritual awakening. They realized that they and their leaders had been unfaithful to the covenant and insincere in their worship. They believed that God was punishing them. But what did God do?

In time, God spoke to Cyrus, king of Persia, and commanded the ruler to free the people. They left their captivity, returned to Jerusalem, rebuilt the temple, and dedicated themselves anew to the sacred covenant.

How has God forgiven you? What did you do to show your thanks?

Weekly Reflection
for March 8, 2015
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Other Gods
Exodus 20:1-17

We believe in one God. But it wasn’t always that way. At the time of Moses, people believed in many gods. There were gods who governed the weather, gods who controlled illnesses, and gods who inspired the arts. But we believe in one God, the source of all creation and the sustainer of all that is good.

The first commandment asked people to stop offering allegiance to other gods. It asserted the supreme authority of the one God who led them out of slavery and promised them a new land.

When we review the Ten Commandments, we usually skip over number one. We don’t believe in other gods. It’s two through ten that cause problems. We curse and swear. We skip church on Sundays. We disobey. We destroy life, even human life. We commit adultery. We steal and we lie. We covet everything about our neighbor’s possessions and family. We sin a lot on two through ten. But we believe in one God.

Or do we? Do we substitute other gods? Do we prefer possessions, selfish pleasures, and the esteem of others more than we prefer allegiance to the one God? That first commandment may be the root of all our sin.

Weekly Reflection
for March 1, 2015
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Thoughts on this Second Sunday of Lent

Today, as we hear from the story in Genesis of Abraham’s total devotion and trust in God and the resulting blessings he received, we are encouraged to believe that God is always with us as we live a life of faithfulness to Him. Paul confirms this in his writing to the Romans with, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” The teachings of Jesus, his death and resurrection, can keep us focused in our faith life. We know that trials and suffering are inevitable in this life as we continue to depend on God’s unconditional love to bring us through these things. The promise of eternal life and happiness with Him encourages us to stay the course. The Transfiguration gives us a taste of what Heaven will be like.

Weekly Reflection
for February 22, 2015
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

The Flood of Baptism
1 Peter 3:18-22

Lent starts with ashes and ends with water. On Ash Wednesday we confessed our sin before God, and on Easter we will witness baptisms and be sprinkled again with the water that recalls our rebirth in Christ.

For those who are already baptized, Lent attempts a thorough scouring. We spend these six weeks mindful of our transgressions, penitent in word and deed, anxious to reform our ways. For the unbaptized, these six weeks embrace a serious preparation for the mystery of new life. There is a difference between those who are baptized and those who are not, as the First Letter of Peter makes clear.

That letter compares baptism to the story of Noah’s ark. The flood waters separated the saved from the sinners. The letter even notes that eight persons were saved in the ark—Noah, his three sons, and all of their wives. This is one reason why some baptismal fonts have eight sides. They remind us that within these waters sin is destroyed and the good are saved.

We begin Lent in the ash of sin, and we end it with the promise of water. As we enter this sacred time, we look forward to the saving grace that God alone gives. God freely gives it to all of us who float in an ark of hope above the waters of temptation, till we reach the shore of eternal life.

Weekly Reflection
for February 15, 2015
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Us against Them
1 Corinthians 10:311—1:1

Sooner or later you find yourself choosing sides. Whether it’s a controversy at school, in local politics, at church, or at work, some people will take one position and others will be opposed. There are probably many churches within a short driving distance from where you live. But they each expect you to choose sides—to belong to one, not to many. It’s not like a mall, where the more shops you visit the happier the merchants are.

Choosing sides seems inevitable, but our ultimate goal is one we share in common: salvation. All that we do for ourselves and for others should promote cooperation toward our common goal of oneness with Christ.

The apostle Paul faced this challenge in a unique way. The believing world was already divided between Jews and Gentiles. Now the disciples of Jesus were offering a third way. In the midst of these divisions, Paul kept a higher vision. He said, “I try to please everyone in every way, not seeking my own benefit but that of the many, that they may be saved.”

Too often people choose sides for their own benefit, rather than for the benefit of the many. It forces people to choose sides. It leads nowhere. Paul advises us not to think of ourselves alone: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.”

Weekly Reflection
for February 8, 2015
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

God’s Restlessness
Job 7:1-4, 6-7

Almost everyone experiences depression. Some people struggle with it throughout their lives. Others have days or months when life seems
hopeless. No one in the Bible experienced despair as much as Job. Job lost his livestock, his servants, his children and their homes due to the forces of nature and enemy troops. In swift succession, Job lost everything that was dear to him.

At first, he accepts this. Job knows he came into the world with nothing and will leave this world with nothing. What he has belongs to God. God determines whether or not Job will keep it. “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
But later, as the reality of his loss sinks in, Job experiences despair. “I have been assigned months of misery, and troubled nights have been allotted to me,” he says. “My days come to an end without hope. I shall not see happiness again.”

When we experience those emotions we may feel far from God. The security we once felt in God’s presence departs. But Job’s raw emotions appear uncensored in the Bible and in the Sunday readings. All human experience finds its place under the mantle of God’s farseeing care. Even depression.

Weekly Reflection
for February 1, 2015
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Have You Read Your Catholic Telegraph This Week?

These days all registered parishioners get the Catholic Telegraph delivered to their homes. Have you read any of the February
issue yet? I would like to refer you to Steve Trosley’s editor note on page 3. He encourages all of us to be invested in our Catholic schools. Even if we do not currently have children in those schools, Steve calls us, regardless of age or stage of life, to continue to work every day in whatever way we can. He refers us to catholicbestchoice.org for more information.

On page 6, we have Jeanne Hunt, a nationally recognized catechetical leader and a member of our own Cincinnati Archdiocese. Many of us know Jeanne as she has worked in some of our parishes over the years. She quotes Sister Philomena, “You love Jesus as much as you love the person you love the least.” This calls us to love our enemies as we love our friends. Among other things, love requires forgiveness even when we want to hold on to our hurt. There is a wonderful calm that comes with forgiveness. If you haven’t tried it, you should. If you have tried it, you know what I mean.

If you do not have the Catholic Telegraph anymore, you can get a copy of these two articles from me. Call 729-0222 or email wmcglasson@fuse.net.

Weekly Reflection
for January 25, 2015
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Waiting for the End
1 Corinthians 7:29-31

St. Paul was wrong about one thing. He thought the world was coming to an end rather quickly. It’s nearly 2,000 years later, and we’re still waiting. But he was right about this: A good Christian lives as if the end were coming soon. We should live every day as if it were our last, ready to greet Christ when he comes again. After all, we don’t really know when that might be.

Paul’s advice sounds a little odd: If you’re married, act like you’re not. If you’re crying, don’t. If you’re rejoicing, stop. On the surface it doesn’t make much sense. But Paul’s point is that we should have other concerns. “The world in its present form is passing away.” So, don’t put all your time, effort and emotions into it. Think about the things of the next world. Do the things that will please God.

In truth, most of us act as though we’ll live forever. We buy and hoard. We roam from one emotional relationship to another. Paul would have us settle our hearts on other things. Make the world more livable for someone else.

As we wait for the end, we take the world in stride. So what if the weather is bad, the car won’t start, or the kid next door dyed his hair green? The world in its present form is passing away.

Weekly Reflection
for January 18, 2015
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Just a Thought

The Little Blue Book for the Advent and Christmas Seasons which many of us used ended last Sunday. One of the many offerings that stood out to me was December 29 in which Simeon and the prayerful life he lived was discussed. There was a suggestion that we imitate him, especially with evening prayer.

At the end of the day, we can offer a short prayer as we place ourselves in God’s hands. You can go a little further with morning and evening prayer using Shorter Christian Prayer which is published by the Catholic Book Publishing Company and approved for use in the dioceses of the United States of America. This is especially useful for times when you can’t get to Mass for some reason. It is an abbreviated form of Liturgy of the Hours which clergy and those in consecrated life use. While the Mass is the highest form of prayer, Liturgy of the Hours is the next highest form of prayer.

We have this book available in the Parish Office for anyone who would like a copy. There are also parish copies for your review near the Tabernacle. If you have questions or would like to discuss this form of prayer further, call 729-0222 or email wmcglasson@fuse.net.

Weekly Reflection
for January 11, 2015
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

The Baptism of the Lord
Isaiah 55:1-11

Simple Gifts
The best things in life are free. The sun, the rain, the wind, and the ground on which we tread are given to us without measure.

We buy products that we think will bring pleasure. Often they do. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes we squander our money and time on what we think will bring us relief. But it only causes us remorse. Perhaps the product is not as good as we thought. Perhaps we were being selfish. Perhaps we denied other people an opportunity for enjoyment by taking some for ourselves. We forget about the simple pleasures of life: breathing deeply, being with a friend, or humming a tune.

Through the prophet Isaiah, God invited thirsty Israel to come to the water. Why spend money on what fails to satisfy? Come to the water of God’s wisdom, mercy, and goodness. Drink from God’s water source, and slake your thirst.

Today we remember how Jesus went to the waters of the Jordan, how he heeded God’s voice and took delight in God’s favor. He invites us to do the same. Drink from God’s wisdom in prayer and sacred conversation. It’s one of the best things in life. And it’s free.

Weekly Reflection
for January 4, 2015
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

The Epiphany of the Lord

The birth of Jesus became the worst kept secret in the history of the world. All along, people knew God had a plan. God had told everyone from Adam and Eve, to Abraham and Sara, to Moses and Miriam, to David and Bathsheba, to Hosea and Gomer, to Mary and Joseph that there was a plan. Nobody fully understood it. Nobody knew how God would bring the plan to fulfillment. But they all believed. They had seen God work mighty deeds in their lives, and they believed that one day the promise of redemption would be fulfilled.

Jesus was God’s secret. When Jesus was born in humble surroundings outside of royalty and pageantry, only a handful of people even began to realize what God had done. But the secret got out. Angels appeared in the sky. Shepherds showed up. And Magi traveled from a faraway land. Everyone was finding out God’s two great surprises: Jesus was born as the promised Messiah, and he came not just for his own race, but for all the people of the world.

The Letter to the Ephesians says, God’s mystery “was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.” Jesus was born, and he came to save each of us, no matter what family we came from, what we believed, or how we behaved. The mystery of God’s love is open now to the whole world. That is the epiphany, the revelation of God’s secret.

Weekly Reflection
for December 28, 2014
From our
Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

Sirach 3:2-7, 12-14

Honor Your Father and Your Mother
Our first experience of family is dependence. As children we need the help of parents. As children we get lots of attention. We do not earn it. We just receive it because of who we are. Then our eyes are opened. We recognize the sacrifice our parents have made. We see how they thought less of themselves in order to give us life. Our respect for them grows.

Today we remember the care that Mary and Joseph gave to Jesus. We recognize the sacrifice they made. We imagine the many ways they thought less of themselves to improve the life of the son entrusted to their care. Our respect for them grows too.

Sirach proclaims that those who honor their parents atone for their sins and keep themselves from evil. Their prayers reach God’s ears. The benefits of satisfaction return to those who honor their fathers and mothers.

The Christmastime feast of the Holy Family celebrates the model of home life, but it also reminds us to honor our parents. Kindness to them will not be forgotten.

How will you honor your parents this coming year? How will you keep their memory?

Weekly Reflection
for December 21, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

God Loves a Cheerful Giver—and Receiver
2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16

David and God were not exactly equals. David was king, but that still gave him no leverage over God. Even when David wanted to do God a favor, God had complete control over the success of the king’s intent.

David had a great idea. He saw how beautiful was the house where he lived, and how simple was the cedar house for the ark of God. David wanted to build God a glorious temple. But God said no. God had other ideas. It was not David’s position to provide a home for God. It was God’s position to provide a home for David.

God gave David more than a home. God promised that David’s throne would stand firm forever. God’s promise was fulfilled in two ways. David did not build God a temple, but his son Solomon did. And David’s throne would last forever because of a child born into the house and lineage of David, a holy child born in the city of David, Bethlehem.

In preparing for Christmas, you have tried to do God favors through your prayers and your charity toward others. But God is doing you the favor. God gives you the gift of salvation in the mystery of Christmas.

Weekly Reflection
for December 14, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

A Christmas Wish List
Isaiah 61:1-2a, 10-11

Young children sit on Santa’s lap to answer the question that consumes them these days: What do you want for Christmas?
The child in each of us still wants stuff like toys and new clothes. But deep inside us we have more basic needs. We need security, fairness, and love. We want something huge for Christmas. We want peace on earth and justice for the oppressed. We want poverty eliminated and wars ceased.

Isaiah promises we will not be disappointed. He promises that God will do such wondrous things that justice and praise will spring up in every nation. When God is the joy of our soul, Isaiah says, a robe of salvation clothes us and a mantle of justice enfolds us. When God is our joy, we feel as rich as royalty, no matter how poor our state.

What does the earth want for Christmas? It wants good news for the poor, healing for the brokenhearted, liberty for captives, and release for prisoners. The earth wants what God alone can provide.

What do you want for Christmas? Is it something for you or something for the earth? Will it hinder or help the earth get what it needs?

Weekly Reflection
for December 7, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Paving a Direct Route
Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11

Whenever a highway changes from two lanes to four, you can often see the improvements. The old highway follows the dips and curves of the landscape. The new highway better controls the landscape. It is straighter and more level. The engineers have figured out how to improve the road, and citizens have supported the additional expense. People like straight highways. They are quicker, safer and more pleasant.

In the prophecy of Isaiah, a voice cries out, “In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!” John the Baptist quoted this passage to prepare people for the coming of Jesus.

Make a straight highway in the wasteland. Fill in the valleys and lower the mountains. Make a smooth, direct road in your spiritual life.
During Advent we prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ in our lives. In the past we formed habits as sturdy as two-lane roads. They get us where we want to go, but sometimes not by the most direct route.

We have only a few weeks till Christmas. It is time to move the roadblocks and detours that keep us from encountering Christ. Hardness of heart, stinginess of time, or unbending habits—Which of these need repair on your highway toward Christ?

Weekly Reflection
for November 30, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Ready or Not
1 Corinthians 1:3-9

When a new child is born, parents are excited. But they also wonder, “Am I ready for this?” Parenting carries responsibilities. A new child will cause unimaginable changes. There is never enough preparation for parenting. Eventually a parent realizes, “I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.” God usually provides them with the grace, wisdom and patience they seek. All the spiritual gifts they want are there.

The Christian community at Corinth was like a young family with new children. Having received the gift of faith, this community shared their determination to forge a way of life in union with the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was an exciting time, but also a nervous time. They probably wondered, “Am I ready for this?”

They believed that the second coming of Christ was imminent. They believed they had to prepare each day to meet Christ whenever he returned. Most importantly, as they thought about the end, the day of their Lord Jesus Christ, they wondered, “Am I ready for this?”

Paul told them yes. “You are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And neither are we. As we begin this Advent, filled with excitement and nervous about the weeks ahead, it is natural to wonder, “Am I ready?” You are not lacking in any spiritual gift. Open your arms and welcome Christ!

Weekly Reflection
for November 23, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Our Gentle Judge
Our Lord Jesus Christ the King
Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17

God will judge us. Our belief in that promise fills us with anxiety and hope. When we remember Christ the King, we acknowledge that he came to us, taught with wisdom, performed miraculous deeds, formed a community of disciples, died on the cross, and rose again. We believe that this Jesus will come again to judge the living and the dead.

If we read the prophet Ezekiel, though, the coming judgment need not frighten us. Ezekiel reveals God as a shepherd who bends over backward to tend the flock. When the sheep get lost on a cloudy day, God rescues them. When they grow tired, God lets them rest. When injured, God binds them up. When they are sick, God heals them. Before God is a judging shepherd, God is a tender shepherd.

The good news about judgment is what precedes it. God’s care comes first. When we get lost amid the challenges of life, God rescues us. When we are tired and ill mannered, God gives us rest. When we are injured by sin, or sickened by depravity, God will grant forgiveness. There is no judgment before there is care.

God’s first wish is not the destruction of sheep. God’s first wish is salvation.

Weekly Reflection
for November 16, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

A Woman of Valor
Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30–31

The role of women continues to evolve in society and in the church. We have become more aware of the gifts women have to offer and the benefits of placing those gifts in service to the community. Women who generously offer their wisdom and talents have made the world a better place to live.

Hundreds of years before the dawn of Christianity, the Book of Proverbs praised the gifts of a worthy wife. It is interesting to look from this distance at what that culture valued. The book warns against the charm and beauty of certain women. Those qualities will not last. Instead, Proverbs praises the wife who brings good to the home, who obtains wool and flax, who spins fabric with proficiency, and gives to the poor.

A good wife, then, was one of noble character, who used her skills for the community, and who performed charity. Although our image of women has changed, some values have remained constant. Women who devote themselves to faith, family, and work can still rejoice in the praise of the Book of Proverbs. The entire community thanks God for their inspiring service and care.

Weekly Reflection
for November 9, 2014
From our
Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Waters of Life
The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica
1 Ezekial 47:1-2, 8-9, 12

When you offer water to someone who is thirsty, you give more than a drink. You give a kindness that can bring peace to the recipient, a peace that inspires other acts of charity.

Sometimes a dribble of water can gush into a river of good will. Ezekiel envisions a trickle of water streaming from the Temple of Jerusalem. This sweet water swells into a mighty river that transforms the salty sea into a place of healing and life. In this vision, the Temple of God provides the source of life and transformation.

We hear this reading on the day we remember the dedication of the cathedral church of Rome, the basilica of St. John Lateran. From that temple has streamed a river of life in the sacraments, the community, and the mission of the church around the world. That river splashes into your church and your home, where you have received the Spirit of God and offered its refreshment to others in need.

Imagine your church as Ezekiel's Temple. How does the water of life stream from it? How does it touch the homes of your community? How does it reach out to the city? To the needy of the world?

Weekly Reflection
for November 2, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

All Souls
In God’s Hand
Wisdom 3:1-9

Even if we know that someone we love is dying, death catches us off guard. No one feels the grief we feel in exactly the same way. Sorrow leads some people to deeper levels of despair, but for others it gives way to hope.

The Book of Wisdom was written before the birth of Jesus. The writer faced the same questions we face about death. But the writer had no knowledge of the resurrection. Even so, the book offers remarkable wisdom for all who grieve. The Book of Wisdom says the foolish see death differently than the wise do. The foolish see the death of the just as an affliction, as a complete destruction. But the wise know otherwise. The wise know that the souls of the just are in the hand of God, where no torment shall touch them. Those souls are at peace.

Some people suffer greatly in life, but Wisdom believes that God uses their suffering as a trial, to discover who is worthy. God proves people like gold in a furnace. Then God gathers them up like a sacrificial offering. We will always miss our loved ones who die. But their death can be a sign of hope to those who believe in the providence of God.

Weekly Reflection
for October 26, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

The Commandments of Justice
Exodus 22:20-26

How does your church community help the poor? Do you have collections for the needy? Do you distribute food through a pantry? Do you help people find jobs? Do you offer training? Does your church perform acts of justice that try to change the condition of the poor? Do you advocate for improved legislation? Do you call attention to the ways that the wealth of a few impairs the resources of the many? Do you educate people about the means of reducing poverty?

The Book of Exodus includes many of the laws that God asked the Israelites to observe. The most famous are the Ten Commandments. But in addition to them, hundreds of other commandments found their way into the legislative books of God’s people. Some of them pertained to the poor: Do not frustrate travelers. Protect the widow and orphan. Do not take advantage of people needing loans. All these rules helped Israel live out the big picture of the Ten Commandments in the everyday situations that constitute the moral life.

The reduction of poverty will take many efforts. It will mean living every day being mindful of the needs of the poor, but it will also create structures that seek justice for the oppressed.

Weekly Reflection
for October 19, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Staying Alive
1 Thessalonians 1:1-5b

Faith, hope and love are signs of a community alive. They show human activity inspired by God.

The first letter to the Thessalonians describes such a community. The letter was written by Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy to a church founded by word and power. The missionaries had preached the good news by their words, but the Holy Spirit had added power to their preaching. The success of this venture was evident in three ways: faith, hope, and love.

The writers of the letter give thanks to God, “unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Even today, a good Christian community — whether a family or a parish — is noted by faith, hope, and love. Christians have faith in God and demonstrate that faith by their worship together and prayer in private. Faith prompts believers to work for the sake of the gospel, spreading the good news of Jesus Christ.

For Christian communities, love is a labor. It brings happiness and it starts from feelings of joy, but it demands hard work and patience. Communities thrive when the members are willing to do the hard work of love.

Hope permits endurance. Waiting for the coming of Christ, we hope in his word. That hope helps us continue when the struggle gets hard.
Faith, hope, and love keep communities alive.

Weekly Reflection
for October 12, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Source of Happiness
Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20

Happiness comes from God alone. But that does not seem to stop people from pursuing it in other ways.

Many of us think happiness comes from having money and spending it on possessions. The things of this world charm us. They bring joy to dreary days. But they have no permanence and they cannot bring eternal delight.

Others think happiness comes from human contact. Indeed, friends bring us happiness beyond what material goods can supply. But some people go from friend to friend, from relationship to relationship, seeking something more. The best of friends are committed to friendship, and they learn the nature of love. Yet even the love of friends is but a symbol of God’s love for us. Human love shares in divine life, but human love is never perfect.

True happiness comes from God alone. St. Paul had lived in the humblest of circumstances and he had enjoyed the abundant generosity of benefactors. He told the Philippians, “In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry,... I can do all things in him who strengthens me.”

All things—we can do all things in God who strengthens us. We can be rich or we can be poor. We can be alone or in the midst of others. We can be hungry or very well fed. But we can only be happy in God.

Weekly Reflection
for October 5, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Practicing Peace
Philippians 4:6-9

Peace can be yours. It is hard to find peace in a busy life with many commitments, noisy neighbors, and angry streets. But peace can be yours. Peace is as attainable as good health and good friendships. It requires work. But there is a formula. If you want good health you develop habits of eating and exercising. If you want good friends you work at relationships and practice selflessness. These goals require work, but they are within reach.

So is peace. St. Paul advises the Philippians to have no anxiety at all and to make their needs known to God. “Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

That’s it. Put anxiety away and make your requests known to God. If you have needs, do not dwell on them. Give them to God. Let God take it from there. Meanwhile, Paul says, think about what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, gracious, and excellent—not about what you are lacking. When you practice peace by thinking of peaceable things, peace can be yours.

No one decides what goes into your mouth except you. You can diet if you want to. No one decides what friends you have except you. You can make and break relationships. No one decides what goes into your mind except you. You can think about the things that bring peace, and peace can be yours.

Weekly Reflection
for September 28, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Life Is Not Fair
Ezekiel 18:25-28

Even if you live a good life, if you do one thing wrong, people may never let you forget about it. They remind you of your past foolishness. Perhaps they call you a name. It does not seem fair because you have been so good otherwise.

Other people, hardened criminals, ask for mercy and get it. Sometimes they get rewarded. They get away with the wrong they have done. That just does not seem fair.

God speaks to Ezekiel that the unfairness lies with people, not in heaven. God is willing to let people change and grow.

Our opinions of our companions change less frequently than they do. People who are good make bad decisions. People who do evil repent. It is inconvenient for us to change our opinions of who they are.
But God sees to the heart. God knows a person’s intent. God knows what a person is responsible for and how sincerely they are trying to do what is right. That is a good thing for us. It means that if we who are basically good commit some wrongful act, we can still obtain mercy when we repent. Mercy comes from a God who expects us to change.

Weekly Reflection
for September 21, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

This Sunday, September 21, is Catechetical Sunday and the theme is Teaching About God's Gift of Forgiveness. “Those whom the community has designated to serve as catechists will be called forth to be commissioned for their ministry. Catechetical Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel.
Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity for all to rededicate themselves to this mission as a community of faith.”

-- US Conference of Catholic Bishops

At St. Margaret Mary, we have volunteers who teach in various areas and various ways.

Weekly Reflection
for September 14, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Staring Death in the Face
The Exaltation of the Holy Cross Numbers 21:4b-9

It is hard to look death in the eye. We cannot bear to look at the remains of one we loved. We cannot think too long or hard about our
own mortality. But those who keep death before their eyes make peace with life.

For hundreds of years after Jesus died, the church could not bear to look upon a cross. Today there is a cross in almost every place of Christian worship, but it was not so in the beginning. Only gradually did the church make crosses and use them in devotion. We could not look death in the eye.

When the Israelites in the desert complained to Moses about the terrible food on their journey, they faced a new peril. Poisonous serpents bit them. Many people died. Moses appealed to God. God told him to make a serpent out of bronze and mount it on a pole. Those who looked at the bronze serpent lived. They had to look death in the eye. Once they did, they were saved.

The cross of Christ is a thing of beauty, but also a thing of fear. It reminds us of our mortality, but it promises redemption for those who raise their eyes, look upon it, believe in it, and live.

Weekly Reflection
for September 7, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Charitable Correction
Ezekiel 33:7-9

Living the spiritual life means more than correcting our own faults. It also includes correcting the faults of our neighbors. When we do this, we run the risk of misunderstanding and anger. But it is more important to offer correction when neighbors are wrong.

God appointed Ezekiel as Israel’s watchman. When God wants the prophet to speak against wicked people, Ezekiel must do so. If he does not, God will hold him responsible for their demise. But if Ezekiel warns the wicked about God’s wishes, Ezekiel will be saved, even if the wicked ignore him.

Correcting our neighbor is best done in the spirit of charity. When we correct our neighbor in anger, we share the wickedness we are trying to correct. Sometimes our neighbors will respond with appreciation. Sometimes they will not. It does not matter. It is important to bring to their attention the consequences of their actions.

Many people follow this advice in matters of state. As responsible citizens, they let government leaders know what follows from laws they do and do not enact. Sometimes the laws change. But even if they do not, God takes pleasure in those who speak the truth.

Weekly Reflection
for August 31, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Speak Up
Jeremiah 20:7-9

When you know you are right, you can keep speaking the truth, even in the face of opposition. If you have not thought enough about the right thing to do, you are in danger of being influenced to do something else. If your need for acceptance is stronger than your need for doing right, you will surrender to beliefs opposed to your own. But when you know you are right, and when it becomes a matter of expressing who you are and what you believe, you cannot give in. You have to speak up. You have to keep on going, even when others do not support you any more.

Jeremiah the prophet, in his prayer, has heard God’s word, but when he speaks it, people deride him. He tries being quiet, not telling the message God has given him, a message that expresses outrage against the misdeeds of his companions. But when he tries to remain silent, the word of God becomes like a fire burning in his heart. He cannot keep it in. It must come out.

It is not easy to speak God’s word. To hold it in becomes unbearable. To speak it creates enemies. But only the truth brings inner peace.

Weekly Reflection
for August 24, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Accepting Responsibility
Isaiah 22:19-23

If you have ever received the responsibility somebody else once had, you know the rush of emotions that can come with a transfer of authority. Maybe it was a job you worked hard for. Maybe you were chosen for a task you never envisioned you would do. But there you are, hoping to fulfill the expectations somebody has for you and the work.

According to Isaiah, this experience happened to Eliakim, son of Hilkiah. He replaced Shebna as master of the palace. God did not like the job that Shebna was doing. (If God is your supervisor, you had better do the work well.) Isaiah says that God thrust Shebna from office and put Eliakim in his place, dressed him in Shebna’s robe, girded him with Shebna’s sash, and gave him Shebna’s authority. God really did not like Shebna’s work.

God gave one more sign of authority. God placed the key of the House of David on Eliakim’s shoulder. You have heard of getting the key to the city. Eliakim got the key to the nation.

When God gives us a responsibility, we may be part of a major transition. But if the work comes from God, we can assume the task with assurance.

Weekly Reflection
for August 17, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

A Place of Welcome
Isaiah 56:1, 6-7

People different from us can really make us uncomfortable. It is like we do not share the same language or rely on the same experiences. We have different circles of friends and different sources of trust. For many of us, the best way to deal with people different from us is to avoid them. Tolerance is good, but sometimes even tolerance masks prejudice. We tolerate those who are different as long as they act like we do. If they observe our customs, do not hang out in packs of their own kind, and visit our places with respect, we may accept them.

More challenging is to let those who are different from us change our own way of thinking–to let them open our minds to other possibilities and allow us to grow.

God spoke a message of openness through the mouth of the prophet Isaiah. The God known as the originator of the covenant with the Israelites, the God who made them a special possession, offers a different view in this prophecy. God will bring foreigners to the holy mountain and make them joyful in its place of prayer. "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples."

Is your place of worship a place of welcome for those who are different?

Weekly Reflection
for August 10, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Acts of God
1 Kings 19:9a, 11-13a

There is a legal term for a natural disaster. It is called an “act of God.” It is a little unfair to libel God with deeds of destruction. Even so, when the forces of nature reveal their strength, people become aware of their own weaknesses and meditate on the power of God.

But when people go in search of God, they rarely go to the place of an earthquake, a fire, or tornado. They go to a quiet place. They watch the sunrise. They pick a wayside chapel. They sit by the ocean. They find God’s majestic voice in whispers of peace.

When Elijah fled the grasp of the angry and murderous Jezebel, he eventually found himself in a cave on the mountain of God, Horeb. There he witnessed God passing by. Not in the strong wind, not in the earthquake, not in the fire did Elijah behold God’s presence, but in a tiny whispering sound.

Noise surrounds much of our day. The radio or television breaks the morning silence. Ambient music filters through elevators and grocery stores. Our cars cannot block out the cacophony of traffic. It may not take an act of God for us to be able to find God. It may just take a quiet space.

Weekly Reflection
for August 3, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Money Can’t Buy Happiness
Isaiah 55:1-3

Most people say they could live comfortably if they had just a little more income. That would allow them to buy the pleasures they seek. Surrounded by ads that urge us to buy, we learn over and again the message that what we have is inadequate, and that money will buy happiness. Isaiah begs to differ. The joyful passage from the prophet that talks about income says money has nothing to do with happiness. Heeding God’s word will produce all the bliss in the world. Through the prophet, God questions those who spend their wages on what fails to satisfy. It takes no money to hear and heed God’s word.

Throughout the Scriptures, God asks people to care for the needy, to think less of themselves and more for their neighbor.

The money we would spend on many of the things we think will make us happy could be given to the poor for the things they need simply to live.

Think about the purchases you made this week. What do they say about your values? How do they express what you think will make you happy? Have you used your time to find satisfaction in God’s word?

Weekly Reflection
for July 27, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Good at Faith
Romans 8:28-30

If you are good at what you do for a living, you know the joy of being the right person for the right job.

Sometimes we grow into the task we have been given. Other times it seems as though we have been predestined for it all along. Somehow the skills we possess and the experiences we have had all led up to the person we are and the job we do.

Throughout our lives we get better at being Christian. We develop skills for prayer, love, service, and understanding. We use them to please God and build up the community. We also experience the joys and depths of the spiritual life. Life’s successes and losses have refined our image of God and the church, making us more mature in faith.

St. Paul tells the Romans that God knew them long ago and predestined them to be conformed to the Son’s image, “so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”

In God we are predestined, called, justified, and glorified. God knew us from the beginning, called us into service, justified us for salvation, and glorified us in eternal life. As we journey through life, we realize that God knew some things about us long before we did. God knew what tools we would need for the place and time we live. We have hope that God is still working with us and will help us with whatever challenges lie ahead. The reward of glory awaits those who are good at the task of faith.

Weekly Reflection
for July 20, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Praying Hard
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Romans 8:26-27

There are many ways to pray. When alone, we might pray in silence, or meditate on verses from the Bible, or say the rosary, or read from a prayer book. When with others, we may pray before a meal, bow our heads during an invocation, or join in the Mass.

On some days prayer seems less satisfying. It is hard to concentrate. We are distracted by our surroundings or by the affairs of the day. The words do not make much sense. Or we are just too tired.

Those troublesome days come, but there are other days when prayer works. We feel drawn into the presence of God. The songs truly give praise. Our needs prompt us to call upon God more directly. The faith of others inspires us. We may feel discouraged by a lesser prayer once we have experienced all that prayer could be.

Even when we cannot pray the way we wish, our prayer still pleases God. When you do something for someone you love, you may not always have the right words, and you may not always select the perfect gift, but the beloved knows what is in your heart.

St. Paul tells the Romans, “The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought.” The Spirit intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings.
If we do not feel like prayer, all we have to do is try. The Spirit will take it from there.

Weekly Reflection
for July 13, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Suffering Nothing
Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Romans 8:18-23

The older we get, the more we groan. Muscles ache. Memory fades. Taste buds fail. Hearing diminishes. Eyesight darkens. Stature bends. Our physical health decays, and suffering intensifies. Growing old, as they say, is not for wimps.

For many people, aging might be cause for despair. But for Christians, it is just another aspect of the imperfections of life. We have grown accustomed to the disappointments of this life. They are nothing compared with the promise of salvation. We put up with the inconveniences we experience because we believe in the joy that lies ahead.

St. Paul writes to the Romans, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.” Paul believed in God’s promise, that there was more ahead for him after he died. He believed that promise extended to all the faithful, and indeed to all creation. Creation itself has been groaning, awaiting a more perfect life. Perfection comes to all of the world through Christ.

We may be growing older, but we are always children—God’s children. We may be heading towards death, but we are really heading towards birth—birth to a new kind of life. The sufferings of today are as nothing. We are groaning in expectation of a joy that is to come.

Weekly Reflection
for July 6, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Following the Rules

What rules do you live by? You observe the laws of church and state.
You fulfill the expectations of your family. You follow procedures at the workplace. If you strive to live faithful to God, society and yourself, you follow some good interior rules.

But sometimes we live by rules of habit. We do things because we have always done them. In itself, that is not bad. But sometimes circumstances change. The rules you apply to the oldest child might bend when the youngest comes of age. Procedures you follow at work might be put aside to help someone in need. Rules are good. They help society live in peace. But if the rules become tyrants, they thwart the very order they aim to preserve.

St. Paul cautions the Romans, “You are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.”
In the past, the Romans had lived according to the law of the flesh. They did what they could get away with. They observed rules for the sake of survival. But now they are Christians. The Spirit of God dwells within them. They live now by the law of love. They make decisions differently, thinking of others, not just of themselves.

The rules we live by deserve to be followed especially as they express the desires of God’s Holy Spirit. The Spirit of love presents the supreme law. As Christians, we please God when we obey the Spirit of Christ.

Weekly Reflection
for June 29, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Sts. Peter and Paul

This Sunday we celebrate the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, two of the first and very important leaders of our Catholic faith.

St. Peter's occupation was a fisherman who was invited by Jesus to follow him. He and his brother Andrew did just that. He is the first Pope of our Church. He evangelized and baptized many people, spent time in prison because of his beliefs and eventually was crucified in Rome under Emperor Nero Augustus Caesar.

St. Paul, born Saul of Tarsus, was a devout Jew and enemy of Christianity until he was called by the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus. He accepted Jesus, stopped persecuting Christians and became one of the greatest followers of Christ as he proclaimed the Gospel and called people to follow Jesus. Many of the writings in the New Testament are from Paul. He spent time in jail and was eventually beheaded.

St. Peter and St. Paul were contemporaries who worked together and with the apostles and disciples to spread the good news. We can learn much by looking into the lives they lived, and the joys and struggles they experienced in their world at that time.

Weekly Reflection
for June 22, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Living Saints Among Us

I never cease to be amazed by the generosity of the members of our
parish. In my opinion, when it comes to practicing the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, we are the best kept secret in this diocese.

To mention a few of my observations: We have the Cursillo members who meet, pray and live the fourth day in a remarkable manner. The members of our St. Vincent DePaul Society are tireless in their efforts to help people in need in our community as best they can. The Heavenly Fingers, a group of ladies who have met weekly for many years use their artistic talents to create many articles which they sell, and donate the money to support the tuition needs of students. The Holy Name Society is a group of men who meet faithfully each month to support each other and the parish, especially the yearly picnic. We have prayer and study groups who meet on a regular basis and I am forever discovering another one that just comes up in casual conversation.

The members who visit the sick and homebound are a faceless group who, to quote one of them, are “honored and happy to bring Holy Communion to our parishioners in their homes and nursing facilities”. As requests come into the Parish Office, it takes little time to connect one of them to the person requesting a visit. Lately, I have had some opportunities to hear the stories of a few of our home bound. As they tell of the needs they have and the persons who come forward to help, I frequently find the same names being mentioned. I doubt that many of us know who these people are and how generous they are with their time and service. This is not an organized group. It is just wonderful parishioners with their ear to the ground who quietly come forward to offer their help and many times we do not even know this is going on.

Then there is our prison ministry who visit prisoners, offer prayer sessions, reminding them that they are precious in the eyes of our merciful God. Our prayer chain offers an opportunity for all of us to request and receive prayers and support in our time of illness and other troubles. I could go on, but space is limited. To quote a former pastor, we are certainly blessed with many living saints at St. Margaret Mary.

Weekly Reflection
for June 15, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Six Minutes A Day

Now that we have completed the Easter season, those of us who have spent six minutes per day with the Little White Book are advised to
continue this praying of Scripture. Even if you did not use the Little White Book, you can still do this. All you need is a Bible. You can choose a particular Gospel and read just a little bit each day. The important thing is to be in a quiet place so you are not distracted as you sense the presence of the Lord with you. If something catches your attention, stop, be quiet as you reflect on what it means to you. Just remember, you are not studying the Bible, you are reflecting on a small part each day. It will make a difference in your faith life for just six minutes per day.

Weekly Reflection
for June 8, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Religious Liberty at Home

"We are Catholics. We are Americans. We are Proud to be both, grateful for the gift of faith which is ours as Christian disciples, and grateful for the gift of liberty which is ours as American citizens. To be Catholic and American should mean not having to choose one over the other. Our allegiances are distinct, but they need not be contradictory, and should instead be complimentary. That is the teaching of our Catholic faith, which obliges us to work together with fellow citizens for the common good of all who live in this land. That is the vision of our founding and our Constitution, which guarantees citizens of all religious faiths the right to contribute to our common life together."

Weekly Reflection
for June 1, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Behold, I Am With You Always

Today, we celebrate the feast of the Ascension which is actually on
Thursday, May 29 but is moved to this Sunday so all of us have the opportunity to be in attendance for this very special occasion. The Gospel of Matthew gives this report of the event of Jesus leaving this earth:

The eleven disciples went to Galilee,
to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.
When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them,
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Our Easter season ends next Sunday with the celebration of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descends upon the apostles giving them strength to spread the good news. As we think about all the gifts and blessings we have also received from the Holy Spirit, we are called to evangelize and remember that Jesus is with us in these efforts.

Weekly Reflection
for May 25, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Remembering the Brave

As we celebrate this Memorial Day weekend, we call to mind all those who protected our country in the various armed services over many years and those who are currently in the service. These brave men and women put themselves in harm’s way as they protect us at home and in other countries around the world. Their commitment and sacrifice is true witness to the value they hold for our country, our way of life and for all of us. We pray for those active and retired, living and dead and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice of their lives so we can be free.

God bless every one of them and God bless America.

Weekly Reflection
for May 18, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Celebrating Endings & Beginnings

This Sunday we are celebrating graduation, the completion of
studies of various levels. We have graduates of kindergarten,
grade school, high school, college and it goes on. At each level there is a sense of pride and accomplishment. Then comes the challenge of the next level and the next level. As we recognize these students for their efforts and send them forth, we also offer a promise of continued prayer that they will always remember that they are truly blessed and unconditionally loved by the God who created them.

Weekly Reflection
for May 11, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Important Dates in the Lives of Our Two Recently Canonized Saints

Two great leaders and holy men were raised to the status of sainthood on April 27, Divine Mercy Sunday. Here are a few important dates in their lives. The website and recent books are full of wonderful stories of their lives and service which will continue to inspire us.

Pope John XXIII:
November 25, 1881: born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli to Giovanni and Marianna Giulia Roncalli,
1892: Enters the seminary at Bergamo.
August 10, 1904: is ordained a priest and serves as secretary to the bishop of Bergamo.
1925: Is named archbishop and appointed apostolic visitator to Bulgaria...
1953: Is named a cardinal and patriarch of Venice.
October 28, 1958: is elected 261st pope and bishop of Rome.
October 11, 1962: opens the first session of the Second Vatican Council.
June 3, 1963: dies of cancer.
September 3, 2000: beatified by Pope John Paul II.
April 27, 2014: canonized by Pope Francis

Pope John Paul II:
May 18, 1920: born Karol Józef Wojtyla to Karol Wojtyla, Sr. and Emily Kaczororska Wojtyla in Wadowice, Poland.
1942: Enters secret seminary in Krakow which was necessary due to WW II restrictions.
November 1, 1946: ordained priest; goes to Rome for graduate studies.
September 28, 1958: ordained auxiliary bishop of Krakow.
1962: goes to Rome for first session of Second Vatican Council.
1964: Is installed as archbishop of Krakow
June 28, 1967: made cardinal.
October 16, 1978: elected 264th pope and bishop of Rome.
1986: Makes historic visit to Rome's synagogue; calls world religious leaders to Assisi to pray for peace.
1998: Historic visit to Cuba; starts first permanent Catholic-Muslim dialogue.
2003: Marks 25th anniversary as pope.
April 2, 2005: Died
May 1, 2011: beatified by Pope Benedict XVI.
April 27, 2014: canonized by Pope Francis.

Weekly Reflection
for May 4, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

He is Risen, Alleluia

Staying on the road of spiritual reflections and good works after Lent:
Friends, Peace be with you!

With these words, the Risen Lord Jesus greeted his disciples--and they still reverberate today. Through them, God offers new and abundant life, which is Christ's own divine life, given to the world so we can all share communion with God. This makes us his friends, and the defining characteristic of being God's friend is to know him.

That said, many of you have asked, what's next after the Lent reflections? How do I maintain the spiritual momentum I developed during this holy season?

There's simply no better way to carry on your Lenten progress. Read through the Gospel of Mark, one chapter per day; spend some time with the Blessed Sacrament on a regular basis; commit to attending one extra Mass each week; pray the rosary once a day, maybe in your car. All of these are simple, proven ways to deepen your spiritual life.

Christ is truly risen! Amen! Alleluia!
Fr. Robert Barron

Weekly Reflection
for April 27, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Easter Food Donations

We collected 35 bags of Easter dinner food which had a value of approximately $25.00 for each bag. I took them up to Alliance Food Pantry in Mt. Healthy in which Assumption Parish participates. The value of this donation was $875.00. They were very thankful for our efforts.

It certainly warms my heart to experience the generosity of St. Margaret Mary parishioners in the various outreach requests that are made. Our sincere thanks to the OLG Before and After School Program and Amy Keller, the director, who so willingly agrees to get grocery bags decorated for this food. It makes things more festive for the receivers.

Another thing, I have several copies of the book, The Joy of the Gospel by Pope Francis. It is highly recommended for reading and reflection. You can read it alone or in a small group. Of course, you are welcome to join our Dynamic Catholic book club on the third Tuesday of the month at 7:00 p.m. in Room 20 of the Parish Activity Center. If you would like a copy of the book, call Maureen 521-7387 or stop by the Parish Office. The cost of the book is $10.00.

May the blessings of this Easter season remain with us and our community of faith.

Weekly Reflection
for April 20, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson


I attended a Christ at the Center meeting offered by the Archdiocese a couple of weeks ago. We are encouraged to evangelize, to be welcoming to those who enter our doors. As we live our faith in everyday life, it is expected that we will be Christ centered and see Christ in all people, knowing that God loves us all, sinners and saints alike, unconditionally. He calls us to practice the spiritual and corporal works of mercy as we live and share with other.

During this meeting a lot of suggestions were offered by the presenters but I was especially thrilled when they mentioned that we encourage others to read The Joy of the Gospel by Pope Francis. I told the group that our Dynamic Catholic Book Club is already reading this book and will review and reflect on the beginning chapters at their monthly meeting which, this month will be on Tuesday, April 22 at 7:00 p.m. It’s nice to be on the cutting edge at times.

If you are interested in meeting with the Dynamic Catholics for this particular book review, please purchase the book or call the Parish Office to purchase a copy from us. We meet monthly and will probably take 3 or 4 sessions to complete this review. Of course, you can always read the book on your own if you can’t make the meeting. If you choose to read alone or in another group, let me know what you think. Call me at 729-0222 or email wmcglasson@fuse.net.

May God’s special blessings be with you this Easter season.

Weekly Reflection
for April 13, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

How Should the Resurrection Shape Our Everyday Lives?

The Resurrection is the very heart and soul of Christianity. Without the Resurrection, Christianity collapses. It’s the standing and falling point of the Faith. Therefore, to deny the Resurrection is to cease to be Christian. You might pick up bits and pieces of Christianity here and there, and you might follow Jesus as a wise spiritual teacher, but without the Resurrection the whole thing falls apart.

Speaking more practically, the Resurrection is key to spiritual detachment. If God has a life for us beyond this life, one not so much opposed to this earthly life but inclusive of and beyond it, then I’m able to wear this world much more lightly. I’m not as obsessed with finding my joy here. Those who are not convinced of the Resurrection, who believe they’ll just die and that’s it, naturally chase after wealth, pleasure, power and honor. But once you’re convinced of the Resurrection, you know this world isn’t ultimate. You can let go of these earthly pursuits, stop chasing them, and aspire toward a life on high with God, which is a life of love. Becoming a person of love thus becomes your central goal.

That’s how the Resurrection affects every aspect of your life.

Weekly Reflection
for April 6, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson


The massive rose windows of the medieval Gothic cathedrals were not only marvels of engineering and artistry, they were also symbols of the
well-ordered soul. The pilgrim coming to the cathedral for spiritual enlightenment would be encouraged to meditate upon the rose of light and color in order to be drawn into mystical conformity with it.

What would he or she see? At the center of every rose window is a depiction of Christ (even when Mary seems to be the focus, she is carrying the Christ child on her lap), and then wheeling around him in lyrical and harmonious patterns are the hundreds of medallions, each depicting a saint or a scene from scripture.

The message of the window is clear: When one’s life is centered on Christ, all the energies, aspirations, and powers of the soul fall into a beautiful and satisfying pattern. And by implication, whenever something other than Christ – money, sex, success, adulation – fills the center, the soul falls into disharmony.

Jesus expressed this same idea when he said, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and the rest will be given unto you” (Mt 6:33). When the divine is consciously acknowledged as the ground and organizing center of one’s existence, something like wholeness or holiness is the result.

Don’t live your life on the rim of the circle, but rather at the center. Focus on the reliable, unchanging point where Christ resides.

Weekly Reflection
for March 30, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Turning Over Your Tables

From very early on, Christian theologians and spiritual writers made a comparison between Jesus’ cleansing of the temple in Jerusalem and Jesus’ cleansing of our hearts and bodies. St. Paul refers to the body as a “temple of the Holy Spirit.” Your self, your body, your whole person is meant to be a temple, a holy place where God dwells and where prayer and union with God is central. It’s a beautiful image: rightly ordered, we become temples of the Holy Spirit.

This image leads to an important question: what goes wrong within the temple of our souls? The same thing that went wrong with the Temple in Jerusalem - what’s meant to be a house of prayer becomes a den of thieves. All kinds of distractions came into the Temple, money changers and corrupt influences, those who turned people away from worshipping God.

Today we should ask what distractions and corruptions have come into the temple of my heart and body? Lent is a terrific time to allow Jesus Christ to make a whip of cords and come into the temple of our hearts, a, while there, to turn some tables over, to flip things upside down if he has to.

What would Jesus chase out of your heart if he had a chance? If you let him in, with all the wonderful fury displayed in the Gospels, what would he cleanse?

Weekly Reflection
for March 23, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Lessons Learned

Lent is one of the times in our church year when we spend more time than usual reflecting on our relationship with God and asking ourselves how we are doing in our relationship with others in our life. Are we truly being Christ like and loving our neighbor as our self as directed in Matthew 22:39? During this particular Lenten season, I have had some opportunities to think about this more than usual. One situation stands out more than others at this time in my life. That is our experience as a pastoral region. Things have changed and more changes in the future are coming for both parishes. Now that we are a pastoral region with Assumption, it seems to me that communication between the parishes is even more important than ever. For me personally, planning my programs for this Lent has been a challenge. We also have had the Archdiocese set dates for Lenten offerings that cause us to cut back on our usual plans. But, change can be good! It makes us think and evaluate and plan around other programs. With this in mind, I would like to speak of the most recent pastoral region planning in the individual parishes.

Assumption always has one soup supper during Lent on a Thursday while St. Margaret Mary has several on Tuesdays. This year, Assumption had to change their soup supper to a Tuesday because the speaker is not available on Thursday. So...St. Margaret Mary will have the second of two soup suppers in Madonna Hall on Tuesday, March 25 followed with the Way of the Cross in church.

Assumption will have a soup supper on March 25 with speakers, Dolores Mize and Mary Jo Suer who will provide perspective on the current Pro-Life movement. While I wish this soup supper on the same date in both parishes was not so, I feel those of you who would like to hear more about Pro-Life should know about this offering and have the opportunity to participate.

I, of course, will be at St. Margaret Mary and hope that many of you will join us here at this parish. This will be the first time I have missed the Assumption soup supper in many years. One of my Lenten commitments is to share my program plans completely with Assumption in the future. As we continue to travel down this path, our Christian way of life will carry us to a goal of togetherness in all things, AMDG (to the greater glory of God). Our Wisdom people remember putting these initials on their paper work in the classroom. Anyway, that’s what it is all about.

Weekly Reflection
for March 16, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

Mother Teresa’s Secret to Joy
by Fr. Robert Barron

When she was still a Loreto nun, Mother Teresa made her way by train to Darjeeling for a retreat. And on that train she heard a voice inviting her to carry the light of Christ to the darkest places. When she returned to Calcutta, she began the process that led to the founding of the Missionaries of Charity, an order whose purpose would be to respond to that summons. That work is carried on today by her sisters in more than 500 establishments around the globe.

A couple years ago I personally experienced this extraordinary work. While producing the ten-part CATHOLICISM series, our team filmed in a small hospital in Calcutta, India where the Missionaries of Charity care for children with mental and physical disabilities. When we arrived, the electricity had just gone out, and the room was stiflingly hot. Everywhere, the sisters and a large team of volunteers milled about, providing medical assistance, speaking to the kids, teaching some of them to sing simple songs, or just holding them.

There was one sister who was carrying in her arms a small girl of perhaps a year and half or 2 years old. The child was blind. I asked sister how they had come to care for this girl, and she told me that she had simply been abandoned on the street. “She is my special baby,” the sister said. And then she flashed this absolutely radiant smile, which told me that she had found a deep joy precisely in this hot, crowded hospital, in the midst of one of the most squalid cities in the world.

All of us human beings want joy. Everything we do and say, all of our actions and endeavors, are meant to produce contentment, peace, happiness. Even the most morally corrupt person, ultimately, wants joy. But how do we find it? The most elemental mistake – made consistently across the centuries to the present day – is to seek joy by filling up in ourselves something that we perceive to be missing. We tell ourselves that we’d be happy if we just had enough pleasure, enough power, enough security, enough esteem. But this does not work.

It is the supreme paradox of the Christian spiritual tradition that we become filled with joy precisely in the measure that we contrive a way to make of ourselves a gift. By emptying out the self in love for the other, we become filled to the brim with the divine life. The smile of that Missionary of Charity, which was the same smile Mother Teresa bore, signaled the presence of a joy that no wealth, no security, no pleasure, no honor could possibly provide, and that can emerge even in the most miserable context.

The secret to joy is self-giving love. Mother Teresa imparted that to her sisters, and she offers the same lesson to us.

This is the Lent Reflection for Day 4 from Fr. Robert Barron. You can have a reflection like this every day during Lent. Go to wof@wordonfire.org and sign up.

Weekly Reflection
for March 9, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

What Can One Do?

One person can do a lot of damage.

As we begin Lent we remember the story of Adam and the origins of human sin. But we all know how much damage any one person can do, because we have experienced it in our own sinful lives. One person can say and do things that hurt. Such things hurt another person, but they also hurt the very person who commits the offense. In addition, one person’s offense may tarnish others – the family, the profession or the church. One person can do a lot of damage.

At the beginning of Lent it is tempting to wallow in sin. This season will indeed turn our attention to our offenses. This is a perfect time of year to make a good examination of conscience ant to bring our sin to the sacrament of reconciliation.

But there is more to Lent than sin. There is grace.
St. Paul told the Romans that death came into the world through one person’s transgressions, but “how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of justification come to reign in life through the one Jesus Christ.”

One person can do a lot of good. The kindness we perform for another person can bring unexpected joy. And by the death and rising of Christ, sinners are made righteous.

Yes, reflect on sin in Lent, but remember also the grace. Jesus brings life to the world, and to you.

Weekly Reflection
for March 2, 2014
From our Faith Formation Director
Wilma McGlasson

The Lord is the one who judges me

People can make the wrong judgment about you. You may have the best intentions at heart, but someone can misread them. Your neighbors may decide you are persecuting them, even when you are not. A coworker may think you are uncooperative, when you are only trying to help. A stranger may misunderstand a comment you make. People can make the wrong judgments.

Even in a court of law, the wrong decision can be made. Someone truly innocent may be unable to prove it. In the most horrifying cases, people have been sent to death row for murders they never committed.

It takes inner strength to persevere in the presence of misjudgment. One model is Paul the Apostle. “It does not concern me in the least that I be judged by you or any human tribunal; I do not even pass judgment on myself,” he writes the Corinthians. There is only one judge Paul cares about; “the one who judges me is the Lord.”

You can usually carry on if someone believes you. A spouse, a close friend, a teacher, or an employer who believes in your goodness will give the strength you seek. But even if no one takes your side, there is always one who does. When you know in your heart that you are right, and the rest of the world cannot see it, take solace in this: “the one who judges me is the Lord.”


NEW!!! PARISH T-SHIRTS - Are available for sale in the Parish Office during regular business hours. The cost is $6 and we have them in Youth sizes M & L and Adult M, L, and XL, in white or ash. Call Maureen or Jenni at the office - 521-7387.

Our Festival is on Facebook®
St. Margaret Mary Labor Day Weekend Festival 2014

Thanks to everyone who came out to support us through rain and shine this year!

Save the dates for 2015!
September 5
Septmber 6

Click here for details
Your Help Is Needed

Bereavement Committee Needs Help
Please consider becoming a member of the Parish Bereavement Committee. Volunteers are needed for this important service to bereaved families as they plan the funeral Mass for their loved ones. You will be trained and provided with the required forms, list of recommended songs and book of recommened readinsg to use with the planning. Volunteer as needed and as you are able to fit it into your personal schedule. Please call the Parish Office, 521-7387 if you can help with this much needed ministry.

Adult Altar Servers needed

We are in need of adults, men and women, to volunteer to serve at funerals. With the closing of our school, our school age servers are no longer available. Adults have willingly and graciously stepped forward to assist in this ministry. Due to illness and other situations in the lives of these folks, our team has been greatly reduced. Please give some consideration helping with this very important liturgy as we remember and pray for the departed in our community. Training will be provided at your convenience. Call the Parish Office to volunteer and get more information.

Bereavement Ministry
There can never be too many people involved in the Bereavement Ministry. If you have an interest in singing in the Funeral Choir, in being a Lector or Eucharistic Minister as needed at parish funerals, or in planning the Funeral Mass on a rotating basis with the family of the deceased, contact Dale Foley, (513) 742-2173.

Lend your voice to the Funeral Choir
Our Parish is blessed to have a funeral choir. The ministry of this choir is to serve the family of the deceased by leading the singing at the Mass of Christian Burial. Because every choir member isn’t available to attend every funeral (although we try), we can never have too many members! So won’t you consider lending your voice to this important ministry? We rehearse on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month from 9:30 am – 10:30 am. Contact Dale Foley, (513) 742-2173, or any current choir member for particulars, or just come to the Music Room 13 in the Parish Activity Center (PAC). We’d love to see you!

Looking for Lectors
There is currently a need for lectors at the 10:30 am Sunday Mass. Please consider joining this ministry. Training is provided. Contact the Parish Office to volunteer or for more information, (513) 521-7387.

Consider Becoming a Volunteer Sacristan

Volunteers are needed to help with a variety of light housekeeping tasks in the area of the altar and sacristy. You would be scheduled once a month. Please contact the Parish Office, (513) 521-7387 if you are interested in helping with this ministry.

Seeking Old St. MM Graduation Class Photos
The St. MM School historical preservation group is looking for class photos to complete its collection. If you have a class photo from 1949 / 1950 / 1971 / 1991 / 1999 / 2000 / 2001 / 2002 / 2003 / 2005, please contact Carol Rutz through the Parish Office, (513) 521-7387.

Readings for
Sunday, July 5

Ezekiel 2:2-5;
Corinthians 12:7-10
Mark 6:1-6a


Click to hear about today's Saint of the Day

June 21, 2015

...that in today’s Gospel the disciples experience Jesus’ divinity in his ability to calm a stormy sea? The Sea of Galilee is known for its violent squalls. The fact that several of Jesus’ disciples panic even though they are fishermen implies that this storm was worse than usual. But, in the midst of wind, waves, and the disciple’s panic, Jesus remains asleep, trusting in God’s protection. After he is roused, Jesus quiets the wind and the sea. This calmness inspires awe in the disciples, for in their mind, only God has the ability to control such things. But, in spite of this, do they recognize Jesus as the Messiah? Their final question, “Who then is this?” indicates that they still are not totally convinced.

June 14, 2015

...that today’s Gospel presents two parables using the image of agriculture? In the first, a seed is planted that grows into a harvest. In the second, a small mustard seed matures into a great tree. In the first image the seed sprouts and grows without the farmer really understanding the process. God provides for the growth until the grain is ripe. The mustard seed, starting small, becomes a large plant whose branches provide a place of welcome for the birds of the sky. These parables were meant to encourage the disciples. Because of God’s involvement, the kingdom will grow. Every initiative on behalf of the kingdom originates with God. Our own efforts, though necessary, are of secondary importance.

June 7, 2015

...that today’s solemnity pays homage to Christ’s presence in the Eucharist? Scripture and tradition demonstrate that Eucharist is our food: “Take and eat...Take and drink.” Although this “taking” usually occurs within the celebration of Mass, the early church also reserved Eucharist for those unable to be physically present for that celebration, e.g., the sick, the imprisoned, and those about to die. Over time, for a variety of reasons, the number of people regularly receiving communion decreased. As a result, devotion to the Blessed Sacrament reserved on or near the altar increased. Out of those prayers and visits to the reserved Eucharist today’s feast was established. Our devotion to the Blessed Sacrament is always to flow from, and lead back to, the sacred meal given to us by Christ himself.

May 31, 2015

...that every prayer, including the Sunday liturgy, begins with the sign of the cross? This gesture, with its accompanying words, often becomes an automatic response, rendering it meaningless. Yet, making the sign of the cross is one of the most basic and profound signs of our faith. Crossing ourselves not only gives praise to the Trinity, but it makes a powerful statement about who we are and what we believe. How carefully do you make the sign of the cross? This gesture becomes much more powerful if done with attention and reverence. Today is Trinity Sunday. Make a special effort to sign yourself with attention and devotion.

May 24, 2015

...that today, the Feast of Pentecost, completes our Easter Season? On the first Pentecost the apostles received the gifts of the Holy Spirit that enabled them to proclaim the good news to the entire world. Despite differences in language and culture, we, like them, are one in the Lord, one in Faith, and one in Baptism. Red is the color of the day. The touches of red in decoration and clothing remind us of the fire of the Holy Spirit. Come, Holy Spirit, fill this congregation with the fire of your love and renew this community in its call to worship, witness, and serve.

May 17, 2015

...that the melody of the song “Lord of the Dance” (BB #575) is a “Shaker” tune? Shakers originated in 1747 near Albany, NY. At one time they numbered between five to six thousand members in the U.S., but today the group is considered extinct. Shakers held all property in common, arose at the same time, took meals together, abstained from smoking, were pacifists, and, although marriage wasn’t forbidden, they placed a high value on celibacy (a likely reason for their demise.) Members were known to “shake” with spiritual excitement while dancing during their religious services. Today we are commissioned to go into the world and proclaim the Gospel. Let us do so “shaking” with Easter joy!

May 3, 2015

...that in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm"? Enthusiasm means approaching the task at hand with strong feelings, zeal, energy and excitement. It's the ability to be glad in the work at hand. Enthusiastic athletes win medals; enthusiastic teachers motivate students; enthusiastic fans cheer the home team to victory, and enthusiastic congregations make singing and worshipping a pleasure. The life of a Christian should be a never ending jubilee. Is it any wonder that the "Alleluias" of Easter are sung for fifty days?

April 26, 2015

...that in addition to being the Fourth Sunday of Easter today is also known as “Good Shepherd” Sunday? Most of us have never met a shepherd, but this profession was very familiar to Jesus’ audience. Jesus draws a distinction, however, between the owner- shepherd and the hired-shepherd who works for pay. The owner-shepherd loves and protects his flock in all circumstances, whereas the hired-shepherd flees when his safety is threatened. Jesus also speaks of sheep that do not belong to the fold. These must be cared for as well. A good shepherd watches over all sheep and will ultimately bring all together into one flock under one shepherd. We are called to imitate the Good Shepherd in our love for all, even those of another flock, for God already loves them.

April 19, 2015

...that it took us six weeks to journey to Easter, and now that it’s arrived we’ll celebrate for the next eight weeks? Look around the church; it’s filled with joy. What we see and what we hear is proof of our excitement. But, signs of happiness aren’t confined to the inside of a building. Look outside. Nature agrees with us as well, for the new life of spring serves as a sign of the fulfillment of the Easter promise. The Easter Season serves as a constant reminder that, like a flower grown from a seed buried in the ground, our faith is also grown from the promise of resurrection and eternal life. Continue to celebrate. This is indeed the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

April 12, 2015

...that some consider singing to be the most ancient form of music? The only thing needed is the human voice. One can sing either alone or with others. Accompaniment isn’t necessary. Sometimes all other activity stops while we sing. For example - we sing Happy Birthday then cut the cake; we sing God Bless America then enjoy the fireworks; we sing The Star Spangled Banner then the game begins. But, at other times, singing accompanies activity. Consider sailor’s chanties, songs that were sung while laying railroad tracks, or the melodies sung in the fields while picking cotton. But, can you think of a song sung specifically while sinning? Singing implies that we’re in harmony with God, with ourselves, and with others. As we continue to sing “Alleluia” during the Easter Season, let’s do so with the conviction to sing away the desire to sin!

April 5, 2015

...that the origin of the word “Easter” is unclear? Besides being called “Easter”, today has also been referred to as “the extraordinary day”, and “the solemnity of solemnities.” Some have made a connection between Eostre, an Anglo-Saxon spring goddess and the word Easter, but no historical evidence exists to support that relationship. There’s also a theory that “Easter” is derived from the Latin phrase for the week after Christ’s resurrection. During that week those baptized at the Vigil continued to wear their white baptismal garment. Regardless of the origin of the word, today is about Christ and our relationship with him. Today is the day of salvation. Today is the day the Lord has made.

March 29, 2015

...that processing with palm branches has its origins in fourth-century Jerusalem? On Palm Sunday afternoon, the bishop, representing Christ, led a procession of people carrying palm branches. When this practice spread to Europe, the procession became more dramatic. Christ was represented in the procession by the Blessed Sacrament, by a Gospel book carried by deacons, or by a carved figure seated on a wooden donkey. People followed carrying palms or other greenery. It’s important to remember that palm is not the focal point of today’s celebration. It is Christ, the innocent victim who is about to save us by his passion and death.

March 22, 2015

...that today the concept of Jesus’ redemptive “hour” is introduced when Greek-speaking Jews ask Philip to introduce them to Jesus? Today Jesus realizes and embraces what lies ahead. This is significant. This is the moment Jesus anticipated. This is the reason he was sent into the world. In his “hour” Jesus experiences both death and resurrection, and leads us to our salvation.

March 15, 2015

...that during Lent, instruments are customarily used only to accompany the singing of the assembly (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 305, 313)? But today, the Fourth Sunday of Lent, is special. Instead of being referred to as just a Sunday of Lent, today has a distinct name. Traditionally today is Laetare Sunday, taken from the Latin word for “rejoice.” Rose vestments are an option, flowers may be placed in the worship space, and instrumental music may be played. What’s the occasion? We rejoice because Lent is half over! In the coming week the liturgical calendar also provides two additional opportunities for celebration: the feast of St. Patrick on Tuesday, and the solemnity of St. Joseph on Thursday. But, be aware that even though this week could be considered a “break week”, serious business lies ahead!

March 8, 2015

...that Thomas Merton is a well-known and respected spiritual writer? Merton (Brother Louis) was a Trappist monk at Our Lady of Gethsemani Monastery in Kentucky. In his book Bread in the Wilderness he speaks of praying the psalms each day with his religious community. He emphasizes that silence is necessary to totally grasp the poetic language and emotion of these religious poems. Lent can be a busy season. It is a time when many “extras” are scheduled. Yet there is no better time than the season of Lent to sit in silence to pray and meditate. Today is the Third Sunday of Lent. How quiet have you been?

March 1, 2015

...that in the Gospel of the Transfiguration, heard each year on the Second Sunday of Lent, we hear that we will endure trials before we enjoy glory, and that throughout our life we will only experience glimpses of that glory? Jesus’ transfiguration foreshadows his resurrection. The appearance of Moses and Elijah is significant since both are biblical figures whose return is expected in connection with the Messiah. Notice that the heavenly voice acknowledges Jesus as “my beloved Son” and then commands the disciples to “listen to him.” Jesus’ next words speak of when the Son of Man has risen from the dead. The disciples didn’t understand the significance of the Transfiguration until after the resurrection.

February 22, 2015

...that each year in the Gospel for the First Sunday of Lent we hear the story of the temptation of Jesus in the desert? The account that we hear today, that according to Mark, is short - only four verses. Mark uses this story as a transition to the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. Even though he doesn’t list the temptations individually, Mark does emphasize that Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert for forty days. Today’s Gospel also points out that while in the desert Jesus was in the midst of wild beasts and was ministered to by angels, calling attention to the fact that we are constantly under God’s protection as well.

February 15, 2015

...that in biblical times leprosy was considered a very serious illness? To be declared a leper was to be condemned to a life separated entirely from the community. It was a duty of the priest to pronounce the leper “unclean”, as well as, in the case of remission, to declare the leper “clean”. Only after the pronouncement of the priest could
the cured individual rejoin the community. In today’s Gospel a leper begs Jesus for help. Leprosy was thought to be extremely contagious, so, in the mind of the community, Jesus took a huge risk by touching the “unclean” man. Afterwards, instead of showing himself to the priest to be declared cured, the leper publicizes the miracle. This creates such havoc that it was impossible for Jesus to openly enter the town.

February 8, 2015

...that this week’s Gospel continues the theme that was established last week – that of Jesus’ authority? Jesus cures Peter’s mother-in-law. Afterwards, when the Sabbath was over, Jesus continued to exercise his authority by curing all who were ill or possessed by demons. Finally, Jesus commands those demons to remain silent. This silencing is another example of Jesus’ superior power. Jesus commands and the demons obey. Be mindful of this theme as we continue to read Mark’s Gospel.

February 1, 2015

...that in today’s Gospel a key theme in the Gospel of Mark is introduced - the establishment of Jesus’ authority? Exorcists existed at the time of Jesus, but most used many words accompanied by elaborate ceremonies. But, when Jesus visits the synagogue and performs an exorcism he rids the man of the demon by speaking only five words: “Quiet! Come out of him!” After hearing those two commands the demon flees. The brevity of Jesus’ commands illustrates the power of his words over the spirit.

January 25, 2015

...that according to early Jewish and Christian thinking, King David was the author of the majority, if not all, of the psalms? But, is he actually the author of all 150 psalms? King David isn’t excluded as the author of at least some of these poems, but it appears that the Psalter was composed over a period of many centuries. It references material extending from before the eleventh century down to the sixth century B.C. Psalms were initially grouped into small collections and these collections were eventually gathered into the book as it appears today.

January 18, 2015

...that no Mass, no sacrament, or no liturgy of the hours is prayed without including at least one psalm? Psalms are used by Christians of all denominations. In addition to the Book of Psalms, the Bible contains additional religious poetry (ex. The Song of Songs), but the Book of Psalms has always held a special place in religious tradition. Although few details have been passed down, it’s known that many of the psalms were connected with temple services in Jerusalem where they were accompanied by a wide variety of instruments. The association of psalms with musical instruments was so strong that when the Hebrew text of the psalms was translated into Greek, the Greek word psalmos (twanging of a harp) was used as their title.

January 11, 2015

...that, beginning today, most of the Sunday Gospel readings will be taken from Mark, the oldest of the Gospels? Today Mark recounts the Baptism of Jesus, marking the beginning of his public ministry. We’re reminded again that Jesus, not John the Baptist, is the Messiah. And, in case there was any doubt, that message is confirmed by a heavenly voice! Did you ever wonder why, in Christian art, a fish is used as a symbol of both Christ and Christianity? The answer stems from the fact that, as described in today’s Gospel, the early church used water for baptism that was full of living things. The water of the Jordan River is capable of, and necessary for, sustaining life both within and out of its borders. The Baptism of the Lord also marks the formal end of the Church’s Christmas Season. Next week we return to the Sundays of Ordinary Time.

December 28, 2014

...that the Feast of the Holy Family was instituted by Pope Leo XIII in 1892? Last year on this feast Pope Francis said: “Let us remember the three key words for living in peace and joy in the family: ‘may I,’ ‘thank you,’ and ‘sorry.’” Today, as on the Third Sunday of Advent, we hear a canticle (song) not found in the Book of Psalms. Included in the Gospel is the Nunc Dimittis, commonly known as the Canticle of Simeon. And, did you know that the Roman Catholic Church has referred to January 1 by various titles? It is now called the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. But it has also been known as: The Octave of Christmas, the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, the Feast of the Circumcision, and, beginning in 1968 as a World Day of Peace? The last verses of the New Year’s Gospel indicate that Jesus was Jewish, he was human, and he obeyed the law. Even today in the ritual of Baptism for children, the first question asked of parents is, “What name do you give your child?”

December 21, 2014

...that Israel’s hope for a Messiah can be traced to God’s promise to King David through the prophet Nathan? Nathan tells David that “The Lord...will establish a house for you” (v 11), and that David’s line “shall stand firm forever” (v 16). Israel believed that the promise of a Messiah would be fulfilled in a descendent from King David. This is why Joseph is important in salvation history, for Joseph was descended from the house of David. Today’s Gospel story of the annunciation reinforces that promise made to David, for Mary is betrothed to Joseph.

December 14, 2014

...that today’s Gospel again speaks of John the Baptist? We hear that John came to “testify to the Light.” His preaching so stirs the hopes of the people that they suspect that John is the promised Messiah. But John tells them that the one who is to come “after me” is the Son of God, the Redeemer. Today is one of the few times that the response after the First Reading is not a Psalm but a Canticle. Canticles are Biblical hymns not found in the Book of Psalms. Today’s Canticle is commonly referred to as the Magnificat, a song of Mary’s joy.

December 7, 2014

...that today we hear the beginning verses of the Gospel of Mark where we’re introduced to the ministry of John the Baptist? Mark was a Jewish Christian writing to a Jewish audience. For him, the ministry of John the Baptist is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. John’s message had a sense of immediacy in the early church because many believed that Jesus’ return was imminent. Mark wrote believing that the second coming was near and instructs us that now is the time of fulfillment; we must repent and believe in the Gospel. Next week we experience another dimension of John the Baptist from the perspective of the Gospel of John.

November 30, 2014

...that Advent is a time of remembering and waiting? We remember Christ’s birth while we wait for his second coming. During the first weeks of Advent, the readings focus on Christ’s second coming. It’s only in the final days of the season that the focus changes to his birth. It’s easier to concentrate on this focus during liturgy than it is in our daily life. On Sunday we’re instructed to watch, prepare, and wait, while everything around us indicates that Christmas is already here. We’re hearing Christmas music. We’ve been invited to, or may even be planning a Christmas gathering that occurs before December 25. Keeping the spirit of Advent is difficult. The liturgical prayers, songs, and readings should help us empty ourselves of our busyness so that we can peacefully prepare for the coming of the Lord.

November 23, 2014

...that the universe includes planets, stars, galaxies, inner space, black holes, matter, and energy? Today the Church celebrates the all- encompassing solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. This solemnity was established in 1925 by Pope Pius XI in response to the rise of nationalism and fascism in Europe. Today’s Gospel presents the image of Jesus in his glory judging nations from his throne. This image reminds us that all are accountable to God. We’re called not only to love Christ but to also acknowledge his presence in our neighbor by meeting their basic needs in hunger, thirst, and illness. Jesus tells us that we cannot love him if we do not love our neighbor. This observance of Christ the King is also celebrated by Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists, and Presbyterians.

November 16, 2014

...that in today’s Gospel Jesus calls us to make good use of the talents we possess? The talents given to each servant by the master represented a great amount of money. One talent was equivalent to approximately 6,000 days’ wages! The amount each servant received differed according to his ability. The parable focuses on what each did with his talents. The master accuses the third servant of being lazy. Instead of at least putting the money in the bank where it could accrue a modest amount of growth, he dug a hole and buried it! Like him, we’re called to make good use of the talents that have been entrusted to us. For, like the servants in today’s Gospel, we’ll be called upon to give an accounting for our actions.

November 9, 2014

...that today we celebrate the anniversary of the earliest basilica of Christianity? The Basilica of St. John Lateran is the oldest of all of Rome's major basilicas. It serves as the cathedral church of the pope, the bishop of Rome. Originally, the structure belonged to the Lateranus family. It was acquired by Constantine and given to the church, becoming the pope's residence. St. John Lateran Basilica is the mother church of Rome, and serves as a reminder to all of us that we are members of the Roman Catholic Church.

November 2, 2014

...that All Souls’ Day falls on a Sunday this year? This Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed is not a solemnity, meaning that even though it’s given preference over the usual Sunday celebration, there’s no “Glory to God.” Christians have a long history of praying for the dead. In 998 AD, St. Odilo of Cluny ordered a remembrance of all the faithful departed. By the second century, prayers for the dead were added to the Mass, and remain there to this day in the Eucharistic prayer. In today’s Gospel Jesus calls us to live a life worthy of our baptism. He presents an image of the final judgment, a time when we must account for our actions. Let us remember those who have gone before us, and pray that they have accepted the invitation to inherit the kingdom.

October 26, 2014

...that in biblical Israel there is no separation of church and state? God’s law is recognized as the law of the land. So the two great commandments that we hear in today’s Gospel, the love of God and the love of neighbor, were well known among the Jewish people. Today’s First Reading spells out in detail the definition of “neighbor.” According to the Book of Exodus, “neighbor” includes the vulnerable in society: aliens, widows, orphans, and the poor. All the commandments comment on our relationship with both God and neighbors. To be a holy people, we must show love for both.

October 19, 2014

...that most people don’t enjoy paying taxes to the government? In Jesus’ time, paying taxes to Rome was just as unpopular. There was an annual census tax that could only be paid by using a specific coin – a Roman denarius. This coin had an imprinted image of the emperor as well as an inscription proclaiming the emperor divine. Owing the tax was bad enough, but being forced to use this particular coin, proclaiming the divinity of the emperor, was just as offensive to the Jews. There’s a contrast between the emperor’s “divine” image on the coin and the image we hold of our divine God. The Book of Genesis says we are made in the image and likeness of God and we belong to Him. Our obligation to pay tribute to God doesn’t invalidate our debt to “Caesar,” it’s just the more important of the two.

October 12, 2014

...that in these last weeks of the liturgical year our readings focus on teachings associated with the end of the world? The parable of a king hosting a wedding banquet for his son is the story in today’s Gospel. This banquet, a “Table of Plenty”, represents the feast at the end of time. The parable teaches us that it isn’t enough just to “Come to Your Feast”, but that we must also act on this invitation and become “Bread for the World.” Those who were originally invited to the feast refused to come. The invitation to this banquet of salvation is now extended to all for which we “Now Thank we All Our God.”

October 5, 2014

...that today we hear another story of laborers and a vineyard? In fact, both the first reading from Isaiah and the Gospel from Matthew concern vineyards. There’s a major difference, however, in the two stories. In the first reading the vineyard is destroyed.
In the Gospel the vineyard is preserved, but there are new farmers. These new leaders are those who recognize Jesus as the authoritative interpreter of the Torah. This is significant because sometimes we forget that our Catholic Faith has Jewish roots. Jesus came to both reform and renew Judaism from the corruption of the chief priests and elders.

September 28, 2014

...that the month of September begins and ends focusing on the elderly? Included in the September 5, 2014 edition of the Messenger (the weekly publication of the Diocese of Covington, KY) is an article written by Sr. Constance Veit, director of communications for the Little Sisters of the Poor. Sr. Constance writes that, “Since 1978 the first Sunday after Labor Day has been celebrated as National Grandparents Day – this year’s observance falls on September 7. Later in the month, senior citizens will gather in Rome for a special celebration in their honor at the invitation of Pope Francis. The meeting, entitled “The Blessing of a Long Life,” will take place in St. Peter’s Square, September 28. Towards the end of the article Sister quotes a story heard by Pope Francis as a child. “There was a father, mother, and their many children, and a grandfather lived with them. He was quite old, and when he was at table eating soup, he would get everything dirty – his mouth, the napkin – it was not a pretty sight. One day the father said that given what was happening to the grandfather, from that day on, the grandfather would eat alone. So he bought a little table and placed it in the kitchen. And so the grandfather ate alone in the kitchen while the family ate in the dining room. After some days the father returned home from work and found one of his children playing with wood. He asked him, ‘What are you doing?’ to which the child replied, ‘I am playing carpenter.’ ‘And what are you building?’ the father asked. ‘A table for you, papa, for when you get old like grandpa.’” Today let’s join in prayer with those gathered in Rome and reflect on what we’ve received from the elders in our life. And, let’s not forget to set a place for them at our table.

September 21, 2014

...that the parable of the workers in the vineyard found in today’s Gospel makes some people uncomfortable? Why would someone who worked only an hour get the same reward as someone who bore the burden of the entire day? It doesn’t seem fair! Matthew reminds us that God’s generosity belongs only to God and that it’s not our place to judge. Do we expect to be seated ahead of the poor or those who live in the margins of society? Jesus tries to teach us that our God is more concerned with being merciful than with being fair. The good news is that the God who judges us at the end of time is a loving God. And, the bad news for some is that the elite may be passed over for those of lesser status.

September 14, 2014

...that the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross has its origins in the 4th century? Today’s feast recalls several events: St. Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, finding what is believed to be the true cross under the temple of Venus in Jerusalem; the dedication of a basilica built on Calvary by her son Constantine in 335 AD, and, most importantly, the celebration of our salvation through the cross of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The cross is an important symbol in Catholicism. We are baptized with the sign of the cross; we make the sign of the cross when we bless ourselves; we sign our foreheads, lips, and hearts with the cross at Mass; and we pray the Way of the Cross as a popular devotion. We honor the cross of Jesus because it is a sign of both his death and his victory over death.

September 7, 2014

... that in today’s Gospel Jesus tells us how to contend with those who sin against us? Following the model of the good shepherd, Jesus tells us to bring back the lost. But, he isn’t talking about correcting a stranger; he’s referring to “your brother.” His teaching is addressed to members of the church. In today’s Gospel we hear the second of two times that the word “church” is spoken by Jesus (remember the Gospel of September 24.) Today Jesus also gives the disciples the same authority given only to Peter a few weeks ago - to either forgive or withhold forgiveness.

August 31, 2014

...that at the time of Jesus, people had varied expectations regarding the Messiah? Some anticipated royalty, others wanted a military leader, while others hoped for religious leadership. One thing is certain - no one expected a Messiah who would suffer and die. This puts into perspective Peter’s response (“God forbid, Lord!”) in today’s Gospel when Jesus predicted his own suffering and death. Peter, who was addressed as “Rock” last week, is now called “Satan” because he’s thinking in the manner of man, and not in the manner of God. We’re told that in order to follow Christ we must deny ourselves and take up our cross.

August 24, 2014

...that today the word “church” is used in the Gospel for the first time? While the word “church” is frequently used in the Acts of the Apostles and in the letters of the New Testament, it’s rarely used in the Gospels. Jesus usually refers to the “church” as the “kingdom of heaven” or “kingdom of God” instead. The Greek word ekklesia is only found in today’s Gospel and in Matthew 18. Listen for it again in the Gospel on September 7.

August 17, 2014

...that one of the characteristics of our Sunday assembly is that it isn't an exclusive group? Our gathering is open to all. Everyone is not only welcome, but is received with hospitality and love. In spite of diversity, all present are brothers and sisters. The message of salvation is universal, extending to all. In today's Gospel, Jesus grants the request of a non-Jewish woman that her daughter be cured. Isaiah reminds us that even foreigners can "observe what is right" and "do what is just." Paul's letter to the Romans tells us that "God has mercy on all," including the Gentiles. In the words of St. John Chrysostom, "The church exists not to divide those who come together, but to bring together those who are divided."

August 10, 2014

...that Matthew’s account of Jesus walking on water in the midst of a storm is unique, for Matthew also adds that Peter attempted to do the same? The fact that even the most sea-worthy of the disciples were frightened by the storm’s power heightens its severity. Jesus walking on water helped to confirm his identity as God, but Peter’s attempt adds the dimension of faith. Peter starts out confidently in responding to Jesus’ call to join him, but becomes frightened and starts to sink. Peter’s faith was shaken and is reprimanded by Jesus, “O you of little faith.” Today’s Gospel reveals God as one more powerful than the forces of nature. Our cry of “Lord save me” can be realized only when we look forward with the eyes of faith.

August 3, 2014

...that the story of the multiplication of loaves and fishes in today’s Gospel, is found in all four Gospels? Today, Matthew tells us that even though Jesus withdrew to a deserted place, the crowd followed him, anxious to be fed by his teaching. But, the longer Jesus preached, the longer the crowd stayed, and physical hunger became apparent. The disciples, being the practical people they were, wanted Jesus to disperse the crowd since food wasn’t available to satisfy all. But Jesus intended to involve the disciples in this miracle. You know the rest of the story – the disciples distributed bread and fish to the crowd and all were fed from what started out as nothing. This shows that there are times when doing God’s work that we’re required to use our hands and feet to reach out to others.

July 27, 2014

...that in Jesus’ time it was common to bury one’s wealth in a field before going on a long journey or when under attack? If the owner of the treasure didn’t return, his wealth then became the property of the next owner. In today’s Gospel Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a buried treasure. Because this treasure is of such great value, the one who finds it sells all that he owns to buy the field. There is also the image of a pearl of great price. The merchant also sells all that he possesses to buy it. In both examples the message is the same – we must seek the kingdom of God no matter what the price.

July 20, 2014

...that in today’s Gospel we hear another parable involving agriculture? In this parable of weeds among wheat we reflect on the breadth of God’s judgment and mercy. If we were to grow wheat, we’d certainly be inclined to remove the weeds, but, in today’s parable, God allows both the good and the bad to exist side by side until the harvest. This illustration of God’s patience and mercy shows that, given time, God anticipates that the weeds will convert into wheat. It is always God’s hope that sinners repent and accept the grace of redemption.

July 13, 2014

...that rain, as it appears in the Bible, is a sign of God’s blessing? The Jordan River is below sea level and not an adequate source of water, so the Israelites were very dependent on rain for their survival. Agriculture was very important in Jesus’ world, and images of sowing and reaping appear often in his teaching. In today’s parable, God’s reign is compared to sowing seed. The same type of seed is planted in different locations, but not all produce a harvest. Jesus places emphasis on the types of ground where the seed is sown. We are challenged to produce a good harvest by hearing and understanding God’s word. We must be open to receiving the word and allowing it to take root in our lives.

July 6, 2014

. ..that we rely heavily on prayers of petition, asking God’s favorable response to our needs? Prayers of petition are often accompanied by lighting a candle, spending time in private prayer, writing them in a parish book, or speaking them when invited at Mass during the Prayer of the Faithful. It’s appropriate that the entire community be aware of our needs. This is why the Intention to be remembered by the Priest is listed for each Mass. It’s common to request a Mass Intention when a loved one has died, but an intention can also be requested for a living person. And, it’s not uncommon to remember anniversaries, birthdays, or other special days. Intentions can also be specified for a particular cause or need such as peace, justice, etc. Normally a monetary offering for the support of the clergy accompanies the request. You’ll notice that the Intention at one of the Sunday obligation Masses each weekend and on Holy Days of Obligation is for the “People of the Parish.” Pastors are obliged to offer a Mass for the living and deceased of the Parish on those days. Sometimes the Priest’s Intention is announced during Mass. Sometimes it’s included in the Petitions. The only absolute requirement, however, is that the Intention be published.

June 29, 2014

...that since completing the Easter Season on Pentecost we've had three Sundays with special designations - Trinity, Corpus Christi, and Sts. Peter and Paul? The first two are annual Sunday celebrations with their date changing in relation to Easter. But the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul is always celebrated on June 29, regardless of the day of the week. As early as 258 A.D. there's evidence of the tradition of celebrating both feasts together. Some say that Peter would have been an excellent confessor, for he was vocal in his misunderstandings and doubts. It's comforting to know that Peter, whose name appears first on every listing of apostles, had his human weaknesses, even in the presence of Jesus. Paul's experience with the risen Christ on the road to Damascus was the driving force that made him one of the most zealous, dynamic, and courageous preachers in the history of the Church. The lives of these two saints helped build the solid foundation on which the Church is built.

June 22, 2014

...that we have moved from last week’s celebration of the Trinity to the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Body and Blood of Christ? Today we hear of God’s desire to be united with us as we celebrate the Eucharist. In today’s first reading, manna, which God sent to feed the Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years, foreshows Eucharist. Throughout those 40 years Israel learned to trust in the Lord. In today’s Gospel, Jesus declares that he is the “living bread that came down from heaven.” Jesus gives us a gift greater than manna. He gives us the bread that enables us to live forever.

June 15, 2014

...that Jesus’ words to Nicodemus in today’s Gospel are among the most popular of all biblical texts? John 3:16 (“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life”) is often called a mini-Gospel since it summarizes in one verse the core of Christianity. Unlike most Sundays, today’s Responsorial is not taken from the Book of Psalms, but is taken from the Book of Daniel. After escaping the fiery furnace, Azariah and his companions bless God by singing a very long song (38 verses in its entirety.) Even though today specifically honors the Trinity, it should not be forgotten that our Triune God is present whenever we gather.

June 8, 2014

...that all of today's readings focus on the Holy Spirit who will "renew the face of the earth?" The first reading from Acts tells us that when the Spirit descended on the disciples they were able to speak in different tongues so all who were in Jerusalem, regardless of nationality, could understand their message. In the second reading, Paul tells the Corinthians that the gifts distributed by the Spirit are many and that we should never boast of our gifts but realize that they are no geater than the gifts of others. Through the Spirit we are baptized into one body, working together for the good of all. In today's Gospel Jesus breathes on the disciples, giving them the Holy Spirit, and empowering them to share in His mission and to go and make disciples of all. The gift of the Spirit, celebrated today, unites all of us in the life of the Trinity (celebrated next week) and empowers us to proclaim the good news with our lives.

June 1, 2014

...that today’s feast of the Ascension has already been celebrated in certain parts of the world? Based on the events described in today’s first reading, the Ascension was traditionally, celebrated on a Thursday. There, Luke says that Jesus rose from the dead, appeared to believers for 40 days, and then ascended to the heavens. A few years ago, Rome granted permission for each diocese to determine if the Ascension would be celebrated on the traditional Thursday or on what would have been the Seventh Sunday of Easter. So, it is possible that the Ascension is celebrated today in one state, while already having been celebrated on Thursday in another. One weakness of a Sunday celebration is that the readings for the Seventh Sunday of Easter are omitted. These readings are filled with anticipation for next week’s feast – Pentecost. Take time today to incorporate those readings in your prayer today.

May 25, 2014

...that the preparation for this column requires examining many different sources? One is the Messenger, the weekly publication for the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky. The May 2, 2014 edition contained an article written by Deacon Timothy Schabell, a hospice chaplain for St. Elizabeth Healthcare. In it he cites an article written by Bonnie Ware, a palliative care/hospice nurse outlining five regrets in life told to her by dying patients. I share them with you:
1. ”I wish I would have had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
2. “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”
3. “I wish I would have had the courage to express my feelings.”
4. “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”
5. “I wish I had let myself be happier.”
The article concludes with what Deacon Schabell has found, in his experience, to be the number one regret – the patient’s relationship (or lack of) with God. We have just completed the Lenten Season and Holy Week, and are now celebrating the joyous Season of Easter – a time when we revel in new life and redemption. Maybe now is a good time to determine if we need an “attitude adjustment.”

May 18, 2014

...that the hymn “O God Our Help in Ages Past” (#435 in Breaking Bread), outlines three periods of our personal history: “ages past”, our “shelter from the stormy blast”, and our “eternal home”? Psychologists say that well-adjusted people are capable of integrating their past, their present, and their hope of what is to come. Our repertoire of hymns integrates all three of these periods. They reference God’s past deeds and the numerous ways in which Christ touches us today. But our song remains unfinished. It can only be completed at the end of time. Then we’ll sing the final verse joined by a chorus of angels and saints. What a glorious sound that will be!

May 11, 2014

...that the Fourth Sunday of Easter is also called “Good Shepherd Sunday?” The imagery of Jesus as shepherd and we as sheep is held important by the Church since it is proclaimed in this Sunday’s Gospel regardless of the three-year cycle. Jesus is presented as a loving shepherd. The shepherd’s task is to be concerned for the welfare of the sheep, and the sheep are called to hear and follow the shepherd’s voice. It is the Lord who watches over the community and over each of its members. It is the Lord who is ever at our side.

May 4, 2014

...that the life of a Christian is often referred to as a pilgrimage? We, like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, have set out on a journey. It’s a journey of faith and hope, of exploration and discovery, and one in which we come to know the Lord more fully in the Scriptures and in the ”breaking of the bread.” Sometimes we, like the two disciples, find our vision clouded. Only after our eyes are opened can we recognize Christ and begin to understand his words. Today’s Gospel demonstrates that sometimes it’s difficult to comprehend God’s plan, but with God’s help we gain understanding.

April 27, 2014

...that for centuries, today, the Sunday after Easter, was called “dominica in albis”, meaning the Sunday for taking off the white. Those baptized during the Easter Vigil wore white robes throughout the entire Easter week as a sign of their Baptism. It was today that they put aside those garments. Today has also been called “Low Sunday”, possibly because it stands in contrast to the excitement of last week’s celebration.

April 20, 2014

...that today our Lenten journey has reached its destination? Even though we have progressed through the 40 days of Lent and the 3 days of the Triduum, we end in the same setting as where we began – a garden! On the first Sunday of Lent we heard the story of the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. That marvelous place became the site of greatest defeat for God’s greatest creation. Today, on Easter, the descendants of Adam and Eve, find ourselves in another garden – the garden of Christ’s empty tomb! Today, unlike the Garden of Eden, we find that the Garden of the Risen Christ leads to everlasting life. Today we celebrate Christ’s triumph over evil, sin, and death. Today our Lenten journey from the Garden of Eden to the garden of Christ’s resurrection is completed. Alleluia! Alleluia!

April 13, 2014

...that the Service of Light begins the Easter Vigil? In the light of new fire the Easter Candle is prepared. A cross, the Greek letters alpha and omega (the beginning and the end of the Greek alphabet), and the numerals of the current year are outlined on the candle. Five grains of incense are inserted into the candle in the shape of a cross with a prayer that all be kept under Christ’s protection. The Easter candle is then lit from the new fire and leads a procession into the church. The priest sings, “Christ our light” three times. We sing, “Thanks be to God” in response. The Exsultet, a hymn of praise to honor Christ our redeemer, is then sung. This hymn references many events in salvation history. The assembly holds lit candles as a sign of their baptism. In addition to new fire, there is new water. The prayer for the blessing of the new water contains biblical images beginning with creation, continuing with the great flood, the Red Sea, the waters of the river Jordan in which Christ was baptized, and the water which flowed from his side at the crucifixion. After the blessing of water the community renews their baptismal promises while holding a lighted candle. The congregation is then sprinkled with the newly blessed water as a reminder of our original baptism.

April 6, 2014

...that the Good Friday liturgy is a continuation of our Holy Thursday celebration and has no entrance procession? We know immediately that this liturgy is different because the priest enters in silence and prostrates himself before the altar. Members of the assembly kneel at this time to demonstrate personal humility and the sorrow of the entire church. The readings of Good Friday are somber. The first reading from Isaiah is part of his “suffering servant” literature which prophecies Jesus’ suffering. The Responsorial Psalm proclaims a trust in God in spite of trials. In the second reading Paul connects our salvation to Jesus who knew suffering yet remained obedient to the Father. The centerpiece of this liturgy is the reading of the Passion according to John. Good Friday is the only liturgy of the year in which the church writes the intercessions for us. These ten petitions encompass all people - both in the church and in the world. Since the Good Friday liturgy is not a Mass, there is no Eucharistic Prayer and no consecration. At one time there wasn’t even communion! Communion, bread only, is distributed from the hosts consecrated at the Holy Thursday Mass. The Good Friday liturgy ends as it began – in silence. The third part of the Triduum, the Easter Vigil, occurs on Saturday evening.

March 30, 2014

...that the Triduum is one Liturgy divided into three distinct sections? And, did you know that each section has unique rituals? Today we’ll outline some of the unique features of Holy Thursday. In following weeks we’ll discuss Good Friday and the Easter Vigil. Holy Thursday’s liturgy consists of Mass with the inclusion of the Presentation of Oils, the Washing of Feet, and the Transfer of Eucharist. The Oil of the Sick, Oil of Catechumens, and Holy Chrism are brought forward at the beginning of Mass. These oils were blessed by the Bishop during the Chrism Mass at the cathedral and were presented to each parish to be used during the year. The Washing of Feet is a familiar ritual. Some parishes insist on having 12 people participate, but the focus here is on the action of humility and service as opposed to the number of people involved. At the end of Mass the tabernacle is emptied. Because the Good Friday liturgy doesn’t include a Eucharistic Prayer or consecration, sufficient hosts are consecrated on Holy Thursday to serve people on both days. After Holy Thursday’s distribution of communion, all remaining hosts are placed in a ciborium and carried in procession to the altar of repose. The faithful are then encouraged to spend time in adoration. Most parishioners never see the next step in the process – the stripping of the altar. This action prepares the church for the celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday. We can then pray in a church that is totally bare except for the items needed for the Good Friday liturgy. Good Friday is a day when the emptiness of both church and tabernacle is obvious. On Good Friday, we focus on the Passion of Our Lord.

March 23, 2014

...that praying the Stations of the Cross is a popular Lenten liturgy? After Jesus’ death and resurrection his followers walked the path he walked to the site of his crucifixion. Christians made pilgrimages to Jerusalem to follow what became known as the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) or the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrows). In the 15th and 16th centuries, Franciscans erected images of the stations outdoors at churches and other places, providing the opportunity for those who couldn’t travel to the Holy Land to share in the Way of the Cross. As people walked the path, scriptures were recited or read and prayers proclaimed. This devotional practice became so popular that images depicting the Way of the Cross were placed inside churches. Different prayers can be prayed at Stations of the Cross, but customarily some derivation of “We adore you, O Jesus Christ, for by your cross you redeemed the world” is recited at each Station.

March 16, 2014

...that repentance is an important part of turning away from self and turning back to God? We’re strongly encouraged by the Church to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation during Lent. “The Light is on for You” (March 18), and the Pastoral Region Penance Service (April 1) are two opportunities in addition to Saturday afternoons. But, did you know that in the early church, the Sacrament of Penance was conferred in the same manner as Baptism and Confirmation? The ceremony took place publicly and was received only once. People would present themselves to the bishop and the local church at the beginning of Lent in what was called the Order of Penitents. Ashes would be imposed, and the penitents would dress in sack cloth for the entire forty-day period. They would fast, do acts of charity, and give alms. Then, at the end of Lent, they would receive absolution by the bishop. Eventually, the Liturgy of Penance became a private celebration with a penance being assigned by a priest.

March 9, 2014

..that the date of Ash Wednesday (the beginning of the 40 days of Lent) is determined by the date of Easter and not the other way around? The Roman Church has resolved that Easter be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox. As you know, the timing of this varies from year to year. This year, Easter will be celebrated on April 20, so we have now entered into the 40 days of Lent. The count- down to Easter has begun. Lent has always been a special season in the Church. It’s a time that focuses on prayer, almsgiving and fasting. Is it a coincidence, then, that the Gospel for today, the First Sunday in this count-down, recalls Jesus spending 40 days praying and fasting in the desert? And to what end? After 40 days of penance, Jesus met temptation face to face was unrelenting in challenging Satan’s invitations to focus on self and turn away from God. A conclusion could be drawn that 40 days in the desert was time well spent!

March 2, 2014

...that putting trust in another human being is common? We trust the captain of an airline. We trust the doctor or surgeon. But sometimes putting our trust in God isn’t as easy. How often do you spend time worrying about things that are beyond your control? How often do you worry about things that you cannot change? In today’s Gospel Jesus calls us to put our trust in God. Citing examples from nature, Jesus explains that God cares for even “the birds of the sky”, and the “grass of the field.” If God provides for those things, how can He not provide for us? Putting our trust in and relying on God can be a stumbling block. It requires faith. We must pray for the understanding that “only in God is my soul at rest.” Achieving that level of trust enables us to “Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God.”

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