The recent string of oppressively hot days has sure made me appreciate some things…
Funny how we take some “simple” things in life for granted until we really need them. An old saying comes to mind: “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.”
I remember a few Lents ago, Fr. Don said at Ash Wednesday evening Mass: “You know, you sure say a better prayer when you’ve been fasting all day!”
So the next time I find myself thinking about how hot it is, I will try to be thankful for all the things I have access to that help me beat the heat. Not everyone does.
~ Rick Smith, Youth Minister
Are you dealing with the death of your spouse, a parent, a sibling, a child, or a friend? Come to any or all of a series of meetings to help you understand, cope, and heal through a process called GriefShare. Whether it's been one month, one year, or ten years, GreifShare can help you heal from the loss of your loved one. Each week the group will watch a video seminar on DVD. The GreifShare videos cover topics essential to your recovery from the hurt of grief and loss. A new series is beginning this Fall.
In the Second Reading today, Paul makes an astonishing statement. He says “creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God” and “we know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now…” Paul attributes consciousness to creation. He puts God’s creation on even footing with God’s people who “also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.” Pope Francis quotes this verse from Romans in the second paragraph of his encyclical “Laudato Si” where he equates the earth to family. He says, “This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air, and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she ‘groans in travail.’”
Creation is more than nature. Every creature, every plant, every dew drop tells us something about our Creator. That is why, I believe, every Christian should be involved in, if not leading, the environmental movement. We would be watch guards for the care of the earth because it is a manifestation of God’s love for us and, as it says in Genesis, we were given the task to be its stewards. The earth is more than just our home, as Pope Francis says, “The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains; everything is, as it were, a caress of God.” (Laudato Si’ 84)
The reading from Romans tells us we can look forward to the Kingdom of God and hope that as His children our bodies will be redeemed and we will be set free. Then the earth, which is now in decay due to our sinfulness, will also be redeemed. Fr. Coady said in his homily last week that if we put on Christ, we can live the resurrected life now. The Kingdom can be accessed now. Salvation is now. We should strive to behave as children of God now. We should be good stewards of God’s creation now. Our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren deserve our best efforts. It is an issue of justice. This is their home, too.
This time of year, as we vacation and enjoy the beauty of nature, as we pick produce from our gardens, watch the flowers bloom, enjoy the birds coming to our feeders, it is the perfect time to see how creation reflects our Creator. As Sr. Joan Chittister says, “It is being able to find the sacred in everything that a person finally discovers God.”
~ Sherry Watts, K-6 Coordinator
My dear friend, Pat, sent me an animated e-card for Independence Day, entitled Portrait of America. At the end was a personal note that began “Aren’t we so blessed to live in such a wonderful country?” I reflected on that question and, of course, whole-heartedly agreed. Thanks be to God that he has placed us in this great land to serve him. And, believe it or not, he wants us to enjoy it!
The same goes for our parish! God has blessed us with a vibrant, loving parish family. In all that we do together, he wants us to give thanks to him and continue saying ‘yes’ to the plans he has for us and all we serve.
Just this past week, parishioners celebrated new life through the baptisms of their children. Some witnessed the sign of God’s love in the union of a man and woman in matrimony. And so many of us celebrated the gift of life of a beloved parishioner, who lived the Gospel by how she loved and served all of us every day. As we cried, prayed, sang, laughed, and ate together, the outpouring of God’s love, peace, and joy was endless. What a beautiful foretaste of the eternal, heavenly banquet!
In all that we do together, let us keep giving thanks, keep saying ‘yes’ to his plans for us, and enjoy it all!
~ Kelley Smith, Music Liturgist
As many of you know our youth group, and a few adults, participated in the diocesan program Prayer and Action a couple weeks ago. This is the 5th time that I have participated and the first time I stayed the whole way through. It is also the first year my son, Roman, was able to participate. Pope Francis has called us to get our hands dirty and smell like sheep when evangelizing. Rest assured we did that! One could have the tendency to see the week in terms of mere hands on work. Painting, cleaning yards, outdoor jobs, and so on. As I observed and experienced, it is much more. Our relationship with our God must begin with a living encounter. Many times that is through prayer, but it can also be through relationships with others. Prayer and Action is all of the above.
Our Lord taught us to see His presence in the most vulnerable among us. He also demonstrated the need to process the missionary experience after the disciples had been sent to different towns and villages to proclaim the Kingdom of God by asking them, “Who do people say that I am?” The excitement of the disciples, and their response, was the same energy all of us had as the week in Russell progressed. It was a Church that is alive and full of the love that Jesus commanded his disciples to have when he said, "Love one another as I have loved you." It wasn't just a mere feeling; it was the atmosphere—although I have to admit I felt pretty close to my son during those days.
All the participants of Prayer and Action need to tell the story of what happened. This encounter with Jesus Christ manifested in prayer, Mass, service work, relationship, and so much more, was a glimpse of the heavenly bliss. Now, that group comes down from the mountain top and goes back to the daily routines, hopefully transformed in some small way. I am truly inspired by the zeal and energy the youth have, which speaks about their families as well. I pray that all of us, me included, take a lesson from them and be bold witnesses of Jesus Christ to one another. Most of all, I thank Mr. Rick Smith who has graciously allowed me and several of the adults to be sponsors and capture some of this to nurture our faith. His love for Christ is very evident and he takes every opportunity to lead the youth in their faith formation! God bless him, Kelley, and their family for their sacrifices.
~ Dcn Wayne Talbot