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On Sunday, July 22 we will welcome and bless our new icon of Mary of Magdala thus honoring her significant role in the history of salvation. It is our hope that this Icon will help correct a misconception which has diminished the importance of this Apostle to the Apostles for centuries.
Mary of Magdala’s depiction in the crucifixion scene is ubiquitous. She is often dressed in red, voluminous hair cascading down her back and tears rolling down her face. By contrast, Mary, the mother of Jesus is dressed in shades of blue and her head is covered. These representations epitomize and reinforce the image of the two most important women in the New Testament presented by the church for centuries: the repentant sinner and the pious mother.
The identification of Mary of Magdala with the repentant sinner was sealed in a 6th century homily preached by Pope Gregory the Great. In it the Pope identifies Mary of Magdala with the sinful woman who washed Jesus feet. And he classified the woman’s sins as carnal.
Recent scholarship has ended this caricature of Mary of Magdala by revealing who she really was: an independently wealthy woman who supported Jesus in his mission and who was the first witness to the resurrection.
Saint Mary of Magdala, pray for us.
There is a story about two monks in the Middle Ages (an older monk and one of the younger monks) who were traveling cross country for a visit to a remote monastery. At one point, the road they were traveling on came to a stream. There was a woman there who asked them if they could help her cross the stream. The older monk replied that he would be happy to help her and immediately picked her up and waded across the stream. When they got to the other side the woman thanked them and went on her way, and the two monks went their way. About an hour later the younger monk said to the older monk: “Brother, I don’t think it was appropriate that you picked up that woman and carried her across the stream.” The older monk replied. “Brother are you still carrying that woman with you? I put her down the minute we got across the stream. I’m surprised you are still carrying her.”
Like the young monk in the story above, I suspect that all of us “carry” things with us that we need to put down. It could be a grudge, an old hurt, a painful or embarrassing moment from the past, or a memory of something we did that was wrong. We hold these things close, and seldom, if ever, speak of them with others. These things weight us down and hinder our growth. They take up space in our minds and hearts and spirits, and in extreme cases can prevent us from moving forward with our life.
I’m not sure exactly why we “carry” around these things, but I do know that prayer can help us put them down—for a while at least—and eventually forever. The image I like to use is that of an ice cube. When you hold an ice cube in your hand for a few moments and the exterior begins to warms to the touch of your hand, if you put it down and then take it up again a few minutes later, a part of it remains on the surface where you placed it. While it may be only a drop, it is not as big as it was.
And so it is when we bring our cares, woes, hurts, grudges and pain to prayer. If we can leave them with God for a few minutes, while we may take them up again, a part of them stays with God and they are not as big as when we first brought them to prayer. And if we continue to practice bringing those things we “carry” around with us to prayer, we may discover one day that we have left them with God and we no longer carry them with us.
Like the young monk, sometimes we carry things with us that we shouldn’t be carrying and that we need to put down. Prayer is a great place to bring these things. And God is always ready and more than willing to take these burdens away from us.
Starting the first week of August, N 17th Street will permanently become a one-way street directed North from the traffic circle around the corner to Laurel W Ave directed East. You will no longer be able to enter Laurel Ave W from the East.
The Basilica’s safety and facilities teams have been working with the City of Minneapolis and MNDOT for approval to make N 17th Street a one-way street permanently. Restricting the traffic to one direction will improve safety and traffic flow on our campus.
The street has been temporarily directed as one-way for Christmas and Easter for the past several years and provides a great improvement for the people and cars on the road. It is especially beneficial in the winter months when snow and ice limit the road space.
The new signs will be posted in late July and the Minneapolis Police Department will be helping us to implement and monitor the new traffic flow on Sundays.
Please help us improve safety and traffic flow on our campus and adhere to the new one-way direction. Our parishioners who are familiar with the campus will help provide a great example for those visiting The Basilica. Thank you for your cooperation!
For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.
In our Gospel this weekend, we are told that Jesus sent out his disciples “two by two, and gave them authority over unclean spirits.” He also instructed them to take “nothing for the journey, but a walking stick --- no food, no sack, no money in their belts." They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic. He said to them: ‘Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave. Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.’ So they went off and preached repentance.
This Gospel reading is taken from chapter 6 of Mark’s Gospel which is not even the half way point in his Gospel, so why would Jesus send his disciples out at this point in his ministry? I think there are at least two reasons why Jesus would do this. 1) He wanted his disciples to experience what it would be like to preach and heal in his name. This would be there responsibility after he was no longer with them, so what better time to do this then when he was still with them and could encourage them and help them understand what they were to do. 2) I also think, though, that Jesus sent them out at this time and in this manner (taking nothing with them) so they would realize that it was by God’s power and authority and not their own that they were able to do what they did. I say this because along with their mission, Jesus gave them “authority.” And he wanted them to know that it was because of God’s bounty and by virtue of the authority he had given them that they were sent forth to preach and heal in his name.
Our first reading this weekend from the Book of the Prophet Amos, shares the theme of the Gospel. Amos is clear with Amaziah, the high priest of Bethel, that he did not choose to be a prophet. Rather, he was chosen and empowered by God: “The Lord took me from following the flock, and said to me, Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”
In our second reading this weekend, Paul reminds the Ephesians (and us) that we have been chosen by God “to be holy and without blemish before him.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- Every now and again I slip into the bad habit of failing to remember the most basic fact of our existence, and that is that everything I am and have comes as a gracious gift from a loving God. What helps you to remember this?
- Have you ever felt called and empowered by God to do something?
- What helps you to live a holy life?
Tickets still available for the Basilica Block Party.
Friday, July 6 and Saturday, July 7
Band line up and volunteer information at basilicablockparty.org.
Join us for a great weekend of fun and music benefiting the restoration efforts of The Basilica Landmark and St. Vincent de Paul Ministry.
Due to the Basilica Block Party, on Friday, July 6, Mass is celebrate at 7:00am in the chapel. There is no Noon Mass.
On Saturday, the 9:00am Confession is canceled. There will be no 5:00pm Mass celebrated.
Sunday Masses are as regularly scheduled.
For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. ‘
At a conference I attended several years ago one of the speakers began his talk (to a group of peers) by saying: “An expert is someone who comes from at least twenty-five miles away and carries a briefcase. I am not an expert, I am one of you. ” I suspect the speaker began this way both to disarm us and to challenge us to be open to what he had to say. He realized that sometimes it is hard to be taken seriously by a group of peers. Our peers know us. They know our faults and failings. They are familiar with us. We are a recognized commodity.
A situation similar to the above occurred in our Gospel for this weekend. Jesus had returned to his “native place, accompanied by his disciples.” When he began to teach in the synagogue those who heard him were astonished. “They said, ‘Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given to him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands! Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses, and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?”
While the people in this Gospel did know Jesus, they stopped at the point of familiarity. They made the mistake of thinking they knew all there was to know. Because of his wisdom and by the mighty deeds wrought by his hands, though, they should have realized there was more to Jesus. Unfortunately they were too caught up in their own way of thinking and looking at things.
Our first reading this weekend relates the call of Ezekiel to be a prophet. He has been sent to the Israelites, a people who are “hard of face and obstinate of heart.” This reading shares the same theme as the Gospel. It reminds us that sometimes our pre-conceived ideas of the ways and work of God can blind us to new realities.
In our second reading this weekend from the Second Letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul talks about being given a “thorn in the flesh” to keep him from becoming too proud and to remind him that God’s grace was enough for him. This is a lesson I have learned and then had to re-learn several times in my life.
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- Has there been a time when--only in retrospect--you recognized the presence and/or power of God in your life?
- Have you ever been “hard of face” and “obstinate of heart” with God?
- Have there been times when you have discovered that God’s grace is enough for you?
School Supply Drive to benefit Ascension Catholic School
Donations can be dropped off at weekend masses through Sunday, July 1 through August 5. Help fill backpacks at the Basilica Day celebration on Sunday, August 12.
Collection receptacles will be availabale at the rear of the church and east entrance.
- 24 Pack Crayons
- 12 Count Colored Pencils
- Glue Sticks
- Large Erasers
- Washable Markers
- Fiskars School Scissors
- Pencil Boxes
- #2 Pencils
- Spiral Notebooks
- Sturdy Pocket Folders
Pope Francis is indeed a different kind of Pope than we have experienced in a very long time. To begin with, we have never had a Pope who tweets before. Did you know that you can sign up to receive his tweets each day? (@Pontifex) They are simple reminders of what we are supposed to be about as Catholic Christians. It helps to receive these daily reminders.
The cornerstone of Pope Francis’ papacy has been mercy. Each of his messages is cloaked in mercy. His actions have spoken about mercy far and wide. He has welcomed the homeless into the Vatican, embraced people with diseases, and shaken up the complacent hierarchy. He told his bishops that they should be shepherds that smell like sheep. He is certainly calling all of us back to the “Social Gospel.” He is steeped in Catholic Social Teaching and it seems to guide his every step. His spirituality centers on the poor, the marginalized, and the least of the least.
A couple of weeks ago, The Basilica’s Learning department staff attended Pope Francis: A Man of His Word, a powerful new documentary film. It spoke about his papacy as one of mercy and highlighted many of the scenes where Francis embraces all different kinds of people. It also spoke about the reason that he chose the name “Francis.” Pope Francis has a special devotion to St. Francis of Assisi. He identifies with his love of the poor, his compassion for all, and his love of the environment. St. Francis has certainly been instrumental in Pope Francis’ papacy in so many ways.
Recently, Pope Francis, in his most recent apostolic exhortation, Rejoice and Be Glad, wrote about five loves to combat the ills of today’s culture: patience, boldness, joy, community, and prayer. He speaks about having the passion of one who seeks to share the love and joy of believing in Jesus. “Do you let this fire inflame your heart? Unless you let him warm you more and more with his love and tenderness, you will not catch fire.”
Do you ask yourself that question: Have you caught fire yet? If not, what will it take for that to happen within you? We long for that kind of love in our lives…love that has no limits, that is all-embracing, that can change hearts. It seems like that kind of love is not sustainable without a prayer life and a community to support us.
In my lifetime I don’t ever remember having a Pope who speaks so bluntly and courageously about how we need to act as Christians. This message of his has been embraced by so many in our church and in our world. The whole world has been watching Pope Francis.
I believe this has made a difference in many areas of our world. Yet there are still those who fear his message, just as they feared the message that Jesus brought. It can be threatening to those who hold onto their lives with brute strength. It can bring freedom to those who are willing to let go of their lives in order to embrace fully the cross with humility and joy.
For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. http://usccb.org/bible/readings/070118.cfm
This weekend we continue reading from the Gospel of Mark. Our Gospel contains two stories, The first is the story of the resuscitation of a little girl, the daughter of a synagogue official. The second is the story of the cure of a woman with hemorrhages. The focus, though, is really on the first story. Now in looking at this story, it is important to make a distinction between resuscitation, which is a return to this life, and Resurrection, which is a birth to a new and eternal life with God. In this Gospel, Jairus, a synagogue official, approached Jesus, fell at his feet and pleaded with him saying: “My daughter is at the point of death. Please come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.” Now, as background, it is important to note that it would have been unseemly, at best, for an official of the synagogue to approach Jesus and ask him for a favor. Most of the religious leaders of that time vigorously opposed to Jesus. And yet, out of love and concern for his daughter, the official did the unthinkable and came to Jesus pleading for his assistance.
Jesus went with the official but before they could get to the official’s house, people arrived and said: “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?” Jesus, however, ignored them and proceeded to the house. Upon his arrival he was ridiculed when he told the people that “the child is not dead, but asleep.” Disregarding these people, he entered the room where the little girl was and commanded her to arise. The girl arose, and walked about, prompting astonishment from those who were present. The message of this Gospel is clear: Jesus is Lord of both life and death.
Our first reading for this weekend, from the book of Wisdom, shares the theme of the Gospel. We see this in the opening sentence: “God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.” Later in the reading we find these words: “For God formed man to be imperishable, the image of his own nature he made him.” These words remind us that we are made for life ----- life with our God forever.
In our second reading this weekend, from the Second Letter to the Corinthians, Paul talks about “this gracious act” that the Corinthians are about to engage in. What is this gracious act? They are going to take up a collection to help the struggling church in Jerusalem. In encouraging their generosity, Paul reminded them and us that “your abundance at the present time should supply their needs.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- Like Jairus, there are times when I approach God because I have no where else. I suspect it is my pride and independent nature that keeps me from going to God sooner. What keeps you from approaching God?
- Why are so many people afraid of death?
- What “gracious act” are you called to do this week?
Guidance for a faithful life
As we seek to live our life faithfully, how do we maneuver through the landmines of ethical and moral decisions of our day? In a given situation, the decisions we make and the actions we take can be driven by a complex array of experience, hopes and fears. What tools do we use to ensure we are living faithfully?
As Catholic Christians, most people are familiar with the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes. There is another lesser known treasury of principles that speak to our lives today. Sometimes called the best kept secret of our faith, Catholic Social Teaching proposes principles for reflection, provides criteria for judgment and offers guidelines for action.
Catholic Social Teaching is a way of reflecting on the world today. It is not a fixed block of doctrine or ideology, but the result of prayerful reflection on the complex realities of human existence. Animated by the Gospel, it provides core principles that can address the demands of the time.
This article and more in the spring BASILICA Magazine.
Download full article Catholic Social Teaching
by Janice Andersen
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