Archives: August 2014

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.

 
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/081714.cfm

Our Gospel this weekend presents us with what --- at least initially --- looks like an unflattering picture of Jesus.   We are told that a Canaanite woman came to Jesus and called out:  “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.”   We are told that Jesus “did not say a word in answer to her.”    Jesus’ disciples want him to send her away.  Jesus response to them was: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”   But the woman “came and did Jesus homage, saying Lord, help me.”  Jesus tried to brush her off with the rather abrupt response that: “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”   In reply the woman said: “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.”   Jesus responded to her by telling her:  “O woman, great is your faith!  Let it be done for you as you wish.”     

What are we to make of this strange conversation?   First, it must be noted that historically Jews had little to do with Canaanites.   Jesus’ response, then, would have been in line with the spirit of the times.  Second, while eventually Jesus commissioned and sent his disciples to preach the Gospel to all nations, initially he wanted their mission to begin with the Jews.  Thirdly, though, and perhaps most importantly, Jesus as he does elsewhere in the Gospels, responded to the woman’s obvious faith.   It is the woman’s faith that is the most important element in this Gospel. 

Our first reading this weekend is taken from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah.   It shares the theme of the Gospel.  In it Isaiah prophesizes:  “The foreigners who join themselves to the Lord ………. All who keep the Sabbath free from profanation and hold to my covenant, them I will bring to my holy mountain and make joyful in my house of prayer………. for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”    

For our second reading this weekend, we continue to read from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans.  In this section, Paul, while identifying himself as the “apostle to the Gentiles,” also preaches to his fellow Jews and reminds them that “the gifts and call of God are irrevocable.” 

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:    
1.    When you have prayed about something, have you ever felt that initially your prayer was rebuffed?    
2.    Has your faith ever drawn you to deeper prayer? 
3.    If God wants God’s house to be a house of prayer for all peoples, why do some want to limit access?    

Our guest soloist at 9:30am Mass on Sunday, August 10th is oboeist Mark Seerup.  Mark has performed, recorded and toured for 25 with the Minnesot Orchestra and has also play with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and other Twin Cities groups.  

Trio Filpino are the featured guest musicians at the 4:30pm Mass on August 10th. Members include Dr. Jose D. Uriarte, Isabella Dawis and Francesa Dawis.  Dr. Uriarte has performed around the world in Canada, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China and the Philippines.  Presently, he teaches at MacPhail Center for Music.  

Isabella Dawis returns from summer studies at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco and SongFest in Los Angeles.  She has stage credits with the Minnesota Opera, Children's Theatre Compnay, Chanhassen and the Guthrie.  Francesca Dawis just completed her freshman year at Stanford University.  She recently placed 1st in three divisions (Aria, Art Song and Musical Theater) at the NATS vocal competition in the San Francisco BAy area.  Francesca has perform locally at the Guthrie, Children's Theatre Company and the Ordway. 

For many years I lived with what a friend of mine liked to call: “an attitude of scarcity.” I was always worried that there was never going to be enough — especially enough money. I suspect I developed this attitude during my college years when I was worried about paying tuition and other bills.  After ordination I continued to worry about money. And because I worried there would not be enough, there often wasn’t enough. The fact of the matter is, however, that no matter how much money I had, it wouldn’t have been enough. Enough was always more than I had at any given moment.   

My “attitude of scarcity” continued for several years. Surprising enough, however, it began to change one day when I was the victim of a burglary. For several years, at the end of each day I would put my spare change in a large decorative wooden box someone had given me. Every now and again, I would count the money and was pleased and excited when at one point it totaled over five hundred dollars. Then one night when I was away on my day off, someone broke in to the rectory and stole my box of money — along with several other items.   

The police were called and a report filed with the insurance company. I was informed, though, that because there was no way of verifying the amount of money that was stolen, there was nothing they could do about it. Initially, I was frustrated and angry. I worried that because I lost my stash of cash, I would certainly encounter some problem or difficulty and I wouldn’t have enough money to deal with it.  I waited and worried — but nothing happened. I survived the loss without incident. I didn’t have to cut back on my expenses or make other sacrifices. And actually my life went on quite nicely. 

When I talked about this incident with my spiritual director he suggested that perhaps I had turned a corner, and instead of having an “attitude of scarcity,” I was beginning to develop an “attitude of abundance.” An attitude of abundance tells us that because God loves us, there will always be enough, that we don’t have to worry. An attitude of abundance is not suggesting a simplistic: “don’t worry, be happy” philosophy. Rather, it is an attitude that reminds us that worry is a waste of imagination. What will happen, will happen. Yet in anything and everything that happens, God is with us. Jesus was clear about this. “Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are not you more important than they.  Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life span.”  Matthew 6:26  

An attitude of scarcity seems to reoccur with irritating regularity in my life, especially when I find myself worrying about something. At those times I need to remember that as God has been with me and cared for me in the past, so God is with me now and will be in the future. This doesn’t mean that I won’t encounter difficult or unpleasant situations. And it doesn’t mean that I will always have everything I want. I have learned, though, that in God’s love we are held firm and secure, and with God’s love there is always enough. 

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.  


http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/081014.cfm

Our Gospel this weekend follows immediately after last Sunday’s Gospel, which contained the story of feeding of the five thousand.  We are told that Jesus “made his disciples get into a boat and precede him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds.  After doing so, he went up the mountain by himself to pray.”   Often in the scriptures we are told that Jesus went off by himself to pray.  This is a good model for us.  In this instance, though, while Jesus was praying and the disciples were in the boat, a storm came up and the boat was being tossed about by the waves.   We are told that Jesus “came toward them walking on the sea.  When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified.”   Peter then said:  “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”   Jesus told him to come, but when Peter “saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”  Jesus then stretched out his hand and caught Peter.  “After they got into the boat, the wind died down.  Those who were in the boat did him homage saying, ‘Truly, you are the Son of God.’”   

There is much that could be said about this Gospel.  Perhaps its most important lesson, though, is that it reminds us that in the storms of our lives Jesus is always with us, and when we cry out to him in our need, he will respond to us.  

Our first reading this weekend is taken from the first Book of Kings.   It is the wonderful story of Elijah fleeing to Mount Horeb.  He is tired and ready to abandon his role of prophet.  God calls him to “stand on the mountain before the Lord, the Lord will be passing by.”  God, though, was not present in the wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire. Rather God made God’s presence known in a “tiny whispering sound.”  This reminds us that we can experience God’s presence now only in great and powerful events, but also in small, unexpected ways.  

For our second reading this weekend, we continue to read from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans.  In the section we read this Sunday, Paul expresses his sadness that so many Israelites are unwilling to embrace faith in Jesus Christ.  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
1.  In the storms of your life, have you ever called out to God for help?
2.  How did God response to your call?
3.  It is easy to see God’s hand at work in great and powerful events (Acts of God).  When have you felt God’s presence and grace in quiet and subtle ways? 

On Sunday, August 3rd, there will  be two visiting soloists at Basilica of Saint Mary Sunday liturgies.

At the 9:30am Sunday Mass, Lynn Erickson will play the trumpet.  Ms. Erickson has been second trumpet of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.  She maintains a full schedule of performances, and is a frequent soloist at the Basilica.  Ms. Erickson also serves on the adjunct faculty at both Augsburg and Macalester Colleges. 

At the 4:30pm Sunday Mass, Gigi Yau will sing sacred Chinese music .  Gigi became Christian at age 12 and that's when her music journey began.  She attended a Christian school in Hong Kong and had opportunties for music education.  She sings in church settings, performs classical music and has sung with the Minnesota Chorale.  

 

 

 

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