Archives: September 2019

A few years ago some friends of mine moved their dining room table and chairs into their living room and their living room furniture into their dining room.  Putting the dining room table in the living room allowed them to accommodate a larger crowd for family dinners, especially when their children got married and started having children of their own. Since it has been this way for a few years, I suspect this is a long term arrangement. Now to be honest, this arrangement works quite well. They have a large family room off the kitchen, and with the former dining room being adjacent to the kitchen, people can easily talk and visit while a meal is being prepared, and then eat dinner without being crowded.

Now, I have to admit that at first I was a little tentative in regard to my friends’ shifting their dining room and living room. In the years since they did it, however, I have come to understand the wisdom of their thinking.  The meals I’ve shared at that table are always very enjoyable, with great humor, good food, good companionship, and lots of elbow room. And if we began to feel a little crowded at the table they could just put in another leaf, and there was always room for more. 

In reflecting on my friends’ decision to move their dining room table into the living room, it seems to me that it is a real metaphor for what church is all about: It reminds us that there is always room for more at the table of the Lord.  Church is (or should be) a place where all are welcome—no exceptions, no limitations, no exclusions.  The embrace of our Church can be no less than the embrace of our God’s love. 

Jesus was always very clear about the expanse of God’s love. We are told that he dined with sinners and tax collectors.  Moreover Jesus was even known to invite himself to someone’s house for dinner. And of course, there was also that occasion when a woman known to be a sinner, burst into the middle of dinner and washed Jesus feet with her tears and dried them when her hair. I believe that in sharing a meal with anyone and everyone Jesus was sending the clear message that God’s love is extended to everyone, and that there was always room for more at the table of the Lord.  

As someone who by necessity often eats alone, I really enjoy those occasions when I can share a meal with others. I especially appreciate when the table is filled, and the laughter and love flow freely. For me this is a wonderful image of the table of the Lord— where the table is large enough so that there is always room for more.  

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.  http://usccb.org/bible/readings/100619.cfm 

The theme of faith runs through all three readings this weekend.   

The Gospel this weekend comes in two sections.   In the first section the disciples ask Jesus to “Increase our Faith.”  Jesus replied:  “If you have faith the size of a mustard see, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”   In the second section of the Gospel Jesus, used the imagery of a servant and master, to remind us that:  “When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants;  we have done what we were obligated to do.’”   Both of these sections deserve comment.   

For those who have never seen a mustard seed, it is indeed a very small seed.   Several years ago at another parish we gave out mustard seeds at the beginning of summer and invited parishioners to plant them and bring them back at the end of summer to see how big they had grown.   The seeds were so small that volunteers who taped them to 3 X 5 index cards complained that they nearly went blind doing so.   Yet, Jesus is clear that if we had faith the size of a small mustard seed, great things could happen.   

Jesus is also clear that God is not obligated to do things for us, or to give us heaven.  Out of love for us, God has established us in this world and given us charge over it.   Our task, our obligation is to respond in love to God and do what God has commanded.  If we do this, then God will respond to us in love, not out of obligation.   Being a faithful disciple does not obligate God to do things for us.   God does all that God does out of love for us.   

Our first reading this weekend is taken from the Book of the Prophet Habakkuk.  In it the prophet laments God’s silence in the face of violence, ruin, misery, strife and discord.  God responded clearly and forthrightly.  “For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint, if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late.”   This reminds us that God is working even when we are not aware of it.   We are called to wait patiently and in trust.  This is part of what faith is all about. 

Our second reading this weekend is taken from the second Letter of St. Paul to Timothy.   In it Paul reminds Timothy (and us) that we are called to persevere in faith in the face of adversity “with the strength that comes from God.”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. What does having faith mean to you?
  2. How do you persevere in faith in the face of adversity or hardship? 
  3. What would you say to someone who feels God is silent in the face of their prayer?      

Summer in Minnesota is fleeting at best, which is why like most Minnesotans, my husband, daughter, and I, try to take advantage of the warm weather for as long as we have it. The routine we have established the rest of the year, including weekly Mass, is sometimes missed to enjoy as much of summer as we can before the snow flies again. 

My grandmother use to say that going to Mass on Sunday was like hitting the reset button. With thirteen children at home, a farm to tend to, and my grandfather driving a semi truck cross country, I am sure there were plenty of times when a reset button couldn’t come quickly enough. 

As with many things my grandmother told me over the years, I found this statement to ring true especially recently as summer comes to a close and I find myself craving the routine of weekly Mass. 
Probably even more than the routine I miss The Basilica community. A community that reminds me that although we are all on own unique faith journeys, at The Basilica our community is here to share welcome and encouragement, the sign of peace, and ultimately a shared hope for a vibrant faith community and a future full of hope. 

For the better part of the last decade, The Basilica community has provided this gentle reminder to me often, and time and time again it has helped me hit the helped me hit the reset button.

I have seen our community come together to celebrate joyous moments of baptisms and weddings and difficult movements of loss and grief. I am reminded of daily when a volunteer simply listens to someone who come to our door and need someone to talk to. I am reminded of it often by my fellow staff members who tirelessly provide comfort for those experiencing loss and sadness. I have seen volunteers spend hours counseling individuals in our employment ministry for weeks and months until they have found jobs. 

The Basilica’s valuable work in our community is possible thanks to parishioners of every age who have pitched in. These moments along with essentials like heat, lights, ministries and music and so many more are not possible without each and every Basilica Fund gift we receive. Because when our community comes together so much is possible! 

I hope you will consider a 2020 recurring gift to The Basilica Fund today. You can make your gift online, fill out a recurring gift form and mail it in, or bring it to Mass the weekend of October 12 and 13. You may also contact Stephanie Bielmas for answers to any questions you may have about supporting The Basilica.

Funeral arrangements for the Most Reverend Harry Joseph Flynn, retired archbishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, are as follows.

Sunday, September 29: Saint Mary’s Chapel, Saint Paul Seminary, Saint Paul

5:30 p.m. Reception of the Body

7 p.m. Evening Prayer (please note updated time)

7:30 p.m. – 7 a.m. (Monday) Public Visitation / Vigil for the Deceased

 

Monday, September 30: Saint Mary’s Chapel, Saint Paul Seminary, Saint Paul

7 a.m. Morning Prayer

7:30 a.m. Transfer of the body to Cathedral of Saint Paul

 

Monday, September 30: Cathedral of Saint Paul, Saint Paul

8 – 11 a.m. Public Visitation

11 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial

Following Mass: Immediate transfer of the body to Resurrection Cemetery, Mendota Heights

Rite of Committal and Burial at cemetery

 

Flynn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.
http://usccb.org/bible/readings/092919.cfm  

This Sunday we celebrate the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time.    Our Gospel this Sunday is the familiar Story of the beggar Lazarus and the rich man.    The rich man “dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day.   And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table.”    Both Lazarus and the rich man died.   Lazarus found comfort in the “bosom of Abraham” while the rich man went to the “netherworld where he was in torment.”     The rich man appealed to Abraham to have pity on him:  “Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.”   Abraham reminded the rich man that “a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.”   

There are two very important lessons in this Gospel.   1.  Notice that the rich man didn’t refuse to help Lazarus.  (They have no interaction with each other in this Gospel.)   It is simply that he didn’t notice Lazarus in need.    This reminds us that we are called to notice and respond to the needs of those around us.    2.  The Gospel makes clear that the choices we make here on earth have eternal consequences.  We don’t get a “do over” at the end of our life.   

The first reading this Sunday is from the Book of the Prophet Amos.  It shares the theme of the Gospel.    It begins:  “Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts:  Woe to the complacent in Zion.”    This reminds us that compliancy in the face of need is as bad as refusing to help.  

In our second this Sunday we continue to read from the first Letter of Saint Paul to Timothy.   In it Paul exhorts Timothy to “pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  Compete well for the faith.”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
1.  When have you have been complacent in the face of need?
2.  Has there been a time when you noticed a “need” that you initially missed.  How did you respond?
3.  I have never thought of being called to “compete well for the faith.”   Yet, I like that idea.  It reminds me that faith should not always be easy or without difficulty.   How are you called to “compete well for the faith?’’ 

Pope Francis issued a Message for the 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which will be observed Sunday, September 29, 2019. Archbishop Hebda invites you to join him Sunday, September 29 at the annual Mass of Solidarity at 4:30 p.m. in the Basilica of St. Mary, Minneapolis.

The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis is home to more than 800,000 Catholics celebrating Mass regularly in 11 different languages. All are invited to share the richness of their culture by wearing the clothes of their native culture or ethnicity. 

Mass of Solidarity
Sunday, September 29
3:45pm Cultural Celebration
4:30pm Mass
 

 

El Papa Francisco emitió un Mensaje para la 105a Jornada Mundial de los Migrantes y Refugiados, que se celebrará el domingo 29 de septiembre de 2019. El Arzobispo Hebda lo invita a usted y a su comunidad a  unirse a él el domingo 29 de septiembre en la Misa Anual por la Solidaridad a las 4:30 p.m. en la Basílica de Santa María, Minneapolis.

La Arquidiócesis de Saint Paul y Minneapolis es el hogar de más de 800,000 católicos que celebran la misa regularmente en 11 diferentes idiomas. Todos están invitados a compartir la riqueza de su cultura
vistiendo prendas / vestimenta típicas de su cultura o etnia.

Misa de Solidaridad
Domingo 29 de septiembre, 2019
3:45pm Inicia la Celebración Cultural
4:30pm Misa
 

https://www.archspm.org/misa-de-solidaridad-mass-of-solidarity/

 

 

The fall is my favorite time of year. It’s not just the change in the weather, the back to school excitement, or even the start of football. It’s the feeling that things are going to get accomplished. 

I wanted to share with you the following from Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium. (I:2-3)

A joy new, a joy which is shared

2. The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too. Many fall prey to it, and end up resentful, angry and listless. That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ.

3. I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord.” The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms.

I appreciate the message the Holy Father is communicating. The document goes on to say much more. I can get caught up in my own interest to the point where I’m less than benevolent. This is the way I try to remind my self that the professional athletes train daily. If I want to be a better Christian, I need to train every day. During these workouts I know I’m going to want to quit or look away from the harsh glare of reality—due to lack of courage or just ignorance—because of not wanting to look deeper. 

I have hope that I can do better. I’m going to look at it as a new session. I ask you to call me out on any action you see me do that isn’t following the simple request to open myself to encounter Jesus Christ. 

I would like to invite anyone reading this message to make a commitment to The Basilica. We all have gifts. Please share your gifts. If you need a personal invitation from a member of the Parish Council, call me. I just ask you to leave a message at my cell 612.834.4041. I will call you back. Special thanks those of you to that follow Matthew 6:1. 

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”

You folks are amazing. God Bless! 

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. http://usccb.org/bible/readings/092219.cfm 

This Sunday we celebrate the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time.   In our Gospel this weekend Jesus tells the parable of the steward who was reported to his master “for squandering his property.”   The master’s decision to dismiss the steward for his mismanagement would not have been surprising to the original hearers of parable.  Being a steward was an important and prestigious position.  An individual who failed to properly discharge the duties of this position deserved to be fired.   The steward’s response to his impending termination was very interesting.   He knew he was in a tough position, so he “called in his master’s debtors one by one,” and reduced the amount they each owed his master."   The parable ends with the enigmatic statement:  “And the master commended the dishonest steward for acting prudently.”    

What are we to make of this parable?   Was Jesus praising or endorsing the steward’s acts?  I don’t think so.  Rather, Jesus was commending the steward’s ingenuity, his resourcefulness in responding to a very difficult situation.   The steward acted decisively and cleverly to assure a future for himself.   The point of the parable, then, is that if the steward, who couldn’t have been all the smart to begin with (after all he squandered his master’s property) could act decisively and resolutely to ensure his earthly future, shouldn’t we as followers of Jesus act just as decisively and just as resolutely to ensure our eternal future.   

The first reading this Sunday  is from the Book of the Prophet Amos.    In this reading the Lord ominously promises never to forget those “who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land!” 


The second reading this Sunday is taken from the first Letter of St. Paul to Timothy.   In this reading Paul reminds Timothy (and us) that prayer is to be an integral part of our lives: “in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hand, without anger or argument.”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. While I understand that the parable for this weekend is encouraging us to be decisive and resolute in ensuring our eternal future, I’m not sure how to do this on a day to day basis.   How do you see this played out in your life?  
  2. I am a bit unnerved at the message of the first reading that God will not forget those who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land.   This doesn’t seem to square with our belief that God is love.   How do you reconcile these two ideas? 
  3. Do you believe you have an obligation to pray for others --- even people you don’t know, or worse that you don’t like?  

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. 
http://usccb.org/bible/readings/091519.cfm  

This Sunday celebrate the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time.   Our Gospel this Sunday is taken from the 15th chapter of Luke’s Gospel.   This chapter is often referred to as the “lost and found” chapter of Luke’s Gospel.   The reason is that it contains three familiar parables about things that are lost, but eventually found.   

It is important to remember that the key to understanding parables is to understand that they are not meant to be taken literally.  Rather, they were simple stories that Jesus used to tell us something about God or something about our relationship with God.  We use stories all the time to help us understand one another.   We say that someone has a heart of gold, or that they would give you the shirt off their back.   We don’t mean these things literally.  Instead they give us a sense of the kind of person someone is.   In a similar way Jesus used parables to help us understand God and/or our relationship with God.   

Our parables this Sunday tell us how much God loves us.   If we stray or get lost, God doesn’t wait for us to find our way back to God; rather God actively searches for us.   God seeks us until God finds us, and when God finds us God rejoices that we are once again reunited with God.  

Our first reading this Sunday shares the theme of the Gospel.  It is taken from a section of the Book of Exodus in which the people have turned away from God.   God tells Moses: “Let me alone, then, that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them.”   Moses, though, reminded the Lord of all that the Lord had done for love of his people.   “Why, O lord, should your wrath blaze up against your own people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with such great power and with so strong a hand.”   And because of Moses’ words, God relented.    

Our second this Sunday shares the theme of the Gospel and first reading.  It is taken from the first Letter of Saint Paul to Timothy.   In it Paul acknowledges his sinfulness but then proclaims:  “This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance:  Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

1.  To better understand this weekend’s Gospel I’d suggest a simple exercise.   Remember a time when you were lost.  It could be as a child or an adolescent, or even as an adult.   Remember how you felt, and then read these parables from that perspective.   Did it make a difference in your understanding of these parables?   
2.  Have you ever found something that had been lost for a period of time?   How did you feel?
3.  Paul says:  “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.  Of these I am the foremost.”   This suggests to me that in order to be saved we need to acknowledge that we are sinners.    While it is easy for me to acknowledge that I have sinned, it is hard to think of myself as a sinner.  Is that true for you?  

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. 
http://usccb.org/bible/readings/090819.cfm    

This weekend we celebrate the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time.    Our Gospel this weekend addresses the issue of the “cost of discipleship.”   At the beginning of this Gospel Jesus tells his disciples that: “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”    After telling two brief parables, the first about knowing the cost of building a tower before undertaking this endeavor, and the second about gauging the likelihood of victory before going into battle, Jesus concludes by saying:  “In the same way, anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciples.”   

What are we to make of these words of Jesus?   Clearly very few of us “hate” our friends and families and/or have renounced all our possessions, and yet we still identify ourselves as followers of Jesus.   Is this a case of selective hearing on our part?    Do we get to choose which words of Jesus to follow and which to ignore?   In response we need to understand that Jesus was speaking with hyperbole to make a point.   We can’t call ourselves his disciples and then live however we want.   Jesus wants us to commit ourselves completely to him.  Nothing is more important than our relationship with him.  We need to let go of anything and everything in our lives that diverts us from that commitment.   

Our first reading this weekend is from the Book of Wisdom.   It reminds us that God’s ways and thoughts are beyond our comprehension.   “Who can know God’s counsel, or who can conceive what the Lord intends?”  

Our second reading this weekend is from the Letter of Saint Paul to Philemon.  This is Paul’s shortest letter.  It was written to an individual, Philemon, who was a Christian, and whose slave, Onesimus, had run away.   Onesimus had been converted to Christianity by Paul, and now Paul was sending him back to Philemon with the plea.  “So if you regard me as a partner, welcome him as you would me.”   This request placed Philemon in a difficult position.  If he didn’t punish Onesimus he could be regarded as “soft” by his peers and by his other slaves.  On the other hand, after Paul’s request, if he punished Onesimus, he could be regarded as not a true Christian.    This brief letter reminds us once again that there is a “cost” to discipleship.

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

1.  Many people either ignore or dismiss the words of Jesus in our Gospel today.    Why is this? 
2.  What do you think Christ is asking you to give up to be his disciple? 
3.  Have you ever been in Philemon’s position, where you have had to make a public decision about how to live out your discipleship?