September 25, 2016 – TWENTY-SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Am 6:1a, 4-7; Ps 146:7, 8-9, 9-10; 1 Tm 6:11-16; Lk 16:19-31
May springtime of Faith Formation come to Fruition! Faith Formation is an integral part of our St. Nicholas Church. It is our prayer that our efforts in Faith Formation may come to fruition in the springtime. We started on a good note this past week as families came back to register and the first classes have been completed. We will be on our knees throughout the 2016-17 Faith Formation year waiting for springtime to see its completion next year. Our children deserve to have a great future, so may we always remind them that the greater and more successful they become in life, they should also become humbler like St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta. May they always keep the words of St. Paul in front of them (Philippians 2: 3): “Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vain glory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves.”
Love for Mary! Pope Francis writes, 'No one has penetrated the profound mystery of the Incarnation like Mary. Her entire life was patterned after the presence of mercy made flesh. The Mother of the Crucified and Risen one has entered the Sanctuary of divine mercy because she participated intimately in the mystery of His love.' Mary is not just a special person, but a very important person as she is part of the intimate circle of God. She gave birth to Jesus (God). God decided that Mary will eternally be part of the inner circle of God, powerfully, even forcefully, advocating and interceding for our needs. We can pray with confidence to Mary knowing that we will hear from God as she is part of the Sanctuary of Mercy; she has special access to God. How close are you to Mary? When was the last time you pleaded with Mary to check with Her Son, Jesus, on the answer you are waiting to hear?
How close are you to St. Joseph? I have made a spiritual determination to grow in love to be closer to St. Joseph. During my trip, I was reading the book, St. Joseph: Help for Life’s Emergencies: Stories and Prayers. It is a very powerful book. It contains many true stories of favors people received through the intercession/intervention of St. Joseph. Remember, just as Mary is close to the inner circle of God (because she is the Mother of Jesus), so too, St. Joseph is part of the inner circle of God. Why is St. Joseph part of the intimate circle of God? As head of the Holy Family, Mary and Jesus are eternally grateful to Joseph for taking care of them, especially for protecting them from danger when King Herod was seeking to kill the infant Jesus. People who are searching for a spouse can pray to St. Joseph. After all, his love for Mary was tested when he learned of her pregnancy before they lived together. Joseph handled this crisis and others gracefully. There are many stories of St. Joseph helping people sell their homes, whether burying the statue upside down or leaving it in the window sill. There are also many miracle stories of Joseph saving people from house fires, helping builders to complete a project when economic hardships made it difficult and the famous story from the Sisters in New Mexico where the mysterious stair case was built by an old man (St. Joseph) who disappeared never to be found again. Brothers and sisters, there are many, many miracle stories attributed to St. Joseph. Do you want to be close to Joseph? Would you pray with faith to St. Joseph the next time you sell/buy a home, seek a spouse, or pray for your family's safety?
Small World! Recently while on the airplane from Chicago to Frankfurt, I was conversing with a woman from Nigeria. She saw some of the books I was reading which led her to perceive I was some form of a “Catholic guy”. Eventually I told her that I am a Catholic priest. Her joyful reaction was ‘what a small world!’ She was returning from Kansas after visiting with her brother who is a priest. As I exited the plane and boarded the shuttle bus for the next terminal, I noticed a group of Sisters of St. Francis, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They were not wearing traditional habits like the typical American nun, but they sure stood out as nuns with the small Cross on their chest. My encounters with these women made me ponder a little bit about religious identity. Wearing a habit or dressing like a Priest is important, but it is not everything. The internal is more important than the external. People should be attracted to us not for our religious attire but for how we present ourselves and the kind of witness that shines forth. We all have one thing in common and that is that we are Disciples of Jesus Christ. Do you share the light of Jesus Christ everywhere you go?
Prayer Garden benefits continue! Thank you for all of your support of the Prayer Garden. Even though we celebrated our accomplishments to date, it is not a done deal; our work is just beginning. We will continue to care for our Prayer Garden. People will continue to visit. You can continue to support it financially by purchasing a brick or by simply making a donation to Friends of St. Nicholas. Perhaps you have time to volunteer in various ways- please call the parish office and let us know how and when you can help. If you want to be a part of the ongoing well-being of the Prayer Garden, we have opportunities for you to get involved.
Little Giants! The main reason for my recent trip to India was to see my twin nieces. They are now 15 months old. They have the power to draw busy people (or those who think they are busy like me) towards them. They are little, but they are giants; these tiny creatures can melt hearts that not even long homilies or a long persuasion could do. No wonder St. Paul says, "It is when I am weak, that I am strong." The spiritual message is that these weak, vulnerable nieces, as little as they may be, are giants. They indeed have the power to make me travel from Carver to the other side of the world.
Happy Feast of St. Therese of Child Jesus! Every year on the 1st of October we celebrate the Feast of St. Therese of Child Jesus. We have just celebrated the canonization of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta and St. Therese of Child Jesus of France was her hero. This humble Carmelite nun died at the age of 24. As the beautiful, young woman she was, she gave her life completely to Jesus. I encourage you to read her writings titled, ‘Story of a Soul’ which she did at the request of her spiritual director and superiors. She was known for her ‘little way.’ According to her, it is doing small things with great love that makes us all Saints. St. Mother Teresa was very much impressed with St. Therese’s ‘little way,’ as she would say, 'Lord Jesus help me to do small things with great love.' Those of you who know Darlene McDonald, a devout parishioner of St. Nicholas, may know she has a direct, blood relationship to this beloved French Saint. It is worth chatting with her so you may call the church office and we can connect you with Darlene if you would like.
Sunday reflection! Dear brothers and sisters, the Gospel for this Sunday is from Luke 16 in which Jesus said to the Pharisees, there was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day. Lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly eat anything that fell from the rich man's table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and he was in torment. He raised his eyes, saw Abraham and cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me. 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 how he enjoyed his life while how much Lazarus suffered of hunger. Abraham also reminded him there was a huge chasm between him and the rich man. The rich man said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.' Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’ He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’ Brothers and sisters, God is not against being rich...God wants us to do something with our riches!! Do you know, God is not anti-rich but pro-poor?
In Christ Jesus,
Fr. Thomas Joseph
A FREE GARAGE SALE in partnership with St. Luke will be held here on Sunday, October 9th at 1 pm. Items needed: clean, gently-worn clothing* (no stains), furniture, toys, tools, fishing gear, golf balls, fabric, books in English, kids’ books, & CDs and music. We will also need paper or plastic bags for people to use for what they take home. We do NOT want: baby equipment, computers, TVs. We will need 6-8 volunteers to set up and help the event. Contact the parish office to sign up.
Travel to Kenya, East Africa in 2017 - Remember our wonderful Kenya visitors, Fr. David and Cosmas, last year? YOU are invited to apply to participate in a delegation traveling to Kitui, Kenya, May 30- June 15, 2017. Applications due December 1. Contact the parish office or Mike Haasl at the archdiocesan Center for Mission at 651-291-4504 for details.