August 21, 2016 – TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Is 66:18-21; Ps 117:1, 2; Heb 12:5-7, 11-13; Lk 13:22-30
September 10-11 -- dates to remember! People of God, in three weeks we will be ready for our annual Church Festival as well as the Come, See, Pray at the Prayer Garden celebration. There are three ways you can help to make our Festival a success this year. First, participate in the 5K run/walk. Registration forms are available in back of church or on our website. Second, contribute to the silent auction and bid for the items on display at the silent auction; Third, purchase and enjoy the food of your choice that will be sold in various booths during the Fall Festival weekend. We will have our Pancake breakfast on Sunday from 8 am to noon. A special event for this year will be our Prayer Garden ceremony that will take place on Sunday, September 11 at 11 am. The whole ceremony should last about 30 minutes. I hope to see you at the ceremony and the festival! Look for signups to volunteer your time and items that we would appreciate donations of.
May Don Schnoor, Jr. rest in peace! Last week I had the privilege to preside at the funeral service for Don. He was blind all his life but lived life to the fullest. My younger brother has served blind children for almost 15 years and it has helped me appreciate our brothers and sisters who are legally blind. Even though they are not able to see, God does give them some other special gifts that help them to live life to the fullest, or, as people would say, to have a ‘good quality life.' To be honest, blind people's intuition, their ability read people, sometimes is much higher than those of us who have sight. During Don's 63 years of life, God blessed him with other gifts like playing the piano and having appreciation that his family included him in every family gathering. The family gave lots of credit to Don on how he made them grow in skills (coping and dealing with someone who is blind); he helped them grow to be better human beings. Even though he lived in an assisted living facility, My Brother's Keeper in Shakopee, the family did not forget about him. Rather, they found every opportunity to spend time with him, especially on holidays or birthdays. Don lived joyfully and celebrated every moment of his life because his family included him. Brothers and sisters, every funeral is about both the living and the deceased. A funeral is about the deceased because it is his/her life we celebrate; the funeral is also about the living because of how well the extended family and others contributed to the well-being of the deceased person. Don's family made conscious decision to fill Don's heart with love. As the 'Amazing Grace' song ends, 'I was blind but now I see...' Don, who was blind, is now able to see God face to face, able to see his family and friends with new eyes now with the eye glass of eternal life. May the Good Lord help him to see how many lives he touched. May he rest in peace!
Reflections from Last Sunday! We reflected on two important points: how Jesus is everything and how He can talk to different people differently. He can talk to each of us differently depending on the situation we are in. Jesus is the Doctor, homemaker, counselor, cook, teacher, friend, listener, entertainer, pharmacist, fishermen, consoler, farmer, boss and servant at the same time. The point is that Jesus, our God, is God for all, God for all situations and there is nothing He is not capable of understanding regardless of where we are at in our lives. Often, when we read the Gospels, we see Jesus talking to us very soft and kind; we also see Jesus speaking sternly. Whenever Jesus is very blunt in His language, His intent is not to put us down, but rather to capture our attention; He wants us to really hear, discuss and grow spiritually. We need a teacher who is creative, engaging and keeps the students focused during the class. As an example, the following words of Jesus are not to cause division and confusion but to capture our attention, to wake up our sleeping souls (Luke 12), "Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” Further, Jesus is also reminding us that we are responsible for not only what we say but also how people hear. It does not mean we will make everyone happy and they will be pleased when we speak. People of God, let us pray for these two gifts as we learned from last week's Gospel. Just as Jesus keeps us engaged and interested through His words, let us keep our lives interesting to all around us. Also, let us be responsible and thoughtful before we say something. People can interpret in a million ways what we say. People can even choose to be hurt because, sadly, they want to be hurt, however, to the best of your conscience, pray before you speak and be thoughtful of what you say.
Happy Feast of St. Rose of Lima (1586-1617)! Every year on August 23rd we celebrate the Feast of St. Rose of Lima who had the privilege of being called the First Canonized Saint of the New World. She was a woman of great sanctity and we are called to have the same deep love she had for Jesus (even though we do not have to copycat or literally imitate everything she did). It was said that people often complimented her on her beauty and she found that to be a distraction from growing holy. As a result, she would rub her face with pepper so that she would no longer appear beautiful, so that there would be blotches all over her face. Certainly, neither the Bible nor Church recommends one does such extreme things. The message we can get out of her life is that nothing can come between us and our love for God, not even the beauty of our bodies that we love and admire so much. To conclude, please do not disfigure your face or body, but rather imitate her example of caring for the poor and homeless, having the determination to love God whole-heartedly. In the life of St. Rose of Lima, she found her physical beauty an obstacle in getting close to Jesus Christ. What is it in your life that distracts you or keeps you at a distance from Jesus Christ?
Faith Formation for 2016-17! Classes will begin on September 18 (Sunday program in Spanish) and September 21 (Wednesday night program in English.) Please call the parish office with any questions. Registration forms are available on our website or at the office. Please register today so that we can have enough materials ready for the classes!
Sunday Reflection! Dear brothers and sisters, the Gospel for this Sunday is from Luke 13 in which Jesus says, 'Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from. And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’ Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!’ And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out. And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God. For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.' Brothers and sisters, imagine you are going to the movie theater and the doors are locked because it is too late and nobody will let you in. Imagine you go the Viking game and they will not let you go into the stadium because you do not have your ticket with you. Brother and sisters, when it comes to obtaining membership to be in heaven with God, it does not come to us automatically--we need our ID, we need our passport. Have you earned your ID card, your passport, to be with God in heaven one day? Can you tell others what your ID card or passport may look like?
In Christ Jesus,
Fr. Thomas Joseph
Fr. Ortega is leading a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in LaCrosse, WI on Saturday, September 3. The bus will leave GA at 7:45 am and return at 7:45 pm. Josh Diaz, the NEW Music Coordinator, will be along to provide music for the Mass at the Shrine. The cost is $30 per person and includes lunch and bus transportation. Submit payment to GA with your name and phone number if you are interested in attending.
Catholic Grandparent Conference – The Gift of Being Grand! Saturday, August 27, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Anticipatory Mass at 4 p.m.) Mary, Mother of the Church in Burnsville. Learn about God’s plan for Grandparents and be equipped to pass on a Heritage of Faith. The conference will include presentations with Bishop Andrew Cozzens, Jeff Cavins, Judy Cozzens, Katherine Kersten…and so much more. Cost: $25 per person/$45 per couple before August 1; $30 per person/$55 per couple after August 1. Register online or send in a registration form. Find all details at www.CatholicGrandparenting.org. Questions? Contact Susanna Bolle at email@example.com or 651-291-4411.
Marystown Festival is Sunday, August 21 from 11 am – 8 pm. Be sure to check out the fun for the whole family! Located just four miles south of 169 on Marystown Road (County Road 15) in Shakopee.