October 16, 2016 – TWENTY-NINTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Ex 17:8-13; Ps 121:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8; 2 Tm 3:14-4:2; Lk 18:1-8
Congratulations St. Nicholas! We can be humbly proud that we, along with a few other businesses and organizations, have been acknowledged by PAM (Preservation Alliance of Minnesota). The Honor Award we received on October 6 acknowledges that we not only renovated our beautiful church, but renovated it according to best practices, making every effort to ensure the historical integrity of the original structure and that the style was not changed during renovation but preserved as envisioned by the founding fathers of St. Nicholas. We extend our gratitude to John Von Walter from the Carver Heritage Preservation Commission who submitted the application on our behalf with some assistance from Jodee. We thank Patrick Sieben from Solid Restoration & Masonry, Inc. who attended the awards ceremony with us. We also thank the City of Carver, Becklin & Whitney, Met-Con Companies, T J Exteriors, H & J Electric, and Cedar Lake Electric, Inc. for their involvement over the years. Let our St. Nicholas Church, God's City set on a Hill, with this new recognition by PAM and the St. Nicholas Prayer Garden continue to save souls and welcome all who come here.
Faith Formation update! We have about 25 children in our Wednesday night program and another 25 in our Sunday program so far. As the classes are just beginning, we continue to have more children join us every week. Forming our children in the faith is our goal here at St. Nicholas. As a Priest, I have seen all kinds of churches and places where the People of God sincerely try their best to sow the seeds of a 'Tree with Fruits.' At St. Nicholas, with our committed Catechists, I am super confident that our children are taught the ways of God and are in good hands. As Archbishop Flynn would say, 'If I have a thousand lives, I would live each of those lives as a Priest.' I, as your Priest, feel the same. May the Good Lord bless our students.
Patti McAndrews! Those of you at the 4 pm Mass last Saturday may remember I introduced Patti McAndrews and Larry Meuwissen. Patti is a wonderful soul whose life's journey took her all the way to Washington State where she lives with faith, integrity and joy. Her story is truly amazing and worth sharing. Her passion to know her roots brought her to Carver. She was very appreciative that Jodee and I, on behalf of St. Nicholas Church, welcomed her with open arms, spent some time with her, and made her dream trip a memorable one. Please pray for Patti and her deep desire to know more about her Carver roots and family.
Prayers for the People of Haiti and the southern States! Joan Nevin, a wonderful parishioner, is very kind to always offer Masses not only for her own family but many others as well, especially when natural disasters strike. Recently, she came to the office truly pained by the loss of lives in Haiti due to Hurricane Matthew. She asked, 'how can we understand this? The poor people who are still recovering from an earthquake a few years ago now have a hurricane coming down on them.’ People of God, it is hard to understand. Why are those who are hurting get hurt again and again? To this day, it is a mystery why there is evil in the world? Why innocent people suffer? As St. Augustine would say, 'Our hearts are restless until they rest in you.' We will continue to struggle with such questions until it is made clear to us once we are in heaven. It is OK to struggle; it is OK to ask questions; it is even OK to question God and our Faith as long as we do not lose our Faith in God. That is why St. Paul says, 'For when I am weak, then I am strong.' Please call the parish office to offer Mass not only for your family but also when things happen around you both joyful and sorrowful. As a Priest, I am truly saddened that people's hearts are not soft enough to feel the need for Mass. Whether you feel something or not during Mass, to this day the Mass is the greatest prayer we have. Why so? Because Jesus said so. In the Mass through bread and wine being changed into the Body and Blood of Christ, Jesus truly comes to us and is truly present in our midst.
We also offer our prayers to our brothers and sisters in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas who experienced terrible inconveniences and, in some cases, loss of lives due to this monster hurricane, Matthew. We pray they may be able to return home soon and resume normalcy in their lives soon.
Do Prayers have relevance? Yes, amidst all the glamour, success, fame and the exaltation of self-sufficiency, prayer has relevance. Each time I am recognized publicly, one of the first things I say is, 'Lord help me to be humble.' I always ask the Lord, 'let not my head become big, rather, may my soul always be humble.' It is my constant wish and I ask Jesus, ‘help me to be humble’. I believe, 'If you are not humble, you stumble.' There are days you can feel let down or feel like a 'routine machine' doing the same old thing every day with no joy. At times like these, ask Jesus to be your friend and companion and say in your heart, 'Jesus, have mercy on me,' 'Jesus help me,' or whatever prayer comes to you. You will be surprised how edifying and joyful life can be just because you pronounce the name Jesus. No wonder St. Paul writes (Philippians 2: 10),"...at the name of Jesus every knee should bend." Climbing the steps, as your body hurts, you can keep saying, 'Gosh! It really hurts' or you can say, 'Jesus heal me!' The choice is yours. Brothers and sisters, prayers do have relevance to this day.
Recently, I prayed with a woman who is battling breast cancer. May God bless her. Here is a soul crying out to God for help and wants you and I to be a co-sharer in her pain. What is the best thing we can do? Pray with her. When we pray, we do not pray for the results we want to see (it would be great if that happens), rather, we pray for God's will to be done. I have no words to explain what a grateful woman she was. She was a grateful soul just because one took time to pray with her. Yes, 'Prayer is the sweet incense rising from a broken heart.' Whether you feel it or not, take everything into prayer. Just as sometimes we long for a particular food and other times we do not feel hungry, take advantage of every moment you feel like praying and know it is OK if there are moments you do not feel like praying.
Dear Padre! In Baptism, can one of the godparents be a non-Catholic? The Code of Canon Law #874 points out a godparent (sponsor) should be a Catholic who is Baptized, Confirmed, made their First Communion and lives a good, Catholic life. In addition to the primary godparent, the church allows a protestant to be a witness of the Baptism. [In the joyful ceremony of Baptism no one cares who is Catholic or Protestant, whether primary or secondary godparent, etc. The law is to educate us and not punish us]. The point being that if you are a devout Catholic who goes to Mass and Confession, you will be someone who would inspire your godchild to go to Mass and Confession; if you are not, you would not feel confident to ask your godchild to do something you yourself do not practice. [Ryan, Fr. Kenneth. Catholic Questions: Catholic Answers. Cincinnati:St. Anthony Messenger Press, 1990. Print. Page 44-45.]
Free Garage Sale! We extend our thanks to the crew from St. Luke’s and everyone who helped with set up & clean up or donated items & bags!
Sunday Reflection! Luke 18 presents Jesus' parable of the unjust judge. There was a judge who neither feared God nor respected human beings. A widow used to come to him and say, 'Render a just decision against my adversary.’ For a long time, the judge was unwilling, but eventually thought, ‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, I shall deliver a just decision because of her persistence.’ Dear brothers and sisters, the two key words/phrases to remember from this Gospel are 'Just God' and 'Unjust Judge.' Jesus is making the point that even the unjust, corrupt judge can do the right thing just because one perseveres and does not give up. Do you get the point from Jesus? If an unjust, corrupt judge would do the right thing because of one's perseverance, will not the 'Just God' surely hear your prayers?
In Christ Jesus,
Fr. Thomas Joseph