Young Family Fellowship

Are you a parent of an infant or a toddler?  Do you have a baby on the way? Are you an experienced parent or family member who has raised young children in the community?

Many of us at St. Charles look after both the practical and spiritual needs of very young children. How can we support each other?

Please join us to plan a fellowship group for young families:
Continue reading “Young Family Fellowship”

6th Sunday of Ordinary Time – Being Formed in Our Tradition

Diogenes Searching for an Honest Man, attr. to J.H.W. Tischbein, c. 1780, Nagel Auktionen

Sirach 15:15–20
February 18, 2020

Sirach is not considered a major figure in the Old Testament. His book is in neither the official Jewish Canon nor most Protestant Bibles, yet we often read him at Mass. We heard him most recently on Dec. 29, 2019. (The most detailed look at his thought and background may be found with the commentary on March 3, 2019.

Very briefly Sirach was a teacher of the Jewish elite in Jerusalem around 200 BC. The Jews were a small and relatively unimportant group in the wider Seleucid Kingdom. The elites were immersed in Greek culture, usually called Hellenism, and were tempted to dilute or even eliminate their Judaism to conform. Sirach confronted this not by putting Jewish clothes on Greek ideas or by simply dismissing everything the Greeks taught but by learning their ideas, adapting what seemed worthy, but contrasting the wisdom of Judaism with Greek thought and showing the superiority of the latter. He has much to teach us. Continue reading “6th Sunday of Ordinary Time – Being Formed in Our Tradition”

5th Sunday Ordinary Time – Fr. Smith Homily

Several years ago, I was invited to participate in a panel discussion on merging churches. The moderator asked each of us to tell the assembly the most important thing we had learned in a brief statement. When my turn came, I recited the Beatitudes from St. Matthew. I understand why this was met with some bewilderment, but I will stand by it – and add that if we wish St. Charles to develop, it will be because we have accepted the Beatitudes as our parish handbook. Let us look at why. 

Beatitude means “blessing”, or to be even more precise, that which gives us bliss. Matthew tells us that true blessings are to be poor in spirit, to mourn, to be meek, to hunger and thirst for righteousness, to be merciful, clean of heart, peacemakers, persecuted for the same righteousness we were thirsting for and insulted for the name of Jesus. (Matthew 5:5:1-12)  In what world do any of these things make good sense, much less bring bliss? Quite simply: in God’s.  Continue reading “5th Sunday Ordinary Time – Fr. Smith Homily”

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Fasting To Love

Lady Julian Of Norwich, Stephen Reid, 1912

Isaiah 58:7–10
Sunday, February 9, 2020

We last read from the third person to be given the name Isaiah on the Epiphany (Jan. 5, 2020). This Isaiah wrote after many of the Jewish leaders accepted the invitation of Cyrus the Assyrian king to leave Babylon and rebuild Jerusalem and its temple. He and the other settlers discovered that they were pioneers and that this was going to be long and hard. The reading used for the Epiphany, Isaiah 60:1–6) told the Jewish settlers what they could expect if they remained faithful to the LORD. Today’s reading shows them and us what faithfulness means.

The section begins with a complaint from the settlers:

Why do we fast, and you do not see it?
afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?
(Is. 58:3)

In early Judaism, fasting was not directly an ascetic practice, but was associated with morning. Third Isaiah’s near contemporary the prophet Zechariah told the people: Continue reading “5th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Fasting To Love”

Presentation of the Lord – Fr. Smith Homily

For the past few weeks, our gospel readings have been from St. Matthew. We have examined him not only as an evangelist in the strict sense, the author of one of the four canonical gospels, but as a pastor. He writes to form, not only enlighten his community. Today is the feast of the Presentation of the Lord and St. Luke will be our guest evangelist. We read him last year, and if Matthew is a pastor, Luke is an historian. Let us see whahe has to offer us today. 

First, the name of the feast. When the Jews were in captivity in Egypt, God called Moses to lead them into the Promised Land. Moses could not convince the leader of the Egyptians, the Pharaohto let them go, although God sent many plagues to persuade him. Finally, the LORD killed every firstborn male both of man and beast of the Egyptians. He spared the Jews and for this reason every firstborn son belongs to the LORD in a special way and must be redeemed from God by a sacrifice. (Ex 13:15) 

This is what we see today. Jesus is brought to the Temple to be redeemed. Just as Joseph and Mary obeyed the laws of Rome and went to Bethlehem to fulfill the census requirements, they obeyed the Biblical law to buy Jesus back. Luke wishes to show that Jesus wants us to work in our society and culture, not to abandon it.    Continue reading “Presentation of the Lord – Fr. Smith Homily”