14th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Sinners Struggling to be Saints

Yoke of Oxen, Jean, 2010 (Flickr) Some rights reserved

14th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Romans 8:9, 11–13
July 5, 2020

My first course at the seminary in the Bible was impressively titled “Theological Anthropology in Scripture.” Unlike most portentously named academic course descriptions, this one actually reflected the material. It examined Genesis 1–11 and Romans 1–8. It was called theological anthropology because it explored how the Bible saw human beings. We explored how modern uses and assumptions did not always reflect what the Scriptures meant and were not necessarily superior. This is seen very clearly in today’s selection from Romans 8.

Look at the first lines of today’s reading: Continue reading “14th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Sinners Struggling to be Saints”

Pastor’s Message on Church Reopening

In the post below, our Reopening Committee has provided an extensive section on returning to church. I’d like to add a few words as we welcome the faithful back to public Masses starting the week of June 29.

Bishop DiMarzio has given churches permission to open for Mass both on weekdays and on Sundays. Enough parishioners have volunteered to act as ushers that we will be able to have Mass this Wednesday (July 1) at 12:10 PM and next Sunday (July 5) at 11:15 AM. We barely have enough volunteers to maintain our current schedule, much less expand the number of Masses, we will need more helpers. If you can volunteer going forward, please contact the rectory, Joe Genova, or Jane Olson. Continue reading “Pastor’s Message on Church Reopening”

13th Sunday of Ordinary Time – A Real Relationship with Jesus

Photo by Jack Anstey on Unsplash

Thirteen Sunday of Ordinary Time
Romans 6:3–4, 8–11
June 28, 2020

In our introduction to the Letter to the Romans, we noted that this was Paul on his best behavior. He speaks to the Romans in a calm and measured tone. He needs the Roman church and knows that he does. He had also grown as a person and an evangelist. In earlier letters, he would speak without recognizing the religious and social condition of the people to whom he was speaking. The letters to the Corinthians are beautiful and we are grateful to have them, but they were written because of problems of Paul’s own making. Although the Corinthians were his spiritual children, he did not consider that most were not Jews and did not understand the subtleties of Jewish law. For Paul, to be freed from the law meant to be able to eat pork, but for some of the Corinthians, it meant that you could marry your sister.

By the time he writes to the Romans he has obtained far greater self-understanding. He has realized that his faith is not based on law or tradition but on his own personal—indeed we might say mystical—experience of the risen Jesus. That experience can only be understood in the light of being a Jew, but his religious beliefs are guided by this encounter. This would always be difficult to communicate but especially so with a new religion. If he shares this with the early church in Rome he knows he must be clear and careful. Continue reading “13th Sunday of Ordinary Time – A Real Relationship with Jesus”

Support the Annual Catholic Appeal

I need your help. Our Annual Catholic Appeal’s network of services has had to be flexible in this unprecedented time, and we anticipate we will need to maintain this response to meet the growing demand for support. Your partnership is critical as we navigate this situation.

Our mission remains the same, but COVID-19 has had a significant impact on our annual needs. Continue reading “Support the Annual Catholic Appeal”

Volunteering with Catholic Charities

Bag packing at Catholic Charities: I would like to thank those who have volunteered to pack groceries for the food insecure on Thursday Mornings at 8:45 at the main office of Catholic Charities. (191 Joralemon Street). This is a wonderful way for people who live within walking distance to help our neighbors. This location feeds about 200 families throughout the week with the largest number on Thursday Mornings. Please let me (Fr. Smith) know if you wish to help. It is about 90 mins of intense work.

 Pop up Centers: The weekly ‘Pop up” food pantries however dispense food for over 1700 families. This is growing and more volunteers are needed every week to pack and distribute the food. The next “Pop ups” will be Continue reading “Volunteering with Catholic Charities”

7th Sunday of Easter – Sharing in Suffering and a Connection to Jesus

The Women at Christ’s Tomb and the Ascension (The “Reidersche Tafel”), Rome c. 400 AD
(About this image)

Seventh Sunday of Easter
May 24, 2020
1 Peter 4:13–16

There is much that separates us from St Peter’s original audience. They lived almost 2,000 years ago in what is now Turkey. They would have originally been pagans and owed obedience to the Roman Emperor. But perhaps the key difference, spiritually, is that they expected to suffer for their faith, while we are shocked at the very thought of suffering for our faith. Continue reading “7th Sunday of Easter – Sharing in Suffering and a Connection to Jesus”