All Saints Day/All Souls Novena/St. Charles Feast Day

Wed., Nov. 1: All Saints Day: Holy Day of Obligation
Masses at 12:10 PM and 7 PM

Thu. Nov. 2 – Sat. Nov. 10: All Souls Novena

There will be a Novena of Masses for all the faithful departed. They will be celebrated on:

  • 1) Friday – Nov. 2 – 12:10 PM
  • 2) Saturday – Nov.  3 – 12:00 Noon
  • 3) Sunday – Nov. 4 – 7:00 PM
  • 4), 5), 6) – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday – Nov. 5, 6,7 – 12:10 PM
  • 7) & 8) Friday – Nov. 9th – 12:10 PM and 7:00 PM
  • 9) Saturday – Nov. 10 – 12:00 PM(Envelopes may be found in the pews and entrances to the Church or by contacting the rectory.)

Sun. Nov. 4: PARISH PATRON SAINT FEAST DAY

The Feast of St. Charles Borromeo is next Sunday, Nov. 4. We will celebrate it as a Solemnity at all the Masses.

 

 

30th Sunday Ordinary Time: Invitation to Union

READING MATTERS:

There are three stages which should normally be followed in the reduction of social principles into practice. First, one reviews the concrete situation; secondly, one forms a judgement on it in the light of these same principles; thirdly, one decides what the circumstances can and should be done to implement these principles. These are the three stages that are usually expressed in the three terms: observe, judge act.

Pope John XXIII, Mater et Magistra, 1961 (# 236)

 

A very fine and relatively brief examination of “see, judge, act” was produced by the Australian Bishop’s Conference and may be found at http://www.socialjustice.catholic.org.au/social-teaching/10-social-teaching/94-catholic-social-teaching-series-reading-the-signs-of-the-times

(There will also be copies at the entrances of the Church)

 

HOMILY HELPS:

For those who would also like a homily more directly on the readings for Sunday while we are speaking on Catholic Social Teachings, Bishop Robert Barron’s homily this week is exceptional. It is 14 mins long and may be found at: https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/homily/coming-home-from-exile/5914/

 

NOTE ON STAYS IN HOSPITAL:

We remind our parishioners that due to the shortage of Priests it is difficult for hospitals to arrange for a Priest to anoint other than the most serious cases. I would ask that parishioners entering the hospital contact me to arrange appropriate prayer. This includes childbirth: there are special prayers for both wife and husband,

Fr Smith

 

BLESSING FOR NYC MARATHON PARTICIPANTS:

A special blessing for all those running the NYC Marathon on Nov. 4 will be offered at all of the Masses this Sunday, October 28.

Nov.1: All Saints Day: Holy Day of Obligation

Masses at 12:10 PM and 7 PM.

ALL SOULS NOVENA:

There will be a Novena of Masses for all the faithful departed. They will be celebrated on:

  • 1) Friday – Nov. 2 – 12:10PM
  • 2) Saturday – Nov.  3 – 12:00 Noon
  • 3) Sunday – Nov. 4 – 7:00PM
  • 4), 5), 6) – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday – Nov. 5, 6,7 – 12:10PM
  • 7) & 8) Friday – Nov. 9th – 12:10PM and 7:00PM
  • 9) Saturday – Nov. 10 – 12:00PM

(Envelopes may be found in the pews and entrances to the Church or by contacting the rectory.)

PARISH PATRON SAINT FEAST DAY:

The Feast of St. Charles Borromeo is next Sunday, Nov. 4. We will celebrate it as a Solemnity at all the Masses.

 

FIRST READING

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jeremiah 31:7-9

 

Although this is only the second time we have looked at the Prophet Jeremiah his influence can be felt throughout the exile from and return to Jerusalem. As we will see today his hand can be clearly felt in the writings of Isaiah. He was an aristocrat and very much involved with the politics of his time and place. He was also a prophet who recognized that the people had lost their way and become corrupt. The kings of Judea formed alliances with the major powers of the day whether Egypt to the south or whoever was the power in the north. After the loss to the Egyptians at the battle of Megiddo in 609 BC – so disastrous that it gives the name to “Armageddon” the final battle in the book of Revelation – they had to make an alliance with the Babylonians who extracted a punishing tribute. Jeremiah believed that this was part of God’s purification of His people and urged them to accept it. Others convinced the king to rebel against Babylon which they did with great incompetence. The Babylonians would after each attempt deport more of the Jewish leadership to Babylon. Finally. in 587/86 they had enough and destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple.

The passage that we read today is a letter from Jeremiah to the exiles in Babylon around 590BC. Although many considered him a traitor and Babylonian sympathizer, Jeremiah believed that the mighty empire of Babylon was merely an instrument of the God of Israel. This idea will as we have seen be developed by Isaiah into the image of the Jews as the light to the Gentiles.

After assuring the exiles that God has not forgotten them and will call them home Jeremiah writes:

At that time, says the LORD,

I will be the God of all the tribes of Israel,

and they shall be my people.

With age-old love I have loved you;

so I have kept my mercy toward you.

4 Again I will restore you, and you shall be rebuilt,

O virgin Israel;

Carrying your festive tambourines,

you shall go forth dancing with the merrymakers.

5 Again you shall plant vineyards

on the mountains of Samaria;

those who plant them shall enjoy the fruits. (Jeremiah 31 3-5)

 

God has shown himself to be loving, faithful and involved in the past, present and future of His people.

 

The section we read today expands on this but is more inclusive:

7 For thus says the LORD:

Shout with joy for Jacob,

exult at the head of the nations;

proclaim your praise and say:

The LORD has delivered his people,

the remnant of Israel. (Jer 31:7)

 

God will not act in secret but will openly guide his people who, although a tiny power, are the head of the nations because of His presence and participation. Jeremiah is convinced that the people who are presently in Jerusalem are still holding on the myth of political power and influence but the people in the exile are learning humility.

 

8 Behold, I will bring them back

from the land of the north;

I will gather them from the ends of the world,

with the blind and the lame in their midst,

The mothers and those with child;

they shall return as an immense throng. (Jer. 31:8)

 

 

We need to acknowledge that immense throng is an exaggeration, but note instead the references to all kinds of people. He speaks of the crippled and mothers and children. These are people who were not highly regarded in the ancient world. He does not mention strong warriors and great scholars.

 

9 They departed in tears,

but I will console them and guide them;

I will lead them to brooks of water,

on a level road, so that none shall stumble.

For I am a father to Israel,

Ephraim is my first-born. Jeremiah 31:7–9 )

 

He acknowledges that this will be bittersweet. Although Jerusalem has not yet been destroyed Jeremiah is very clear headed as to what will occur. But, because God will lead them, they will able to find their way in peace and safety. Note most especially that he calls Ephraim “my first born”. Ephraim was one of the 10 tribes which were conquered by and lost to the Assyrians in 721 BC. God’s desire is not only to restore the worship of the Jewish people but to restore the people themselves both north and south. As we have also seen in other writings this final union of all he people will be the responsibly of the Messiah.

This letter is in a wider section in which God tells the people that he wishes to form a new covenant with them.

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people (Jer 31:33)

 

Although a convent has clearly defined rights and responsibilities it does not spell out every contingency like a contract. It is primarily a pledge of relationships, In this case between God and Humanity and between all men and women. It should be acknowledged as a sharing of life and love and thus is usually ratified with a common meal. This is the origin of both the sacrifices in the Jewish temple and the Eucharist.

This covenant is new not in its content, we can presume that for at least Jeremiah it is identical to the covenant with Moses on Sinai. To be somewhat simplistic, none of the ten commandments were removed nor another added. It is the form which is different.  It will be given internally. Fulfilling the covenant will become natural behavior for every individual. Thus, it truly will be written on our hearts.

We note however that this is not a description of present reality but a prophecy. We do not know how Jeremiah thought this would be fulfilled and very few Jewish authors think that it ever was. We as Christians of course find it fulfilled at Pentecost, but there is great wisdom here nonetheless.

Today’s reading correctly prophesies the return of the people to Jerusalem and that it would be led by God for the instruction of the nations. This external journey – Exodus – of the beginning of chapter 31 is paralleled by an internal one in is later verses. God’s teaching and presence becoming truly part of our very being. We see this not only in some of the doctrinal teachings of the church but also in the social teachings we have been reviewing at Mass. The call to solidarity is not a mere contract for goods and services  but an invitation to union and participation. If our love for each other is not written in our hearts, it will not be found in our world.

 

 

29th Sunday Ordinary Time – Isaiah and the Undiscovered Country

Meet & Greet after Masses on 10/21

Enjoy fellowship with each other after each Mass this Sunday – coffee and pastries will be served. See flyer attached.

 

Update on Church Exterior Renovation

Work presence has picked up now. Mock-ups and samples are being presented to both the architect and Landmarks for approval, so materials can be ordered. Brick repair work is in progress. You will see the work gradually increase over the next several weeks until all materials are approved. That will continue in the exterior until Winter fully sets in and masonry work cannot continue. At that point other select work will take place until the weather warms enough for the masonry repairs to be completed. More detail will be provided as materials and samples are approved and work is in full swing.

 

Reading Matters:

A church that doesn’t provoke any crises, a gospel that doesn’t unsettle, a word of God that doesn’t get under anyone’s skin, a word of God that doesn’t touch the real sin of the society in which it is being proclaimed — what gospel is that?

Preaching series of Catholic Social Teaching resource.

In 2004 at the request of Pope St John Paul 2nd, the Vatican press published the “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church”. The link below will connect you to the full text in English and in a very searchable format. This will allow you to explore any of the issues we have been discussing in some depth.

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/justpeace/documents/rc_pc_justpeace_doc_20060526_compendio-dott-soc_en.html

Note on Infant Baptisms:

There will not be Baptisms at Mass during Advent. Should this be the only time your family can attend we will make other provisions for you. Please note that the Solemnity of the Epiphany, Jan 6, falls on Sunday next Year and only Easter is a more appropriate day to be baptized.

 

First Reading

The Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Isaiah 53: 10-11

 

This week’s reading is from Isaiah 53 and is part of one of the “suffering servant songs”. We encountered them before when discussing Isaiah and found that they were written in Jerusalem after the return of the exiles around 520 BC. It was time of spiritual vertigo. Their temple – indeed most of Jerusalem – was destroyed by the Babylonians. An objective spectator would have thought Judaism dead and urged the Jewish leaders now in Babylon to make the best of it. Yet God though Cyrus, Prince of Persia, gave them an opportunity to start again. Enough returned to Jerusalem to begin rebuilding.

This was a great demonstration of God’s power, but the returning exiles were obviously disappointed. They expected not only the opportunity to once again offer sacrifice, but to be rewarded in more tangible ways. Yet there was no wealth to be found and they lived as homesteaders. How are they better off? What is God doing? In this reading, Isaiah gives a profound answer and one especially important for the present situation of our time and place.

This song begins with

1 Who would believe what we have heard?

To whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

2 He grew up like a sapling before him,

like a shoot from the parched earth;

There was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him,

nor appearance that would attract us to him. Isaiah 53:1–2

 

It is important to note that the “we” here are the princes of foreign nations. This is the frame that Isaiah has decided to use, and it accomplishes two aims. It gives this an immediate international framework, prepares the reader for the conclusion, and teaches by irony. Insights which the Jews should have had first, come through foreigners and pagans.

Note as well that in the context of the Book of Isaiah the suffering servant is the people of Israel. Christians see Jesus in the suffering servant, and the New Testament makes this connection over 40 times but we will stick to the immediate context.

At first the kings look at Israel in the same way the Jews themselves did. As a defeated people Israel was “avoided by men” and “held in no esteem” 53:3.

Striking then is the change in attitude:

4 Yet it was our infirmities that he bore,

our sufferings that he endured,

While we thought of him as stricken,

as one smitten by God and afflicted.

5 But he was pierced for our offenses,

crushed for our sins,

Upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole,

by his stripes we were healed. Isaiah 53:4–5

 

That one person or nation could suffer for another is a new idea, but it has roots in Judaism itself with the scapegoat. The high priest places the sins of the people on the head of a goat and then

:2 The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a barren region; and the goat shall be set free in the wilderness. (Lev, 16;2)

The kings are asking the Jewish people to look at their recent history:

8 Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away,

and who would have thought any more of his destiny?

When he was cut off from the land of the living,

and smitten for the sin of his people, Isaiah 53:8

 

They truly died as a nation; yet, even while they were in exile, prophets reminded them of their unbreakable connection with God. Recall the vision of Ezekiel:

4 Then he said to me: Prophesy over these bones, and say to them: Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: See! I will bring spirit into you, that you may come to life. 6 I will put sinews upon you, make flesh grow over you, cover you with skin, and put spirit in you so that you may come to life and know that I am the LORD. 11 Then he said to me: Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They have been saying, “Our bones are dried up, our hope is lost, and we are cut off.” 12 Therefore, prophesy and say to them: Thus says the Lord GOD: O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them, and bring you back to the land of Israel. Ezekiel 37:4-6, 11-12)

Isaiah is using the device of foreign kings to tell the people not only that they have been resurrected, but why. The speaker changes in verse 10, and Isaiah is speaking for God himself.

If he gives his life as an offering for sin,

he shall see his descendants in a long life,

and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him. Isaiah 53:10

 

The purpose of Israel is not power, but presence: to be of God in the world and to accomplish God’s will. Isaiah famously says

 

It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant,

to raise up the tribes of Jacob,

and restore the survivors of Israel;

I will make you a light to the nations,

that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth. (Isaiah 49:6)

 

Israel’s task is international: to bring all to the knowledge of God by living lives of righteousness. This any adult knows requires purification; although Israel was no guiltier than others because of the knowledge she has received and the task for which she is being prepared, she required punishment that was literally death and rebirth. Isaiah makes this clear at the very beginning of this section of the book:

 

 Comfort, comfort my people

      says your God.

     2    Speak tenderly to Jerusalem

      and declare to her

     that her term of service is over,

      that her iniquity has been pardoned,

     that she has received from the LORD’s hand

      double for all her sins. (40:1-2)

 

Given the events of this last summer the message of Isiah to the Church is loud, clear and painful.

 

The cover ups particularly concerning the rise of former Cardinal Mc Carrick reveal that we need revolution, not reform. This is not in doctrine or moral teaching. The change needs to be in pastoral practice and accountability in many areas. As this means a change in power, we can expect it to be bitterly fought.

 

We need to recognize what the Church is. We are not a club or self-help group. We do not exist for ourselves but for the world. Our job is not to save our souls but to be a light of the nations by bringing the good news to the poor. If we do that, we will know God here and now and live with him forever.

 

This is difficult and painful, and we will be taught how to do it by saints. In his homily last week for the newly canonized saints including Oscar Romero and Pope Paul the sixth, Pope Francis reflects this reality perfectly. The emphasis is mine, but the words are his:

 

“Let us ask for the grace always to leave things behind for love of the Lord: to leave behind wealth, the yearning for status and power, structures that are no longer adequate for proclaiming the Gospel, those weights that slow down our mission, the strings that tie us to the world. Without a leap forward in love, our life and our Church become sick from ‘complacency and self-indulgence.

“All these saints, in different contexts, put today’s word into practice in their lives, without being lukewarm, without calculation, with the passion to risk everything and to leave it all behind …. May the Lord help us to imitate their example.”

AMEN

 

28th Sunday Ordinary Time: Wisdom is the Experience of God

Meet and Greet: Our next meet and greet will be after each Mass on 10/21. Volunteers needed to help set up – please email [email protected] if you can help.

READING MATTER:

The Bishops of the world have joined with young adults at a Synod for Youth. Before yawning, I ask you to read an excerpt from the official preliminary document, called the Instrumentum laboris

A large number of young people, mostly from highly secularized areas, are not asking the Church for anything, since they do not see her as a significant interlocutor in their lives. In fact, some of them expressly ask to be left alone, because they feel her presence to be bothersome or even irritating. This request does not stem from uncritical or impulsive scorn, but is deeply rooted in serious and respectable reasons: sexual and economic scandals […] ; the unpreparedness of ordained ministers […] ; the passive role given to young people within the Christian community; the difficulty the Church has in explaining her doctrinal and ethical stances in contemporary society.

This was not appreciated by the usual suspects, but may give many others some hope.

 

FIRST READING:

Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Oct 14, 2018

Wisdom 7:7-11

 

This week we return to the Book of Wisdom. As we have seen before, it is written as the teachings of King Solomon who lived around 1000 BC in Jerusalem, but was produced about 30 BC in Alexandria, Egypt. Its purpose was to instruct the children of the Jewish elite on living as Jews in a pagan world. The author was aware of the physical, financial and philosophical temptations that they would face, and labored to show the superiority of the traditions and beliefs of their faith.

The recent confirmation hearings for Justice Kavanaugh has revealed, among so much else, the awful behavior of our own elites. More unpleasant for Catholics was that the behavior of students at Georgetown Prep, a leading Catholic – indeed Jesuit – prep school was indistinguishable from avowedly secular institutions. Many of our own parishioners are graduates of similar schools and have truly embodied the Jesuit desire to form “Men for Others,” but we need to ask, “What went wrong?” Does the author of Wisdom have anything positive to offer?

As we have seen, the author was deeply steeped in his own scriptures and traditions, and assumed that his listeners would at least know the basic stories. One of these featured King Solomon:

The LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night and said, “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.”

6 Solomon answered: “You have shown great favor to your servant, my father David, because he behaved faithfully toward you, with justice and an upright heart; and you have continued this great favor toward him, even today, seating a son of his on his throne.

7 O LORD, my God, you have made me, your servant, king to succeed my father David; but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act. Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong. For who is able to govern this vast people of yours?”

10 The LORD was pleased that Solomon made this request.

11 So God said to him: “Because you have asked for this—not for a long life for yourself, nor for riches, nor for the life of your enemies, but for understanding so that you may know what is right—

12 I do as you requested. I give you a heart so wise and understanding that there has never been anyone like you up to now, and after you there will come no one to equal you. 1 Kings 3:5–12

 

The author is telling his readers that if they wished to be a great leader like Solomon they would need wisdom, and that no one is born with wisdom, he must ask for it and develop it. In the section immediately before what we will read at Mass:

In swaddling clothes and with constant care I was nurtured.

5 For no king has any different origin or birth,

6 but one is the entry into life for all; and in one same way

they leave it. Wisdom of Solomon 7:4–6

Our section begins with “Therefore”. Simply, a king has no special advantage over anyone else. He must pray that God give him wisdom.

7 Therefore I prayed, and prudence was given me;

I pleaded and the spirit of Wisdom came to me. Wisdom of Solomon 7:7

 

He sees it as more important than anything else.

8 I preferred her to scepter and throne,

And deemed riches nothing in comparison with her,

9 nor did I liken any priceless gem to her;

Because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand,

and before her, silver is to be accounted mire. Wisdom of Solomon 7:8–9

 

It also is the most long lasting:

And I chose to have her rather than the light,

because the splendor of her never yields to sleep. Wisdom of Solomon 7:10

 

Like Solomon, he discovered that Wisdom brings many gifts with her. In the last line of today’s passage, we read:

11 Yet all good things together came to me in her company,

and countless riches at her hands; Wisdom of Solomon 7:11

 

Oddly however, the next line from Wisdom was not included.

 

12 And I rejoiced in them all, because Wisdom is their leader,

though I had not known that she is the mother of these. Wisdom of Solomon 7:12

 

This line has a spiritual – perhaps even mystical – interpretation that reflects the experience, if not Solomon, of the author. The more he gave up earthly desires, the more he saw that whatever delights the world provides come from putting wisdom first. Compare this with Proverbs:

 

10 Receive my instruction in preference to silver,

and knowledge rather than choice gold.

11 (For Wisdom is better than corals,

and no choice possessions can compare with her.) Proverbs 8:10–11

 

 

In Proverbs, Wisdom is of great price, a bride, and a lover. But in Wisdom, she is a mother – not only the summit but the source of earthly happiness. Some writers say that for the author of Wisdom, the experience of wisdom is the experience of God.

It is this experience which matters most. Jesuit educators have been writing a great deal about the actions of their students in the Kavanaugh case. Much of it is anguished, all thoughtful, and I hope that it will bring real reform. Yet there is something missing: Us. Have we experienced wisdom and if we have, have we developed it in our lives and communicated it to younger people? Whether we have or not, we need to pray to receive it and allow wisdom to grow in our heart.

 

In the 9th chapter of the book of Wisdom, Solomon asks God for wisdom. Let us take to heart and put into action its last lines:

 

17 Or who ever knew your counsel, except you had given Wisdom

and sent your holy spirit from on high?

18 And thus were the paths of those on earth made straight, and men learned what was your pleasure, and were saved by Wisdom. (Wisdom 9:17-18)

 

Catholic Social Doctrine Preaching Series

On Sunday, November 18, the Church will observe the second annual World Day of the Poor, a special day of prayer, reflection and action focused on those most in need. With this in mind, St. Charles has prepared a series of homilies, beginning on Sunday, September 30, designed to help reacquaint us with the seven themes of Catholic social teaching and examine ways in which these core pillars can help us turn our faith into action. Join us on a seven-week journey to deepen our faith and renew our commitment to living the Gospel!

See our flyer about the series here:

Catholic Social Doctrine-9-27-18