- Saving on Gas and being More Safe on the Road ("Helpful Hints of Life")
- Sunday Mass Readings and Questions for Reflection (***NEW at the end of e-mail***)
- MOTHER'S PRAYER TO THE GUARDIAN ANGEL OF HER CHILDREN (Praying Hands at end of e-weekly)
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:" Ecclesiaties 3:1
We are currently in Ordinary Time, that is ORDERED time. It is not 'ordinary' in that there is nothing special about it; it is 'ordered' so that we can grow in love of God and neighbor, and true love of self.
We are going through the big green section of the Church's Liturgical calendar. You hear and will hear, read and will read, Sunday after Sunday, "30th Sunday of Ordinary Time, 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time, 32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time," etc. This in a sense is asking you the same questions each week: Are you loving God and your neighbor more? Are you working on those faults and sins in your life? Do you truly desire Heaven, your true home? Green is for growing and that is what we are meant to do in this season.
Put God first this Sunday, put everyone else second, and then you will love yourself, not because you put yourself last, but because it is in the right place ORDERED to true love and happiness.
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. This coming Sunday is Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time. >>> Readings
Homilies (second one contains the Gospel) from Sacred Heart of Jesus and 10th Sunday of Ordinary Time (5, 7 minutes length respectively):
Sacred Heart of Jesus
10th Sunday of Ordinary Time
(Middle English ordinarie "regular", Latin ordinarius "ordered" + from Middle English timen "to arrange a time")
- liturgical time ordered to practice the Christian Life
[Ordinary Time is represented by green in the liturgical Church year. It is the largest part of the Churches calendar broken up in two sections between the end of the Christmas Season and the start of Lent, and the end of the Easter Season and the start of Advent.]
1) Accelerate slowing; do not drive aggressively (save average of 31%)
2) Lower speeds (save average 12%) [Speed Limit or 5 mph less than speed limit]
3) Use cruise control (save average 7%)
more from: http://www.wikihow.com/Save-Money-on-Gas
"In time we can discover that God in his almighty providence can bring a good from the consequences of an evil, even a moral evil, caused by his creatures: "It was not you", said Joseph to his brothers, "who sent me here, but God. . . You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive." From the greatest moral evil ever committed - the rejection and murder of God's only Son, caused by the sins of all men - God, by his grace that "abounded all the more", brought the greatest of goods: the glorification of Christ and our redemption. But for all that, evil never becomes a good.
-Catechism of the Catholic Church #312
For Your Marriage
The site is not only a source for custom designed ceremony programs, but also a place to find information on relevant topics. To this end, there is an excellent section devoted to helping users understand what the Catholic Church teaches about the Mass, prayer, engagements and weddings. As our culture respects the dignity of the marital vocation less and less, this site recalls the true solemnity of a wedding and the fact that marriage is something worth celebrating.
[For those traveling and needing to get to the Holy Mass.]
MASS TIMES AND CATHOLIC CHURCHES throughout the US
Simply type in the town you will be in.
Include in the bulletin weekly elements on items to help teach, encourage, or connect the faithful of the Church with resources and blessings.
People live busy lives and may not always have the time or even know where to look for teachings of the Church, or resources. Including them directly in a parish bulletin in bite size nuggets may go far in teaching and helping the members of your parish.
There are places on the internet of free Catholic bulletin resources to include. Some are paid and supplied to you. Ask your Pastor if he is willing to include weekly teaching or share things through the bulletin that might bless you an your parishioners. Some examples might be:
Gratitude is the virtue by which a person acknowledges, interiorly and exteriorly, gifts received. In marriage it is it is important to be grateful, both in the recesses of our inner selves, and in external exchanges with our marriage partner, and to do so with some regularity. At the end of the day, find a quiet place for a few moments of prayer, and begin by praying for light to see and understand how you regard your spouse. A simple prayer is all that is needed; this is not a search for what is wrong, but for seeing more clearly what is right. Gratitude leads to many other “virtues” like laughter and fun, compassion and mercy. In addition to highlighting the gifts of our marriage partner, this examen, this daily looking, will also uncover our inclination to magnify small failings, our own and others.
Each night take one minute to think of 2-3 things you are grateful for about your spouse.
All Saints and All Souls
These are two Feast Days that we celebrate this coming week - All Saints Day and All Souls Day.
All Saints' Day is a solemn holy day of the Catholic Church celebrated annually on November 1. The day is dedicated to the saints of the Church, that is, all those who have attained heaven. It should not be confused with All Souls' Day, which is observed on November 2, and is dedicated to those who have died and not yet reached heaven. All Saints' Day is a Catholic Holy Day of Obligation, meaning all Catholics are required to attend Mass on that day, unless they have an serious reason, such as serious illness. The day celebrates all those in Heaven - those formally canonized by the Church and those that are not.
All Soul's Day honors those who have died and are in Purgatory on their journey to Heaven. According to Catholic belief, the soul of a person who dies can go to one of three places. The first is heaven, where a person who dies in a state of perfect grace and communion with God goes. The second is hell, where those who die in a state of mortal sin (destroyed their relationship with God) are naturally condemned by their choice. The third option is purgatory, which is thought to be where most people, free of mortal sin, but still in a state of lesser (venial) sin, must go. Purgatory is necessary so that souls can be cleansed and perfected before they enter into heaven. There is scriptural basis for this belief. The primary reference is in 2 Maccabees, 12:26 and 12:32. "Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out... Thus made atonement for the dead that they might be free from sin." Consistent with these teachings and traditions, Catholics believe that the prayers of the faithful on Earth help the dead be cleansed of their sins so they may enter into heaven. We pray for them always, but in a special way on All Soul's Day.
Read more in the Holy Bible at:
Revelation 5:8; 21:27
Matthew 5:26; 12:32
2 Timothy 1:16-18
Diocesan News AND BEYOND
Reflections on Archbishop Viganò’s Courageous Third Letter
In thin-skinned times such as these, Archbishop Viganò’s most recent letter shines forth as a clarion call to Catholics everywhere.
Msgr. Charles PopeAs I finished reading Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s third letter, (link to third letter below) I had an immediate sense that I had just read something that is destined to be one of the great pastoral and literary moments of the Church’s history. There was an air of greatness about it that I cannot fully describe. I was stunned at its soteriological quality — at its stirring and yet stark reminder of our own judgment day. In effect he reminded us that this is more than a quibble over terminology or who wins on this or that point, or who is respectful enough of whom. This is about the salvation of souls, including our own. We almost never hear bishops or priests speak like this today!
Others will write adequately on the canonical, ecclesial and political aspects of Archbishop Viganò latest and very concise summary of the case. As most of you know, I have fully affirmed elsewhere that I find his allegations credible and that they should be fully investigated. But in this post I want to explore further the priestly qualities manifest in this third letter, qualities that are too often missing in action today.
To begin with, he has in mind the moral condition of souls. The Archbishop warns in several places of the danger posed to the souls of the faithful by the silence and confusing actions of many bishops and priests and the Pope. He laments that this, along with the homosexual subculture in the Church, “continues to wreak great harm in the Church — harm to so many innocent souls, to young priestly vocations, and to the faithful at large.”
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, this was the first concern of most every priest: the moral condition of souls, including his own. Today, many bishops and priests, as well as many parents and other leaders in the Church, seem far more concerned with the feelings, and emotional happiness of those under their care than with their actual moral condition. They worry more about political correctness and not upsetting those who engage in identity politics and base their whole identity on aberrant and sinful habits and disordered inclinations. That a person be pleased and affirmed today is seemingly more important than that they be summoned to repentance and healing or be made ready for their judgment day. Passing and apparent happiness eclipses true and eternal happiness. Further, silence in the face of horrible sin and deferring to and fawning over powerful Churchmen and cultural leaders of this world seems to outweigh any concern for the harm caused to the souls and lives of others.
Yes, too often, the only thing that really matters, the salvation of souls, is hardly considered. As others have rightly pointed out, this points to a loss of faith and a bland universalism wherein all, or the vast majority, attain to Heaven. Further, the possibility of Hell is all but dismissed — almost never preached, let alone considered a factor in how we should pastorally guide people.
In all of this, Archbishop Viganò still has that “old-time religion.” He takes seriously Jesus’ admonitions regarding Judgment Day, his many warnings about Hell and the absolute need to decide whom we will serve: God or the world, the Gospel or popular culture, the flesh or the spirit. Viganò’s final two paragraphs could not be clearer:
You can choose to withdraw from the battle, to prop up the conspiracy of silence and avert your eyes from the spreading of corruption. You can make excuses, compromises and justification that put off the day of reckoning. You can console yourselves with the falsehood and the delusion that it will be easier to tell the truth tomorrow, and then the following day, and so on.
On the other hand, you can choose to speak. You can trust Him who told us, “the truth will set you free.” I do not say it will be easy to decide between silence and speaking. I urge you to consider which choice — on your deathbed, and then before the just Judge — you will not regret having made.
This is powerful. I could be reading St. John Chrysostom, Pope St. Gregory the Great or St. Alphonsus Liguori. Honestly, I cannot recall many times I have heard a modern bishop or even priest speak like this. There are exceptions of course, such as the great Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, but clarity is rare. I hope too that some of the deacons, priests and bishops who might read this are saying, “I too am an exception. I often preach like this.”
But my general experience tells me, from many who write to me, that their priests and bishops never mention mortal sin, hell or judgment. And if they do preach on sin they use abstractions and generalities, euphemisms and other safe terms such as “injustice” and “woundedness.”
In this letter Archbishop Viganò writes as if he never got the memo to obfuscate and speak in cloaked and guarded ways; to speak in such hazy terms that no one really has any idea what you are saying.
Instead the Archbishop comes right out and says,
[T]his very grave crisis cannot be properly addressed and resolved unless and until we call things by their true names. This is a crisis due to the scourge of homosexuality, in its agents, in its motives, in its resistance to reform. It is no exaggeration to say that homosexuality has become a plague in the clergy, and it can only be eradicated with spiritual weapons. It is an enormous hypocrisy to condemn the abuse, claim to weep for the victims, and yet refuse to denounce the root cause of so much sexual abuse: homosexuality. It is hypocrisy to refuse to acknowledge that this scourge is due to a serious crisis in the spiritual life of the clergy and to fail to take the steps necessary to remedy it. … The evidence for homosexual collusion, with its deep roots that are so difficult to eradicate, is overwhelming. … To claim the crisis itself to be clericalism is pure sophistry.
Here too there have been very few bishops or priest willing to speak so clearly and to depart from euphemisms. There are exceptions, but they are too few. And, for a bonus round, the good archbishop even reintroduces an older term that has fallen out of use:
Unquestionably there exist philandering clergy, and unquestionably they too damage their own souls, the souls of those whom they corrupt, and the Church at large.
A philanderer is a man who exploits women, a “womanizer.” He is one who, in an often-casual way, exploits a woman, but has little or no intention of marrying her. He will exploit her for his needs but not consider her as a person deserving of his ultimate respect and loyalty in marriage. Sadly this too exists in the priesthood, but on a far more limited basis. Whatever the number or percentage of philanderers — one is too many — the much larger number of homosexual offenses (80 percent) in clergy sexual delicts shouts for attention. But few, very few bishops or Vatican officials are willing to talk openly and clearly about it. This must change if any solutions are to be credible and trust is to be restored with God’s people. Excluding any reference to active homosexuality in the priesthood is like excluding any talk about cigarette smoking as a cause for lung cancer. It results in a pointless and laughable discussion that no one can take seriously. Will any other bishops follow the lead of Archbishop Viganò and a few others, such as Bishop Robert Morlino? It remains to be seen, but credibility remains in the balance.
Finally, Archbishop Viganò, in a Pauline sort of way, has taken up the necessary mantle of opposing Peter’s (i.e., Pope Francis’) behavior to his face and publicly. While some wonder why this is not done privately, the answer must surely be, “How could he approach Pope Francis privately?” Pope Francis has steadfastly refused to engage his questioners. He has taken up a policy of “weaponized ambiguity” and when legitimate questions are asked, they are greeted with silence. Far from answering his flock, he often refers to them as monsters, accusers, scandalmongers and worse when they press for clarity and seek for answers and accountability.
How rare it is that other bishops are willing to speak out so clearly of their concerns. Only four cardinals issued the dubia. Why is this? Where are the rest? Only in recent weeks has the Pope even hinted that there may be an allowable investigation of the Vatican Archives. One must still ask: When? How? And to what extent? It will take a courageous insistence on the part of the faithful and bishops to see this through.
In the end, I am deeply grateful for Archbishop Viganò’s dose of “old-time religion.” It is refreshing to hear an archbishop actually call sin by name; to show concern for the moral condition of souls, not just the emotional state; to warn of judgment and summon us all to decide — not just hide, obfuscate and fret about “getting along” while souls are being lost. It is hopeful that an archbishop of high reputation is willing to call the Pope and the Vatican to account. This sort of leadership is too little in evidence today among the hierarchy and priests.
Some will surely bristle at the Archbishop’s “strong language.” But I ask you, is it really so different from the way the Lord Jesus spoke? Perhaps the bristling is more emblematic of our dainty and thin-skinned times — times marked by identity politics, cries of victimization, and every form of shock and outrage over the slightest reproach.
In my estimation this letter of Archbishop Viganò will go down in history as one of the great moments of pastoral exhortation and integrity. It will shine forth as a clarion call in an age of timid silence from too many other prelates and priests. May the Archbishop’s courage inspire many more to come forth and respectfully but clearly insist on answers and honesty. May his warning on our Judgement Day be salutary. May repentance, renewal and courage be growing realities in God’s Church!
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano full third letter can be read here.
Archbishop Viganò Responds to Cardinal Ouellet's Letter
The full text of the former nuncio's testimony in which he refutes much of Cardinal Ouellet's letter of Oct. 7. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò issued a third testimony today, the feast of the ...
By Diego Lopez Marina
Sister Crucita has been a member of the Josephine Sisters in Mexico for 70 years. At nearly 100 years old, she says she is happy with her vocation and would not change her decision to give her life to God.
In an interview with EWTN News, Sister Crucita – whose full religious name is Sister Maria of the Royal Cross – said that the secret of her perseverance has always been her trust in the mercy of God and the support of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“I say to the Blessed Virgin Mary, 'Take care of me, you already know I'm yours. Deliver me from the snares of the devil.' The Blessed Virgin has taken great care of me,” she said.
Through the Holy Rosary she was able to persevere in face of the temptation to abandon the religious life on many occasions, she said.
“One of the strongest temptations was to want to leave the religious life, because there were a lot of difficulties at the hospital where I was. The doctors encouraged me to leave, but I trusted in God and the Blessed Virgin. And here I am, thanks to them,” she said.
Sister Crucita was born Nov. 23, 1917 in the El Oro municipality in Mexico State. From a very young age, she had a love for Christ and the Church, thanks to the devotion of her parents who took her to Mass.
“I always liked going to Mass. I had an uncle who was a sacristan and I liked to spend time with him. So I was always drawn to the things of the Lord,” she said.
She began thinking about a religious vocation after a group of religious sisters came to her home town. She even discerned with a cloistered convent, but was forced to return home after two years, due to an illness.
Sister Crucita was introduced to the Josephine Sisters by a priest. She worked alongside the sisters at a local hospital for a few months, and then entered the novitiate.
On Aug. 15, 1947, Sister Crucita made her final vows as a Josephine sister, at 30 years of age. Currently she goes to confession about every two weeks, prays the Holy Rosary three or four times a day, and attends Mass daily.
She said her religious vocation was always tied to her profession as a nurse.
At the start of the 1950s, Sister Crucita was sent to her congregation's hospital in Cuba. Later, in 1952, she arrived in Guadalajara and was assigned as a nurse to the Civil Hospital. For many years she was the supervisor of the pediatrics department.
“I see how the sick suffer and there are many who offer everything to God, they don't complain or anything. So then I think, if they who are sick and are always thinking about God, then what can I complain about. Anything on my part is something passing and I offer it to the Lord,” she emphasized.
Sister María de la Cruz said that one of her secrets to keep on going has always been to feel welcomed by the mercy of God: “I know that He loves me much more than I love him. I have always thought that He seeks me, he calls me, that he is always with me. If something happens to me, He watches over me.”
She encouraged young people to trust “completely in God, in the love that He has for us” because “He helps us and gives us peace.”
On Nov. 23, at Our Lady of Bethlehem and Saint Michael the Archangel church, a Mass of Thanksgiving will be celebrated for Sister Crucita’s 100th birthday.
Sister Beatriz Escamilla, a 44-year-old Josephine sister, said that at nearly 100 years old, Sister Crucita is still very independent.
“She begins her routine at 5:00 am, because she moves at a slower pace, and then she comes to the chapel at 7:00 am. She is one of the most punctual sisters, and sometimes she beats us all there. Sometimes she's the one who opens up the chapel,” Sister Beatriz said.
She also highlighted Sister Crucita's fervent prayer for “vocations and for those of us still working in the apostolate.”
“She has an hour dedicated to prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament to especially ask for these needs,” she said.
Whenever things at the hospital get difficult, Sister Beatriz said, she can always count on Sister Crucita for encouragement.
“She's a person you're drawn to, through the peace she conveys. She offers a lesson in joy, perseverance, dedication and sacrifice,” she concluded.
By Hannah Brockhaus
Always close to his heart, around 3,600 homeless men and women were given the chance to be also physically near the Pope this weekend – and near the heart of the Church – as they participated in the Jubilee of Mercy.
From 22 countries around Europe, the men and women came at the invitation of Pope Francis, who has called the poor the “treasures of the Church,” to participate in the European Festival of Joy and Mercy held in Rome Nov. 11-13.
From the UK, Josephine Kandeba said meeting Pope Francis was like “a daughter talking with her father.”
“He is very humble,” she told EWTN News. “He listened to me. When I stopped him, I said, 'Holy Father, if you don’t mind, I want to say something'. He stopped, while I was holding his hand and while he was holding mine, and I said what I wanted to say to him.”
Having been on the streets for years, Josephine now lives at a shelter in London. She said she never thought that one day she “could see the Pope.”
Other pilgrims attending the event said they were struck by Francis’ great love for the poor, and the attention he showed to all of them.
“Do you know why we’re here?” asked Terence, another pilgrim from the UK. We’ve come “from all over the world at the Holy Father’s invitation; that’s why we’re here.”
Terence also pointed out that Pope Francis said “he’s the Pope of the poor, and that has really stuck in my mind. Never before has a Pope said he’s the pope of the poor. He’s an exceptional man.”
Organized by the French organization Fratello, the event brought in groups of pilgrims from around Europe and the UK, including a large number from France and Poland, and Rome itself. It was organized as a way to help the homeless participate more fully in the Church and in the Jubilee of Mercy.
Organizations from five cities in the UK – Father Hudson’s Care, Cornerstone, the Church of Scotland and The Passage – together brought a group of around 50 pilgrims. The Passage, located in London, does street outreach in addition to having two hostels and a resource center for homeless.
The weekend’s schedule for pilgrims included an audience and catechesis with Pope Francis on Friday, a vigil of Mercy at the basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls on Saturday evening, and concluded with Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica on Sunday.
In between these, the schedule included Morning Prayer, faith sharing, and of course, some free time to tour Rome and to walk through the Holy Doors for the Jubilee.
Charlie Egan, another pilgrim, told EWTN News he found it very moving when an older homeless man from France spoke to the Pope on Friday, with “tears in his eyes.”
“And the Pope, he showed so much love,” even giving the Frenchman a hug, Charlie said. “And then the Pope didn’t go away, he had a chat as if they were in a restaurant.”
“The Pope talked about every person, homeless or not, looking for that dream and that goal, talking about peace and love and charity.”
Charlie said that before going on the pilgrimage, he had four days to “look back” at his life. He said that he had “messed up” his life by drinking and had practiced no religion for years, only coming back to the faith a few years ago.
But at the vigil at St. Paul Outside the Walls, Charlie said he had the chance to speak with a priest “about everything,” and he came out afterward “with a bit of emotion.”
One of the messages he said he received that weekend was that even if you’ve lived a “bad life,” there is still the sacrament of confession.
“Everything that Pope Francis said was brilliant,” said Jacob Mensah, a young man, also from London. What struck him was what Pope Francis said about dreams being for everyone, and that they all “have dignity.”
Fr. Padraig Regan, a chaplain at The Passage, said the weekend was a huge “sign of respect” for everyone who participated. It was incredibly important for each of them to be “taken seriously” by the Church.
One of the organizers of the group from the UK, Bénédicte Miolane, is a member of Fratello who now lives in London. She said that Fratello is already talking about how they can include even more people from around the world in the future.
The goal, she said, would be to make it like a World Youth Day, but a version specifically for the poor and homeless.
Terence said that another major thing that struck him “and changed his view” was the love he witnessed between “rough sleepers” (what they call those who sleep on the street) and the “ordinary” people also participating in the event.
“It was the love between them that I noticed,” he said. “They have something about them, they show each other affection.”
Speaking to pilgrims at the event’s concluding Mass Nov. 13, Pope Francis said: “Let us look with trust to the God of mercy, with the certainty that ‘love never ends.’”
“And let us open our eyes to our neighbor, especially to our brothers and sisters who are forgotten and excluded. That is where the Church’s magnifying glass is pointed.”
"From the time of the Mosaic law, the People of God have observed fixed feasts, beginning with Passover, to commemorate the astonishing actions of the Savior God, to give him thanks for them, to perpetuate their remembrance, and to teach new generations to conform their conduct to them. In the age of the Church, between the Passover of Christ already accomplished once for all, and its consummation in the kingdom of God, the liturgy celebrated on fixed days bears the imprint of the newness of the mystery of Christ." -Catechism of the Catholic Church #1164
-Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
-If I agreed with you we’d both be wrong.
-Did you know that dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish?
-I intend to live forever… or die trying.
-At what age is it appropriate to tell my dog that he’s adopted?
-I used to be in a band, we were called ‘lost dog’. You probably saw our posters.
Every year on my birthday, I looked forward to my aunt’s gift—a scarf, hat, or sweater knitted by hand. One year, she must have had better things to do because I received a ball of yarn, knitting needles, and a how-to-knit book. Her card read "Scarf, some assembly required."
From the Mouths of Infants and Babes:
Little Johnny's new baby brother was screaming up a storm.
Johnny asked his mom, "Where'd he come from?"
"He came from heaven, Johnny."
Johnny responded: "Wow! I can see why they threw him out!"
On the first day of school, a first-grader handed his teacher a note from his mother. The note read, 'The opinions expressed by this child are not necessarily those of his parents.'
A woman was trying hard to get the ketchup out of the jar. During her struggle the phone rang so she asked her 4-year-old daughter to answer the phone. 'Mommy can't come to the phone to talk to you right now. She's hitting the bottle.'
While taking a routine vandalism report at an elementary school, I was interrupted by a little girl about 6 years old. Looking up and down at my uniform, she asked, 'Are you a cop? Yes,' I answered and continued writing the report. My mother said if I ever needed help I should ask the police. Is that right?' 'Yes, that's right,' I told her. 'Well, then,' she said as she extended her foot toward me, 'would you please tie my shoe?'
A little girl had just finished her first week of school. 'I'm just wasting my time,' she said to her mother. 'I can't read, I can't write, and they won't let me talk!'
"From the time of the apostles, becoming a Christian has been accomplished by a journey and initiation in several stages. This journey can be covered rapidly or slowly, but certain essential elements will always have to be present: proclamation of the Word, acceptance of the Gospel entailing conversion, profession of faith, Baptism itself, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and admission to Eucharistic communion."
-Catechism of the Catholic Church #1229
SUNDAY MASS READINGS AND QUESTIONS
for Self-Reflection, Couples or Family Discussion
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time - October 28th, 2018
The First Reading- Jeremiah 31:7-9
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. 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. 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 was writing to the people of God during a time of horrendous religious corruption in the Temple, political corruption, assault against his country, and then occupation and exile. In the midst of all this, he preached reform and hope. Today’s first reading is an expression of Jeremiah’s belief that God would restore Israel; that those who were suffering would eventually come out the other side and experience true joy. His message for Israel, unfortunately, wasn’t something he himself would see come to fruition, as he was murdered by the people for whom he tried to bring hope. His hope was rooted in God’s salvation of the remnant—the faithful few—but also in reform of the leaders and the people. Sadly, most folks wanted everything fixed without having to change themselves.
Adults - Have you ever been the bringer of a message of hope and have been rejected? Why did the person (or people) refuse to listen? Have you ever rejected someone else’s message of hope? What prevented you from receiving it?
Teens - Have you ever been in a very dark place in need of a message of hope? Who brought you that hope?
Kids - What does the word hope mean to you?
Responsorial- Psalm 126: 1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Then they said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those that sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
-What brings you joy?
The Second Reading- Hebrews 5:1-6
Brothers and sisters: Every high priest is taken from among men and made their representative before God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring, for he himself is beset by weakness and so, for this reason, must make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people. No one takes this honor upon himself but only when called by God, just as Aaron was. In the same way, it was not Christ who glorified himself in becoming high priest, but rather the one who said to him: You are my son: this day I have begotten you; just as he says in another place:
You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
The second reading is a reminder that the high priest, the one who would make the sacrifices in the Temple for the forgiveness of the people, is a flawed person just like the rest of us. Priests, human as they are, are chosen by God for service and so need understanding and compassion when they mess up just as they too are to be vessels of mercy. Nobody’s perfect. We’re all broken people helping one another to heal.
Are you overly critical of others? Or, do you know people who are? If so, what do you think the cause is?
The Holy Gospel according to Mark 10:46-52
As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, son of David, have pity on me." And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, "Son of David, have pity on me." Jesus stopped and said, "Call him." So they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you." He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus said to him in reply, "What do you want me to do for you?" The blind man replied to him, "Master, I want to see." Jesus told him, "Go your way; your faith has saved you." Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.
Bartimaeus, the blind man in today’s Gospel, is healed because of his faith. If we look closely at the story, he heard that Jesus was passing by and yelled until he got Jesus’ attention — despite people telling him to be quiet. He calls Jesus “son of David,” a messianic title. He knows to whom he’s talking. In his persistence, he received an answer, a healing and a new life. Jesus didn’t require anything of him; he even told him that he could “go your way,” but Bartimaeus followed Jesus on his way.
Adults - What does it tell you about Jesus that Bartimaeus chose to follow Him on His way, even though Jesus did not require him to do so?
Teens - What can Bartimaeus tell us about persistence in prayer?
Kids -How do you think Bartimaeus felt when Jesus healed him?