Tag: Blog

Shouts and Songs

Shouts and Songs

4/23/2015

The readings for this Mass can be found at:

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042315.cfm

Challenge of the Day:

Take some time and literally Shout Joyfully to the Lord! And a little more time to Song praise to the glory of his name! For all that you have…is a gift from Him!

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Telling Jesus the Whole Truth

Telling Jesus the Whole Truth

2/5/13 9:11 PM

Memorial of Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr
Lectionary: 324

Reading 1 Heb 12:1-4

Brothers and sisters:
Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us
and persevere in running the race that lies before us
while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus,
the leader and perfecter of faith.
For the sake of the joy that lay before him
Jesus endured the cross, despising its shame,
and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.
Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners,
in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart.
In your struggle against sin
you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 22:26b-27, 28 And 30, 31-32

R. (see 27b) They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.
I will fulfill my vows before those who fear him.
The lowly shall eat their fill;
they who seek the LORD shall praise him:
“May your hearts be ever merry!”
R. They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.
All the ends of the earth
shall remember and turn to the LORD;
All the families of the nations
shall bow down before him.
To him alone shall bow down
all who sleep in the earth;
Before him shall bend
all who go down into the dust.
R. They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.
And to him my soul shall live;
my descendants shall serve him.
Let the coming generation be told of the LORD
that they may proclaim to a people yet to be born
the justice he has shown.
R. They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.

Gospel Mk 5:21-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side,
a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.
One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.
Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying,
“My daughter is at the point of death.
Please, come lay your hands on her
that she may get well and live.”
He went off with him
and a large crowd followed him.

There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.
She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors
and had spent all that she had.
Yet she was not helped but only grew worse.
She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd
and touched his cloak.
She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.”
Immediately her flow of blood dried up.
She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him,
turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?”
But his disciples said to him,
“You see how the crowd is pressing upon you,
and yet you ask, Who touched me?”
And he looked around to see who had done it.
The woman, realizing what had happened to her,
approached in fear and trembling.
She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you.
Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

While he was still speaking,
people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said,
“Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?”
Disregarding the message that was reported,
Jesus said to the synagogue official,
“Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside
except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official,
he caught sight of a commotion,
people weeping and wailing loudly.
So he went in and said to them,
“Why this commotion and weeping?
The child is not dead but asleep.”
And they ridiculed him.
Then he put them all out.
He took along the child’s father and mother
and those who were with him
and entered the room where the child was.
He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,”
which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”
The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.
At that they were utterly astounded.
He gave strict orders that no one should know this
and said that she should be given something to eat.

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Deacon Paul Brown – 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Deacon Paul Brown – 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

“This homily was given by Deacon Paul Brown. Deacon Brown is a parishioner here at St. Michael’s in Auburn.  He is married with five kids.  As I told the congregation at our Weekend Masses, I am very grateful to Deacon Brown for this beautiful homily. Not only because it freed me from having to prepare a homily for last weekend, but it also saved me, a 28 year old celibate, from preaching on marriage! HAHAHAHA! Seriously though, it is a beautiful and well articulated message. Thanks Deacon Brown!”

1,

Fr. V

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle B

October 2012

By Deacon Paul Brown

 

Our 7 sacraments are often categorized into 3 groupings – initiation, healing, and vocation. The two sacraments of vocation are Holy Orders and Marriage. Most Catholic Christian men and women choose to live out their adult lives in a sacramental marriage rather than as ordained clergy, consecrated religious, or as a single person. Because we live in a time when Christian assumptions about marriage are much challenged, it’s important that we periodically renew our understanding of marriage as a sacrament. Today’s Old Testament and Gospel readings serve as two primary Scriptural passages that form the Church’s understanding and teaching on the Sacrament of Marriage.

 

Today’s Genesis text sets the stage for the Gospel in which Jesus will cite its final verse. The words of Genesis remind us of the divine origin of this sacred institution. Having created ‘man’ from the dust of the ground, God uses the same ‘ground’ to fashion him a suitable partner. But none proves fitting. So God sets to work again, putting the man into a ‘deep sleep,’ but this time using the man’s own rib from which to create ‘woman,’ who is, at last, a suitable partner.

 

Created here before the rest of God’s creatures, human beings are the summit of God’s creation and God cares for them like a parent for a newborn. The reaction of Adam to Eve expresses the realization that he has met his match – in every positive sense of that word: here, at last, is bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh – and life of my life, joy of my joy, and companion of my soul. Man and woman are so related and interconnected, so drawn one to the other, that when they come together, in mind, body, and spirit, they become one flesh.

 

We hear Jesus, in today’ Gospel, state the fact of Genesis – “for this reason a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife.” In other words, man leaves those of his own blood to cling to his woman. The relationship of man and woman is stronger than a blood relationship. Jesus then uncovers the divine command – “what God has joined together, man must not separate”.

 

Together today’s scriptural passages illustrate a critical feature of a sacramental marriage that is distinct from a purely civil marriage. Civil marriage is a contractual arrangement between man and woman afforded by society’s legal system. The same legal system that constructed the contact also provides a means to dissolve the arrangement. The Pharisees understood marriage in this context. However, a sacramental marriage is covenantal relationship involving man, woman, and God. [Picture a triangle.] Grace freely flows to the couple as they represent Christ to one another and help each other to salvation.

 

By exchanging their wedding vows, at the Altar; in front family, friends, and congregation; and before God, a man and woman administer the sacrament to themselves. The declaration of their love and consent is witnessed by the priest or deacon as a representative of the Church. Through the exchange of vows, they are making an unbreakable covenant and asking for God’s grace to reap the goods of this union: indissoluble unity, mutual fidelity, and procreative power. The marriage covenant reflects God’s constant and faithful love for His people. In a marriage covenant, both parties are to mirror God’s constant fidelity and even if the other should not live up to their end of the covenant, the other is called to reflect the fidelity of God.

 

I ask engaged couples preparing to enter into a sacramental marriage at what point does the covenant become permanent. They often answer in this order: the exchange of vows, lighting of the unity candle, the kiss at the end of the ceremony. Each is incorrect. The exchange of vows ratifies their consent – formally and solemnly before God and community. The unity candle and kiss are mere customs. The covenant becomes permanent through the consummation, and the covenant is renewed through each conjugal act thereafter.

 

God not only approves of the physical union and love between man and woman, but that union and love are God’s design for the benefit of the couple and the good of humankind. Only when a man and a woman have given themselves totally to each other in the Lord is there a secure and safe haven for sexual intimacy. This wonderful gift of God is like a beautiful rose that must be respected and protected in the security of a covenantal and sacramental marriage. Any other use of this precious gift does not fulfill the great destiny to which God has called us and does not mirror the great sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

 

Living out their marriage vocation man and woman are perfectly distinct and different (both are giver and receiver), but they are also perfectly complimentary. They become one flesh in mind, body, and spirit. Through their love, they model the permanence and fidelity of Christ and His Church. They live in a communion that brings forth life and models the communion Jesus offers through the Eucharist. Since it takes three to conceive, (man, woman and God) the two (husband and wife) then bear a child, the fruit of their love, God’s life. It’s no wonder the family is considered the domestic church.

 

Men, our job as husbands is to help get her to heaven. Women, your job as wife is to help get him to heaven. We cannot allow ourselves to be conned into the idea that love is a feeling. Love is not a feeling. Love is a choice. And every day we have to choose to love each other. Every day we have to choose to lay down our life, our desires, our goals, for the sake of our spouse.

 

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Happy Feast of the Assumption!

Happy Feast of the Assumption!

Happy Feast of the Assumption everyone!


Today the Church celebrates a great miracle in the life of Mary–her being assumed into heaven. She stands as the hope for all the world–that we too may be assumed, body and soul, into heaven when Jesus comes again. Most people reading this probably are thinking, “Say what?”
Here is an article I came across today which does well to explain this special day…this special reality. WHAT IS THE “ASSUMPTION?”
Tomorrow I will be heading down to Orange Beach, AL for the week for the Annual Seminarian Gathering (see August 18, 2010 post for Last Year’s Gathering). So this will probably be my last post until after next Monday. This is the one time of the year when all of the Seminarians from the Archdiocese get together. It is a great time to build fraternity amongst the guys, especially since we are all scattered around in different seminaries. Archbishop Rodi, the Vocations Directors, and the Chancellor will spend the week with us. Please pray that we have good weather and times this week.
Before I head down, I thought I would share some shots of things over this past week.
On my way to make a couple home visits…


On Friday, I was able to meet with a good friend of mine from Furman University–where I went to College. We hadn’t seen each other in 4 years, so we thought we would meet at one of the nicest restaurants in the Wiregrass—Pizza Hut! Hahaha! I decided to capture the first encounter.

Patrick lives Mobile now and I am in Enterprise…so after some careful calculations…we deduced that Evergreen, AL was right in the middle. So we met right there for the afternoon at their local Pizza Hut. It was so refreshing to meet up with an old friend. Amazing how you can pick right back up where you left off. Shared some great times together in Greenville and really got to know one another over a 2 month Study Abroad Program in Chile back in 2006.
Here we are doing a little PR for the faithful Hut. We are really trying to highlight their “Cheesy Bites” and “Pepsi” while showcasing their ever-fresh salad bar just to our rear. Thanks to the Pizza Hut staff for letting us sit in their Hut for about 4 hours and for this photographic magic.


Driving back to Enterprise, I passed through Andalusia, AL. As I hit the main intersection…I ran into one of my past loves–Hawaaiin Shaved Ice! I used to make a DAILY pilgrimage to Sno Biz in high school. Seeing it, I just had to pay my respects.
As refreshing as the flavored shaved ice, was the chance to rub elbows with some locals. I struck up a convo with one kid and his Dad while waiting in line. I loved the way the kid introduced himself to me, “Hi! I’m in sixth grade and I play the drums!”
His comment made me chuckle as I witnessed in him the peaceful simplicity and enjoyment of a youth in a small town.


Saturday Night, I joined with the Guatemalan Prayer Group for probably the last time. Again they prayed for over 3 hours! Their fervor and devotion to prayer is one of the many treasures I hope to carry with me from Enterprise. They really made we felt welcome each time I joined them for prayer and praise. This past night they really offered some special prayers for me as I head back to seminary shortly. Thank God for them and for their special gift of prayer.




Well, again, Happy Feast Day!
May the peace that surpasses all understanding come more fully into your lives this day and every day.
Amen.
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Funeral Tuesday in Mobile

Funeral Tuesday in Mobile

On Tuesday, I woke up early in the morning to serve at the Funeral Mass of Father Ernie Hyndman.
The sun was just finishing its rising when I was heading out. Made for a serene start to the day.




The first half of the drive was very beautiful as I rolled through small towns and farm land. Here was a little Country Store I passed by on the way.






Father Ernie grew up in Mobile graduating high school from McGill-Toolen and college from Spring Hill College with a degree in English.


Father Ernie is remembered for having a great sense of humor, being a die-hard LSU fan, and being a friend and Father to everyone in his midst.
Strangely and sadly, last week, Father Ernie took his own life.
A wave of grief swept through lower Alabama.
How? Why? Can this be true?
In the past week, many have wrestled to understand how such a young and lighthearted Priest could take his own life.
It is impossible to understand–the darkness one is facing when they come to that decision in life.
Only now, do many realize that Fr. Ernie had been battling depression for several years.
It is not for us to judge.
God alone sees into the heart. He alone can judge. His mercy alone can heal.
It was this kind of spirit that drew everyone together in Mobile.
The response of love and prayer for Fr. Ernie and his family was overwhelming. The Cathedral was packed. People were standing all along the back. Over 30 priests attended. Around 15 of us seminarians were able to be present as well. It was a sobering experience.
In the face of such a mysterious darkness, I found a newfound thankfulness for being part of the Christian body. To not have to face such darkness alone, felt so powerful. To be able to come together and kneel before the mystery of life and cry out to a God who is Beauty, Love, Goodness, and Truth and trust him with all that exceeds, boggles, and transcends the mind and heart. To be able to pray for Father Enrie with his family, with all the angels, the saints, with all his friends, and all gathered there that day…was a beautiful thing. To shower him with our prayers…to place him in the hands of a Merciful and Loving God. Faith become almost tangible in moment like that.
It was great to be with the other seminarians as well. Here are a couple shots of us getting ready for the Mass in the Sacristy. Even in such a dark hour, it was a gift to be able to be with these, my brothers and share the experience. Even find a way to make one another laugh in the midst of it all.




Fr. Paul Zoghby, one of Fr. Ernie’s closest friends, gave the homily at the funeral. His words were great, challenging everyone to realize that it was not helpful to obsess over the question “What If I would have?” at this point. Rather, we gather together to remember the ways in which Fr. Ernie brought the love of Christ into our lives and to pray for him…commending him to our Good and Merciful God. He even told a Budro joke (revolving around a Cajun guy named Budro) which Father Ernie was famous for routinely telling to his congregation. Even more than his words…it was a powerful thing to see his best friend find the courage to stand before a crowd of witnesses and say Goodbye.


After the Funeral Mass, we all caravanned over to the old Catholic Cemetery for the graveside ceremony.




You could almost feel the sacredness of the cemetery. As we drove in, we passed several graves over 150 years old. It was humbling to pass through the midst of so many lives that have past before our own….knowing that we too will join them one day…
This one funeral marker made a particular impression on me. The Angel looking so confidently and steadily over the cemetery gave me a certain sense of peace and security.


Too, it was great to run into some of my good friends from Seminary…who are now Mobile’s newest priests! It was my first time to see Fr. Travis and Fr. Stephen since there ordination in June.
(Left to Right) Fr. Stephen Vrazel (Ordained June 2011), Me, Fr. Fred Boni (Ordained June 2010), Fr. David Shoemaker (Ordained July 2000), Fr. Travis Burnett (Ordained June 2011)


This picture above may be entitled: “Veterans of Summer Assignments in Eufaula with Fr. Snowmaker.” Each of us spent a summer under the care of Fr. David. Thanks for putting up with us over the years, for all the hilarious memories, and priestly example.

The New Priests being “pastoral”

Ca is one of our seminarians from North Vietnam. The guy has a great sense of humor and always sports a smile. Archbishop Rodi passed his crosier to Ca to take care of it. He is smiling because he had just figured out how to unscrew it into two pieces.


Left is Matthew Stillwell, one of our newest seminarians. He will finish his Masters degree this fall and begin his seminary studies in the Spring. Right with the shades is Chris Boutin, going into his second year of seminary, reigning from Prattville, AL. With those shades, I guess Chris was hoping to catch some bass or field some grounders after the graveside service. hahaha.


It was a day of mixed emotions, experiences, and prayers. All of which reminded me to be thankful for my faith…without which I would have had no hope or recourse in confronting such a situation.


Here is an article that Dave O’Brien wrote about grief following Fr. Ernie’s death that some of ya’ll might find helpful.


Aiight.


Let’s continue to Pray for Father Ernie Hyndman and all those grieving his loss.


Eternal rest, grant unto him, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace.
Amen.



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I need to learn how to spell

I need to learn how to spell

parafanilia”



is actually spelled


paraphernalia”


Thanks Rob.


Also “Jasmine”


is actually spelled


“Yasmeen”


And finally, what we ate at Pablo’s birthday party was a “Shrimp BOIL” not a “bRoil.” Big difference. I should have known better! haha


Thanks Pablo.
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Family Visits

Family Visits

Sorry it’s been a week since the last post. My evenings have been blessed with several home visits & activities this past week which have made posting difficult…especially considering the amount of food in the tank upon returning to the rectory! haha
Last Wednesday we had Youth Group as usual. After dinner and some games we talked about “Saints.” We had a nice discussion about what “Saints” are and the kids shared about different saints that they know.
As they would share, I would write down the saint’s name as well as common attributes of the saints (i.e. they are in heaven, they love us, they gave their lives heroically in love, they are our role models for Christian living, we can talk to them and ask them for prayers just like we can ask people in the Church community on earth to pray for us, etc.)
Here is the board at the end, decorated with my exquisite handwriting:


Sunday afternoons have been a great time to visit some families from the Hispanic Community at St. John’s. Sunday is, for many of our parishioners, the one day that they do not have to work. So it is a great time to drop by for some chatting, eating, discussion, and prayer.
Here are some shots I took this past Sunday of a trailer park where several families from our parish live.


Here is the field where all of the neighborhood kids play soccer everyday




Later on Sunday evening, Tom and Luanne invited me over to dinner at their home as well as Alice and Chuck. We enjoyed great food and wine and even better company.
Here is a shot of a beautiful lake on the way to their house.


Tom and Luanne have a lovely and most interesting home. Throughout Tom’s career in the Army, he and Luanne moved all around the world. Along the way they really developed a knack for collecting and decorating. Plus, Luanne was an elementary school teacher for several years, so, like most people in her field, her creativity knows no bounds.
Once, while visiting China, Luanne noticed a Chinese Coke bottle laying beside a trash can. Interested by the Chinese writing, she picked it up thinking it would be an interesting souvenir. Living in Korea at the time, Luanne then picked up another Coke bottle with the writing in Korean. Little did she know that this would over the years blossom into an extensive “Coke” parafanilia collection which now adorns there sun room making for a room-sized conversation piece.


I was amazed by Alice’s bravery in admitting that she prefers Pepsi as she sat on the Coke Couch in the Coke Room!!!! hahahahaha


Their back yard is a kid’s paradise. Besides the little pool, fountain, and space to run around…they also have a playhouse for their granddaughter and a “Crooked House” for their grandson.










Tonight, Eva, Pablo, and Jasmine invited Father and I over for a Shrimp Broil for Pablo’s 31st birthday. Happy Birthday Pablo!
Pablo has been in the Army for 9 years and is currently stationed at Fr. Rucker like many other of our parishioners are or have been before they retired.
Pabo is from Southern Texas and Eva is from just across the border. They are a great couple and have been very hospitable to me since arriving here. Jasmine is 6 and pretty much dominates the Coloring Book circuit. She had just churned out some masterpieces of Justin Beiber, Selena Gomez, and Phineas and Ferb earlier today which Father and I were able to enjoy. She loves the color Red, chocolate chip pancakes from Bob Evans, and losing teeth. She was sweet to let Father and I crash her Dad’s B-Day Bash! Thanks Jasmine!


And, as I am one that made a point to not make a serious face in a picture until the age of 11, I have to give Jasmine serious props for the face she made the first time we took a picture together.


That is pretty much unbeatable….so with that….
Thanks to everyone here in Enterprise for being so warm and inviting. It is a real blessing to be sharing in the richness, height, depth, diversity, and particularity of the People of God down here at St. John’s.
Goodnight and God Bless ya’ll.
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Sunday

Sunday

Yesterday was a special day here at St. John’s.
Jorge & Ilaria got married.
They are a great couple that have really made me feel welcome here in Enterprise. They have fed me several times and helped introduce me to other Hispanic families in the parish. They are also famous around here for helping to organize the celebration for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe here in Enterprise. In fact, the statue of Our Lady that is used for the Feast sits proudly on their front porch throughout the year.
They are also very involved in a Movement called “El Movimiento Familiar Cristiano.” It is an international Catholic movement which aims to bring together couples so that they may grow deeper in their relationships, parenting, faith, organization, etc. I have been really impressed with the Movement as I have learned about it through Jorge and Ilaria as well as Deacon Alfonso Diaz who is the Spiritual Director for this movement in the area. I would recommend it to anyone in the area.
Here are a couple links where you can check it out….if you speak Spanish that is…haha
There are many other English speaking organizations like this. One I am familiar with and would recommend to any couple looking to deepen and strengthen their relationship with one another is called “Marriage Encounter.” Here is there main website.
Anyways, back to Jorge and Ilaria. They wedding was really beautiful. They came with their friends and really decorated the whole Church well.

Here is Jorge just before the Mass started. Little bit Nervous…but looking sharp



Here is the Wedding Party getting in Line



Congrats to you Jorge and Ilaria. May God Bless you both richly with many happy and faith-filled years together!

Tonight, the 4th Degree Knights of Columbus had a social out at “PoFolks” restaurant.

They graciously invited Father Gregory and I to attend as well as the priest (Army Chaplain) stationed out at Ft. Rucker, Fr. Chris Butera. I was surprised to run into Chris there tonight. We actually spent one year together in seminary up in Philly at St. Charles Borromeo. Small world!
Sorry it’s blurry. But here is the group mingling and keeping it real

Here I am with the Grand Knights of the Councils in Enterprise (L) and Daleville (R).

Both seem to be very active Councils of the Knights of Columbus, a group especially dedicated to “fraternity, charity, and unity.” They also are sincerely dedicated in the support of Priests, Seminarians, and their ministry. Thank God for them. Check them out HERE if you don’t know much about them.
Thanks ya’ll for your hospitality.

It was a great evening.

Peace.
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Mary

Mary

Before Mass this morning, I walked around the grounds of St. John’s as I said my Morning Prayer. Just as I finished, I walked by the grotto here and was struck by its beauty. I took a couple shots which I think turned out really well.

I love the way the light is gently covering Mary in this one. It is so fitting for her–our gentle and loving Mother.

Our Mother. She became the Mother of us all at the foot of the cross. When all other of Jesus’ disciples had abandoned him out of fear, there his Mother remained with St. John, Mary of Magdala, and another Mary.
John 19: 26-27
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.”
Here Jesus gives one of his greatest treasures to his beloved disciple–his very own Mother. And in doing so, he gave Mary to be the Mother of the Church…of the World.
As Catholics, we do not worship Mary but we are deeply grateful to Jesus for sharing his Mother with us. We honor her just as God honored her in sending his angel Gabriel (meaning “messenger”) to greet her with the message, “Hail (Rejoice/Be Glad) Mary, full of grace! The Lord is with you!” (Luke 1:28). We honor her just as Elizabeth honored her saying, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Luke 1:42).
Some point to a scene in Mark chapter 3, as a moment when Jesus downplays the importance of his Mother. Here Mary and Jesus’ cousins (Referred to as “brothers” here because the Hebrew culture did not have the word or really concept of “cousin.” All relatives were just referred to as “brothers”/”siblings”) were waiting outside of a home asking for Jesus. The disciples tell Jesus that his Mother and “brothers” are looking for him to which he responds,
(For) whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother” (3:35).

Rather than rejecting Mary as his Mother in that moment or even downplaying her role as Mother, Jesus is reaffirming the Motherhood of Mary. For who more than her opened her heart to the will of God?

When God wanted to bring to fruition his plan for the world since the beginning of time, he came to her saying, Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, […] and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end. The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.

Confronted with such a mind-boggling proposition…something defying the logic of the world…something fully incomprehensible to the human mind…how did she respond?

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

And with her “YES,” the door was opened. She conceived a child in that moment with her YES, and history itself changed forever. Emmanuel… Wondercounselor… Christ… Messiah… Lion of Judah… King of Kings… Prince of Peace…the Word…was made Flesh in her womb. Such that the Flesh of Jesus IS the Flesh of Mary. Through her YES, Jesus came to us. And through her YES, Jesus continues to come to us.

So we have Mary as our Model of the Christian life. For ultimately, God wants to do in us exactly what he did in Mary–Fill us with the Holy Spirit…so much so that God himself unites himself to our Flesh and Blood. So that we become the Body of Christ…His Flesh and Blood for the World. However, he will never force this upon us. But always, He stands at the doors of our hearts, gently knocking…sending a host of angels…inviting us to take part in the Mystery of his Love. But it is only our YES…following the perfect example of Mary, Our Loving, Gentle, and Patient Mother, that opens that door to the Will of God. The more we say Yes…the more we open ourselves to the Will of God in our lives…the more God is able to unite himself to our person…our body and soul…and thus…the more we truly become the “mothers, sisters, brothers” of Jesus.

So Yes…we honor Mary, but only because she brought us Jesus and continues to POINT us…to carry us to Him. Just as she told the servants at the wedding feast in Cana, she gives her best advice to us today, “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5).

All true Devotion to Mary leads to Jesus. And so the ancient Christian tradition continues today: To Christ through Mary. If we run to her, she will never fall to take us to her Son. Nobody knows a Son like His Mother. Nobody can get the attention of a Son better than His Mother. And Nobody is prouder and more eager to share their Son, than their Mother. So who could be better to help us follow, know, and love Jesus than his Mother?

Here are some folks here at St. John’s that seem to understand all of this all too well: The Rosary Club.

1…2….3….Marryyy!
They Pray the Rosary every day after 9AM Mass. Except on Wednesday’s they pray it at 5PM just before Benediction and Mass.
The Rosary is ultimately a meditation on the life of Jesus. It is a powerful prayer that has been near and dear to the life of the Saints for centuries. In this prayer, we turn to Mary to help us to enter more deeply into the Mystery of Her Son Son’s Conception, Life, Death, and Resurrection.
It was the favorite prayer of Blessed Pope John Paul II and has grown to be near and dear to me as well. In a letter he wrote about the Rosary, he states:

The Rosary, precisely because it starts with Mary’s own experience, is an exquisitely contemplative prayer. Without this contemplative dimension, it would lose its meaning, as Pope Paul VI clearly pointed out: “Without contemplation, the Rosary is a body without a soul, and its recitation runs the risk of becoming a mechanical repetition of formulas, in violation of the admonition of Christ: ‘In praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think they will be heard for their many words’ (Mt 6:7). By its nature the recitation of the Rosary calls for a quiet rhythm and a lingering pace, helping the individual to meditate on the mysteries of the Lord’s life as seen through the eyes of her who was closest to the Lord. In this way the unfathomable riches of these mysteries are disclosed”.

It is worth pausing to consider this profound insight of Paul VI, in order to bring out certain aspects of the Rosary which show that it is really a form of Christocentric contemplation.

Again, Contemplating Jesus is key.

Here is a link to the entire letter he wrote about the Rosary.

If you would like to learn how to pray the rosary, here are two helpful websites:
Have a great night ya’ll.
To Jesus through Mary,
Let’s aim to do whatever he tells us.
Peace.
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Youth Group

Youth Group

As it has been said, “The rub is in the details.” So here is St. John’s sign showing Mass times to all those driving by on Alberta St.

Also here are a couple shots from Youth Group tonight. Special thanks to all ya’ll who came tonight. Also to Firehouse Subs for providing us with nourishment. And to our guest speaker for the evening–Sarah Butler–who shared about her experience growing up at St. John’s and how it has helped her to live her faith down at South Alabama in Mobile where she will be a Senior this year. Sarah will be pursuing a career in optometry after graduating from USA, so she is asking that we all start staring into the sun for a couple minutes each day so that she will have a nice cliental waiting for her when she returns back to Enterprise one day…hahaha. We’ll see what we can do….uhhhhh
Everyone was showing their ping-pong prowess tonight.

Sean here seems to be lost in the intensity of the moment as Father dominates in the background
Here are the lovely ladies that made Youth Group possible tonight. Thanks ya’ll.

God Bless.

Peace.
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