Friday, August 19, 2016

Gold Medals

Dear Parishioners,

As many of you know, Deacon Robert has not been with us in a while. He has been in and out of the Baltimore Washington Medical Center and the rehabilitation center next door. He is currently in a rehab center in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and is doing better. Please pray for him. I am sure he would be happy to receive cards from the good folks at St. Jane Frances. Cards can be sent to the Gettysburg Center Genesis Healthcare, Robert Vlcej, Room 207A, 867 York Road, Gettysburg, PA 17325.

With all the TV and media coverage of the city of Rio de Janeiro, we find ourselves transported to the Olympic Games. There we can’t help but admire the talents of the many fine athletes. They are in wonderful condition because they worked and trained hard. No matter whatever natural talent an athlete might have, it’s unrealistic to expect to win without training, preparing, and working. In short, these athletes have sacrificed much just to win a medal of gold, silver, or bronze.

In the gospel, Jesus is telling us that we too must work hard and make sacrifices if we want to get to heaven (Lk 13:22-30). It’s foolish and naive to think otherwise. After all, the resurrection didn’t happen until three days after the cross. And Jesus says, “Whoever wishes to be my follower must deny his very self, take up his own cross each day, and follow in my steps.” (Lk 9:23) Since Jesus faithfully, obediently, and lovingly carried his cross, he set the standard for you and me.

What inspires the Olympic athletes? I suspect it is the desire to be all that they can be. They want to excel and push their talents as far as possible. Our talent is being a son or daughter of God created in His divine image. And our goal should be to become the very best reflection of God’s goodness, love, and mercy here and now, so that we can receive a medal of gold in heaven that will neither tarnish nor can be stolen.

- Fr. Carl

“The eyes of the world see no further than this life, as mine see no
further than this wall when the church door is shut. The eyes of a
Christian see deep into eternity.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, August 12, 2016

Building Up The Kingdom

Dear Parishioners,

If you find the words of Jesus shocking, and seemingly out of place, you are not alone (Luke 12:49-53). After all, he is the Prince of Peace and calls peacemakers “Blessed.” We are quite comfortable when he rebukes the legalism of the scribes and Pharisees. But now he says that his followers will sometime have trouble at home and among family members. His invitation to follow is going to challenge some of the comforts of our lifestyle, for discipleship calls for radical changes in our perception of what is good and what is bad, what is acceptable behavior and what is not, and what change God expects in our lives. Friends and family members do not like it when we change, especially when those changes challenge them to reexamine their lives. Thus, living according to the gospel values will cause tension and perhaps conflict among those who are close to us. But hopefully it will cause them to change and grow with us in a new and deeper relationship with Jesus as we do our part to build up the kingdom here on earth.

- Fr. Carl

“After God, we should have a great confidence in the Blessed
Mother of Jesus, who is so good…”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, August 5, 2016

Good Stewardship

Dear Parishioners,

If you have been observant, you might have noticed some maintenance work here at St. Jane Frances. First of all, the concrete ramp leading into the side of church, which was in bad condition was repaired by some of our Knights of Columbus. The big rut and crumbling portions were cut out and fresh concrete was poured along with the sidewalk by the chapel entrance and the back sidewalk of the rectory. Thank you to George Fischer, Jerry Dooley, Jack Fowler, and Rick Przybylski for your time and talent.

We also had a number of trees pruned, shingles on the church roof replaced, and a new sidewalk in front of the school poured. Currently we are in the process of removing the tiles in the hall and abating the asbestos in the mastic beneath them. Furthermore, we are renovating the school bathrooms on the ground floor for the new school year.

This week, the gospel calls our attention to the theme of stewardship (Luke 12:32-48). Jesus tells the parable of a good steward and a bad steward, each in charge of managing his master’s property, and the results. The good steward will be rewarded and the bad steward punished. This parable is meant for you and me. After all, everything belongs to God, we are just stewards for a short while on earth of God’s time, treasure, and God-given talent. May God give us the grace and strength to be good stewards and use all these gifts so as to make God proud to call us His children.

- Fr. Carl

“If we are tempted to thoughts of envy against our neighbor, far
from letting him see it by our cold manner, we must go out of our
way to be friendly, and do him any service that lies in our power.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, July 29, 2016

Is Growing Rich a Waste of Time?

Dear Parishioners,

We are progressing with our kitchen/hall renovation. The epoxy floor in the kitchen was poured last week. It looks beautiful. The new equipment is being assembled and moved into the kitchen this week. This coming week, we will start the process for removing the tiles and abating the asbestos in the lower tile. I expect this will take several weeks. Then we can paint the hall and install the new tiles. Hopefully, we will be finished in a month or little bit more. Meanwhile, let us be patient and pray that all goes well.

This week Jesus calls our attention to one of the Seven Deadly Sins—GREED. In our consumer driven culture, it is a temptation for so many of us. From designer clothes, to expensive cars, to the latest technological gadget, to high cost homes, to exorbitant salaries, we are encouraged to want more. The first reading (Ecclesiastes 1:2) talks about the vanity of acquiring much property. It is all in vain, because in death, everything is left behind. Jesus makes the same point (Luke 12:13-21). Growing rich for ourselves is a waste of time. We are to grow rich in the sight of God.

This we do by being good stewards of God’s gifts—using the gift of time in prayer and worship; the gift of talent in our jobs, parish, family and local community; the gift of treasure in giving generously to the poor and the Church.

In giving generously of our time, talent, and treasure, we do not become poor. Instead we grow rich in the sight of God. So when we die, we can look forward to Jesus saying, “Well done good and faithful steward. Inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.”

- Fr. Carl

“There is one thing everyone can do, whether they find it
hard to meditate or not, and that is to make up their
minds in the morning to cultivate some particular virtue
during the day, to practice the interior Presence of God,
and to live their life in union with Him.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, July 22, 2016

Praying for Daily Needs

Dear Parishioners,

Our kitchen/hall renovation project is progressing but not as quickly as we had hoped. In preparing the kitchen floor for an epoxy covering, we found some asbestos in the lower levels of tiles. There was no danger since each level contained whatever was beneath it. However, since we were removing all three levels of tile, we had to have an abatement company come in and remove all of the asbestos. It was completed last Thursday, air samples were tested by an industrial hygienist, and the kitchen was found to be asbestos free. Praise God.

This week we will be pouring the epoxy in the kitchen and next week installing the new kitchen equipment. Then in early August we will start the abatement process in the hall after which we will lay some new tiles and then painting the walls to finish the job. Since the scripture readings this weekend deal with prayer, and in particular, prayer for our daily needs (Genesis 18:20-32; Colossians 2:12-14; Luke 11:1-3), let one of our daily petitions be for the timely completion of our kitchen/hall renovation project to give the good people of St. Jane Frances a facility of which they can truly be proud.

- Fr. Carl

“How pleasing to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is
the short quarter of an hour that we steal from our
occupations, from something of no use, to come and pray
to Him, to visit Him, to console Him.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, July 15, 2016

My Favorite Summer Reads

Dear Parishioners,

Looking back on my youth, I remember playing baseball and tennis, going swimming, family vacations at Bethany Beach and Ocean City, and watching the Orioles at Memorial Stadium or on television. Sometimes the games weren’t televised, so we listened on the radio. Imagine that! But it wasn’t all leisure. There was work to be done such as cutting grass and painting fences. And while I was away from school, there was summer reading to be done. It wasn’t always easy to discipline myself to sit still, but it helped develop my love for reading which I enjoy to this day. David Baldacci, John Grisham, and Tom Clancy. But the best book of all is the Bible, because God is its author. So do yourself a favor and open up your bible each night. If you like adventure and history, the Books of Genesis and Exodus are excellent; if you want to know Jesus better, read the Gospel of Matthew; if you like poetry, try the Psalms (Jesus prayed them) or Song of Songs; if you like female heroes, read the Books of Judith or Esther; if you want a whale of a tale (pardon the pun) read Jonah; and if your are having problems, The Book of Job will show you somebody who had it even worse before winning in the end.

However, to get the most out of these books, don’t try to read them at one sitting. Do a little bit at a time each morning or evening so that God, the author, can help you understand and grow.

- Fr. Carl

“Those who practice devotion, who go often to
Confession and Communion, and fail to do works of
faith and charity, are like trees in blossom. You think
there will be as much fruit as flower; but there is a
great difference…”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, July 8, 2016

Helping Those In Need

Dear Parishioners,

Many years ago, I was on a bus tour from Jerusalem to Jericho. The road was full of twists and turns as it went from 2,300 feet above sea level in Jerusalem to 1,300 feet below sea level in Jericho. The road was narrow with a barren landscape, rocky hills, and mounds, and a good hunting place for robbers. St. Jerome in the 4th century called it the Bloody Way, and as late as the early 1930s, people were warned to get home before dark, because a certain Abu Jildah was good at stopping cars and robbing travelers. So you can imagine how dangerous it was in Jesus’ time and so could our Lord’s audience.

With all that in mind and the possibility that the man might be dead or a decoy, you could see how the priest and Levite passed by without helping. That the hero turned out to be a Samaritan — must have been quite a shock to the Jews who were great enemies of the Samaritans and vice versa. Remember, two weeks ago we heard how a Samaritan village would not welcome Jesus? (Luke 9:53) Of course, the point of the parable means that we have to help anyone in need, be they mortal enemy or life long friend, because that’s who our neighbor is.

 - Fr. Carl

“We love God, truly in so far as, when finding ourselves
with people who differ from us, we behave graciously to
them, speak charitably of them, are willing to meet them
again, and to do them a kindness.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars