Friday, September 23, 2016

Cheerful Giving

Dear Parishioners,

My old boss in the Navy used to say, “The best surprise is no surprise.” Usually that’s true, especially if the surprise isn’t good news. Last Sunday at the 10 o’clock Mass, I was surprised by our Knights of Columbus. I knew they were going to make a donation to the kitchen/hall renovation project, but the check was much more than I expected. It was for $30,000.00! Knights thank you ever so much for your generosity.

In this week’s gospel (Luke 16:19-31), the rich man experienced a very different surprise after he died. Back in those times, wealth was thought to be a sign of God’s favor and that the person had a good relationship with the Lord. The rich man did not, and upon his death, he found himself in Hell because of his greed and insensitivity to poor Lazarus. Had he shown some generosity and concern for Lazarus, he too would have been welcomed by Abraham.

May we be grateful for God’s blessings and share what we can with the poor. As St. Paul tells us, “God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor 9:7)

- Fr. Carl

“People talk about Lazarus who had the joy of
entertaining the Divine Saviour in his home; but
Lazarus only had him by his side, while we, if we will,
may have him in our heart just as often as we wish.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, September 16, 2016

Generosity

Dear Parishioners,

Halleluia! The hall/kitchen renovation is complete. Those of you who saw it last weekend know how nicely it was done. I appreciate the members of the committee who worked on the planning and over-sight team: Mike Wist, John Sullivan, Mike Little, Carlita Unger, Dave Horvath, and Gerry Rather. They put in many hours and came up with a wonderful plan. I also appreciate the Knights of Columbus who not only cleaned the chairs but also put on the protective chair boots to protect the floor. All we have to do now is treat everything with care.

The gospel this week reminds us that we are God’s stewards (Luke 16:1-13). All we have ultimately comes from him. It comes from his generosity. None of us can match God’s generosity to us. He held nothing back not even his son. However, he does expect us to do what we can in our treatment of others sharing with them our time, talent, and treasure. The psalm response tells us the Lord lifts up the poor. I believe he also lifts up those who are generous to the poor as well. At least that’s what Jesus says about the final judgement about feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, and clothing the naked, etc.

- Fr. Carl

“A MERCHANT does not consider the trouble he undergoes in
his commerce, but the prof it he gains by it.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, September 9, 2016

Mercy and the Prodigal Son

Dear Parishioners,

It’s all about Mercy. In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we finally have a Sunday where all the readings deal with mercy. In the first reading (Exodus 32:7-11,13-14), Moses pleads for the Israelites who have merited God’s wrath by worshiping the golden calf. So in his mercy, God relented. The psalmist also calls not only for God’s mercy but also a clean heart and a steadfast spirit (Ps 51:3-4, 12-13, 17, 19). St. Paul, in his letter to Timothy (Timothy 1:12-17), rejoices in the fact that God has treated him mercifully. And finally, we hear the famous parable of the “Prodigal Son” and his merciful father who not only forgives his selfish, wasteful, and inconsiderate son, but holds a great celebration to welcome him home (Luke 15:1-32).

In view of all this mercy in the readings, it would seem that we are all called to receive God’s mercy in the sacrament of Penance as soon as possible, and on a frequent and regular basis as the Church recommends.

- Fr. Carl

P. S. Once we receive God’s mercy, we need to show that same mercy to others. It’s only just.

“To what outrages does our Lord expose himself in the
Blessed Sacrament that he may remain in the midst of us! He
is there to console us, and therefore we ought often to visit him.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, September 2, 2016

What's God’s Plan?

Dear Parishioners,

“Plan your work and then work your plan.” That was an old saying we had in the Navy to accomplish our tasks whether they were easy or difficult. That’s good advice in human affairs but also in spiritual affairs as well. The key in both areas is to find the plans of our boss so that our plans lead to his/her goals. The reading from Wisdom (Wisdom 9:13-18b) tells us that God’s plans are superior to ours and need the Lord’s guidance to have a positive outcome.

In the gospel (Luke 14:25-33), Jesus reveals God’s plan for us—to become his disciples no matter what. In some cases, “the no matter what” will result in alienation from our closest family members. We need to always remember that. If not, we might not be able to withstand their hatred for us when we choose God’s ways over theirs.

Basically, our plan is to enter into a committed loving relationship with Jesus and loving our brothers and sisters. And each day, we should remember that plan and ask ourselves each morning “How am I going to work that plan today?”

- Fr. Carl

“Where are the Christians today who would be ready, I do not
say to give their lives for God, but even to put up with the least
unpleasantness or inconvenience rather than disobey Him?”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

Friday, August 26, 2016

Catholic Olympians

Dear Parishioners,

The Olympics are over, and the United States did very well. However, what impressed me the most was a story dealing with the Christian faith of some of the athletes. The world’s fastest runner, Usain Bolt, makes the sign of the cross before each race and offers a silent prayer; he wears a miraculous medal, proudly reveals his middle name, Usain St. Leo Bolt, and is very open about his Catholic faith. The wonderful gymnast, Simone Bailes (4 gold medals and one silver), travels with a statue of St. Sebastian, patron saint of athletes, carries a rosary given by her mother, and is up front about her faith and not shy about giving public testimony about her faith. Katie Ledecky, the great swimmer from Bethesda/Silver Spring, with 4 gold and one silver medal who prays a Hail Mary before each race says, “My Catholic faith is very important to me. It always has been and always will be.” Unlike some of our so-called Catholic politicians who don’t stand up for the faith, these athletes do. We can be very proud of them and hope to imitate their faith, even if we can’t imitate their athletic achievements.

As I indicated at several of the Masses last week, we are coming down the home stretch on our parish kitchen/hall renovation project. Last week, the last of the tiles were removed from the hall, the asbestos was abated, and air samples proved that all is asbestos-free. Currently, the hall is being painted, and next week the new tiles will be installed. The kitchen equipment is being set up and calibrated tomorrow. Hopefully, we will be ready to open on September 10 and 11.

Finally, I would like to thank our Knights of Columbus for power washing the chairs for the hall. They worked hard so that the chairs will match the fresh beauty of our new hall and kitchen.

Thank you, Jesus, for your assistance, guidance, and support throughout this whole project.

- Fr. Carl

“To be loved by God, to be united to God, to live in the Presence of
God, to live for God! Oh! how wonderful life is—and death!”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars

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