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Readings: October 22, 2017, 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

All readings from The Message Bible (© 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson )

  • Isaiah 45: 1, 4-6

             The God Who Forms Light and Darkness

God’s Message to his anointed, to Cyrus, whom he took by the hand to give the task of taming the nations, of terrifying their kings— He gave him free rein, no restrictions: “I’ll go ahead of you, clearing and paving the road. I’ll break down bronze city gates, smash padlocks, kick down barred entrances.

It’s because of my dear servant Jacob, Israel my chosen, that I’ve singled you out, called you by name, and given you this privileged work. And you don’t even know me! I am God, the only God there is. Besides me there are no real gods. I’m the one who armed you for this work, though you don’t even know me, so that everyone, from east to west, will know that I have no god-rivals.

I am God, the only God there is. I form light and create darkness, I make harmonies and create discords. I, God, do all these things.

  • 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5b

I, Paul, together here with Silas and Timothy, send greetings to the church at Thessalonica, Christians assembled by God the Father and by the Master, Jesus Christ. God’s amazing grace be with you! God’s robust peace!

     Convictions of Steel

Every time we think of you, we thank God for you. Day and night you’re in our prayers as we call to mind your work of faith, your labor of love, and your patience of hope in following our Master, Jesus Christ, before God our Father. It is clear to us, friends, that God not only loves you very much but also has put his hand on you for something special. When the Message we preached came to you, it wasn’t just words. Something happened in you. The Holy Spirit put steel in your convictions.

You paid careful attention to the way we lived among you, and determined to live that way yourselves. In imitating us, you imitated the Master. Although great trouble accompanied the Word, you were able to take great joy from the Holy Spirit!—taking the trouble with the joy, the joy with the trouble.

  • Matthew 22:15-21

          Paying Taxes

That’s when the Pharisees plotted a way to trap him into saying something damaging. They sent their disciples, with a few of Herod’s followers mixed in, to ask, “Teacher, we know you have integrity, teach the way of God accurately, are indifferent to popular opinion, and don’t pander to your students. So tell us honestly: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

Jesus knew they were up to no good. He said, “Why are you playing these games with me? Why are you trying to trap me? Do you have a coin? Let me see it.” They handed him a silver piece.

“This engraving—who does it look like? And whose name is on it?”

They said, “Caesar.”

“Then give Caesar what is his, and give God what is his.”

 

 

Reflection from Fr. Taylor: October 22, 2017, 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The scripture readings remind us today that when God calls leaders, even political leaders, they are instruments of His love and service, and they are accountable for the way they care for their people.

Isaiah was addressing the Israelites during the time of exile in Babylon when life was really harsh and depressing. The Lord called Cyrus to be His instrument of salvation to the people. The prophet sees this as divine intervention done for the sake of his people.

In the Gospel Jesus compares the image of Caesar with the image of God. We are called to live with courage God’s image of, the human heart, mind, and soul  to God.  The political and material world happens under God’s domain. We are all instruments of His service and are called to serve the kingdom.

The fact that the world today has such dire needs is a result of poor stewardship, and lack of concern and care for all of God’s children. Achieving God’s Kingdom is an uphill  struggle, but it is worth the price. Each day God reminds us that we are moral decision makers. We have a choice, and we have a decision to make. These decisions have real consequences not only for us but for others.

We should always start with the two commandments, Love of God and Love of Neighbor. We should make Jesus the center if our lives. If indeed Jesus is the center of our lives, and this earth is a gift from God, we will  always try to be good stewards. Not only for our own possessions, but in sharing them with all of God’s children.

 

Bulletin, October 22, 2017, 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings: October 15, 2017, 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

All readings from The Message Bible © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

  • Isaiah 25:6-10

Here on this mountain, God-of-the-Angel-Armies will throw a feast for all the people of the world, a feast of the finest foods, a feast with vintage wines, a feast of seven courses, a feast lavish with gourmet desserts. And here on this mountain, God will banish the pall of doom hanging over all peoples, the shadow of doom darkening all nations. Yes, he’ll banish death forever. And God will wipe the tears from every face. He’ll remove every sign of disgrace from his people, wherever they are. Yes! God says so!

Also at that time, people will say, “Look at what’s happened! This is our God! We waited for him and he showed up and saved us!    This God, the one we waited for! Let’s celebrate, sing the joys of his salvation. God’s hand rests on this mountain!”

  • Philippians 4:12-20

          Content Whatever the Circumstances

I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. I don’t mean that your help didn’t mean a lot to me—it did. It was a beautiful thing that you came alongside me in my troubles.

You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity. Yes.

  • Matthew 22:1-14

            The Story of the Wedding Banquet

Jesus responded by telling still more stories. “God’s kingdom,” he said, “is like a king who threw a wedding banquet for his son. He sent out servants to call in all the invited guests. And they wouldn’t come! He sent out another round of servants, instructing them to tell the guests, ‘Look, everything is on the table, the prime rib is ready for carving. Come to the feast!’

“They only shrugged their shoulders and went off, one to weed his garden, another to work in his shop. The rest, with nothing better to do, beat up on the messengers and then killed them. The king was outraged and sent his soldiers to destroy those thugs and level their city.

“Then he told his servants, ‘We have a wedding banquet all prepared but no guests. The ones I invited weren’t up to it. Go out into the busiest intersections in town and invite anyone you find to the banquet.’ The servants went out on the streets and rounded up everyone they laid eyes on, good and bad, regardless. And so the banquet was on—every place filled.

“When the king entered and looked over the scene, he spotted a man who wasn’t properly dressed. He said to him, ‘Friend, how dare you come in here looking like that!’ The man was speechless. Then the king told his servants, ‘Get him out of here—fast. Tie him up and ship him to hell. And make sure he doesn’t get back in.’

“That’s what I mean when I say, ‘Many get invited; only a few make it.’”

 

From the Archives of Fr. Metzler’s Homilies: 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

A142OT28_1_cf03_4cIsaiah 25:6-10   Philippians 4:12-20   Matthew 22:1-14

“I Cannot Come to the Banquet”

The parable of the wedding feast has all the ingredients of a good story. There is the ‘larger than life element’ – not one or two guests failed to turn up but every last one of them. Then there are those who put on airs getting their payback and the triumph of the ‘little people’ when their attitude of putting on airs was scoffed at by the people from the streets who took their place.

There is the humor of imagining what it must have been like when you comb the streets to fill the seats: some of them won’t know what fork to use, who must have found themselves sitting next to whom.

Finally there is the shock ending which brings one up short. In spite of the open door policy, someone is turned away.

So the king’s true colors come through! And then the parallels kick in: salvation is rejected by those groomed for it, but you don’t receive God’s grace just by default – it places upon you an obligation of some seriousness.

But, of course, it is not a story. It is a parable of how our seeking of the ultimate banquet of God will go if we are not careful. You can’t assume you will simply get there because you belong; and just because those won’t get there just because they think they have a lock on it, doesn’t mean that we will inherit it by default.

One of the most dangerous temptations for traditional Christians is an easy assumption that they have responded to God’s invitation and are now comfortably seated at the banquet table waiting for their final and inevitable reward. This temptation is so insidious because it really is based on the fact of faithful religious observance.

Our lovely wedding garment begins to look somewhat soiled and shabby, when we begin to probe our hidden prejudices. Most of us claim not to be prejudiced, of course, but It’s almost certain that such a claim is in fact the worst prejudice of all, because it means that we’re not even conscious of our biases. It’s much better to be aware of them so that we can at least try to correct our attitudes.

It’s just those traditional and confident Christian communities that are most likely to be burdened by racism and sexism. It’s so easy to forget that Jesus associated freely and lovingly with all kinds of people who were considered unworthy by the “upright” folks of his day. The Samaritan of today would probably be the gay and the transvestite person. Until recently, they were them true outcasts.

This reminds us that the true characteristics of followers of Jesus are love and tolerance and respect for others, regardless of their social status or perceived unworthiness.

This doesn’t at all imply that one should condone unseemly behavior. But we should spend at least as much time removing the log from our own eye as in searching for the speck in our neighbor’s eye. Pride is such an insidious spiritual virus that it can spoil even our best efforts. I find it helpful to consider that definition of pride which notes that it is not so much the tendency to think too much of oneself as it is to think too little of others. How we think of others, and how tolerant we are of their shortcomings, will tell us a lot about whether we think too highly of ourselves.

 

Reflection from Fr. Taylor: October 15, 2017, 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Isaiah 25:6-10   Philippians 4:12-20   Matthew 22:1-14

In the Bible the image of a wedding garment is often used to represent the essential elements of our life in Jesus Christ. It is as a garment of salvation, of obedience, and of purity.

We know the familiar story in John’s Gospel in the 2nd chapter. The wedding hosts were not quite prepared for
the celebration. Actually the Gospel is not about a party at all but it is about our being prepared for the feast of everlasting life.

If we were to apply this parable today, it could look something like this. There are Folks who come to church primarily for show and have no intention of following the Lord. Each Sunday we have to ask ourselves have I
come to this Eucharistic feast with my heart properly dressed. Have I come to attend without thinking about how the bread of life is meant to help me change my heart and be a person different than I’ve ever been before.

Being properly dressed in this context means being open to the Lord’s graces and blessings. Without this preparation we can lose Jesus with the power and love which is at the heart of the Eucharistic Celebration. We
actually would not be thrown out of church as in the gospel story, but it is a warning that if we don’t take the Eucharist seriously we risk not having the grace and the strength that we need to face the challenges and crosses
of each day.

As we attend Mass today let us have an open heart. We must be willing to tell Jesus that we need Him in so many areas of our life. Let us not be in arrush to run out of Mass today on to something else. We remain in prayer
and devotion.

It is a great honor and a blessing to serve as a minister torserve on the altar of Jesus Christ. We should be here early, properlyrdressed, and in a spiritual way prepared to be an essential part of the Eucharistic celebration. Everyone from Greeter, to Choir, to Lectors, to EucharisticrMinisters, Cantors, and Acolyte. You know that you are an essential part of the Sunday Worship experience.

Each Mass is a reminder of thergreat Wedding Banquet that will come when Jesus returns in glory. So if we keep our spiritual garment on now we will be ready when Jesus comes.

28th Sunday In Ordinary Time, October 15, 2017

In Memoriam: Elsie Keane

Elsie Keane

d. October 7, 2017

May she rest in peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elsie Keane    Edna Tomko     Lorraine Klein

School Cafeteria

From the Archives of Fr. Metzler’s Homilies: 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

A139OT27_2_cf03_4c

Isaiah 5:1-7    Philippians 2:1-11    Matthew 21:33-43

Paul writes in Philippians 4:6-9: “Brothers and sisters: Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.”

Paul, in his beautiful letter to the Church at Philippi, encourages Christians at all times to rejoice, regardless of the situation, and asks them in this passage today to throw their concerns upon God with “prayer and petition, with thanksgiving”. He encourages them to “have no anxiety at all” and to let the “peace of God that surpasses all understanding… guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”.

Paul certainly had a right to express these feelings; as the Apostle commissioned by the Risen Lord, whose rock-solid faith was able to allow him to endure imprisonment, beatings, humiliation, and the loss of all things.

But, in second Corinthians, Paul speaks of being “under daily pressure because of my anxiety for all the churches.” In 1 Thessalonians, Paul speaks twice of not being able to “bear” separation from the Thessalonians any longer. Paul, too, struggled with anxiety, especially for his Churches.

Indeed, some have made the intriguing suggestion that the “thorn in the flesh” which Paul says he was given, about which he writes in second Corinthians, might not be a physical illness at all, but anxiety itself. This is hard to prove, but it does point to the very real struggle Paul himself had with anxiety.

Anxiety in a religious context is a lack of dependence on God, or trust that God is on your side, that God is at work in us, that God cares for us.

What is the solution to this anxiety? What is Paul’s own prescription? In addition to prayer, Paul says to place oneself completely in God’s hands. And then, to focus on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things”. In other words, don’t short-change God by selfishness, discrimination toward others, dishonesty, or injustice. Our Gospel story today is a reminder about returning to the vine grower what is His due.

This doesn’t indicate that anxiety will never again strike Paul, but that he does have a prescription for how to deal with it when it does strike. It is sometimes easier to know the prescription, though, than to take it.

These past several months have had to have been among the most anxious times our parish has encountered financially for many years. Anxiety, especially my anxiety, rises to unbelievable levels at these times. Things even like prayer becomes harder to do.

Likewise, focusing on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable,” The peace that surpasses all understanding seems farther and farther away.

It is at times — and now in months, like these — that I am glad that Paul gave to us his own struggles, his own humanity, because it seems more possible, more likely, at a strictly human level, to want to try, one more time, the prescription he left to us, since he needed to use it himself. (John W. Martens © 2008 America Press Inc.)

27th Sunday In Ordinary Time, October 8, 2017