In today’s Gospel, Jesus foretells the destruction of the Temple in AD 70 by the Romans. Some had used the Temple as a good-luck charm. True freedom comes through Jesus Christ. Some periods of history are tougher than others. Even so, there will always be evil. This will be true until the end of time, until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The question is, what do we do with the evil? Do we fight it? Do we give in? We must resist normalizing evil and sin. Just because a lot of people do it, doesn’t make something right. The path to freedom is not by way of condoning sin, but by resisting with the grace and help of Jesus Christ. We do not know the day nor the hour of the Final Judgment, Jesus’ Second Coming. Thus we need to constantly strive to be ready, to strive for holiness.
I pray you had a happy Thanksgiving. Hopefully you had a great time hanging out with family and friends. As Christians we need to cultivate an attitude of thanksgiving in our families. It is easy to go through life striving; striving for a bigger house, a new car, a promotion at work. In some ways, this is a good thing. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we should always strive to be the best version of ourselves. However, sometimes we need to sit back, meditate, evaluate, and thank God for the people, things, and talents we do have. Hopefully you were able to do this this past week.
This weekend is the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. This also means that this coming week is the last week of Ordinary Time. Next Sunday is the beginning of the new year, at least according to the Liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church. Advent marks the beginning of the Liturgical year.
Some might argue that monarchies are a dated government system. That may be in a world of fallen human beings, but in Kingdom of God, it is not. God is a benevolent King. He loves us and only does what is best for us. So when we are wrong, or even the majority is wrong, about what is best for us, God can still do what is best for us. The only thing that limits Him is our free will. He allows Himself to be limited by our free will. He is not going to force anything on us. He offers. We can accept or deny.
Speaking of the Kingdom of God. This past week you heard that the Diocese of Winona-Rochester is declaring bankruptcy. Priests of the diocese have hurt some people in ways we cannot even imagine. Those who have been harmed deserve to be compensated for their pain. As Bishop Quinn indicated in his enclosed letter, He has decided to file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy no later than the end of this month. This legal process will allow the diocese to reorganize our finances in order to provide financial compensation to the victims and to ensure the daily operation of the diocese and the parishes. There will be more information and more details on how the bankruptcy affects our individual parishes in the weeks to come. The trustees and the some members of the pastoral council have been brought up to speed. During this tough time, please refrain from spreading rumors. I think we will have a “town meeting” style gathering in the near future where people can comment and ask questions. I know it is tempting to give up or to give in. The example I use is if your math or science teacher were to do something immoral or illegal. The fact that they did this does not effect the truth of what they taught you. We believe that the Roman Catholic Church is the church started by Jesus Christ and built on the foundation of St. Peter. This has not changed.
Please, please, pray for all of those involved, especially the victims. Please pray for Bishop Quinn as he continues to shepherd us through this tough time.
May God bless and keep you,
In today’s Gospel it says, “…but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose (putting Jesus to death) because all the people were hanging on his words.” There are plenty of people who are willing to tell us what to think and believe: Oprah, Doctor Phil, Ellen, and many others. Jesus said He was the Way, Truth, and the Life. So if we want to know the Truth, we need to hang on Jesus’ words just like His disciples did 2000 years ago. So how do we hang on Jesus’ words? First, read the Bible. Two, pray. Three, read the documents of the Catholic Church. The Truth will set us free. Hang on Jesus’ words.
Today we celebrate the memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary was a Jewish girl. Therefore, she would have been presented to God on the eighth day. Her parents, Joachim and Anne, brought her to the temple and presented her to God. Think about it. She was created by God without the stain of Original Sin. The graces of the Cross was applied to her because the Cross happened both in time and out of time. She was immaculately conceived so that she could be the perfect, pure vessel to house the presence of God for nine months. The Presentation of Mary is one of many milestones for the woman who is the Mother of God, the Mother of Jesus Christ, and our Heavenly Mother. Pray a Rosary today.
First of all, pray for our juniors who are being Confirmed this Sunday, November 18 at 3:30. bishop Quinn will be in Mapleton to do the Confirmation. Pray that our young people open their hearts to the grace of the Holy Spirit.
On Monday, there is the Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service at St. John’s Lutheran in Mapleton at 7 PM. I will be participating. If you can, I encourage you to come.
Thursday is Thanksgiving. We will have Mass at the usual time: 8:30 at St. Teresa’s. There will be Adoration before Mass at 7:30 AM.
There will be no Mass at the nursing home on Friday, nor will be there be Adoration and Mass on Saturday morning. I will be going to Ames to visit my parents. I will be back for Confessions and Mass at St. Matthew in the evening.
In the Gospel, Jesus continues to teach His disciples about the end times. Throughout the last 2000 years, people have tried to predict the end of time, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. So far (obviously) all of them have been wrong. Yes, Jesus talks about being able to read the times, but He finishes with the fact that no one knows the day or the hour. So the point is to always be ready. We do not know when God will end our lives. Are you ready for the end of your life? Are you ready in your relationships, in your finances, and most importantly, are you ready spiritually?
The air now has some bite to it. It is fall and it feels like fall. I think I saw a snow flake or two the other day. I don’t always feel like it, but we need to be thankful that we live in a place that has four full seasons.
This weekend we have the woman who puts two small coins into the temple treasury. Despite the fact that the coins were not worth very much, Jesus declares that the woman has put more than all of the others. Many rich people had put a lot more into the treasury than the woman did, but they had given from their excess wealth, whereas the woman gave all that she had.
We should recognize that the Catholic Church as a divine institution that in a physical world needs to have a physical presence. Thus it requires money to keep up the buildings and the people who make their livelihood working for the Church. However, the greater reason for giving to the Church comes from our own need to become detached to the things of the world and more attached to God.
There is nothing evil in itself in being rich. However, how attached are we to our wealth? What is God asking us to do with our wealth? A million dollars is a million dollars, but for people like Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, to give a million dollars is like you or me giving $5. When I was a lot younger, I had a priest challenge me to give to the point of it making a difference in my life. For the woman in the Gospel, her giving definitely made a difference in her life. She gave all she had. So what would it take for your giving to make a difference in your life? What if you gave to the point of buying one less mocha a week? What if you gave to the point that you had to get a lesser cable package? Does your financial situation look even slightly different because of what you give to the church and to charities? This is my challenge to you and to myself this week.
In today’s Gospel Jesus explains how God looks at sinners. The Pharisees and scribes looked at public sinners like a disease, something, someone to avoid. Jesus tells His followers that public sinners, all sinners, in other words, all of us need to be rescued. At some point, we are all the one sheep that has wondered off. We are all that important. We are all loved that much. Jesus leaves the 99 to rescue just us. Jesus is not about doing the greatest good for the greatest amount of people. Jesus isn’t interested in utilitarianism. He is interested in every single solitary soul. We need to live out of the recognition that God loves each one of us infinitely.