To watch Deacon Andy’s homily for the Fifth Sunday of Easter: CLICK HERE!
To watch Fr. Joe’s homily for the Fifth Sunday of Easter, also the date that we celebrated the First Eucharist for 25 children: CLICK HERE!
Today we hear Jesus share, “I am the Vine.” The point is we are all connected with our God and with one another in so many ways as family and friends, as neighbors and parishioners, as a diocese, nation and global community.
This past week, Parishioners received from the Diocese a small pamphlet sharing some of the areas where the Annual Bishop’s Appeal supports… and then there is the “ask”… Asking for our financial support, that was reinforced by a mailing from the Parish that included a Bishop’s Appeal envelope, that we are asking every family of the Parish to complete and return within the next months or so.
St. Mary’s has been and continues to put its words into action by caring for others, in many ways, including through your support of the Bishop’s Appeal every year and for that I and especially the people assisted, say: Thank you!
Please do what you can for the 2018 Bishop’s Appeal… every gift is important.
If possible, it is hoped your 2018 Bishop’s Appeal Gift will be the same as last year. If you were unable to support the Bishop’s Appeal last year, we ask you to seriously consider a financial gift to help those in need in our Diocese in the coming year. (We need all the Parish to participate)
As a wise person reminds us, “Alone we can do so little; Together we can do so much.”
You know, in each of our lives, we speak of many good and noble things each day. Sometimes our follow through is spot on and at other times not what it might be.
Whether it be our personal life, our family life, our faith life… Just maybe we need to hear again the second reading for today, but we will use the children’s reading for the Mass, that we will be using at the First Communion Mass this weekend: “Children, you show love for others by truly helping them, and not merely by talking about it.”
In our First Reading today from the Acts of the Apostles we hear of the inability of the Disciples of Jesus to care adequately for all the people. And their response is to seek the input – the discernment of the entire community to resolve the problem. And the outcome was the seven men were to be selected to take care of this ministry to those in need.
My guess is their “town meeting” was full of many possible ideas as to how to serve their brothers and sisters. For the early Christian community understood that the mission of caring and love for God and others was not an option but a responsibility of believers, for the followers of Jesus Christ. The cooperation of the people brought about good results, good fruit.
As baptized people, as believers of today, 2017, WE in this time and place are asked to continue the Mission and Ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
A Mission and Ministry that continues to grow, and meets the needs of today; not just our needs, but the needs of our brothers and sisters in any number of ways.
It can be easy to forget this or to feel we have done our part. But the need to continue the Mission and Ministry of the Gospel is really not an option for we the present day Disciples of Jesus.
Jesus trusts us with his Mission and affirms our potential. But there is a question that we need to ask: is our faith a one hour commitment to the Lord each week OR is our faith an integral part of our lives 24/7?
One on one and as a Parish Community, the needs of others unfolds before us in so many ways daily:
- in a request from a stranger for some money for a cup of coffee
- in a letter from an inmate, requesting greeting cards and stamps
- in a request for a financial gift for the Bishop’s Appeal that assists the people and Parishes of our Diocese in so many ways
- in giving someone a ride to the doctor or church
- in visiting the sick
And on the list continues – today, tomorrow, and into the future.
This week, may we make the effort to live our faith twenty-four hours a day, every day.
And by the way, be ready of the good fruit it will bear!
As people of faith, we know our lives are to be directed not just by knowing the 10 Commandments or the Great Commandment to love God and love others as one self, but by living these Commandments.
Today St. John reminds us of “The New Commandment” that Jesus gave to his disciples. Not a Commandment that replaces the other Commandments, rather a Commandment that reminds us of our duty toward others. Says Jesus: LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Notice that this Commandment focuses on our fellow brothers and sisters. This “New Commandment” is a call to ACTION. Concrete actions of love that are so astounding that even in a skeptical world one might hear, “See how they love one another.”
For sure we love our family and friends… but how does that love for our fellow human being concretely happen in our lives as person, family, parish and Church each day? It happens when we reach out in spontaneous ways or planned efforts to assist others, to be with others, to listen to others, as Faithful Disciples of Jesus.
It happens when we donate to food pantries, when we visit a Food Pantry to assist in serving a meal.
It happens when we drop off used clothing that others might use.
It happens when we visit the sick and spend time with someone who needs us to be present to them.
It happens when we give money to assist in times of tragedy and need.
It happens when we roll up our sleeves to be with others in “rebuilding” their home or their lives.
Today, every day, may we become more and more conscious of the moments of opportunity that come our way where we, or others in our name, show love for our brothers and sisters – with our time, talent and even our money.
Maybe this week, we can look for the ways God’s love has been, is, and can be seen in yourself, in your family, in this Parish family, in our family of faith… by the actions of love we do everyday…
What followed in Church at the end of the Homily was a short video about the Bishop’s Appeal 2016 and who the Bishop’s Appeal is about: US as Person, Family and Parish caring and loving our Brothers and Sisters in the Diocese of Albany during the coming year in ways that we on our own could not accomplish, but together are capable of much good work, much love.
“See How they Love One Another!”
That’s what our support of the Bishop’s Appeal In the coming 3-4 weeks makes happen in our Diocese of the coming year!
Please do what you can in the coming weeks to financially support the 2015 Bishop’s Appeal by returning your Bishop’s Appeal envelope with your outright gift or pledge.
Scripture Readings: Acts of the Apostles 9:26-31 1 John 3:18-24 John 15:1-8
This weekend our St. Mary’s Parish, Crescent celebrates First Communion with our Parish Children.
I am sure we all remember our First Communion Day.
How we got “dressed up.” How we anticipated receiving First Communion for the first time. How you celebrated your First Communion Day. How you looked forward to your second and third and fourth Communion.
Of course others have made First Communion before us and many will make First Communion after us. I would hope that family or parish celebrations of First Communion not only remind us of a day in the past, but give us the opportunity to share our memories of First Communion and living our faith over the years with others, especially our children.
In a day and age, when weekly Mass attendance is becoming less and less, maybe First Communions are God’s way of reminding us adults that through frequent Communion – God wants us to be connected to us, God cares for us, God loves us.
We need the Eucharist in our lives often, to remind us that we need God to be an integral part of our lives lest we begin to think that we are God.
And Breaking News: We are not God!
By inviting Jesus in our lives every week through our reception of Communion, the Lord Jesus helps us grow as persons, families & Parishes of:
Love… Joy… Peace… Goodness… Faithfulness… and more…
What God gives us… God’s life and love and so much more thru Holy Communion, we are meant to give away to others daily.
Our God is a generous God who loves us so much that he wants us to have it all. God has a bigger and better plan for each of us and all of us, as we continue to grow as the Body of Christ in today’s world. A world that needs every one of us to bring Jesus to every person and place that we walk every day.
Jesus comes to you and me in the Eucharist so that we will more faithfully keep his Commandments, do what pleases God, and love God and others in our actions daily.
“Children: Let us always love God and others in deed and truth!”
Scripture Readings: Acts of the Apostles 6:1-7; 1 Peter 2:4-9; John 14: 1-12
“Amen, Amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these,” says Jesus in today’s Gospel Reading.
40 Years ago there was a group of university students who decided to find every verse in the Bible that spoke of the works that God called us to do.
It turned out to their great surprise that they all related to issues of: justice, care of the poor, the abandoned, and the neglected. That amounted to over 2,000 texts.
The works that I do, the works that we do, are meant to be the very ones Jesus did: healing the sick, washing the feet of others, feeding the multitudes, and throwing arms of forgiveness around prodigal sons and daughters.
Robert F. Kennedy once wrote:
“Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, they send forth a tiny ripple of hope.”
You and I are not Jesus and will probably not heal sick people as Jesus did, but we can certainly be attentive to them.
You and I are not Jesus and are probably not going to raise anyone from the dead, but we can grieve with those who have lost a loved one.
You and I are probably not going to solve the problems of the day, like human trafficking, the rise in heroin addiction, or income inequity, to name just three issues of the day… BUT… what we can do is to act with courage to become a tiny ripple of hope, that joined with others, can become again as Robert F. Kennedy shared, “a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
We believe, as least I hope we do, that we belong to God. We are his presence in the world in which we live. We are his face, his voice, his hands, his feet, his heart.
And how do we do this? By doing the very works that Jesus does.
And how do we know what these works should be?
Ask yourself this question, “What in the world today most breaks your heart, most offends your sense of justice, most inspires passion within you?” DO THAT!