Sunday Readings here.

The hero of today's Gospel is a little Jewish boy. 

He proved himself not only to be smart enough to pack a lunch but also to be among the rarest of individuals. He was willing, after packing his lunch, to give it away.  However, in doing so he once again proved his intelligence because he gave it to Jesus.

You might say that he made a very shrewd investment. He went home with 12 baskets of leftovers after the huge crowd had had their fill.  Because he gave the little he had, we are talking about this miracle to this day.  Let us not forget of course that it was Jesus who mentions that this exhausted mob must be hungry, showing once again that He is interested not only in life after death but also life before death.  He looks towards His disciples to be problem solvers and that’s how this little fellow was found.

Jesus did not embarrass the little boy and his meager offering. He accepted his gifts with ceremony and gratitude. Can you imagine the look on the boy’s face as Jesus starts to share his food with the crowd, and especially as he saw that his lunch never ran out? Maybe Jesus held him up in His arms for the crowd to see. Somehow or other, I think there are some lessons to be learned here.

The next time you are asked for something you feel you cannot give, remember this Jewish boy and think again. Even if your gift is small, know that Christ will receive you and your gift with open arms and do amazing things with it. He will literally use it to feed the world.  But if we hoard the little that we have, we just might prevent Christ from performing one more amazing miracle.  If we find ourselves worrying about whether we have enough money perhaps we should remember this child, and ask ourselves if maybe our worry is a sign that we need to give more away and see what God might do with it. The psalmist says “a child will lead us,” but I leave you with this question, “Are you smarter than a little Jewish boy?”

- Rev. Joseph Maloney, Pastor 

Posted
AuthorCathy Remick

Sunday Readings here

It seems to me that the readings for this weekend reflect on leadership and the fact that we human beings are very much in need of it.

We may not like to admit it, but if we are without leadership we will tend to pretty much flounder around like sheep without a shepherd. We have a great need to come together and to unite around someone who can articulate a unified vision or purpose.  The trouble is that not all visions, even though they may be passionately and clearly articulated, are good for us.  History is filled with examples of people flocking to leaders who are far less than perfect. So the question than becomes what are the qualities that we should look for in a leader. 

Of course, my answer is going to be that first and foremost we should look to Jesus and the type of leadership that He employed. We don’t have to look too closely before we easily conclude that Jesus is among the greatest leaders of all times, but was very different from Adolf Hitler, who is indeed also an example of a powerful leader.  Of course, Jesus is different than Hitler in many ways- perhaps primarily in his example of Christian Leadership. 

Christian leadership is different than any other kind of leadership. It is not based on power; it is based on invitation.  It does not feed off propaganda; it thrives on truth.  It does not oppress or place burdens on people; it sets them free and calls them to rest.  Christian leadership is based on truth, love, freedom, caring, and service.  The Christian leader puts people first, and is willing to sacrifice himself for them. Other leaders do exactly the opposite.  And the bottom line, and for me this is what it’s all about, is that Christian leadership is the most effective kind of leadership.  Don’t think so? Well then let me ask you two questions. Where is Adolf Hitler?  Where is Jesus?  The trouble is that Christian leadership is rarely ever practiced. And it is something to which we are all called by virtue of our Baptism and Confirmation. Yes. We are all called to be leaders. Christian leaders. So how about if we try it sometime?  Let’s live a life that is based on truth, freedom, service, love, and caring, and see what happens.

- Rev. Joseph Maloney, Pastor 

 

Posted
AuthorCathy Remick

Sunday readings here.

If you ask me, evangelism today should be just like the evangelism that we hear about in today’s Gospel.

First, as followers of Christ, we need to understand that we are sent out. We can't simply sit comfortably in our pews, we are called to go work in the field. Second, we need to be humble. The disciples took nothing with them: no bread, no bags and no money. We need to leave our baggage behind and simply invite people to the banquet.  Third, we need to understand that evangelism is all about invitation, and not at all about coercion. Jesus says, "If people don't accept you, shake the dust off your feet and leave." He didn't say to stand and argue with them. He didn't say to condemn them to hell.  He told them to spread the Gospel, sow the seed, and let God do the rest.  Finally, we are to evangelize with compassion. We are not to threaten people with an eternity in hell, or look for reasons why they are bad people and back it up with selected biblical verses.  It is wrong to bash people over the heads with the scriptures and hope for conversion through osmosis. Rather, we are to kindly meet people where they are. We are to use only words that heal and never words that hurt. 

Still, even if we follow all these pointers, our efforts will fall short if we don’t fully understand who we are and what we are about when we set out to evangelize. Why do we come to church? Why do we call ourselves Catholic? Why do we believe that our faith is better than any other? Yes, we need to be evangelists; but we need to understand why we are here in the first place. That doesn't mean we have all the answers, but it does mean that we have better answers than, "Because I've always gone to church, etc." We need to know what draws us, what excites us, what comforts us. And when we know that, and when we truly live the faith in which we profess belief, then and only then, will we be ready to invite others to join us.

- Rev. Joseph Maloney, Pastor 

 

Posted
AuthorCathy Remick

Sunday Readings here. 

There is a story told of a new preacher who came to town, who very quickly developed a reputation for being a very inspiring, enthusiastic preacher who shared his faith joyfully each week. Soon his Church was bulging with new worshipers. Many came back after lengthy absences, many who had never worshiped before were received into the Church, and some even came from other churches. 

There was something so real about his preaching. It was very lively and upbeat, and it was also very solid, authentic, and never watered down. He shared with his congregation that he had a dream of converting everyone in town, and then in the county, and then in the state and beyond. For a time it all seemed so possible. People even talked about the need for a new larger church building. But then, gradually, after a while, things changed.

People changed. Their practice of the faith changed; their beliefs changed. Many of them stopped going to church; after a while it seemed as though everything had changed; but there was something that had not, and that was the preacher. He did not change at all.

He continuously preached the same content in the same way with the same fervor and enthusiasm even though his congregation had now dwindled to just a handful of people. One of his helpers finally began to ask him, how he could keep it up, how he could still so enthusiastically preach about converting the world when there was hardly anyone left in his church.  For quite some time the preacher ignored the question, but one day he did respond.  He said that of course he noticed that his congregation had diminished almost to the point of nonexistence, and that some time ago, he began to realize that maybe he wasn’t going to convert the world.  He said, “Maybe it is true I will never convert the world, but I am going to continue to preach God’s message with the same fervor and the same zeal as ever. Just because I am not converting the world does not mean that I will ever let the world convert me.”

And he continued preaching in the same way until he died.  Some people who used to listen to him preach, out of respect did come to his funeral. They acknowledged that although they eventually went a different way, they never doubted that when they were in his church, that a prophet was among them. So what about us?  We are all called to be prophets, to be witnesses to the truths that come to us from God. Ultimately, we cannot control what other people do with the message we present to them with our lives. All we can do is to make sure that we keep the faith. Therein lies the victory.

- Rev. Joseph Maloney, Pastor 

 

Posted
AuthorCathy Remick

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Sunday Readings here.

The practical lesson of the doctrine of the Trinity is that since we are made in the image and likeness of God, the more we understand God the more we understand ourselves. Therefore, the question for us to ask today is: What does the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity tell us about the kind of God we worship and what does this say about the kind of people we should be?

On this, I have two points to share with you. (1) God does not exist as a solitary individual but in a community of love and sharing. God is not a loner. This means that a Christian in search of Godliness (Matthew 5:48) must shun every tendency to isolationism. The ideal Christian spirituality is not that of flight from the world like that of certain Buddhist monastic traditions, where the quest for holiness means permanent withdrawal away from contact and involvement with people and society. 

(2)   Three is not a crowd. You remember the old saying “Two is company, three is a crowd.” The Trinity shows us that three is community, three is love at its best; three is not a crowd. Taking an example from the human condition we see that when  man A is in love with a woman B they seal the loving by producing baby C. Father, mother and child -- love when it is perfected becomes a trinity. 

We are made in God’s image and likeness. Just as God is God only in a Trinitarian relationship, so we can be fully human only in a relationship of three persons. The self needs to be in a horizontal relationship with others and a vertical relationship with God. In that way our life becomes Trinitarian like that of God. Then we discover that the so-called “I-and-I” principle of unbridled individualism which is acceptable in modern society leaves so much to be desired. The doctrine of the Blessed Trinity challenges us to adopt rather an I-and-God-and-neighbor principle. I am a Christian insofar as I live in a relationship of love with God and other people. May the grace of the Holy Trinity help us to banish all traces of self-centeredness in our lives and to live in love of God and of neighbor.

- Rev. Joseph Maloney, Pastor 

Posted
AuthorCathy Remick