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July 14, 2009

July 15th Holy Spirit Novena
Scripture selection is Day 5 Period II.

The Novena Rosary Mysteries  
for July 15th are Luminous.

   

 

Homily from Fr. Barth on July 13th

 

Exodus 1: 8-14, 22

Then there came to power in Egypt a new king who had never heard of Joseph. 'Look,' he said to his people, 'the Israelites are now more numerous and stronger than we are. We must take precautions to stop them from increasing any further, or if war should break out, they might join the ranks of our enemies. They might take arms against us and then escape from the country.' Accordingly they put taskmasters over the Israelites to wear them down by forced labour. In this way they built the store-cities of Pithom and Rameses for Pharaoh. But the harder their lives were made, the more they increased and spread, until people came to fear the Israelites. So the Egyptians gave them no mercy in the demands they made, making their lives miserable with hard labour: with digging clay, making bricks, doing various kinds of field-work-all sorts of labour that they imposed on them without mercy.

Pharaoh then gave all his people this command: 'Throw every new-born boy into the river, but let all the girls live.'

   

Matthew 10: 34 - 11:1

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth: it is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword. For I have come to set son against father, daughter against mother, daughter-in-law against mother-in-law; a person's enemies will be the members of his own household.

'No one who prefers father or mother to me is worthy of me. No one who prefers son or daughter to me is worthy of me. Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me. Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.

'Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 'Anyone who welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will have a prophet's reward; and anyone who welcomes an upright person because he is upright will have the reward of an upright person. 'If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, then in truth I tell you, he will most certainly not go without his reward.'

When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples he moved on from there to teach and preach in their towns.

 

  

July 13, 2009

Homily by Fr. Barth

    If you are a daily Mass goer, you have been caught up with all of us, who have been coming to daily Mass in the great epic of Joseph and all that unfolds thereafter — Joseph, not the step-father of the Lord, but Joseph of the coat of many color fame. And today we meet up once again of that continuing saga, hearing what? Hearing salvation history unfold — the unfolding of salvation history.

    One of things, that we as believers do, as we retell the stories of salvation's history, because in that story, we find our own story. In case you have not been able to come and to praise and give thanks to the Lord at daily Mass, maybe a little filling in of the gap might be important.

    Recall the story of Joseph, he had many brothers, but he was the favorite, and so the brothers were jealous, and so ultimately when Joseph receives this very special gift from his father, this coat of many colors, they had finally had enough, the brothers that is — and so thank goodness because of an older brother, who persuade them not to just kill him and feed him to the animals, they end up throwing him into a well, and then ultimately Joseph is sold into slavery.

    Joseph, ultimately ends up in Egypt and there he is thrown into prison, but he is known to be an interpreter of dreams. One of Pharaoh's steward is there in prison with him. But when the steward returns to the Pharaoh's service, the Pharaoh is plagued by a dream, and he goes from seer to seer to try to find out what the dream is about and he finally, because of the steward's testimony, ends up at the prison with Joseph. And it is Joseph who interprets the dream. Ultimately what happens — Joseph becomes the one who is the Pharaoh's steward, chief steward, right hand person, in charge of all Egypt.

    And there ensues upon the land a great famine. Even Joseph's own family suffers from the famine, and so when his brothers come down to see Joseph, not knowing it was Joseph, to gain some of the grain — Joseph says, "Well, you know what, you are going to leave this brother of yours here and you are going to go back and fetch your father, and bring him here and then I will give you grain." The unfolding of salvation history, my dear friends in Christ, because this is the way that the Israelites end up in Egypt.

    Now we meet up in the story, with a Pharaoh who knows nothing of Joseph, and this King as he looks out upon the land, what is he seeing? We hear him becoming afraid and his fear is spoken — look - as we look out over the land, look at what's happening — Egyptians decreasing in population — Israelites increasing in population greatly. We are in jeopardy he says. We need to do something about this so that the increase in population of the Israelites who might sell us out to our enemies, might be curtailed.

    And so the Israelites are subjected to labor, hard labor. No longer favored people in the land, but ultimately as they continue to increase, even though they are under labor, forced labor — they are then made even into the slaves of the land, doing the taskmaster's bidding, the bidding of the Egyptians. Interesting, huh?

    It's still the unfolding of salvation history, and indeed it is ultimately at the end of this reading, that we hear that what's happening to the first born. They are going to be cast into the waters and killed, the boys — the children that are being born — the male children. Okay we can step back and say oh well we know the rest of the story, don't we? It ends up leading to Moses, and Moses by God's strong right hand, leading them out of Egypt and out of slavery. It's the unfolding of salvation history, my dear friends in Christ.

    And in it then is an instruction of us who gather here. We meet up with the Israelites today in a time of hardship and woe — a time of burdensome labor and difficulty, a time when if you look on the surface, you might say "God where are You in all this? Where have You gone? What has happened? But when you look beyond the surface, what happens? You see a people who are increasing, a people who are still experiencing blessings from God, a people who ultimately are part of the unfolding of salvation history, so that not just that an individual might be saved, but a nation of God's own making.

    This is our story as well. Can not we attest to times, when we have had hardship and woe? Can we not attest to times when we have experienced something less than what we would maybe expect that God would provide for us? Aren't we sometimes people who also kind of wonder - scratch our head - and perhaps even moan and groan, and complain before the Lord — Where have You gone?

    And so the first lesson that we learn this day, is that we need to look beyond the surface, because for us who are God's chosen ones, God is always active and alive in our lives, bringing about our salvation — even in the midst of woe, even in the midst of difficulty, there are lots of wondrous things that are happening. It's just that we haven't taken note of them, and sometimes it's because the things that are wondrous are not extra ordinary, but are ordinary. We just take it for granted.

    Here is one example of something I think that we take for granted. And we pay no attention to and yet it is a blessing at every moment of our lives. Take a deep breath, my dear friends in Christ. Go ahead, do it. (Breathe) Perfectly mixed air, so that it might indeed nourish us with oxygen for our bodies. Who created it? Who holds it in existents right now — so that it might be available for us? You can't get more ordinary than air, but it is a wondrous gift from God for us, for our lives and even in the midst of difficulty and woe, it's there, isn't it?

    We just need to open our eyes so that we can become a more Eucharistic people, a people of thanks-giving, for even in the midst of woe and difficulty, God is always present and sustaining us and upholding us, and moving our history and the history of humanity, ever closer to salvation, because salvation is God's will for us and for all of humanity. Look upon the cross, if you don't believe me. This is the length to which our God goes, so that not just that we might be saved but it is a universal offer of salvation for all of humanity.

    The second and important lesson that we learn from our history of salvation that we are hearing unfold in the first readings, in these daily liturgies — is just who is in control? In whose hands are our lives and all of history held? Is it not in the God of Israel, is it not in the hands of the God who saves? Is it not in God's hands who we know to be Triune — Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

    And if it is in God's hands, we who gather here, who trust in God, must always have hope — because when it's in God's hands — it is in the best of hands. When it is in God's hands, we know that salvation history will continue to unfold, for us, for those that we love, and indeed for all of humanity. When it is in God's hands, indeed we know that God's will, will be brought to fulfillment, for who is like God?

    And so in hearing salvation's history, we are spurred on to be a people of hope, but a people who hope not in vain, but a people who know the wondrous things that God has done in the past, and that those wondrous things continue in the here and now, and will be present for us and done for us and even into the future. Our future, and to the future of those who will come after us, those already present, who represent our futures, and those who will come even after this little one.

    In God's hands all things reside. Salvation history, our history tells us that God is always present to us, sustaining us, and unfolding salvation for us. Let us truly be a Eucharistic, hopeful people, a people of thanksgiving and hope. And let us take this thanksgiving in hope to this altar, where all that God has for us, salvation and life everlasting is offered to us in the very present of Christ himself, given to us as real food and real drink.

    And let us then go forth from this place, being that Eucharistic, hopeful people, invigorated by the presence of Christ, so that others might come to know of the wonders of our God, and that they too might come to be a Eucharistic, hopeful people and praising, and giving thanks to God and being swept up, as we are, into the very unfolding of salvation history.

 

  

  

  

 

   

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July 31, 1994

Words of Jesus to Members of
Shepherds of Christ Associates:

"My beloved priest-companion, I intend to use the priestly newsletter, Shepherds of Christ, and the movement, Shepherds of Christ Associates, in a powerful way for the renewal of My Church and the world.

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- Message from Jesus to Father Edward J. Carter, S.J., Founder, as given on July 31, 1994,
feast of Saint Ignatius Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits)

 

  

 

  


 

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