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August 9, 2010

August 10th Holy Spirit Novena
Scripture selection is Day 9 Period I.

The Novena Rosary Mysteries  
for August 10th are Joyful.

 

China Retreat

August 10th - 13th

Please tune in!

August 10th begins 10:30am

 

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August 10th - 12:00 noon

August 11th - 12:00 noon

August 12th - 1:15pm

August 13th - 11:00 am

  

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August 9, 2010
 

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jeremiah 38: 4-6, 8-10

    The chief men then said to the king, 'You must have this man put to death: he is unquestionably disheartening the remaining soldiers in the city, and all the people too, by talking like this. This man is seeking not the welfare of the people but their ruin.' King Zedekiah answered, 'He is in your hands as you know, for the king is powerless to oppose you.' So they took Jeremiah and put him into the storage-well of the king's son Malchiah in the Court of the Guard, letting him down with ropes. There was no water in the storage-well, only mud, and into the mud Jeremiah sank.

Ebed-Melech came out from the palace and spoke to the king. 'My lord king,' he said, 'these men have done a wicked thing by treating the prophet Jeremiah like this: they have thrown him into the storage-well. He will starve to death there, since there is no more food in the city.' At this the king gave Ebed-Melech the Cushite the following order: 'Take thirty men with you from here and pull the prophet Jeremiah out of the storage-well before he dies.'  

 

Psalm 40: 2-4, 17

He pulled me up from the seething chasm,
    from the mud of the mire.
He set my feet on rock,
    and made my footsteps firm.

How blessed are those
    who put their trust in Yahweh,
who have not sided with rebels
    and those who have gone astray in falsehood.

Poor and needy as I am,
    the Lord has me in mind.
You, my helper, my Saviour,
    my God, do not delay.

   

Hebrews 12: 1-4

With so many witnesses in a great cloud all around us, we too, then, should throw off everything that weighs us down and the sin that clings so closely, and with perseverance keep running in the race which lies ahead of us. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection: for the sake of the joy which lay ahead of him, he endured the cross, disregarding the shame of it, and has taken his seat at the right of God’s throne. Think of the way he persevered against such opposition from sinners and then you will not lose heart and come to grief. In the fight against sin, you have not yet had to keep fighting to the point of bloodshed.

 

Luke 12: 49-53

'I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already! There is a baptism I must still receive, and what constraint I am under until it is completed!

'Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on, a household of five will be divided: three against two and two against three; father opposed to son, son to father, mother to daughter, daughter to mother, mother-in-law to daughter-in-law, daughter-in-law to mother-in-law.'

 
August 19, 2007

INTRODUCTION: Unfortunately suffering and turmoil have been part of everyday life in the Middle East for a long time.  Our first reading takes us back 600 years before Christ when the land we now know as Iraq had the name Babylon.  The Babylonians were in power at that time in history and the king and his army’s ambitions were to conquer all the nations around them.  The events in our first reading occurred at a time when the Babylonians were trying to take Jerusalem.  Jeremiah, God’s prophet, told the Jews it was useless for them to fight or to try to defend themselves; they should just go ahead and surrender or Jerusalem would be destroyed.  Such talk was viewed as unpatriotic and Jeremiah was considered a traitor.  Many of the Jewish leaders decided to kill Jeremiah and they persuaded their king, Zedekiah, to give in to their wishes.  He allowed Jeremiah to be thrown into a cistern to die.  Later, Ebed-Melech, a Cushite (which means an Ethiopian), one of Jeremiah’s friends, persuaded the king to change his mind.

HOMILY:  A “Calvin and Hobbes” cartoon pictured Calvin, the little boy sitting under a sign that read “kick in the butt for one dollar!” When Hobbes, a talking tiger and Calvin’s playmate, saw his friend sitting under this sign, he asked “How’s business?”  “Awful!” Calvin replied, “and I don’t know why, because so many people need a good kick in the butt!” 

A lot of us might need it at times, but few of us appreciate it.  The people who heard Jeremiah’s predictions that Jerusalem would be destroyed if they didn’t surrender weren’t happy about what they heard.  They hoped to get rid of Jeremiah as a result.  Jesus too had to confront many of the people in authority in his day and we know what happened to him.  Knowing how he would be rejected and would have to suffer for teaching God's message, he felt it only fair to warn his followers that they may be in for a lot of pain and suffering if they chose to follow him. 

Pain and suffering, of course, comes to everyone, whether we are good, bad or indifferent. If we do not live good lives, often we have to suffer for it, but sometimes even those who are perfectly faithful to God have to suffer too, as we hear today.  One of my favorite books, The Road Less Traveled, begins with a very profound insight.  M. Scott Peck, a psychiatrist and Episcopal priest, begins his book by saying “Life is Difficult.”  That’s not especially profound, but what I found so profound is his statement that once we accept life is difficult, it’s not so difficult.  It’s more difficult for those who think it shouldn’t be so.  I had a good friend who was pushing a person in a wheelchair at his synagogue and while he was doing this he suffered a stroke.  He would often cynically say to me “no good deed goes unpunished.”  I think at times we all feel that way, that life is not fair.  I believe most of us have the unexpressed expectation that if we do what God wants, God should do what we want.  Well, sometimes he does, and sometimes he doesn’t, at least not right away.

A lot of times it’s not the difficulties that come our way that cause us pain and suffering but the attitude we take toward them. Dr. Richard Carlson’s book: Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff, tells the story of a journalist interviewing two bricklayers working at a construction site.  The journalist asked the one man, “what are you doing?”  He said, “I’m just an underpaid and overworked bricklayer wasting my time piling bricks on top of one another.”  He asked the other what he was doing and he said, “I’m the luckiest person in the world.  I get to be a part of great and important projects.  I help turn single bricks into magnificent structures.”  They were both right.  We see in life what we want to see.  If you want to find ugliness, you will find plenty of it.  If you want to find fault with life you can find lots of reasons to do so.  But the opposite is also true.  There are times when in my ministry and in my life, I feel like the luckiest person in the world.  I am grateful that I am in a position at times to be able to help people in very important ways.  On the other hand, there have been moments when I felt like Jeremiah, sinking in the mud at the bottom of a well where everything looks dark and hopeless.  It’s only faith that gets me through.  I know God will not fail us if we are faithful to him, but God does not always make things happen the way we think he should.  When he doesn’t make things go our way, we have to trust God has a better plan, a plan we do not yet see.  The letter to the Hebrews which we heard speaks of the example of Jesus whose work and life seemed to be a great failure when he died on a cross, but now he has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.  The author of the letter encourages us not to grow despondent, but to keep alive in us the hope of eternal joy that God has promised to those who are faithful to him.  When we take our last breath, that is what’s really going to count.  Amen.

 

 

    

 

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