Fr. Tomy Ash Wednesday Homily

Reading 22 COR 5:20—6:2

Brothers and sisters:
We are ambassadors for Christ,
as if God were appealing through us.
We implore you on behalf of Christ,
be reconciled to God.
For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin,
so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

Working together, then,
we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
For he says:

In an acceptable time I heard you,
and on the day of salvation I helped you.

Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.

 

 

Fr. Todd Ash Wednesday Homily

Gospel MT 6:1-6, 16-18

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden.
And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, March 1, 2020

Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s,

As we are all aware, Lent has begun.  It is about right now that we realize we don’t have any Lenten practices yet or the ones we chose need some tweaking.  It is never too late to start!

Here are some suggestions from an article from Busted Halo (a great resource in general). https://bustedhalo.com/ministry-resources/25-great-things-you-can-do-for-lent.  While they offer 25 suggestions, I want to highlight a few:

  1. Make a commitment to read the Sunday scriptures before you go to Mass. In the same way that reading up on football players, opposing teams, and coaching strategies will help you experience a game more fully, familiarizing yourself with the readings ahead of time will help you experience them in a deeper way on Sunday.

 

  1. Use Busted Halo’s Lent Calendar, filled with Lenten-themed Daily Jolts and MicroChallenges to find new ways to practice the disciplines of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. Each day of Lent, we’ll offer an inspirational quote paired with a practical, challenging task that you can do that day to help keep your spiritual life on point.

 

  1. Think about what you usually spend your money on. Do you buy too many clothes? Spend too much on dinner out? Pick one type of expenditure that you’ll “fast” from during Lent, and then give the money you would usually spend to a local charity.

 

  1. Go to a weekday Mass one day during the week. Many parishes offer them early in the morning, at noon, or after work. Daily Masses are often more intimate and shorter than Sunday Mass.

 

  1. Unplug from your iPhone or turn off your car radio on your commute. The silence may be jarring at first, but you may find that you are able to concentrate better and will be more observant of your surroundings.

 

  1. Think about a habit that has kept you from being whom God is calling you to be. Consciously give up that habit for Lent.

 

  1. Spend at least one weekend or evening volunteering during Lent. Serve a meal at your local soup kitchen. Visit the elderly. Stock shelves at a food pantry.

 

  1. Make a commitment to fast from insensitive, cruel comments about others. So, no gossiping or going down the Twitter rabbit hole.

 

  1. Pray for somebody. As you’re walking the streets, driving the highways, or sitting in your cubicle at work, pick out a person who appears to be in need and pray for that person. Be mindful of the words of philosopher Philo of Alexandria, who said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.”

 

  1. Celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Can’t remember how? Here’s a simple guide with some tips. Tell the priest it’s been a while, and ask him to guide you through it.

 

Blessed Lent!

Fr. Todd

 

Principal Anne Atkin Bulletin, March 1, 2020

At Sacred Heart, we talk a lot about building a strong soul. A soul that is strong is growing in virtue. A person who seeks God prays for Divine guidance. Lent is a wonderful time to talk about why we need to grow a strong soul. We have been marked by Christ as his own. We are meant to be on his team and worthy of his sacrifice and love. We are meant to be tough and follow Jesus all of the way to heaven.

We spent last week preparing for Lent by thinking about gratitude. What makes my life special? What makes this day brilliant? Who brings me closer to God? The answer is everything and everyone! That is gratitude! As we thought about ourselves and our own happiness, we felt stronger and more capable. It is true that being grateful has made it easier for the students to do school work, enjoy friends, be obedient. But Lent takes us a step further.

The world is full of pitfalls. It is easy to become glutinous, or selfish. To be rash in our words and actions, or lazy of mind and body. Before Lent began, I wanted the students to think about what they could do to help them be closer to heaven. It is different for each of us and I wanted them to really pray about it. They came up with some pretty unique ideas: Be more obedient * Stop complaining * Go to church every Sunday with my family * Replace 30 minutes of electronics with reading every day *Eat healthy food * Give up soda * Give up being lazy * Make my bed every day.

I asked the students to think about why it is important to see our Lenten promise through all 40 days. The answer is because Jesus loves us so much and he wants us to wonderful. By making one small change, we are telling our soul that change is possible. We do not have to stay stuck with a bad habit or a wrong idea. We can be better. We can grow.

We wrote our Lenten promise on a piece of paper and Mrs. Schutte strung them together to hang down the center hallway where we gather to pray. We know we will need to support each other as we keep this promise. Let’s grow together this Lent.

God Bless,

Anne Atkin, principal

 

Deacon John Bulletin, March 1, 2020

Today in the Gospel, we hear the story of the devil tempting Jesus in the desert.  Satan attacked Jesus’ human side because he knew he would lose the battle with Jesus’ divine side.  But Satan still lost anyway.  Our Catechism tells us that through Jesus’ temptation, God is able to sympathize with our weaknesses because He has been tested in every respect as we have been tested, and Jesus won those tests.  It says: “By the solemn forty days of Lent, the Church unites herself to the mystery of Jesus in the desert” (CCC 540).

Lent is our time to imitate Jesus by fasting and praying to offer God all of our temptations, self-interests, and brokenness.   It’s a time to chill out and see where our emotions are taking us. It is a time to understand the meaning of Jesus’ death and resurrection with the ultimate goal of changing our lives.  To undergo a conversion of the heart that only comes from dying to our old self and rising again.  Lent is our “forty days” in the desert to find our way back to the life Jesus won for us.  A life where inner peace comes from choosing not to let something or someone control us – and to make the right choices when they do.

Pope Francis said going to the desert during Lent helps us hear the voice of God.  It helps us make room for others in our heart and strengthens solidarity with our brothers and sisters.  He says that when our interior life gets caught up in our own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others – God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of His love is no longer felt, the desire to do good fades – and that is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life.  Pope Francis says that is not what God wants for us – nor is it the life of a Christian whose heart has its source in the risen Christ.

As we begin our Lenten Journey, may we use this time to imitate Jesus by surrendering ourselves to the care of our Heavenly Father and be a servant to His will and the plan He has for us.  May we pray this week for a renewed, personal encounter with God as we walk through the desert, like Jesus, with the Holy Spirit leading the way.

Deacon John

 

**NEWS**

Upcoming Bible Study Dates:

6:00pm at Sacred Heart                10:00am at St. Mary

March 4                                                      March 5

March 18                                                   March 19

 

As we begin the Lenten Season, please pick up a copy of the Little Black Book, your companion for Lent.   Also available are the Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl.  Both of these are at each entrance of the church and there is no charge.

 

 

In March, Sacred Heart will have the Shop & Share bags for the Food Pantry.

 

Please turn in your baby bottles for the Alpha Omega Baby Bottle Blessing Drive by March 1.

 

 

United Hudson Easter Egg Hunt. 

The Hudson area churches are getting together to put on an Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 4, for the children in our community.  We are asking for donations of individually wrapped Easter candy (no hard candy please) to stuff in the Easter eggs.  Please drop off your candy donation to the Parish Office by March 15.

 

The Diocese of Lansing Finance Department is accepting applications for two open positions:  Accounting Specialist and Parish Auditor.  To learn more about these positions and to apply, please visit our website at www.dioceseoflansing/employment

 

ROOMMATE WANTED FOR THE PILGRIMAGE TRIP WITH FR. TODD!
Please call Julie Jones at 517-740-4351 if you would like to share a room with Julie. Julie is a friend of Denice Combs, parishioner at St. Mary on the Lake.

 

 

Marriage Planning?  The Catholic Church urges all couples contemplating marriage to receive instruction in Natural Family Planning.  Natural Family Planning builds strong families. It is medically safe, morally acceptable and highly effective.  Those attending will to learn more about fertility awareness and related Church teaching.  The class is taught by a Registered Nurse, who is also certified to teaching the Billings Method.  The next scheduled Intro to NFP class is Monday March 9, 2020 from 7-9 pm at St. Mary Star of the Sea, IMMACULATA HALL.  Pre-Registration is required. Please call the St. Mary Parish Office 517-784-7184 or contact Maria Ansett RN at 517-974-2330.   Individual appointments are also available

 

 

LIVE FREE-UNBOUND

Special thanks to ALL who made the Live Free Conference a success; those who attended, those who helped behind the scenes and team members that came from out of town for prayer sessions. It was a thoughtful way to start out Lent 2020. If you are interested individual prayer sessions will be available at St. Anthony and various other parishes. Contact Nancy at nancy4unbound@gmail.com for more information.

 

Life in the Spirit

The next Prayer and Praise is THURSDAY MARCH 5 from 7-9 pm in the Blessed Solanus Casey Room at St. Anthony. Join us for SONG, PRAYER and SHARING the ways the Holy Spirit is present in our lives. There will be an update on the Healing Team Ministry we have been working on developing the past two years.  We hope you will join us!

The Encounter School of Ministry (St. Patrick’s, Brighton) is presenting a three day School of Prophetic Ministry March 12-14. The goal is to provide the foundation for you to be equipped to hear God’s voice more clearly for yourself and the world around you through training and activation of the prophetic gifts of the Holy Spirit in your life. Speakers will include Fr. Mathias Thelen and Patrick Reis. Register at www.encounterministries.us

 

 

Mid-life Singles (mid-30s to 50s): Are you looking for a renewed sense of purpose & belonging?   Many never-married, divorced, or widowed people in mid-life (mid-30s to 50s) feel alone, out-of-place (even in church!), and wondering what this phase of life means for them. Register today for a life-changing REFLECT weekend retreat at the St. Francis Retreat Center, in DeWitt, MI (10 miles north of Lansing), on April 17-19, 2020. Take a chance and get involved… you won’t regret it!  Cost is $185 for meals and a single room. Visit www.ReflectRetreat.com, e-mail reflect.michigan@gmail.com, or call (586) 770-1772 for details.

Fr. Tomy Homily, February 23, 2020

Today’s readings explain why Christians are expected to be holy and how we are meant to become holy people. The first and second readings give us reasons why we should be holy, and the Gospel describes four methods of becoming holy people prescribed for us by Jesus. The first reading, teaches us that we should be holy because it is the command given to us by God through Moses: “Be holy, for I the Lord, your God, am holy.” It also shows us the way to share in God’s holiness: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” In the second reading, St. Paul gives us an additional reason to be holy. We are to keep our bodies and souls holy because we are the temples of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit lives in us. In the Gospel passages taken from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches us four methods of becoming holy as God is holy.

1) The first method is to abstain from all forms of retaliation. Jesus discards even the milder form of retaliation developed by Hammurabi in ancient Babylon and passed on to Israel through Moses. The policy was one of limited, proportional retaliation (Lex Talionis, “tit-for-tat”): “an eye for an eyea tooth for tooth,” rather than allowing unlimited vengeance. In place of this limited, proportional retaliation, Jesus gives his new law of love, grace, forgiveness, reconciliation and no retaliation. For Jesus, retaliation, or even limited vengeance, has no place in the Christian life, even though graceful acceptance of an offense requires great strength, discipline of character, and strengthening by God’s grace.

2) The second method is to take the offense gracefully and love the offender. Jesus illustrates this in three images: “turning the other cheek, freely giving the tunic and adding the cloak to it and walking the extra mile.” Jesus tells us that what makes Christians different is the grace with which they treat others, offering them loving kindness and mercy, even if they don’t deserve this treatment, as God does for us. We are commanded to love our enemies as Jesus loves us, with agápe love, not because our enemies deserve our love, but because Jesus loves them so much that he died for them as he did for us.

3) The third method is by unconditionally and whole-heartedly forgiving the offender without planning revenge in any form. This means not only loving one’s neighbors, but also forgiving those enemies who hurt us and seem willfully to cause us suffering, hardship and unhappiness.

4) The fourth method is sincerely praying for their spiritual and physical welfare and for the grace needed for their conversion and renewal of life. Thus, today’s Scripture readings challenge us to become holy as our God is holy by loving, forgiving, and blessing others, even our enemies with graceful and magnanimous love, as our Holy God does.

 

The Significance of Ash Wednesday by Fr. Mike Schmitz

ASH WEDNESDAY MASS SCHEDULE:
Sacred Heart ~ Wednesday, February 26 at 8:00am & 6:30pm
St. Mary on the Lake ~ Wednesday, February 26 at 9:15am & 6:00pm

They may just be ashes, but Fr. Mike points out that what they represent goes far beyond mere dust of the earth. With a simple cross on the forehead, we are recognizing that we are far from perfect, but that God loves and redeems us—not despite our brokenness, but in the midst of it. If you want to start off your Lent with a reminder of Ash Wednesday’s deeper meaning, listen to Fr. Mike’s heartfelt words in this video.

BISHOP BOYEA INTERVIEW

BISHOP BOYEA INTERVIEW ON SHALOM WORLD TV: Sunday, 16 February 2020, saw Shalom World TV broadcast a half-hour interview with Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing as part of their Heart Talk series. The conversation focussed on his upbringing, his path to the priesthood, his life as bishop, his hopes for the future and his own pursuit of holiness in everyday life. The interviewer is David Kerr, Director of Communications for the Diocese of Lansing. To know more about Shalom World TV go to: https://www.shalomworld.org/

Bishop Boyea on Shalom World TV

BISHOP BOYEA INTERVIEW ON SHALOM WORLD TV: Sunday, 16 February 2020, saw Shalom World TV broadcast a half-hour interview with Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing as part of their Heart Talk series. The conversation focussed on his upbringing, his path to the priesthood, his life as bishop, his hopes for the future and his own pursuit of holiness in everyday life. The interviewer is David Kerr, Director of Communications for the Diocese of Lansing. To know more about Shalom World TV go to: https://www.shalomworld.org/

Posted by Diocese of Lansing on Thursday, February 20, 2020