Principal Anne Atkin Bulletin, January 13 2019

Is the Devil Trying to Ruin My Life?

We have all been in that place where family get-togethers or work relations, even friendships take a turn for the awkward or uncomfortable. Wait. What did you just say? When we spend a lot of time with people or interact with them often, it is almost inevitable that we will, at some point, offend them. Even the sweetest and nicest people are still human and can say or do something stupid. Pope John Paul II “Stupidity is also a gift but one mustn’t misuse it.” What does he mean? I am really not sure of the context of this quote but I cannot help to think that when we say something stupid we are really not being empathetic conversationalists. Easy to do, especially if you talk a lot. Ugh…why did I say something so stupid and offensive? According to Webster’s, stupidity is a lack of intelligence or common sense.  Common sense is a practical view and approach to ourselves, to other people, and to all aspects of living. It is how we deal with issues and problems, how we manage our own thoughts, our beliefs, our attitudes and how we cope with other people. Common sense is what we learn as we live. It is how we change for the better as a result of all of those lessons. Apparently, we can always gain more common sense, no matter how old we are.

But someone we know and enjoy is deeply offended by our stupid actions. Now what? A dark cloud has been placed over a once lovely relationship. We would gladly turn back the clock and never have offended anyone. Lesson learned. But it is too late. Somehow we will have to move past the hurt. It feels a bit impossible. I am hurt that you reacted the way you did. You are hurt because you feel judged or offended by my words or actions. The feelings are very dark and we are left heavy hearted. How do we keep the devil out of this severed relationship and get back to our warm sense of community provided by the Holy Spirit? Grace. Divine grace.  Grace is given when we ask for it. It is our free will to put God into these situations. We have an obstacle that is so difficult that we cannot remove it without special Divine help. So we dig deep and decide that love of good and fear of evil is what will heal us. This leads to forgiveness of self and forgiveness of others. Continue to ask for God’s grace and talk to trusted people who know how hard it can be to truly forgive and let the Holy Spirit into our lives. The rest will work itself out. Free your heart from the pain inflicted by being just plain stupid and let the Divine grace given to us by Jesus’ example be the light out of the darkness. It is okay to make deeply personal mistakes. It happens to everyone. It is what we do with our weakness that strengthens us. Our weakness can make us holy and asking for grace will bring us back to the people we love. God’s grace and forgiveness can keep the devil out of our relationships and keep us growing together even when it is very hard.

God Bless,

Anne Atkin, principal

 

 

Deacon’s Corner, January 13 2019

 

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Last week in my homily, I talked about Fr. Ron Rolhieser’s new kind of bucket list to experience the Epiphany.  Here is an excerpt from his article with the bigger picture. Fr Ron wrote:

What’s still unfinished in your life?  Well, there’s always a lot that’s unfinished in everyone’s life. Nothing is ever really finished. Our lives, it seems, are simply interrupted by our dying. Most of us don’t complete our lives, we just run out of time. So, consciously or unconsciously, we make a bucket-list of things we still want to see, do, or finish before we die.

What do we still want to do? A number of things probably immediately come to the fore: We want to see our children grow up….see our daughter’s wedding…see our grandchildren.  We want to finish this last work of art, of writing, of building. We want to see our 80th birthday….to reconcile with our family.  But…the better question is:  how do I want to live…to be ready to die when it’s my time?

In a wonderful little book on contemplation, Biography of Silence, Spanish author, Pablo d’Ors, stares his mortality in the face and decides that this is what he wants to do in face of the inalienable fact that he’s one day to die. Here’s his bucket list:“ I have decided to stand up and open my eyes. I have decided to eat and drink in moderation, to sleep as necessary, to write only what contributes toward improving those who read me, to abstain from greed, and never compare myself to others. I have also decided to water my plants and care for an animal. I will visit the sick, I will converse with the lonely, and I will not let much time go by before playing with a child.”

In the same manner I have decided to recite my prayers every day, to bow several times before the things I consider sacred, to celebrate the Eucharist, to listen to the Word, to break bread and share the wine, to give peace, to sing in unison.  To go for walks, which I find essential.  To light the fire, which is also essential. To shop without hurry…greet my neighbors even when I do not like seeing their faces…subscribe to a newspaper…regularly call my friends and siblings…take excursions…swim in the sea at least once a year… read only good books, or reread those that I have liked.  I will live for those things according to an ethics of attention and care.

And this is how I will arrive at a happy old age…with a different kind of bucket-list:  I am going to strive to be as productive as long as I can…to make every day and every activity as precious and enjoyable as possible…to be as gracious, warm, and charitable as possible…to be as healthy as long as I can…to accept others’ love in a deeper way than I have up to now…to live a more-fully “reconciled” life – no room for past hurts anymore…to keep my sense of humor intact…to be as courageous and brave as I can…to never look on what I am losing, but rather to look at how wonderful and full my life has been and is.  And, I am going to lay all of this daily at God’s feet through prayer.  Not incidentally, since then I have also begun to water plants, give care to a feral cat, and feed all the neighborhood birds.

I hope you enjoyed this article a much as I did.  You can read more from Fr. Ron at www.ronrolheiser.com.   May you be blessed with a happy and joyous New Year!

Deacon John

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, January 13 2018

Dear Sacred Heart Family,

Dan Lacroix moved in this past week.  He will be helping out with our confirmation program and other parish activities as he gets settled in.  I have already discovered that he is a worthy opponent in cards and that he has no qualms about beating his pastor!

I want to continue our theme on Spiritual new year’s resolutions by looking at ways we can grow in faith, hope, and love.  Someone once told me you can understand these virtues as Patience with God (faith), Patience with ourselves (Hope) and Patience with others (Love).  This week I want to look at faith, Patience with God.  Here are a few ways to live in this patience with God.

 

Remember that God works in the right time in the right way and with the right people. That can be incredibly different than the timing I had in mind, the way I had in mind, and the people I had in mind. There is the beautiful passage from Isaiah 55:8-11 that can be a blessing to pray with when we are in the midst of difficulty and we are waiting and trusting that God will act.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways—oracle of the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts.  Yet just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me empty, but shall do what pleases me, achieving the end for which I sent it.”

 

Be real with your prayer. Good prayer is simply telling Jesus exactly what is in our hearts even if what is in our hearts is not particularly pretty.  We need to bring our doubts, questions, and anger to the Lord.  But then we end with faith- Jesus I may not see exactly what you see yet I will trust in you. A scripture I like for this is Psalm 57, the prayer of David hiding in a cave while King Saul is hunting him down to kill him.  David is trying to do God’s will and it is not going as he anticipated.  He cries out to the Lord his frustration but he also ends in trust.

“Have mercy on me, God, have mercy on me.  In you I seek refuge.  In the shadow of your wings I seek refuge till harm pass by.  I call to God Most High, to God who provides for me.  May God send help from heaven to save me, shame those who trample upon me.  May God send fidelity and mercy.  I must lie down in the midst of lions hungry for human prey.  Their teeth are spears and arrows; their tongue, a sharpened sword.  Be exalted over the heavens, God; may your glory appear above all the earth. They have set a trap for my feet; my soul is bowed down; They have dug a pit before me.  May they fall into it themselves! My heart is steadfast, God, my heart is steadfast.  I will sing and chant praise.

 

Joyful surrender and Perseverance: Please read this beautiful prayer from Charles de Foucauld

Father, I abandon myself into your hands;

do with me what you will.

Whatever you may do, I thank you:

I am ready for all, I accept all.

Let only your will be done in me,

and in all your creatures –

I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul:

I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,

for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,

to surrender myself into your hands without reserve,

and with boundless confidence, for you are my Father. 

 

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Deacon John Homily, January 6 2019

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Gospel MT 2:1-12

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod,
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.”
When King Herod heard this,
he was greatly troubled,
and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people,
He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea,
for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler,
who is to shepherd my people Israel.”

Then Herod called the magi secretly
and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said,
“Go and search diligently for the child.
When you have found him, bring me word,
that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way.

Fr. Tomy Homily, Christmas Day

 

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Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, after the long wait and expectation during the Advent season, today finally we come to the great celebration and joy that is Christmas, celebrating together as the whole Church, the occasion of the birth or the nativity, of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world and all of us. Today marks the day when more than two thousand years ago, our Saviour was born in a stable just outside the small town of Bethlehem, as prophesied throughout the Scriptures.

Today, we are called to return to the true roots of our Christmas joy and celebration, that is by putting Christ once again in the center of all of our merrymaking, celebrations and joy. We are called to remember the love by which we have been generously given by God, our loving Father and Creator. Then, we are also called to show the same love in our actions and interactions with those who are around us.

The true joy of our Christmas should be shared with those who have little or no opportunity to be joyful in this blessed time of Christmas. We should be sensitive to their plight, and be moved to help them just as the Lord had shown the same love and compassion towards us. And that is how we appreciate and live the true joy of Christmas, not the excesses and selfish desire to satisfy our own ego and pride and greed, but in the sharing of our joys and blessings.

We must walk this earth with our gaze fixed on Christ and our hope lifted to heaven. We must live in the light of Christmas, which is faith. We must act in the warmth of Christmas, which is love. We must rejoice in the radiance of Christmas, which is purity. We must walk in the brightness of Christmas, which is truth. We must focus our minds on the heart of Christmas, which is Christ. That is the way to live according to the sense and purpose of Christmas.

Jesus is counting on us. We are among those who believe in him because of the Apostles. And he is counting on us to make known his love to others. Jesus gave us his love and his Gospel. He is counting on us to live the good news and to transmit it to others to all people. When we do that, we shall be spreading the message, the beauty, the joy, and the benefit of Christmas to our fellow humans around us.

Today, let us open our hearts and minds, with a renewed faith and love, day after day, from now on, that we will no longer close ourselves from God Who is willing to enter into our lives. Let us all turn towards Him filled with a newfound love for Him, and devote ourselves wholeheartedly to the Lord. May the Lord, Who was born into our midst more than two thousand years ago, in the town of Bethlehem, because of His great love for us, continue to love us all, and that we may also love Him in the same manner, from now on. May God bless us all.

 

Fr. Todd Homily, Christmas Eve

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Gospel LK 1:67-79

Zechariah his father, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied, saying:

“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
for he has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty Savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
Through his prophets he promised of old
that he would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hand of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Fr. Tomy Homily, December 23 2018

SUNDAY 4TH ADVENT YEAR C

Today’s readings remind us that Jesus is reborn every day in ordinary people living ordinary lives, who have the willingness to respond to God’s call and the openness to do God’s will.  They suggest that Christmas should inspire us to carry out God’s word as Mary and Jesus did, in perfect obedience to His will, in cheerful kindness and unselfish generosity.

In the first reading, the prophet Micah gives assurance to the Jews that God is faithful to His promises and that from the unimportant village of Bethlehem He will send them the long-expected ruler. The second reading, reminds us to be thankful to Jesus Christ who offered the perfect sacrifice of obedience that liberated us from sin.   By his willingness and eagerness to do God’s will, (“Behold, I come to do your will”), Christ gave Himself in the place of all the other ritual sacrifices offered as the means of sanctification.  In the Gospel Mary, the Mother of Jesus teaches us how to accept the Lord when he comes. There is joy in the encounter, Mary and Elizabeth encounter each other. It is not simply a meeting together. In their encounter, an exchange takes place, a mutual understanding a meeting between two persons. Both of them did not think of themselves as the most important people. Rather they praised God, Elizabeth praises Mary, Mary praises God. Both of them sing His greatness and mercy.

We too meet various persons in our life. Sometime they wait for us. There are people who do not need our money and goods but just our love and friendship. Our nearness can at times bring solace and healing to them. The more we give ourselves to others, the more we receive in return. The more we make  others happy, the more we ourselves rejoice.

Perhaps this is the time given to us to come to understand our true selves, to turn towards God, and open our hearts and show generosity to others. Then we too will experience the thrill of the encounter with God and with one another. Only such an encounter can usher in true peace about which the prophet Micah spoke. Peace without reserve and without imitations springs from truth, benevolence and justice.

We need to carry Jesus to others as Mary did.  We can make a real difference in the lives of others by carrying Jesus to them.   However, we cannot give what we do not possess.   Christmas is the ideal time for us to be filled with the spirit of Christ, allowing his rebirth within us.  Thus, he enables us to share his love with all whom we encounter by offering them humble and committed service, unconditional forgiveness and compassionate caring.

The Visitation of Mary reminds us that, through his holy ministry, Christ continues to be present among his people.  The same Christ “dwells among us” in the Bible, in the Sacraments, and in the praying community.    What is expected of us during this Christmas week is the readiness to say “Yes!” to the Father, “Yes!” to Jesus, “Yes!” to all that we will experience in the coming year and “Yes!” to every call that God makes and will make on us.

Mary’s pilgrimage should be our model:  As we journey with Mary to the hill country, let us continue to contemplate our own life’s journey — its joys and sorrows, its triumphs and its tragedies.  Our Christian journey began in Christ at the Baptismal font where He joined Himself to us forever.  Our journey continues with Christ as he nourishes us along the way with the food of his Word and the food of his Flesh. We were loved into being, and the One who sustains us each day will in the end give us fullness of life. As well as the birth of Jesus, at Christmas we celebrate our own birth also — birth into a life in this world that flows towards final resurrection.