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December 3, 2017

FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT

JMJ

After all of the Masses this weekend, the Sts. Simon and Jude Healing Ministry prayed over people from our parish who came forward seeking prayer for any number of different ailments that afflicted their body, mind or spirit. After doing this on a rather random basis, we finally committed to scheduling it on a regular basis on the first weekend of the month. We initially referred to this effort as a “deliverance ministry” but decided to change it to “healing” for two separate reasons. First off, we always felt as if we should not limit ourselves to just spiritual problems and so we decided to be more inclusive with our title. Secondly, the word deliverance seems to be a little bit loaded and people are often a bit suspicious of it. Implications of the devil, you know, can make people feel a little bit uneasy. But I wanted to say that deliverance is a good word and it has much broader implications than most people realize. It is actually one of the great themes of the Bible, the first great example being that of the Israelites being delivered from the bondage of Egypt. They were enslaved there for 400 years until God delivered them from the pharaoh to the promised land. Sometime later, they were delivered from their exile in Babylon back to their homeland in Israel.

In the Christian era, we can say that we were symbolically delivered from darkness into light when Jesus came into the world. We will be celebrating that truth very shortly at Christmas.

We can also utilize the term deliverance in other circumstances as well. It all begins with Baptism at the very beginning of our lives. This Sacrament of Initiation brings (delivers) us into God’s kingdom, and part of the ritual actually includes prayers of deliverance, or more specifically, exorcism.

There is certainly potential for us to be delivered within the context of the Mass. The proclaimed word from Scripture or an inspired homily, and certainly the Eucharist itself, has often been the means of a deliverance for a person, taking them from one glory to the next.

A person can be delivered through counsel or spiritual direction. The kind and compassionate ‘listening ear’, combined with wise advice, can help change a person‘s heart and help deliver them from spiritual darkness into light.

Finally, and perhaps most important of all, is the deliverance that can come through the Sacrament of Confession, or Reconciliation. Stop and think about it. A person burdened with sin, perhaps even in bondage, must express sorrow for their sins along with a firm purpose of amendment before they can hope to be delivered. This is a necessary first step prior to approaching a healing ministry. While the sin is forgiven, further prayers of deliverance may still be required to break the bondage.

In other words, grace builds upon grace. God wants to help free us from our various types of bondage; what ails us in terms of sin, we believe may benefit from further prayer in our healing ministry.

And so, again, if you find that there is some part of your life that continues to plague you, ie: anger, resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, jealousies, lack of self-worth, unreasonable judgment of others or addictive behavior or physical ailments, your brothers and sisters in the SS&J Healing Ministry would like to appeal to the Holy Spirit on your behalf for deliverance from sickness to health.

Addenda:

Our Communal Penance Service will be on Monday, December 11th.

The following day, Tuesday, will be the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Mass in the evening will be in Spanish including, I hope, some Spanish hymns.

Remember movie night next week (Saturday the 9th) will be The Polar Express. We’re going to use surround sound to enhance the experience of being on a runaway train heading towards the North Pole. Hot chocolate, popcorn and pizza will be served. Fr. J

 

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