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November 12, 2017

THIRTY-SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

JMJ

This past week in my breviary, I was reading from the first book of Maccabees. It’s the last book of the Old Testament, at least in Catholic bibles, with the story taking place in Israel about 150 years before the coming of Jesus. It describes a tragic time in which a terrible ruler, Antiochus, takes power after the death of Alexander the Great. He does some terrible things that have a certain familiarity to us in the present world. It really doesn’t take too much imagination to recognize things that have happened and are happening now in our own times. For instance, there’s been a lot of talk recently about a one-world government. There are some who would say that this would be a great idea and there are some others who are, of course, deeply suspicious, and might even see this is a sign of the end times. The situation in the book of Maccabees seems like a one-world government within a small geographic area of the Middle East, namely, Palestine, the Home of the Israelites, The Chosen People of God. For the sake of our unified culture, great demands were made upon them to abandon The Law of Moses and everything else they treasured and held sacred. And some of them capitulated while others held strong to the Faith. Judas Maccabeus and his followers chose to fight the good fight, and doing so gives us a great example of our standing up for our faith. We had occasion to do this in the recent past when we stood up for our religious rights as Catholics to not be forced to fund activities contrary to our teaching. Another challenge is being denied our right to share our faith publicly.

In the weeks to come, particularly during Advent, it is a tradition to read from the so called apocalyptic literature of the Bible which speaks of that “time in the future” that nobody really wants to think about but in fact, may already be here.

This past week we had our Sts. Simon and Jude Healing Ministry after all of the Masses and we hope to continue to do that on the first weekend of the month. We are still working out the bugs, but basically an individual or family that wants prayer will meet in the narthex, or gathering space, where they will wait to be called into the Shroud Room. There will be a small group waiting for you who, under my direction, will pray over you for whatever your need is. We begin by asking the individual to repeat a short prayer. It was originally prayed by an unnamed man from the Bible who met Jesus coming down from the Mount of Beatitudes. He had leprosy. He called out to Jesus, “Lord, if you will it, you can make me clean.” Jesus responded by saying, “I do will it. Be made clean.” And of course the man was healed. What a good way, I think, to begin a prayer session. It would also be appropriate to say at that time, a little addenda to the prayer, “according to Thy will”.

I would like to encourage all of you to stay after Mass to say the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, praying in union with us in the Shroud Room, asking mercy for your brother or sister who is in need of prayer. Fr. J

 

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