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Sunday, 7/1/2018, Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

We Decide

First Reading Commentary: Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24

What is death? Two of the definitions that are given in the dictionary are: the extinction of life and damnation. We believe that God created all things but today’s reading from Wisdom tells us that God did not create death. Death was created by the devil in his envy.

God did not give us life for the sake of our loosing it nor did God create life to destroy it. God created us in His own image so that we might be with Him throughout eternity in heaven. So why do we die?

We often say that God gave us life and that life is God’s to take away. But does God ever take anyone’s life away for real? The answer is no and the reason why lies in the fact that real death is eternal damnation and was created by the devil.

Death as we know it to this life on earth is nothing more than a transition from this life to the next. It is our Passover from life in this world, which is our exodus and only temporary, to the next life which is eternal.

When our exodus is complete and we have reached the end of our journey, we will either Passover into the New Jerusalem which is the Kingdom of Heaven or we will experience eternal damnation in the fiery pits of hell. Heaven is eternal life—hell is eternal damnation—death.

It is God in the person of the Son who will judge us and will carry out final judgment, but He does not decide. We do! We are very wrong if we think that He does because once again, God did not give us life to destroy it.

God’s judgement is a review of the things that we have done in life and a review of our faith and love for Him. In short, God’s judgment is an examination of and the fulfillment of our choices in this life.

Wisdom says, “But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who belong to his company experience it.” We decide our destiny by choosing to be with God or with the devil. Most of us do not stop to think when we are committing an act, whether it be sinful or not, that we are in fact making a choice to be with God or  with the evil one. But we are. Choosing God will lead us to heaven. Choosing the devil will lead us to hell. It is that simple!

I have been reading a book called Jesus Calling. It contains daily devotions to Jesus which are written in the context of Jesus speaking to us. The devotion for 6/23/15 ends with, “I look for persistence—rather than perfection—in your walk with Me.”

God knows that we are not perfect and that we are weak to sin. God gave us a free will and it is with that free will that we make the mistake of choosing sin. But it is also with that same free will that we choose to profess our belief in God. That belief comes from the gift of faith. Persistent faith in God grows into loving God. Our love for God causes us to desire Him. It is our desire for God that will cause us to choose Him with great remorse for our sinfulness.

Equal Shares

Second Reading Commentary: 2 Corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15

If we are to obey the Second Greatest Commandment which is to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, we have to treat people in the same way that we want to be treated. Therefore, if we see someone who is in need, we should be willing to help them in the same way that we would seek help if we were in need. That is Paul’s message today.

Paul uses Christ as the perfect example although when Paul says that Christ was rich, he was not making reference to financial or material wealth of any kind. We know that Christ lived a modest life and did not seek money or material possessions. Paul was talking about God’s love for mankind as was shown to us and freely given to us by the Son in everything that He did up to and including dying on the cross for our salvation.

The advice that Paul gives us is very difficult to follow in today’s capitalistic society where everyone is out for themselves and greed rules. There are those who are more than just well off or extremely wealthy who claim a high level of morals, ethics and faith but are very unwilling to help those who are in need. There are too many elected officials in our government who claim to be devout Christians but who are quick to vote against programs which are designed to help those who are in need and they would like to see many of the programs which are in place either cut or eliminated. They need to read today’s liturgy from Paul.

We are the greatest nation on earth and there is no way that any of us should be willing to allow hunger and homelessness to exist in our society. As Americans, we should be ashamed at the fact that it does. For that reason, we should not give our political support to anyone who does not have as part of their agenda; a heart-felt determination to foster policies that will fix the problem.

This country was also a melting pot of people from all over the world from its beginning. Some were already here, some wanted to be here and others were brought here by force. But all of them played a role in this country being what it is today. This country should set an example to the rest of the world on how to welcome others. As Americans, we should be ashamed that those who are at the very top of our government foster ideals and policies that run counter to the second part of the Greatest Commandment—love thy neighbor. That’s my political two cents.

It is more than just morally and ethically the right thing to do—it is God’s way and by virtue of the Second Greatest Commandment; it is also our command.

Paul tells us that we should not be burdened by helping others but that our abundance should help others who are in need so that they have an equal share. Paul reminds us of Exodus 16:16-18 where the LORD commanded that the manna from heaven be distributed equally so that those who had much did not have more and whoever had little did not have less.

The intent of that commandment did not come to an end once the Israelites entered the promised land of Jerusalem. That commandment is very much alive for all of us today. As long as there is hunger, homelessness and extreme poverty here in this country or any place else in the world, mankind is failing to obey that commandment.

There is nothing that anyone one of us can do alone but collectively, we can do much. Today’s message from Paul is a reminder that we are commanded to do much.

Talitha Koum

Gospel Commentary: 5:21-43

Whenever we are witness to a miracle, we are consumed with awe and wonder of the Lord. Whenever we hear of a miracle, we are consumed with awe and wonder of the Lord. There is nothing wrong with that in fact, it is a beautiful thing because our awe and wonder is a demonstration of the Holy Spirit living within us.

In today’s gospel, we see Jesus perform two great miracles. Or did He? That sounds like a bold, maybe even blasphemous question to ask. But with these miracles, Jesus teaches us that it is not His almighty power that performs miracles—it is our faith! Miracles only occur because we believe that God can perform the act and we believe that God will perform the act according to His Will.

The miracles which take place in today’s gospel are not the only great works of Jesus where He tells the person or persons being blessed that it is because of their faith that the great work occurred. But when we consider the events surrounding these great works and the timing of them, Jesus really drives the point home. He does not perform miracles—it is our total, complete and absolute faith. Without it, we cannot and will not be blessed. In the second miracle, Jesus also teaches us that He pays absolutely no attention to doubters.

Today’s gospel begins with Jesus being asked to perform what will actually be the second miracle. A synagogue official fell at the feet of Jesus and pleaded with Jesus to go and lay hands on his dying daughter. In Matthew’s account of this gospel, Matthew 9:18-26, the official said, “My daughter has just died. But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live.”

Notice the wording in the official’s request. There was no doubt about it. The official knew that if Jesus laid hands on the girl that she would live.

While on His way to the official’s house, Jesus was approached by a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years and doctors were unable to help her. She came up behind Jesus and touched His cloak and said to herself: “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.”

Notice that the woman’s faith was so strong that she was convinced that she did not even have to say anything to Jesus. She did not even have to touch Jesus or let Him know that she was there. All she had to do was touch His clothes. Now that is the kind of faith that makes God happy.

How many of us can testify to having faith so strong? We may claim to have such faith but very few of us really do. Let us face a storm in life like the disciples did quite literally in Mark 4:35-41 and see how long it takes for our human weakness to take over as we begin to question: why is this happening to me?

After Jesus calmed the storm in Mark 4:35-41, He taught the disciples to never doubt God and they were left in awe and wonder. This gospel teaches us the reward for not questioning or doubting God. Not only will God provide us with everything that we need to be with Him in heaven, God will take care of us in this life too! We may not understand what He does and He may not act on our time. But God will always be on time and He will take care of us.

When Jesus turned around and asked who had touched Him, the woman approached Him in fear. But Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you.” Keep in mind that this happened while Jesus was on His way to lay hands on the official’s daughter.

My point is that God is the master multitasker. We don’t have to worry about how much God has on His plate or if He has time. God can handle it. God can take care of each of us, one at a time and all at the same time.

In today’s Gospel from Mark, when the official was notified that his daughter had died, Jesus disregarded the message and said to the official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”

Sometimes when we are going through a tragedy in life, our faith is shaken if things take a turn for the worse. Jesus knew that the official had great faith but Jesus did not want the official’s faith to be shaken. What is important to notice here is that Jesus did not tell the official what He was going to do. Jesus did not promise that everything would be alright nor did He say, “Keep the faith.”

Jesus said, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” If anything is capable of destroying our faith and causing us to doubt, it is fear. Think about it. It is not possible to believe that something bad will not happen if you are afraid that it will. It is impossible to have faith if you are full of fear and it is impossible to have fear, if your faith is in-tact.

When Jesus reached the official’s house, the people there were weeping and there was a commotion. So, Jesus told them that the girl was just sleeping but the people ridiculed Him. So, Jesus put them out but took the girl’s parents and the disciples who had accompanied Him into the room where the girl was. Jesus then took the child by the hand and said, “Talitha koum” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” She got up and walked around.

No surprise and we could say much about this miracle. But remember that I said earlier that Jesus pays absolutely no attention to doubters? Jesus paid no attention to those who ridiculed Him. Jesus did not even dignify their doubt. He just put them out and rewarded the faith that was around Him.

But there is something else at work here. It is the power of intercession. The official interceded for his daughter and because of his faith; the daughter’s life was restored. So, it is when we pray to Mary and the saints. It is because of their faith that Jesus and the Father hears them and grants their request. It is because of their faith that they are able to intercede for us.

You may ask, why, do we need their intercession if our faith is absolute. The answer is because God’s plans are not our plans and His time is not our time. A parent does not always say, “Yes” to the request of a child. Sometimes, someone may intercede on behalf of the child and as a result, the parent may change their mind. Such is the power of intercession from Mary and the saints with God and that is why we should pray to them.

Sometimes our faith may be flawed because we are afraid but the power of intercession from Mary and the saints will get our prayer answered. Not only because of the strength of their faith, but also because Mary and every saint in heaven said, “Yes” to God in one way or another and God does not say, “No” to them.

The power of intercession is why we should pray for each other as well. When we say, "I will pray for you" to someone, we should mean it from the heart because when we do and we pray with faith, God listens. Today's gospel is proof of that.

In this world, it is hard to stay away from sin but the stronger our faith, the easier it is to say, “Yes” to God and when we do that; great things happen.

Reading 1          Wisdom 1:13-15, 2:23-24

God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.
For he fashioned all things that they might have being; and the creatures of the world are wholesome, and there is not a destructive drug among them nor any domain of the netherworld on earth, for justice is undying.
For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him.
But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who belong to his company experience it.

Reading 2          2 Corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15

Brothers and sisters: As you excel in every respect, in faith, discourse, knowledge, all earnestness, and in the love we have for you, may you excel in this gracious act also.

For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.
Not that others should have relief while you are burdened, but that as a matter of equality your abundance at the present time should supply their needs,
so that their abundance may also supply your needs, that there may be equality.
As it is written: Whoever had much did not have more, and whoever had little did not have less.

Gospel          Mark 5:21-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.
One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.
Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, “My daughter is at the point of death.
Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.”
He went off with him, and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him.

There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.
She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had.
Yet she was not helped but only grew worse.
She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak.
She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.”
Immediately her flow of blood dried up.
She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?”
But his disciples said to Jesus, You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’”
And he looked around to see who had done it.
The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling.
She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you.
Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?”
Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly.
So he went in and said to them, “Why this commotion and weeping?
The child is not dead but asleep.”
And they ridiculed him.
Then he put them all out.
He took along the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and entered the room where the child was.
He took the child by the hand and said to her, Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”
The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.
At that they were utterly astounded.
He gave strict orders that no one should know this and said that she should be given something to eat.

Wear the mask!
Wash your hands!
Maintain social distancing!
Pray for our leadership!

Get the vaccine!

The Descent of the Holy Spirit
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Paragraph 767 "When the work which the Father gave the Son to do on earth was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that he might continually sanctify the Church."174 Then "the Church was openly displayed to the crowds and the spread of the Gospel among the nations, through preaching, was begun."175 As the "convocation" of all men for salvation, the Church in her very nature is missionary, sent by Christ to all the nations to make disciples of them.176

The Holy Spirit came to Mary and the Apostles as tongues of fire.

Saint of the Day

Saint Junipero Serra
(11/24/1713 – 8/28/1784)

We decide if we will go to heaven or hell with the choices that we make in this life.

Responsorial Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13

R. (2a) I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O LORD, you brought me up from the netherworld; you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger lasts but a moment; a lifetime, his good will.
At nightfall, weeping enters in, but with the dawn, rejoicing.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me; O LORD, be my helper.
You changed my mourning into dancing; O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

The LORD commanded that the manna from heaven be divided into equal shares so that whoever had much did not have more and whoever had little did not have less. Today, Paul's message calls us to obey the intent of that commandment today.


R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Our Savior Jesus Christ destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

The woman's hemorrhages were cured because of her faith. It is faith that brings us the blessings of God's great works.

Jesus said to the girl, "Talitha koum," which means, "Little girl, I say to you, arise!"

In today's gospel, we see the power of intercession as the synagogue official interceded for his daughter.s life. It is because of his faith that Jesus brought the girl back from the dead. It is because of the faith of Mary and all the saints that we should pray to them for intercession.

St. Oliver Plunkett
(11/1/1629 – 7/1/1681)

St. Thomas the Apostle
(1st Century – 12/21/72)
Patron Saint of: Architects, Argentina, Construction Workers & Cooks

St. Elizabeth of Portugal
(1271 – 7/4/1336)

St. Anthony Zaccaria
(1502 – 7/5/1539)

St. Maria Goretti
(10/16/1890 – 7/6/1902)
Patron Saint of: Catholic Youth, Girls, Teenagers

Bl. Emmanuel Ruiz 
and Companions

(1804 – 1860)

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