Service, Responsibility, and Sacrifice

11-24-2019Weekly Reflection

“The rulers sneered … the soldiers jeered … one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus.” Is this the King of the Jews, the King of the Universe? If it is so, perhaps his kingdom is not at all what we would expect! In his letter to the laity, St. John Paul II spoke about how Christians share in the kingly mission of Christ. First, “they exercise their kingship as Christians, above all in the spiritual combat in which they seek to overcome in themselves the kingdom of sin.” In other words, before we give any thought to transforming society, we must first allow God to transform us. Through daily prayer, regular self-examination, and frequent confession, we can recognize our faults more readily and choose love instead!

Second, St. John Paul II writes that the laity “make[s] a gift of themselves so as to serve, in justice and in charity, Jesus who is himself present in all his brothers and sisters, above all in the very least.” Christ’s kingship, and our own participation in it, is requires us to look beyond the privileged of society. It goes beyond networking and struggles of power. It goes with Jesus to the Cross!

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Advent

11-24-2019Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

Next Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent!

Please bring your family to pray with us the novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe. This beautiful devotion to the Patron Saint of the Americas can help prepare our hearts in a very special way for the coming of Christ at Christmas.

This week five more conversation starters for families gathered around the table, or traveling in the car together:

  1. What is your dream job?
  2. If you could ask God one question, what would it be?
  3. What is the thing you worry about most?
  4. What are you most thankful for?
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“God stories”

11-17-2019Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

One family I know brings faith into their family life by telling “God stories” at family meals. Each member of the family has an opportunity to tell one way they experienced God at work during the day.

This practice has helped my friends and their children keep the eyes of their hearts open to see where God is at work in everyday life.

Here are 5 more ideas for conversations at family mealtimes:

  1. Mom and Dad share a story about the kids when they were babies or toddlers.
  2. What do you want to be when you grow up (This answer changes often with kids.)
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Take Courage! Trust in God

11-17-2019Weekly Reflection

Where would you go if the world was ending? What would you do? The last decade has seen a rise in doomsday prepping, the marketing of survival techniques, and a sea of products designed for you to weather the apocalypse. “The days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another that will not be thrown down,” Jesus warns in today’s Gospel. On the one hand, he is referring to the literal downfall of the city of Jerusalem. Indeed, many of his prophecies here have come true over the last few millennium. Nations have indeed “rise[n] against nation[s],” kingdoms against kingdoms. Surf any world news website today alone, and you will see stories of “powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues.” Jesus’ advice to his disciples, however, isn’t to build a bunker. It’s to persevere in faith … which won’t be easy.

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The First Sunday of Advent

11-10-2019Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

What’s special about December 1st this year?

Maybe you already know! It’s the first Sunday of Advent! The liturgical calendar (the Church’s way of counting days) is centered around the Life of Jesus. Advent means “coming.” During the Advent season the Mass readings tell us what to expect when the Savior of the world is born. 

Your family can make the Church’s Advent celebration come to life by bringing Catholic traditions into our home. This year our R.E. families will make Advent wreathes to help us prepare to celebrate Christmas the way the Church does.

Your family is also encouraged to participate in the festive and traditional Posadas, which remind all to welcome the gift of Jesus into our homes this Christmas.

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Asking Honest Questions

11-10-2019Weekly Reflection

“Some Saducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, came forward and put this question to Jesus …”

In this Sunday’s Gospel, the Saducees avoid their real question. Is there a resurrection from the dead or not? Rather than ask this question point blank, the  Saducees try to prove their point through a roundabout, unrealistic scenario. Jesus cuts straight to the question behind the question, citing Scripture passages relating to the resurrection.

The Saducees are trying to trick Jesus. While we may not intend to stump God, our doubts and questions may have more in common with the Saducees than we care to admit. Doubts are part and parcel of life in a fallen world. Still, there are different ways we can word our doubts to ourselves, God, and others. When we’re struggling, truly struggling, about some article of faith, do we admit it? Or do we cloak it with other, obtuse questions to hide the nature of our concern?

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Bring Christ to Your Children

11-03-2019Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

Here’s some practical help for parents looking for a way to bring Christ to your children every day.

“Begin to give a short blessing to your children every day. The timing can be determined by what works best for your family, such as the beginning of the day or at the end of their day, as they go to school or get ready for bed. Here are some simple suggestions for these daily blessings: THE SIGN OF THE CROSS Say a simple ‘God bless you’ while tracing the Sign of the Cross on their forehead.

THE NUMBERS 6 BLESSING

Place your hand upon their head as you say: ‘May the LORD bless you and keep you! May the LORD let his face shine upon you and be gracious to you! May the LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!’ (Numbers 6:24-26)

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Let Christ Love You First

11-03-2019Weekly Reflection

Christ loves us first. So much of the Christian life is as simple as that. Today’s Gospel is a prime example! “Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man … was seeking to see who Jesus was.” We may have gotten used to the story of Zacchaeus, this short, seemingly innocent man who climbs a sycamore tree in his desperate desire to see Jesus. But this colorful, children’s Bible illustration isn’t what the gathering crowd would have seen. They would have seen the white collar criminal. Tax collectors were notorious for extortion. They were collaborators with the oppressive Roman overlords, overcharging for taxes and skimming a cut off the top. And how does Jesus respond to this man?

“Come down quickly,” Jesus says, “for today I must stay at your house.” If you had been there, would you have believed it? No doubt there were other disciples in the city or, at the very least, kind, generous, and just people. “Good” people. But those aren’t the people Jesus chooses to share a meal with. Christ loves us first. He chooses Zacchaeus even before the man makes a public profession of his repentance.

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Self-exaltation

10-27-2019Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

In today’s Gospel we hear the uncomfortable truth that we religious people are highly susceptible to self-exaltation.

Many of us believe ourselves to be involved in a “culture war” similar to the one the Pharisees struggled against. While we work to change our laws to be more aligned with our faith, we can become self-righteous. Do we look down on “sinners”, forgetting that we, too, are sinners in great need of God’s mercy? This parable serves as a warning to people like us, who come to Mass and write or read articles like this one in the parish bulletin. In our prayers and our participation in Mass, are we more aware of the sins of others than our own? Do we make the sinners around us feel like outsiders and judged?

Lord Jesus, forgive us for the times we have looked down on those whose sins are more obvious than our own.

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Lord, Have Mercy on Me!

10-27-2019Weekly Reflection

“This Sunday’s Gospel contrasts two different religious attitudes. First, the self-righteous Pharisee. Here is a man who seems to impeccably follow the law. In some terms, he is the model citizen! Honest, fiscally generous, and faithful to his marriage vows. But something else lurks in his heart: pride. “O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity … or even like this tax collector.” For the Pharisee, no fault can be admitted. The only way to stay on top is to preserve one’s image — even to God, it seems! — and point out the flaws of others from the pedestal.

In the back of the temple, hidden and bowed down, is the tax collector. “O God, by merciful to me a sinner.” This man’s prayer is one of supplication and petition. He isn’t afraid to express his sinfulness and misery. This, Jesus says, is the one who “went home justified.” How many times have we heard the mission of Jesus to seek and save the lost? Jesus is the one who dines with sinners and invites every heart to repentance. But how can we return to him if we don’t know we’ve left? How can we receive God’s grace when we’re adamant we don’t need it?

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Trusting All Works for Good

10-20-2019Weekly Reflection

“Render a just decision for me against my adversary.” Today’s Gospel features a persistent widow who ekes out justice from a notoriously cold-hearted judge. Why does she win the day? “Because the widow keeps bothering me.” Jesus’ recommendation to the disciples is to be persistent in prayer, because surely God the Father is far more attuned to their needs than this judge. If only it were that easy, right? We’ve all experienced the unanswered prayer, the silence after our cries. When this continues, sometimes it can be difficult to have faith in God or believe He answers prayers. It can be easy to lapse into a sense of His distance. We want Him to do something “fair,” which — in our limited view — typically means that something works out in our favor.

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“Our help is from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.”

10-20-2019Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

The response we sing for today’s Psalm is enough to carry us through difficult times: “Our help is from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.”

The focus today is on how we must persevere in our prayers, confident that our trust in God’s goodness will be not be disappointed.

When troubles come, we can remind ourselves “the Lord will guard your coming and going, both now and forever.” If today’s psalm becomes a song in our hearts, Jesus will find us full of faith when we see Him face to face.

Nearly 40 catechists and aides are hard at work every Sunday teaching students of all ages about the Good News of Jesus Christ and how he can make a difference in our lives as Catholics.

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Mother Adela Galindo

10-13-2019Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

Recently my husband and I, along with Deacon Gallo and his wife, had dinner with Mother Adela Galindo who is the foundress of the religious institute of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

Mother Adela grew up in Nicaragua where she witnessed many miracles, including the healing of a blind woman, the regrowth of a man’s amputated leg and the cleansing of lepers. She knows that our God is a God of miracles because she has witnessed many miracles in her life.

After hearing Mother Adela’s stories and reading today’s Gospel, I wonder when will we see such miracles? When will we open our hearts to receive him?

Lord, open our hearts to receive you and everything you have for us!

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Give Thanks for the Giver and the Gift

10-13-2019Weekly Reflection

“Ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance …” In the ancient world and into the Middle Ages, there was no treatment for leprosy. People thought it was wildly contagious and were suspicious of any skin diseases. Lepers were isolated from civil society. This isolation was uphold by the Mosaic Law. Should there be a healing from leprosy, the former leper was to present himself to a priest to certify the healing. Like Jesus commands, “Show yourselves to the priests.” The person would then undergo a religious rite to be formally reintroduced to society. In other words, a leper got their life back. So why didn’t they come back?

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Parish News

10-06-2019From the PastorRev. Ernesto Reynoso, J.C.L.

Deal OLPH Parishioners,

I hope this letter find you well. I think this is one of our favorite times of the year without a doubt.

Safe Environment

Let me begin this letter with a Safe Environment update. Previously we paused the program because we were waiting for new instructions coming from the diocese related to this program. Now that the diocese has released their final statement on this topic, we invite all volunteers to come back and finish their renewal. Our goal is to do everything we can to provide a safe environment for our kids. If you need help, we will be glad to provide that for you. Please contact Luz May at our Safe Environment office: 480.432.2528 and she will be glad to guide you through the process. Thank you for your willingness to serve.

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Rich Trust

10-06-2019Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

St. Paul urges Timothy to “stir into flame the gift of God … who did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of love and power and self-control.” St. Timothy would have to shake off his fears and bear his “share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God.

St. Paul wanted St. Timothy to remember that when God is the focus of our faith, all things are possible. “Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us,” St. Paul writes to St. Timothy. Good words for us, too.

Where can we find this “rich trust” of which St. Paul speaks? It is in the words of the Nicene Creed which we recite every Sunday at Mass. Let St. Paul’s words to St. Timothy be an encouragement to you and your family to treasure the truths of our faith; to learn them always more deeply and claim them for your own.

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