A note from Fr. Jim

“Tell us, then, what is your opinion: is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?” It’s a delicate question: if God is our King, where does Caesar fit in? Is it a betrayal of God to acknowledge him? The question can be reversed, too. For example, in the second reading, we heard Paul recalling how the planting of the faith in Thessalonica went. There, Paul and his companions faced the accusation that they “are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus” (Ac 17:7). If Caesar is King, where does God fit in? Is it a betrayal of Caesar to acknowledge Him?…  //  LEARN MORE

Thoughts from the Cave

During these past weeks in the Gospel, Jesus has been telling many parables to teach those around him about Heaven. This parable reference is naturally to the New Testament’s marriage supper of the Lamb, and we observe that the parable clearly intends to portray Israel’s spiritual indifference to the invitation in the sharpest way, culminating in their killing the messengers of the covenant. The imagery of a wedding banquet turns to the serious message when the man without the proper wedding clothes is not merely thrown out of the banquet, but is bound hand and foot, and cast into darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth….  //  LEARN MORE

Again

Sometimes when my husband and I have enjoyed a great evening with friends, I have looked back on it with a degree of embarrassment, realizing that we told or heard the same tales with the same group of people before.  But recently I came to a deeper awareness that the old stories are the best ones in many ways.  What a gift it is to know each other well enough and long enough to have the good stories be retold. What a treasure it is to find a new detail in the hearing or the telling.  What a joy it is to have tradition, history, patience, and savoring –  memories shared and built and reinforced in a living, dynamic equivalent of scrapbooks and home movies.

Let’s delight in that idea as we explore Scripture, too – whether it be in the ancient cycle of readings at Mass, or during a class (Yay! Fall is here!), or in our intimate communication with the Word of God.  The Author Himself has much to share, again and again, for our benefit.

Your Pickle,
Marian Bart
Parish Catechetical Leader

Jottings from Fr. J.J.

RETREAT DOESN’T MEAN RUN AWAY

In its simplest form ‘Retreat’, means ‘to withdraw, to drawback.’ Throughout the ages, the Christian tradition has understood Retreat to be an important part of spiritual formation.  That is, time consciously set aside for God, a change of focus, a deliberate act of stepping outside of normal routine by withdrawing (not running away) from the noise and pressures; the immediate and insistent claims of our social, domestic and workaday responsibilities in order to be in a quiet place where all our senses are open and ready to listen to God. This is our principal aim in going on retreat – to stop, listen, reflect, pray, share so that we see with new eyes, think with new minds, so that even though we have to go back into the very same situations, the same set of circumstances, the same roles, responsibilities and relationships that we left behind , but having changed inside….  //  LEARN MORE

from Fr. Jim

Jesus gives directions to his disciples today on how to act “if your brother sins against you.” Jesus’ answer is not the normal course of action that I follow. When my brother sins against me, I often think, well, my brother’s wrong, so… I’m just going to write him off. Have a nice life, punk! Or (if it’s a good day and I’m feeling generous) I’ll think, my brother sinned against me… but let’s pretend it didn’t happen and I’ll just get over it, it’s not that big of a deal. But Jesus doesn’t advocate either of these attitudes; because neither attitude is a good response to someone I call “my brother.” So Jesus says, “if your brother sins against you… go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.”…  //  LEARN MORE