I’m a classic over-packer. Even as I’ve worked on simplifying and becoming more of a “minimalist” in my home and my everyday life, it seems that when I’m getting ready to go on a trip, I’m always tempted to bring just a little too much. An outfit for every possible weather scenario, a few more books than I know I’ll actually have time to read (Yes, I still pack real books!), and a few other “essentials” that might come in handy, you know… just in case.
When traveling, I want to be prepared and I want to be comfortable. It seems responsible to try to remember everything I might need and honestly there’s nothing worse than being far from home and wishing you had something you left behind!
So, I wonder why in this week’s gospel Jesus asks us to travel lightly? Mark says: “He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics.” Having had the chance to visit Israel and after walking through some of the same places Jesus and his disciples most likely walked, I now know I surely wouldn’t want to be making that journey unprepared!
And while there is something to be learned from simplicity when it comes to physical possessions, perhaps Jesus is using the physical to help us understand something about the spiritual journey he asks us to take with him. Because unlike our physical journeys, when we enter into the spiritual journey with Jesus, he knows there’s nothing we can bring that will fully prepare us for where he’s leading us. He asks us to be open, to embrace the unknown, to trust the journey and to trust him. He wants us to be dependent on him and not on ourselves. And perhaps he wants to teach us that maybe it’s ok that we aren’t always comfortable or that we don’t always have exactly what we want, but instead to believe that he’ll always provide us with exactly what we need. And maybe he’s asking us to empty our “suitcases” of unnecessary things – like expectations, fears, resentments – and allow ourselves to be light and free, so there’s nothing holding us back from entering fully into this journey with him.
So while I work on trying to become more like that person that can just walk onto an airplane with a tiny purse (rather than trying to jam my overstuffed backpack under the seat in front of me!), I think there’s a challenge here for all of us. What are we packing on our spiritual journeys? Can we trust God enough to know that he is all we need?
We have been hosting ministry meetings and other functions on campus. In September we will REGATHER fully with opening the campus for full use.
With the enlarged parking lot, one can see the large HOUSE OF MERCY which houses our YOUTH GARAGE, STORAGE GARAGE and meeting spaces in our House of Mercy. We have been using rooms for some gatherings and are planning to host an Open House in September as people return in the fall season. We want everyone to see for themselves the space for our youth and all their many activities. The meeting spaces will host meetings of all types. We desire to offer good support to ministries for all age groups. We have been blessed with such a wonderful building for many gatherings.
We are now back to ALL our Sunday Masses with the Saturday evening Mass happening at a new time of 4:30 pm. Confessions are now on Saturdays from 3:00-4:00 pm. The Sunday Masses continue at 8:30 am, 10:30 am and 5:00 pm. There is no limit for attendance. For those still not ready to return to Sunday Masses, we are still offering Sunday Communion in the Daily Mass Chapel from 9:15-10:15 am. Watching the Mass online is encouraged for those who cannot return for the time being.
Thank you to all of you who donated to our Water Drive. Many agencies that support the population that do need access to basic needs are always thankful for the water that is donated. This heat is extremely dangerous and your generous support helps save lives.
Peace in Christ,
I have many opportunities each day to worry and live in fear, from being worried about my family, my children and grandchildren, maintaining good health, to the economy and my finances; the list could go on and on.
But did you know that faith and fear have something in common? They both ask us to believe something is going to happen that we cannot see. Fear says, “Business is slow. You’re going to lose your job.” But faith says, “Your best days are ahead of you.”
When we give in to thoughts of fear, our perspective becomes distorted. Fear is like a fog. It makes things look worse than what they really are.
I make a daily effort to put my energy into believing and not worrying. Our God is all-powerful. He has brought me through in the past, and He is going to bring me through in the future. That’s positive self-talk.
Let’s surround ourselves with people of faith who will remind us of the many blessings in our lives. If we stay in control of our thoughts and learn to choose faith instead of fear, we’re going to be filled with peace and confidence. We were created for a life of hope and peace; not to have our enthusiasm and joy stolen by fear.
Let’s choose to walk in faith today. Remember, it takes the same amount of energy to worry as it does to have faith. So let’s switch our gears to having faith and trusting God. God will work everything out for the best if we just believe.
Do not fear: I am with you; do not be anxious: I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10
Many of us are familiar with the idea that parents want to give to their children a life that is much better than what they experienced. There was a time where parents struggled with many challenges in life, and they would sacrifice so much to give their children opportunities that they may not have had. Sometimes the gift they give their children is appreciated and valued. Other times the gift is received with little awareness or appreciation of the sacrifice made in giving the gift. The gift is given, but not valued. It can be human nature that when things are simply given to us, we just take some things for granted.
The gift of freedom is one of those gifts. We see clearly that freedom is understood as doing whatever one chooses to do and no one should have the right to tell anyone what to do. There is little awareness of how one’s behavior might affect others. This narrow view of freedom usually does not see the responsibility to use freedom wisely and to protect this precious gift.
July 4th is a reminder that when one reads the history of the beginning of our nation, it was a lot of luck that things worked out. So much was working against the formation of this nation, yet there was a time that this country was a great model of people sacrificing and defending our freedom. This 4th of July we might recall that freedom is not just handed out and we do whatever we want to do with it. Rather it is to be valued, cherished and shared with many people in the world looking for freedom. We give thanks to God for the human freedom we have been blessed with, and we pray for the wisdom to use it properly.
Peace in Christ,
You don’t need to have spent any time on the roads over the last month to notice the ever growing bandwagon on the streets of Arizona. We are suddenly a basketball town again, and everyone surely enjoys the ride…including me! GO SUNS!!! (Younger me, wrapped in my purple and orange blankie with Charles Barkley & Kevin Johnson posters on his wall just got really excited to read older me saying this.)
If you know (older) me (or listened to any of the “Ask a Father” podcasts Brian Cannon and I made for the parish), you know that watching NBA basketball is just not my thing. Do I want to see the Suns win? OF COURSE! Younger me is still inside somewhere. Now, I just typically want to see them win in the form of highlights only or maybe the last 5-10 minutes of the 4th quarter. However, full disclosure, I have fully jumped back on the bandwagon and I actually watched a few full 2nd halves of the conference semi-final and conference final games! “Playoffs” must have been the key word.
In our Gospel today, we see a bandwagon forming around Jesus. The word is getting out and people want to see for themselves. They want to be a part of the action. They want to be a part of the story. The woman with the hemorrhages reaches out to Jesus, and is healed. The family of the little girl reaches out to Jesus, and he restores life where there was death. Jesus welcomed them onto the bandwagon and answered their desire by revealing his own desire to care for them, to restore them, and to make them whole.
Who wouldn’t want to be on that bandwagon?
If we got off, let’s get back on that bandwagon (Jesus is always there to welcome us). If we are on, let’s never leave. This bandwagon is special. It is a parade of love. We are part of the story. His bandwagon is ours. We are created in his image, signs of his love. We are part of the action, continuing God’s presence in the world today. Go team, go.
On the 1st of July, Bishop Olmsted, will have lifted the dispensation on in-person Mass attendance. The letter that was sent by the Bishop reminded us of the importance of regathering for public worship, and at the same time, was very pastoral that not everyone will feel safe returning, or for serious and good reasons, cannot come back for public worship. With that in mind, our parish will continue to offer Sunday Communion for now on Sundays 9:15-10:15 am in Fenlon Hospitality Center. This has been an important outreach to many parishioners during this challenging time.
Of course, our online Masses will continue so that people may stay connected to the community worship no matter what their situation.
We will begin our Saturday evening Mass on July 3. After hearing back from parishioners and asking if an earlier time will be beneficial to a majority of parishioners, WE WILL MOVE THE SATURDAY EVENING MASS TO 4:30 PM. For many places, the attendance is better as people are able to continue their activities earlier, in the winter the extra daylight might help some who are most comfortable driving during the daylight. The survey we took showed a majority response in favor of 4:30 pm. All other Mass times will remain the same on Sunday.
During July and August we will continue to move forward in our liturgies as we REGATHER to offer public worship to God.
This year, July 4th falls on a Sunday and most people will be with family on the 4th. We will move the Sunday evening Mass to 12:30 pm for that Sunday. Attendance will be much better at that time than having an evening Mass with very little attendance. We know most people, including those who serve at our liturgies, will be enjoying the holiday.
Peace in Christ,
As I read the Gospel for this Sunday where Jesus is asleep in the boat with the apostles, I thought about my Dad who can fall asleep anywhere he makes a pitstop – a chair, the sofa, even while on his knees saying his prayers at night. He can even sleep soundly in the midst of a thunder and lightning storm. But whenever there was a storm when I was a child, I would run to him, like the apostles ran to Jesus, wake him up and climb up onto his lap, grab his arms and wrap them around me, because the place I felt the safest was tucked in my Dad’s embrace, listening to the storm rage outside our home. And while he didn’t calm the storm like Jesus, he calmed my heart because I knew he was right there, and I was safe.
And while this is my reality, there are those who this comfort, peace and security is far from their reality. For some, while Dad was there, his presence didn’t bring the safety and reassurance that was needed. For others, their fathers were not present. Whatever the situation may be in our families at this time, I pray that we open ourselves to a deeper relationship with the One Father whose presence is even greater and more constant in our life.
In a reflection on Father’s Day by Nicole Smithee, she encapsulates my hope for my Dad and all the “Dads” who will be celebrating this day, and that is to “know beyond a shadow of a doubt that your Heavenly Father is [in the the boat] of your life and will never leave you; that God has always been there in the highs and lows; that one heart-to-heart with Him can calm the raging storm of your soul and heal the deepest wounds of your heart; that one word from Him can ignite hope deep within you and breathe bravery into your very lungs; that one conversation with Him can deposit wisdom for your world and inexpressible joy in your current circumstances.”
Happy Father’s Day to all who have ever stepped into the role of “dad.” Whether that be a brother, an uncle, grandpa, cousin, friend, or in the most familiar case to me, the moms who stand in the role of dad – may we all have an open heart to the Father who loves us simply because we are His children.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1 (NIV)
The time to REGATHERis now upon us. It has been a long journey for many of us and we now begin the process of welcoming people back to public worship when each person feels they are ready.
Bishop Thomas Olmsted sent a letter to Catholics in our Diocese announcing that the Dispensation for Catholics from in-person Mass will be lifted on July 1. You may view the letter on our parish website. In his letter, the Bishop calls all Catholics who can safely gather to come to our in-person Masses again. The letter is also sensitive to those who, for serious reasons, are not able to return in person at this time. People should come back when they feel they are ready to return.
In July we will return the Saturday evening Mass and Confessions. All Masses are now fully open, and there are NO reservations required. We remind everyone that those who are fully vaccinated have the option of deciding to wear masks or not. COVID19 is not gone so we still care for those who are vulnerable or have people in their lives who are vulnerable. We will be dealing with this for a while, but as Disciples of Jesus Christ we know how to watch out for each other.
The process of REGATHERING will take some time. We are reaching out to all parishioners and past ministers to take their places in service, and we hope by the fall season there will be a good number of people already in place to serve. We move forward with patience, and at the same time be joyful that we can reconnect with the many we have missed for quite a while.
Peace in Christ,