We Don't Have Tomorrow but We Had Yesterday

07-26-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Sure seems like ‘yesterday came suddenly”. Our Parish and School Community bid a fond and affectionate farewell to three of our longtime staff heading into the bliss of retirement. Specifically, Deacon Jim Brett, Director of Stewardship and Finance for the past 20yrs (and over 30yrs of service to our Diocese as a deacon); Mrs. Edith Bowers, Elementary School Teacher for 32yrs at Mt. Carmel School and Mrs. Gina Watson, School Office Administration for our School for 26 yrs! With much gratitude we say Hail and Farewell!

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Everyday Stewardship

07-26-2020Stewardship Reflection

The stewardship way of life could be described as a daily pursuit of the kingdom of heaven. In our Gospel passage from Matthew today, Jesus employs three parables to describe this kingdom.

In the first of today’s parables, our Lord reminds us that living for Him and for His kingdom will be costly. But the deep joy that comes in following Him makes the “price” entailed worth it. Jesus says, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Next, He says the kingdom of heaven is “like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all he has and buys it.”

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Supreme Reflections

07-19-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

It’s that time of year when the Supremes sing once again, and this year they hit several high notes. And proof that you “Can’t Hurry Love” many of the decisions were issued in July. Some of the rulings had an unusual bit of syncopation in them. Let’s start with Sister Act Part III, that is the Little Sisters of the Poor third appearance before the Court regarding the Affordable Care Act Contraception Mandate. Yes, seven years later and it’s still not done being litigated. In the ruling, the Court ruled in favor of the Little Sisters by stating that the requirement for health insurance to pay for contraception was an administrative rule and not part of the original legislation. Oddly enough, Justice Kagen concurred with the ruling but was quick to state that while this current Administration is free to rescind the rule, another Administration is free to reinstate it. All that means is that the Court will probably see the Little Sisters once again if a new Administration changes the rule. So, the “contraception mandate” lives to die another day, albeit right now it is in a judicially induced coma. According to Kagen, for the Court and the Little Sisters, it’s “Someday We’ll Be Together”.

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Everyday Stewardship

07-19-2020Stewardship Reflection

Today’s Gospel passage from Matthew is filled with lessons both cautionary and consoling for the Christian steward as Jesus uses several parables to describe the kingdom of heaven and our role in it.

First, He compares it to a field where both wheat and weeds have been sown. Both weeds and wheat are permitted to grow and only at the harvest time are they separated, or “judged” — the wheat gathered into the sower’s barn and the weeds finally destroyed. So it will be for each of us at the end of our time on earth. It is a sobering reminder of the justice of God.

Next, He says the kingdom of heaven is like the small portion of yeast that is mixed in with "our for the making of bread. The yeast makes up an insignificant fraction of the ingredients, yet it is vital to the outcome — without that tiny bit of yeast, the bread simply will not rise. Similarly, He compares the kingdom of heaven to a mustard seed, “the smallest of all the seeds.” But when it is full-grown it becomes the largest of all the plants, a sturdy and hardy bush where “birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.”

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Grumbling and Mumbling

07-12-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

We can unofficially add to the Church’s Liturgical seasons of Easter Time, Christmas Time, Ordinary Time: COVID Time. Probably not the innovation you were hoping for but as this Pandemic drags on the patience and waiting of an Advent is definitely required! We are used to hearing the Biblical stories of waiting and waiting some more for God’s Plan to come to fruition. The Hebrews had to wander 40 years in the desert before entering the Promised Land. All during that time, Moses was frequently confronted by their lack of patience. After Moses had led his people through the parted Red Sea, they no sooner started complaining that the conditions were awful and they were better off alive as slaves in Egypt than dead as free people in the desert. And when the people were running low on fresh water they complained to Moses to the point of near riot.

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07-12-2020The Sisters Corner

These past 4 months have been truly challenging because of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the most common and certainly human experiences are fear, insecurity and anxiety. It’s precisely these kinds of situations that we experience that we can’t control things even if we feel a certain need to do so. This is a time when we need patience more than ever with ourselves and with others knowing that God is sweetly patient with us first. In these circumstances we have an opportunity to practice what we “already know”. Truths like: He has a purpose, He is a Good Father who is taking care of us, He is with us always no matter what. Perhaps it has been an opportunity where we realize that we truly need to grow in our trust in Him. If we think about it, it’s precisely one of the greatest occasions to actually grow. Let’s ask God to help us be patient and to transform this challenging and difficult time into a time where we learn how to trust in Him a little bit more. With deep and childlike confidence let’s ask Him: “I do believe, help my unbelief!” (Mk 9:24).

Trust More in God

07-05-2020The Sisters Corner

As Sisters who come from poor countries, we have been in contact with people in real need most of our lives. Yet we find that those who have less or suffer more are many times the happiest ones. Why? Because they have given their burden to the Lord and trust that He will give them what they need.

Who has not felt the burden that life can bring? (And that takes very different shapes.) Many times, we just spend too much time worrying and troubling ourselves about things we cannot change. Instead, we should give this weight to the Lord and ask Him to help us handle it.

In today’s Gospel there is a very powerful message for all of us that can be of comfort if we allow it to be. God allows us to receive pain, suffering and difficulties in different forms in our lives but He only allows us to carry the weight we can handle. We need to trust more in God and learn to walk more with Him in whatever is difficult in our lives.