“Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time”

WeeklyMessage Homily from Father Alex McAllister SDS 
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Posted for July 19, 2015

The authors of the Lectionary advise us frequently to  look at the First Reading and the Gospel together. Today  they seem to be both about shepherds. In the First  Reading Jeremiah castigates the shepherds and teachers  of Israel who he says have let the sheep go astray. He  warns them of the vengeance of God who will punish them for their misdeeds and neglect of their flock.

He goes on to foretell the coming of new shepherds who the Lord will raise up to tend his flock. And more than this, because he says that there will also be a new King who will rule Israel with wisdom and integrity. From our vantage point in history we don’t need to be told that this new and virtuous King is Christ himself.

In the Gospel reading we hear how the Apostles have returned from their ministry in the surrounding villages and Christ proposes that they now go to a place of rest for prayer and recuperation. However, it seems that the people had followed the Apostles and would give them no peace, not allowing them even time enough to eat.

The Apostles and Jesus go off together in a boat to a lonely place but the people follow them by land and by taking a short cut they get to the destination before them. Jesus sees the crowd and takes pity on them gathered there and so he starts to teach them at length because, as it says, they were like sheep without a shepherd. 

We are shown here the compassion of Jesus who takes pity on the people who were thirsting to hear the Word of God. This highlights the important role of shepherds, of those charged with leadership of the People of God. Even though the people tire them out with their constant demands they, following the example of Jesus, wish to serve them to the point of exhaustion. 

Switching to our own day we see that it is true that Apostles are now very much needed. We have seen a steep decline in the numbers of priests and religious in the Church; and while some lay people are stepping up to take their place it is not enough. 

In short, we are facing a tremendous crisis of leadership in the Church. Bishops and Religious Superiors have drafted in priests and religious from the developing areas of our world but still we face a shortage. 

So there is a great need for new people to take on roles of leadership in the Church; whether this be as priests, religious or lay people. From each community there should arise a sufficient number of leaders able to take on the task of supporting the work of the Church in its own particular locale. 

Here in Wealdstone we are a particularly large parish but that means that there is a lot of work to do. We certainly need more Eucharistic ministers, more readers, more catechists, more youth leaders, more altar servers and so on. But we also need others to help with preparing couples for marriage, people to support the bereaved and persons to take up positions of responsibility in our schools. 

We need too a few men who can train to become permanent deacons so that we can benefit from their preaching and ministry. There is a lot to do and we all have to realize that each one of us has a role to play within the life of the parish. 

Jesus tells the Apostles that they need to go away to a lonely place to be by themselves so that they can rest and pray. We all need this ourselves from time to time. In the Church today we often speak about going on a retreat or a pilgrimage. We go off to a holy place, whether it be a monastery or a shrine, and take some time to recharge our spiritual batteries. 

It is vital for us to do this now and again. All of us need on occasion sufficient space to reflect on our lives and to make important changes in our priorities. To do this effectively we need to set aside the necessary time for us to be alone with the Lord. 

Actually, at St Joseph’s we do this sort of thing quite well. There are many opportunities through the year to go to Lourdes or Walsingham or to other pilgrimage places. For example there is a pilgrimage to the Motherhouse of the Sisters in Sturry on 22nd August and I hope that many parishioners will join the trip.

This will be a very good way of us expressing our support for the Sisters but more importantly enabling us to spend a few hours in a holy place so that we can say our prayers and give a little time to God.

I urge you to take advantage of these opportunities to be like the Apostles and spend some time apart with like-minded people so that we can return to the pressures of everyday life spiritually refreshed and rejuvenated.

Of course, if you are not able to get away to a place of pilgrimage it is possible to do it in your own home. It is possible to set aside a day or even a few hours for private meditation. Reading a spiritual book, saying some prayers, doing the Stations of the Cross, meditating on the scriptures; all these things can be done at home.

I would urge every parishioner also to have in their home a special place for prayer. It doesn’t have to be an actual altar; it could be just a crucifix, a holy picture or a statue put in a particular corner. This small shrine can then become a place set aside for personal prayer and meditation.

Having such a place in one’s home is a great advantage and brings blessings on the whole house. It can be the place where we sit when thinking about our own difficulties or interceding with God on behalf of our family and friends. It can be a place of meditation where we keep a copy of the scriptures or our Sunday missal. It can be the place where we keep our rosary and where we use it to enlist the help of Mary in times of trouble.

In this way pilgrimage becomes part of our lives, the sacred begins to permeate our homes enabling the love of God to radiate out from there to the world around us.  

I’m not asking you to turn your homes into a Church but just to have a small corner set apart for prayer, a small place where we can easily express the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
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July 19, 2015

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Mark 6: 30–34

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Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time,Year B—July 19, 2015

Jesus took His apostles away for a quiet retreat after their exhausting preaching mission. It didn’t go exactly as planned. Why?

Gospel (Read Mk 6:30-34)

St. Mark tells us that when the apostles returned to Jesus after a busy mission of preaching and healing (see Mk 6:7-13), He wanted them to “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile.” They all went off in a boat so they could have an opportunity to catch their breath, because “people were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat.” This simple description gives us an idea of how intense Jesus’ public ministry got at times. It’s easy for us to forget that although there were times of quiet for Jesus and the Twelve, they lived and moved amidst crowds of people with pressing needs. This invitation to rest after their work is an echo of the Creation story, when God worked and then rested.
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“This again?”

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Extraordinary Faith from Ordinary Catholics

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Why Does Spiritual Direction Matter?

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Respectable or Faithful?

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What would you think about a fellow like Noah who built a huge ship, far from any large body of water? Or a man like Abraham who still trusted God for a son for decades, even after his wife was menopausal? Or what about a general  like Gideon who challenged a huge army by ordering his dwindling troops of 300 to bang on their shields and uncover lanterns after dismissing 31,700 men in his army?
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Not Peace, but a Sword

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Attending Mass is an Act of Humility

“Attending Mass is an act of humility…”
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Understanding What it Means to be Devout

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Five Ways to Approach Jesus Through Mary

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On the Loss of Friends

The barstool where Vince Flynn often sat in Eric and Kathy Schneeman’s Mendota Heights, Minn., home reminds the couple of happy times spent with him and his family before the noted author lost his three-year battle with prostate cancer in 2013.

“I believe time heals loss,” Eric said. “God gives us peace of mind during the time it takes to heal that loss.”

If our friend has died, our faith gives us hope that the friendship hasn’t ended.
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To Be a Fool

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Our God can be a difficult God to get along with, as He often asks for much more than He will give, on this side of Heaven. He often asks us to give up worldly comfort, financial stability, lucrative or influential positions. He sometimes takes loved ones from us before their old age – babies and children, lovers, friends. He takes good health from us, most often in small and inconvenient ways, but sometimes through disease, cancer, or terminal illness. Sometimes He even strips us of honor, our good names, reputations. All of this from a God who loves us!
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Sign of hope

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“SUNDAY MASS SERVICE AT 2PM, CTB ROOM 3870 ALL ARE WELCOME”

It’s a reminder of the invaluable airport chaplaincy that serves so many faithful travelers shuttling around the world. (That sign dissolved into another message: “God Bless Our Troops,” which made me wonder how much longer such a shockingly religious message will be permitted in a public place before someone complains…but I digress.)
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“Spiritual but not Religious” How Do You do That?

“I’m spiritual but not religious” is one of the catch phrases you’ll hear a good bit these days.

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Just exactly what do you do to be spiritual without being religious?

Do you kind of sit quietly from time to time and think beautiful thoughts?
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Evangelical pastor says the Catholic Church is leading the way in evangelization

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Gumbel, of Holy Trinity Brompton, the heart of Anglican church growth in the diocese of London and the nation, told a gathering of nearly 900 Catholic bishops, priests and laity: “I love the Catholic Church – she is leading the way in evangelisation.”
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The Three Views of the Human Person

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When it comes to the human person there are at least three distinct ways to see and understand man. Not surprisingly, these three ways correspond to our tripartite human condition as Plato might have us understand it. He said we have a belly, head and heart. By the belly we can understand our physical selves as interpreted by the five senses and our appetites. By the head we can infer the faculty of the intellect and our rational capacity. By the heart we can recognize our wills to love and hate by the freedom of our own autonomous choices.
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10 Great Reasons to be Catholic in 2015

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1. The Mass

It was a great reason to be Catholic during the First Century too.  It has always been a great reason, probably the greatest reason.  Jesus Himself alive and in the Flesh.  Doesn’t get any better.
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Pray the Most Holy Rosary!

Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen once explained the goal of prayer by deliberating on age. He asked the question, “What does it mean to get old?” He answered that we get old in a measure that determines our chronological distance from the source of life. We are born and we count the increasing years that further separate us from the womb; our parents’ participation in the divine act of creation, our source of life. The further we grow away from the source of life, the more difficult it becomes to maintain our innocence and purity in this vale of tears. So the Venerable Archbishop Sheen reminds us that the end of prayer is to grow closer to the source of life, to grow closer to God. We live in an age when growing younger is a material obsession. Uncountable material resources go into extending our temporal lives. However, the only true fountain of youth available to human souls is by prayer and growing closer to Christ, the source of all life.

In Mathew 18:3, Christ says, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
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An Image of dying and rising in a touching cartoon.

One of the greatest paradoxes told to us in the Scriptures is that if we would save our life, we must lose it in Christ (Luke 9:24). That is, we must die to this world to inherit eternal life. “Eternal” does not simply refer to the length of the afterlife, but to its fullness as well. To inherit eternal life is to become fully alive.
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