Bulletin (November 19, 2006)

This Sunday Jesus calls us to make a personal decision. “Learn a lesson from the fig tree,” he tells us. The lesson is that the time is short. Now is the moment to decide. We can apply this to Stewardship in our lives. On the past two Sundays, we have talked about placing our lives totally before the Lord. Two weeks ago Deacon Ted spoke to us about Stewardship of Time, beginning with the hour we dedicate to the Lord by attending Sunday Mass. Last weekend Steve Hance described his own family’s journey and why they made a decision to become members of the Catholic Church. Steve challenged long-time Catholics to recognize the great treasures God has placed at our disposal. I was particularly touched by the comparison of a man living in rags while he has a million dollars stashed under his mattress. We need to take advantage of the riches entrusted to us through the Sacraments, through Eucharistic Adoration and other forms of prayer the Church offers us. Last Sunday many of you returned your Stewardship commitment cards indicating that you would avail yourselves of those graces. If you have not yet returned the card for Stewardship of Time, you may do so this Sunday or next. And also - if you have not yet done so - I ask you to please return the card for Stewardship of Treasure. I am grateful to God for your faithful support of Holy Family Parish.

We should keep this in mind as we celebrate Thanksgiving this Thursday. No matter how many problems we might be facing, each of us does have a reason to be grateful to God. We express that gratitude by using those gifts to glorify God and to serve others. Our school children have been doing this by participating in the St. Vincent de Paul food drive and by donating toys for children in Peru. At the Thanksgiving Day Mass, you are invited to bring food for the poor, as well as an item of food for your own Thanksgiving dinner, which we will bless at the end of Mass. The collection for the Thanksgiving Mass will go entirely for the poor through our St. Vincent de Paul Society and our Madre Teresa group. Thanksgiving Day Mass will begin at 9 a.m.

I know that many of you, like me, prayed for our Bishops this past week. At their meeting in Baltimore, they addressed some difficult pastoral issues. A matter which we all need to reflect on is how we approach the Lord in the reception of Communion at Mass. The bishops have issued a document titled 'Happy Are Those Who Are Called to His Supper': On Preparing to Receive Christ Worthily in the Eucharist, which offers some helpful guidance. "In order to receive holy Communion we must be in communion with God and with the church," the document says. "If we are no longer in a state of grace because of mortal sin, we are seriously obliged to refrain from receiving holy Communion until we are reconciled with God and the church." Among examples of such sin, the document cites "committing murder, including abortion and euthanasia; harboring deliberate hatred of others; (and) sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult, or physical or verbal abuse of others that causes grave physical or psychological harm." Other "serious violations of the law of love of God and of neighbor" listed in the document included swearing a false oath, missing Mass on Sundays or holy days without a serious reason, "acting in serious disobedience against proper authority," sexual activity "outside the bonds of a valid marriage," stealing, slander or involvement with pornography. The document also addresses Catholics who "knowingly and obstinately" reject "the defined doctrines of the church" or repudiates "definitive teaching on moral issues." I will save that section for next week.

The bishops also issued a document titled Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination (Guidelines for Pastoral Care). Here is a significant paragraph from that document:

It is crucially important to understand that saying a person has a particular inclination that is disordered is not to say that the person as a whole is disordered. Nor does it mean that one has been rejected by God or the Church. Sometimes the Church is misinterpreted or misrepresented as teaching that persons with homosexual inclinations are objectively disordered, as if everything about them were disordered or rendered morally defective by this inclination. Rather, the disorder is in that particular inclination, which is not ordered toward the fulfillment of the natural ends of human sexuality. Because of this, acting in accord with such an inclination simply cannot contribute to the true good of the human person. Nevertheless, while the particular inclination to homosexual acts is disordered, the person retains his or her intrinsic human dignity and value.

A final word: This past week we lost a dear parishioner - Dorothy Jensen. On the Wednesday after next (November 29), the 6 p.m. Mass will be a Memorial Mass for Dorothy. I invite you to join Dorothy’s children and grandchildren at that Mass in her memory.

Este domingo Jesús nos invita a hacer una decisión personal. Nos dice, "entiendan esto con el ejemplo de la higuera." Lo que debemos entender es que el tiempo está corto. Ahora es el momento de decisión. En las ultimas semanas hemos hablado de esto en términos de Mayordomía or Co-Responsabilidad: Primero en cuanto a nuestro Tiempo y Talentos - y después en cuanto al Tesoro, o sea, los recursos económicos. Si todavía no han vuelto las tarjetas, favor de hacerlo esta semana.

Este jueves celebramos el día de Thanksgiving o Acción de Gracias. Habrá misa en ingles, con algunas indicaciones en español, a las 9 de la mañana el día jueves. Favor de traer comida en lata u otra comida que no va a malograr para ayudar a los pobres. Toda la colecta de la misa sera dedicada a los pobres por medio de San Vicente de Paúl y Madre Teresa.

Quisiera agradecer también a los que han ayudado con juguetes para niños del Perú. El Sr. Cónsul del Perú, Miguel Velázquez, ha arreglado un contenedor para llevar estas donaciones. Gracias.