We spend most of our lives defining ourselves. We begin to own opinions about all sorts of matters and exercise control over our destiny by the choices we intentionally make. The big “wake up call” comes when something happens to us that is outside our control. This is truly evident for the victims of the many natural disasters that have plagued parts of our country. It is then that we realize that we are but mortal corporal beings. In the past few weeks of our Biblical lessons, Jesus has been in confrontation with the Pharisees and Elders of His people. This weekend in an effort to trap Jesus with the Roman government they ask if it is lawful for good Jews to pay the temple tax? There was a small Jewish temple tax required of every male over twenty years of age that would be paid to the temple for its upkeep. (Matthew 17:24-27) The temple tax mentioned here was an additional census tax imposed by the Romans. By asking this question the Elders are asking if it is morally and religious correct seeing that the monies also supported Roman shrines etc. Either a “yes” or a “no” would not be acceptable and would place Jesus in conflict with someone. Jesus correctly responds: “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God” Matthew 22:21. We then can ask an additional question? What belongs to God? Psalm 24 assists us with the answer: “The earth is the LORD’s and all it holds, the world and those who dwell in it. For he founded it on the seas, established it over the rivers” Psalm 24:1-2. If indeed our very lives are a gift from God, how much time is appropriate to spend with God in acknowledgement and thanksgiving for His gift? Of the 24 hours or 1,440 minutes of life each day; or of the 168 hours or 10,080 minutes of life in each week, how many is enough to spend in Praise and Thanksgiving to God the source of all creation? Fifty to sixty minutes a week seems so inadequate yet many often complain and ignore even that small sacrifice. Each week let us always attend to our self- offering; giving to God what belongs to God.
WEEKLY SCHEDULE CHANGE – Because of Fr. Ron’s “Day Off” change, our parish offices will be closed on Mondays but open Tuesday through Thursday for service to our parish community and Fridays in the AM hours. During a Monday holiday weekend our parish offices will be closed the Friday before the holiday.
CHURCH MINOR RENOVATIONS – work is currently underway to move our active “confessional” from the back of the Church to the one close to the “Crowned Virgin” shrine. Both the privacy screen and face to face confessions will be available there soon.
BINGO INTERCESSORY PRAYER During the “half time break” at Bingo each week, Fr. Ron and others willing to do so will provide some “intercessory prayer assistance” to our neighbors who attend Bingo each week. We would be available in the Church for this ministry and will invite those who wish to attend. We will also begin the second half of Bingo with a short one minute “Gospel Moment” that should help all those who attend to recall who blesses them each day. Please pray for the success of this adventure. It is another attempt to live out our mission to our neighborhood and beyond.
ST. MARTIN DE PORRES…..SPENDING MORE TIME WITH THE LORD – In an effort to provide more time for personal prayer and restore the Sacrament of Reconciliation on a more regular basis, we are consulting with members of our congregation about the value of offering weekly adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the Sacrament of Penance on Wednesdays from 5:00PM – 7:00PM utilizing both the Chapel and the Reconciliation room. Most often the Church is open during these hours and may be a time more convenient for the congregation.
NATIVITY OF THE BVM…….ADORATION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT –Currently here at Nativity, there is an hour of Adoration offered on Wednesday evenings and it has been our practice to offer Adoration on First Fridays from after the morning 9AM Mass until 12Noon. However, because the chapel is not enclosed but open to the whole church, on those 1st Fridays that Funerals are scheduled the Adoration is cancelled. I’m requesting that we begin to pray about the possibility of offering adoration of the Holy Eucharist each Sunday from the end of the 11AM Mass until the beginning of our 5PM Liturgy. Currently each Sunday the church remains open during those hours, it may assist us to reclaim Sundays as a day of “rest” in the Lord, provide opportunities for whole families to spend at least some time in a visit with the Lord. Please pray upon this. We may hold a parish wide conversation about it in the near future.