Dear friends on the journey,
Today’s gospel is really challenging, one that causes some discomfort and requires much reflection. The rich young man was strong in his desire to have eternal life and firmly believed he was doing his part by keeping the Ten Commandments. According to Jesus, this was not enough. Then he delivered the sucker punch: Go, sell what you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. I can just imagine the look on his face, like a toddler caught sneaking a cookie or a teenager who has been grounded – surprised then sad.
Discarding his possessions was a step too steep for the rich young man. Perhaps he needed more time to process or his understanding of eternal life was slanted. His exact struggle is unknown but I think we can all relate when asking these questions: Does God really want me to sell my house, vehicles, furniture, and electronics? Does God want me to be homeless and without “things”? Does God want me to give up my relationships in order to give to the poor?
I turned to a few biblical commentaries to help wrestle with these questions and found Alice Camille’s reflection thought provoking. We come into this world to be in it, not of it. However, to live in this world means we need a home, food, water, clothing, relationships, and things to help facilitate daily living. Sometimes though these possessions can overwhelm and bind us. Camille’s reflection points out “whatever we have, it also has us” and that which has us – home, car, lawn, bank accounts, titles, relationships – demands our money, time, and effort.
This reminded me of a standing conversation with my husband about our lawn. Confession time. When the drought was in full effect a few years ago, I was adamant about not losing our lawn to artificial turf or the desert look. Horrible, I know! We dutifully reduced watering and watched it brown a bit. Eventually the rains came and the grass greened again. Now another drought is here and watering is restricted. This time around though we are better informed and ready to say farewell to (at least) our front lawn. The area is rather small but by giving it up, we are gaining so much more. We will replace the grass with native plants and those that help bees, butterflies and other creatures. Time and energy from weekly maintenance shifts to relational time, with each other or others in need. Limited water will better serve as drinking and bathing by others. Money used for equipment and supplies can now be given to the parish, St. Vincent de Paul, and other charities. Today’s gospel and reflection has convicted me to take action in this project. It might seem small or silly to some but by giving up the possession of our lawn, we are
freeing ourselves, opening ourselves to something greater the heaven of right now, and maybe even eternal life.
This week I encourage you to examine your possessions to consider what has a hold on you. Might it be an unhealthy relationship, an addiction, technology, politics, entertainment, vehicle, lawn, Starbucks?
When we think of Jamaica, the thoughts of Ocho Rios, beautiful beaches and wonderful scenery come to mind—all of which are part of the island. A year before becoming a priest of the Diocese of Mandeville, I spent 5 days with our founding bishop touring the diocese—and, I saw a very different side of Jamaica!
Bishop Paul Boyle said to me: “We have dire poverty. It’s something the tourists don’t see, nor do the television ads feature. Our people are poor. Jamaica is one of the poorest nations in the hemisphere after Haiti, and our diocese is the poorest part of Jamaica.”
In the Diocese of Mandeville, there are about six hundred thousand people. Sixty eight percent have no running water; only, outside latrines. Families are using “primitive methods” of disposing human waste—they go into the bushes. People need basic necessities of life: food, clothing, shoes to wear, mattresses—many need a home. The average annual income in Jamaica is US$1,500.00—a little less than $29.00 per week. Many workers don’t receive even this wage. Among people’ aged 15 to 19, 25% are “functionally illiterate.” Many of those who are functionally literate have severe reading problems. Seventy-five percent of students who take standardized testing cannot pass even one subject. There is an alarming number of destitute elderly and abandoned/neglected/abused children and adolescents. People are dying every day from diseases, which no longer exist in the United States because we have adequate medical care. BOTTOM LINE: the Diocese of Mandeville is very, very poor!
All to often, the tropical weather and storms in the Caribbean wreak havoc in the lives of our poor and to our ministries. The cost is enormous to recover from these storms and replace roofs, restore classrooms, clean up from water damage in our buildings, and, replace vestments and liturgical books that were ruined. Also, we work to help families rebuild hundreds of humble homes lost in the storms.
Obviously, we need enormous support for our local church. Please help us as we bring the Gospel, in our Catholic tradition, to our beloved people and help them to experience dignity as children of God. Thank you for welcoming the Diocese of Maneville for you annual mission appeal.
For more information, please contact in the U.S.:
Fr. Gary Wiesmann
Diocese of Mandeville
P. O. Box 11062
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 33339-1062
Website of Missionary Group: www.mandevillediocese.org
If you like to make a donation online, go to missionsla.org → Donate today → Donate to Mission Cooperative Plan, please select St. Junipero Serra - Camarillo under "Parish Name".
In this three part series, professionals in the field of health care and in the church shared their knowledge of what to expect when a person nears the natural end of life, how to provide compassionate care, and what steps need to be taken in preparation and upon death.
Sponsored by the Adult Faith Formation Team and the following partners:
Fr. Jim Clarke
Because our faith in God and our love for our church is so important to us, we are always eager to share what we have discovered with others. But our busy lives often get in the way: we have good intentions but little time.
Spend a precious hour with Fr. Jim for some new and insightful ideas about how evangelization (“sharing our faith”) can become part of our everyday way of life at home, work, school, and everywhere we go.
Discipleship: Becoming Fools for Christ
This year's parish mission is an invitation to explore the radical foolishness of Christianity as a positive force for change and conversion in the face of division, discrimination, and violence in our world. Looking at the Scripture with new eyes, journeying with wisdom figures like St. Francis of Assisi and Pope Francis, we will reflect on ways to overcome our tendency to 'water down' or domesticate our faith and the message of the Gospel, so that we can respond to Christ's call to be foolish according to the logic of the world and become wise in the eyes of God.
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Daniel P. Horan, OFM, is a Franciscan friar of Holy Name Province of New York, worldwide marathon runner, musician, retreat director, blogger, theology professor, columnist for America magazine and author of several award-winning books, including Dating God.
Get to know more through his website:
and YouTube channel:
We take our cars in for periodic oil changes. We see our physicians for an annual physical or wellness check. The same is needed for our spiritual lives, individually and as a faith community, and we can't always get away for a retreat. So a parish mission is that "shot in the arm", that energizing renewal of our personal faith as Jesus' disciples and our parish community's commitment to the Body of Christ.
January 31, 2017
Speaker: Maureen Pratt
Recordings from the May 2016 session
The last gathering was November 21, 2016.
Tuesday April 14, 2015
Fr. Patrick's presentation
Behind The Scenes
Funerals & Memorials
Message Of The Week