St. Peter and St. Paul--Martyrs: Monday, June 29th, 2020
Awesome how Readings come Together with our Day: Monday, July 13th, 2020
Hospitality from Judaism, Christianity and Today with Covid-19? 13th Sunday in Ordinary in Time
13th Ordinary Time
This weekend, here is a curious gift that we ought to give to others in the Old and New Testaments: Hospitality
· I bring this up, even in the Covid-19
· And listen to the very first words in our first reading from Elisha:
o “One day Elisha came to Shunem,
where there was a woman of influence, who urged him to dine with her. Afterward, whenever he passed by, he used to stop there to dine. So she said to her husband, “I know that Elisha is a holy man of God. Since he visits us often, let us arrange a little room on the roof
and furnish it for him with a bed, table, chair, and lamp,
so that when he comes to us he can stay there.”
Sometime later Elisha arrived and stayed in the room overnight.”
During the Jewish culture, from the very beginning of humanity, and around the world today is amazing to still seeing hospitality
· And Jesus challenges us not to just do this to our family and friends, as, in one place said that pagans, tax collectors and sinners to the same
· We are called to give hospitality for those we do not know, the poor, the sick, the hungry, the thirsty, etc.
And here is the deep questions now: how do we show hospitality during Covid?
· I personally think this is the opposite of our individualism—keeping safe our family first, others second
o Well God wants us to support all of His sons and daughters
· How are you showing hospitality before, during or after this virus?
· Yes, we must make good decisions as we would speak about the words like prudence and wisdom, but we are not in this world, but of this world
· We literally have had saints that did give hospitality during the worst pandemics, injustice, and violence, like St. Damian as men, women and children were isolated on Molakai, like St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta who housed in the ghettos in Calcutta, like Dorothy Day, who took any ethnicity or even religion for food and shelter, Pius XII who saved thousands of Jews during the third reich, St. Katharine Drexel with Black and American Indians, priests who tried to dissipate the lynching in Duluth, and any other saints or individuals with missions
So how are you called to give hospitality, even during this challenging time?
Spiritual War with the Wheat and the Weeds: 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
16th Sunday of Ordinary Time
The spiritual war
· Recently I have mentioned the City of God vs. the City of Man
· Or our parable this weekend, again with seeds, but with the enemy
o “The kingdom of heaven may be likened
to a man who sowed good seed in his field.
While everyone was asleep his enemy came
and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off.
When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.”
§ Wheat and tares…wheat and weeds
· Welcome to humanity!
So there we have, with the good fruit, and the bad fruit, the team with God, and the team with Satan
Yet we have more when we are with God
· For instance
o Wisdom: “But though you are master of might, you judge with clemency,
and with much lenience you govern us;”
o “Lord, you are good and forgiveness…”
o And in a special way during this time is that the Holy Spirit will even give us power without speaking:
§ “The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness;
for we do not know how to pray as we ought,
but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.”
And at the end of our lives, God is the Judge
· And we ought to listen to the response to this parable with reality:
o “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man,
the field is the world, the good seed the children of the kingdom.
The weeds are the children of the evil one,
and the enemy who sows them is the devil.
The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire,
so will it be at the end of the age.
The Son of Man will send his angels,
and they will collect out of his kingdom
all who cause others to sin and all evildoers.
They will throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
Then the righteous will shine like the sun
in the kingdom of their Father.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
· Today, many of us don’t want to hear these words from Jesus, bought we should. Like last weekend, we have ears, and we must hear!
Parish Bulletin Article: "Verses in the Bible": 7-26-20
This past two weeks we have heard a clear proclamation from the prophet, Isaiah, and Jesus Christ. Both reminded the culture back then and now, that we must have ears to hear, and eyes to see. Sadly, many people do not hear or see the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thus, I wanted to type some verses from the Scriptures that may really support your journey towards heaven. Enjoy!
· Micah 6:8: “He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
· Proverbs: 27: “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
· Sirach 6:14-17: “A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter: he that has found one has found a treasure. There is nothing so precious as a faithful friend, and no scales can measure his excellence. A faithful friend is an elixir of life; and those who fear the Lord will find him. Whoever fears the Lord directs his friendship aright, for as he is, so is his neighbor also.”
· Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
· Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
· Matthew 28:19-20: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”
· Romans 8:26: “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.”
Always hear, with your ears, as you listen to the readings at Mass. And see, as you use your eyes to see the Scriptures.
The best news (pun intended) is in the BIBLE!
Why do we need a community as Catholics?: Thursday, July 23rd, 2020
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Happy Independence Day!
Once again, what perfect readings from God and the connection between this weekend in the Liturgy as well as the weekend in our Country
And during this weekend, I’ll simply begin with Covid-19, and chaos as while we must learn, listen and discern how God has called us to do in our lives, we also need time to rest, celebrate, and worship, especially at MASS
· “Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion,
shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king shall come to you;
a just savior is he,
meek, and riding on an ass,
on a colt, the foal of an ass.”
· “His dominion shall be from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.”
· (Jesus would go into Jerusalem to offer his life for us…)
Gospel in Matthew 11:
· “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
Jesus Christ gives us love as he is love. He has given us blessings, grace and mercy around the world. And∑ He is THE person to show us all levels of our lives…to serve him well and take time for rest. Both the above are like marathons, but even longer for our entire lives on earth.
Seniors' Baccalaureate Mass!: Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Crucial for us: be "The harvest is abundant but the labors are few": Tuesday, July 7th, 2020
Parish Bulletin Article: "Happy Independence!": 7-5-20
Happy 4th of July for the United States of America and July 1st for our northern neighbors in Canada!
I may have written this last year, but I recommend readings these again:
· “In Congress, July 4th, 1776…
‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’”
Let’s not forget history, both the good and the bad. And, never forget the men who put their lives on the line as they may have been killed by signing the Declaration of Independence (56 delegates from the 13 colonies). As our country began, here are the last words they wrote:
· “…that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
While we are very blessed in the United States of America, even as our country is not perfect, we must never forget how fortunate we may seek “Life, Liberty, and Happiness”! We must continue to serve our brothers and sisters, our neighbors, those who are hungry, thirsty, naked, lonely, in jail, in hospitals, and those who have passed away.
May we follow God’s love to be in the “City of God” versus the “City of the World” (ex. “The City of God” written by St. Augustine 426 AD). As God’s Kingdom is around the globe, may we pray for our men and women who serve our country in the military branches, and all of our sons and daughters of God’s family around the planet.
God Bless and have a safe, wonderful weekend!
The Gospel according from Matthew...often: Monday, July 27th, 2020
Where do we go as Disciples?: Wednesday, July 8th, 2020
As we go forward, safely, catch up with our Diocese, our letter from our Bishops, and our protocols. I will do the best that I can for the balance with faith and Covid-19 and will be walking with you step by step. And, brothers and sisters, welcome home for Mass according to God’s will in your life!
Hope and Comfort from God: Wednesday, June 17th, 2020
12th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Some upswing great news…
- How do we affect and support the LORD’s rescue of the poor who are oppressed by the “power of the wicked?”
- How do we hear the poor? How about in our own community? Around our state? Country? Around the world? 1/3 of people in the world do not eat or drink well, or even with clean food or clean drink. 1/3!
- Or, what about those in “bonds,” those in our country, especially those that were written in a letter from our Bishops: “open wide our hearts the enduring call to love a pastoral letter against racism”: American Indians, Black and Hispanic brothers and sisters
- How do we walk together with and towards Jesus Christ?
I hope these readings, even deeper in their fullness today, connect with each of our individual responsibilities, and when we seek that truth, then go to Confession, then we may show your mission which is different with each person.
May we always follow Jesus Christ, especially when we must lock in with Him, and not our worldly sinfulness
Division and Violence in the Scriptures: Monday, June 15th, 2020
As summer kicks into full gear and I reflect on my past year of seminary, my heart is overflowing with gratitude. Following the Lord’s call has brought about peace and satisfaction unlike any other I have experienced. Despite a new set of challenges remote learning presented, God continues to bless me (and others) in new ways, making manifest His power even in uncertain circumstances.
One of the aspects of seminary life I miss the most is the constant fraternity in which each of us is surrounded. The importance of this is expressed in Proverbs 27:17: “As iron sharpens iron, so man sharpens his fellow man.” When we have friends and family around that encourage us to live a life rooted in Christ, not only do they help motivate us, but in turn, we help motivate them! I found myself back home abruptly without scheduled Holy Hour, Mass, and time of fraternity. Meaning, I had to live deliberately and find the proper balance between online classes and prayer without the guidance of a formator and the rest of the seminary community. This proved to be challenging but continues to be a source of growth as I walk towards God’s call for my life, whatever it may be.
Regardless of the challenges, God’s blessings shine through. The abrupt return home allowed me to spend extra time with my family, whom I would typically only have time to connect with once a week. I cannot help but feel blessed to spend the entirety of the summer with both my human family and my parish family here at St. Thomas Aquinas. Not to mention, Fr. Ben has graciously taken me under his wing and taught me about the life of a parish priest, which serves as invaluable experience as I discern my vocation. I ask for your prayers and know of mine for our beautiful parish of St. Thomas Aquinas!
In Christ, Ben Freeman
Forgive our Enemies: Tuesday, June 16th, 2020
I must share a gorgeous day, trying to keeping us all upbeat with all that is going on around our country.
On Thursday, May 28th we, celebrated with our three sixth-graders who graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas School: Laney Becker (parents, Jed and Tonya), Nick Kostiuk (parents, Marnie and Michael) and Taleia Boyer (parents, Kim and Chad). These students were able to receive a "new" type of graduation, but the first graduation in many years. Thank you, Principal Jerry Hilfer!), and many of our teachers and employees to make it happen.
As our students did not know that we were going to have a "parade" to their homes, we were blessed to have a procession, led by Police Officer Michael Kostiuk (which I got to ride in the front!), Mayor Droba Harley (who drove his Delorean!) and each of our teachers.
For each student, we approached their homes, honking, celebrating, and having a quick six-foot social distance party. Each student was announced with the graduation pomp and circumstance played by John Faith, and Principal Jerry, as our keynote spoke to each student.
Each student received our gifts and encouraged them as they move forward in a new chapter as they are now seventh grade, and what a heart-warming afternoon.
Finally, as long as I am writing about St. Thomas Aquinas School, I must always give a congratulation for Patti Refsland as she received a new job, "right up her alley" in Crosslake, and John Faith has retired. Thus, we are already advertising open positions as a new 5th-6th grade teacher and a musician.
Please keep praying for our school, always remembering that Jesus Christ said, "…let the children come to me," and this will continue to occur, even with a challenging year.
Go, St. Thomas Aquinas SAINTS and, God Bless!
Morality in the Sermon on the Mount: Thursday, June 18th, 2020
Come, Holy Spirit. Come, Holy Spirit. Come, Holy Spirit.
To many of you in our family, welcome home!
After Jesus rose from the dead, took time on earth, he told his disciples: “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
As we come to the apex of Jesus birth, presentation in the Temple, the temptation of the evil one, teaching, healing, forgiving, the passion, crucifixion, death, resurrection, ascension He sent the Holy Spirit. BOOM!
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Each of you who has been baptized, who have been confirmed, you have given the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit.
may the LORD be glad in his works!
Pleasing to him be my theme;
I will be glad in the LORD.”
Come, Holy Spirit!
We continue to move forward in Ordinary Time, though it is interesting that, in some ways, we “slowly” begin this season on this weekend and next.
The Holy Trinity
Some quick, but sacred scriptures
This weekend I would like to share some of the challenging times in which the Trinity has been with me, and many of you
but might have eternal life.”
So seek the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
- “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.”
So may we conclude this homily with a traditional prayer to our Trinity
Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church: Monday, June 1st, 2020
8th Anniversary with my Brothers! Monday, June 22nd, 2020