We welcome ALL to join us in the celebration of Mass!
Saturday: 5 p.m.
Sunday: 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday: 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Thursday Friday: 8:15 a.m.
Holy Days: Variable
From Bulletin, Sunday, January 21
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “What good would life have been to us, had Christ not come as our Redeemer?”
SCRIPTURE FOCUS: There is a cost of discipleship—Jesus sometimes calls us to leave behind professions, friends, even family. Does that mean that work and human relationships are at odds with growing in our relationship with God? The concept of detachment can help us understand this problem.
Peter and Andrew were businessmen. So were their neighbors, James and John. They tried to wring a living out of the Sea of Galilee, and it probably took nearly all of the time and energy that they had. So it would have been easy to pass on the chance to hear some new prophet proclaim that the Kingdom of God had finally arrived. And then, having heard this message, they could have rolled their eyes and chuckled about how they hoped that this Kingdom would put more fish in the lake. Or they could have made excuses that this was all very interesting, but following the wandering rabbi from Nazareth was more suitable for single men with no mouths to feed.
No, when Jesus invited them to become his disciples and learn to catch men instead of fish, they dropped their nets, abandoned their business, and went on the road. Is it wrong to have a family? Is it wrong to be in business? Are these secular activities inappropriate for a disciple of Jesus?
Not in the least. The Church teaches that we can serve the Lord and grow in holiness through any honest task, whether we be single or married. But St. Paul also tells us that the Christian engaged in secular activities must inwardly detach themselves from these pursuits and relationships: “those who have wives should live as though they have none . . . buyers should conduct themselves as if they owned nothing, and those who make use of the world as though they were not using it, for the world as we know it is passing away.” (I Cor. 7:29-31)
This also illuminates what Jesus means by some very tough words: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Mat. 10:37). Yes, there is a cost to discipleship. An intimate relationship with God in Jesus Christ is a pure gift of grace. But grace, as pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer reminds us, doesn’t come cheap.
The word “secular” means “of this world.” Now it is true that God likes this world. After all, he created it. But when sinful humanity gets a hold of the things of this passing world, it doesn’t want to let go. It becomes engrossed, absorbed, consumed with it to the neglect of what lasts forever, namely the Kingdom of God.
In Jesus, the Kingdom has touched down on planet earth. We need to re-form our lives, which is not only to say repent from sin, but actually structure our lives totally around the kingdom and its priorities. Kingdom priorities might dictate that some enter into the sacrament of matrimony in order to raise up new heralds of the kingdom and leaders of God’s people. And Christ may call others to involve themselves in business so as to provide financially for God’s work and to infuse Christian values into the marketplace.
Detachment does not mean that you shouldn’t enjoy your secular pursuits and approach them with energy and enthusiasm. It just means that your possessions, your relationships and all your daily activities must be placed on the altar, offered up to God as a living sacrifice. And you must be ever ready to walk away from everything at a moment’s notice, should Jesus call you to do so. Moments of truth will come to test just how serious we are about living for God rather than for sports, careers and even families.
Yes, families. There are times when duty calls soldiers to leave their families. The same holds true for breadwinners—my great-grandfather left family behind in Italy for several years while he prepared a better place for them in America. So why should we be surprised that, at times, some may be called to leave family for the sake of the Kingdom of God?
We may not be called literally to leave all behind to walk the dusty trails of Israel. But there will come a moment when we may hear an invitation to decline a scholarship, or a promotion, or a romance for the sake of the Kingdom. As the gospel story unfolds, we learn that the apostles have more than a few shortcomings. But we have to admit this–that when that initial call came, as challenging as it was, they made no excuses. Can the same be said for us? —Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio
CATHOLIC SERVICES APPEAL (CSAF): If you have not yet given your gift in support of the 18 Collective Ministries of this Archdiocese to the Catholic Services Appeal, please prayerfully consider God’s gifts in your life and consider making a pledge. Every gift is important and helps to strengthen our Catholic family and this Archdiocese. Visit the CSAF’s website at www.csafspm.org to learn more.
ANNUNCIATION AWAKENING RETREAT: For those who have not been before, I invite you to join us on our biannual retreat called the “Annunciation Awakening Retreat” on the weekend of March 16—18. The retreat will be held at Dunrovin Retreat Center, which is located on 50 secluded acres of national park in Marine on St. Croix, MN. At the retreat you will learn more about God the Father’s tremendous love for you and have the opportunity to establish and deepen your personal relationship with Christ.
The Retreat will include: Mass, Confession opportunities, Eucharistic Adoration, Communal Prayer Times, Music, Talks by Father Park, Small Groups/Fellowship, and time for silence and rest. You can sign up for the Awakening Retreat through our parish website: www.annunciationmsp.org/church/
HOLY LAND PILGRIMAGE: A year from now, I am teaming up with Fr. Kevin Finnegan, the pastor of Our Lady of Grace in Edina, to lead a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The dates for the trip are from Monday, December 31, 2018 to Friday, January 11, 2019. We will have more details in the next month or so (like the exact cost), but if you are interested in going, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can give you an estimated cost per person and answer any initial questions you may have. I spent three weeks in the Holy Land when I was in seminary, and to be in the places where Jesus was born, lived, worked, prayed, ministered, suffered, died, and rose from the dead was one of the greatest blessings of my life. I invite you to come and experience this for yourself!