If you are looking for further your understanding of the recent parable that has do with sowing good seed, this may be a worthwhile mediation that comes to us from the Office of Readings:
FROM A SERMON ON CHARITY BY SAINT BASIL THE GREAT, BISHOP (Hom. De caritate, 3, 6: PG 31, 266-267, 275)
“Man should be like the earth and bear fruit; he should not let inanimate matter appear to surpass him. The earth bears crops for your benefit, not for its own, but when you give to the poor, you are bearing fruit which you will gather in for yourself, since the reward for good deeds goes to those who perform them. Give to a hungry man, and what you give becomes yours, and indeed it returns to you with interest. As the sower profits from wheat that falls onto the ground, so will you profit greatly in the world to come from the bread that you place before a hungry man. Your husbandry must be the sowing of heavenly seed: Sow integrity for yourselves, says Scripture.
You are going to leave your money behind you here whether you wish to or not. On the other hand, you will take with you to the Lord the honor that you have won through good works. In the presence of the universal judge, all the people will surround you, acclaim you as a public benefactor, and tell of your generosity and kindness.
Do you not see how people throw away their wealth on theatrical performances, boxing contests, mimes and fights between men and wild beasts, which are sickening to see, and all for the sake of fleeting honor and popular applause? If you are miserly with your money, how can you expect any similar honor? Your reward for the right use of the things in this world will be everlasting glory, a crown of righteousness, and the Kingdom of Heaven; God will welcome you, the angels will praise you, all men who have existed since the world began will call you blessed. Do you care nothing for these things, and spurn the hopes that lie in the future for the sake of your present enjoyment? Come, distribute your wealth freely, give generously to those who are in need. Earn for yourself the psalmist’s praise: He gave freely to the poor; his righteousness will endure for ever.
How grateful you should be to your own benefactor; how you should beam with joy at the honor of having other people come to your door, instead of being obliged to go to theirs! But you are now ill-humored and unapproachable; you avoid meeting people, in case you might be forced to loosen your purse-strings even a little. You can say only one thing: “I have nothing to give you. I am only a poor man.” A poor man you certainly are, and destitute of all real riches; you are poor in love, generosity, faith in God and hope for eternal happiness.” ~Fr. John
At Sacred Heart, in the rectory, the AC for the upper level has died and we are looking into the costs for replacement. While it is not used often, it is something that should be rectified for the sake of maintaining the home, as has been done so well all along by the parish.
At St. Jude, there were those who have for these years past since the remodel of the Church, wanted to see the handicap entrance restored in some way for the west side of the church. While the new handicap entrance was put where it was so that one could come in on the main level and access the elevator (which obviously could not be done or even accommodated for the west side—we looked at that carefully at the time), many who need the ramp still prefer to come in from that west entrance. It was not considered at the time due to the added costs. At this point though, the steps are falling apart/crumbling, people want the ramp, and something must be done to clean it all up. In typical fashion, there is always that one or two people who come through and offer to make it happen. Wishing to be anonymous, one person has given the bulk of the cost—$40k—which they were only choosing to give for that purpose (for all you who think it should be spent in some other way), and we had a second gift of $2k. The cost of demolition, replacement of landing and then code-ramp is in excess of $45k. That number shocked me too, but if you know anything about the costs of such things, it is the lowest of the bids we received. We are pleased too that we will be able to use the Robert Henry Construction Company to do the work, as John and Tom and families are members here.
If there is still another one or two people who would like to help with the balance of the costs (especially if you are fond of using that entrance and will benefit from the ramp being restored), we would be pleased to have your gift. If not, we can see our way to take the balance out of operating costs, but then that means that same amount can’t be used for other general maintenance. The repair/replacement will in no way add to our present remaining debt with the diocese, which many are still faithful to helping reduce monthly. Bless those souls for their fidelity to the parish and improvements already being enjoyed by ALL.~Fr. John
FAREWELL TO SAM, our seminarian for the summer months. He left on Friday of this past week, and will be returning to Rome for studies as of the 17th. He was a real joy to have here these months and will be a wonderful priest and gift to the Church, please God, when Ordination comes in three years. In two years, his Ordination to the transitional Diaconate will take place in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and again, please God, I will be able to attend and con-celebrate the Mass. Same too, in October of 2021 for my cousin, Mark Hellinger, who is also studying in Rome and will be ordained Deacon in the Basilica.
It was with great sadness that our family received word yesterday that my cousin, Mark‘s (above) father died most unexpectedly—assumed heart attack—while at his office and general contracting company, getting a stored boat ready for use for the seminarians for “Lake Week” at Wawasee (this week ahead). Mark will be returning to Rome for studies in late August and he will be in my prayers, of course. Tough way to begin the new school year for him.
OUR NEW MUSIC PERSON at St. Jude, with us this past weekend, is another ND student. We’ve been blessed over the years with some very amazing talent and so it happens again. His name is Benton Schmidt* and he will be continuing his studies in this year ahead and, if he should be accepted into the doctoral program after, he may be with us for a couple more years. Welcome to Benton!
AT SACRED HEART, for the time being, Betsy and her daughter, Lisa will be providing music as needed (and as we are able at this time). Both are also very talented and Betsy especially has been involved in parish liturgy work for many years, so a wonderful resource and so willing to help whenever called upon. Another blessing! I know Sacred Heart will warmly welcome them too.
We all pray that Covid restraints will change to where we can sing as part of our worship. While it is true there are those who have probably never sung a note while at Mass, they are few and most love to sing (pray twice as the Sisters used to teach us) and music is a very important and spiritually meaningful part of our prayer together at Holy Mass.
SOMEWHERE IN LATE AUGUST or early September, I hope to go mid-week to the lake and just get away. Not been anywhere (as with most all of you) since early Lent and a week in Florida. ~Fr. John
Guidelines for weekend Masses: as of this writing, nothing has changed insofar as what the diocese is asking of us in order to provide the safest possible environment for people attending Holy Mass. In some ways, some are becoming more lax about the encouraged safety measures, but at the same time others are becoming more concerned as the warnings on the news seem to indicate the need for masks and great care are the best things we can all be doing to control the virus.
Those helping us with music for the time being, and others returning (mostly older members) will be looking for us to be as careful as possible in order to ensure their safety and willingness to be with us at Mass. With St. Joe County even more strongly encouraging the use of masks (to the point of fining business that are not in compliance) we need to be sure we are wearing masks in any spaces where closer contact can take place: foyers, entrances, ushers directing people at Communion or exiting the church, etc. While we all find the masks annoying, we need to be careful for the sake of others who have great concern for their own safety. A matter of sensitivity to the feelings of others. I too will need to be more vigilant personally when in those spaces apart from the Sanctuary (where we do not wear a mask because of being the presider or minister to Holy Mass).
With all that our principal, teachers and staff will be asked/required to do to provide for the safety of our returning students, others of us cannot be lax or disregarding of some of those same safety measures. It’s for the best interests of all, please.
Admittedly, there has been more than a little confusion put forth regarding the use of a mask if the proper social distance is maintained. The problem for any of us at church is that before we are aware of it, the social distance of 6’ can fluctuate before we can get a mask on, so best to just keep it on when in any spaces where movement if continually changing, if that makes sense. Error on the side of caution.
Interestingly, the video equipment that we have purchased to allow us to continue to offer on-line Mass for the homebound is thanks to a grant that was applied for and received. It was something that came about due to the pandemic and the awareness that so many were unable to attend church services (regardless of denomination), and as a help to churches to offer their services live-streamed as many have been doing. ~Fr. John