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The Entrance of our LORD Jesus Christ in Jerusalem ~Palm Sunday~The RevDcn Igor Kalinski, OPI

Today we remind ourselves of the solemn entrance of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem as we read in Matthew 21:1-17; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:29-44 and John 12:12-19

Yeah, truly solemn entrance!  Seated on a donkey like the ancient kings as we read in 1 Kings 1:38, to fulfill the prophecy of the prophet  in Zacharias 9:9. Our Lord travels from Vitfagia through the Mount of Olives  headed for Jerusalem,  while the crowd of people with joy and excitement are welcoming our Lord shouting Hosanna to the son of David, Hosanna in the Highest.

But something happened that does not match with the magnificence of the entrance of our LORD, as Saint Luke the evangelist is saying that when he came close to the city, Jesus wept. (Luke 19:41)

Listen brethren, the LORD is weeping, our Lord Jesus  has  falling tears. Him who  comforted so many crying souls, like the widow of Nain with her only son, Jesus is telling her, don’t cry Luke 7:13, and now himself weeping.

That view is so horrifying that I can’t describe it. Only the soul can somehow feel and sense what will survive Jesus can join to cry for him like a little child who cry for his mother, without understanding those mother’s tears that are falling.

The tears as saint Augustine  says is the blood of the soul. They speak for enormous  spiritual survival, there are tears also of sorrow, tears of joy, tears of repentance…

What kind of tears did Jesus have that he was so sorrowful for Jerusalem? Saint Luke evangelist is telling us in chapter 19:41-44.

It’s obvious that this kind of tears of our Lord Jesus are tears of deep sorrow for the unhappy destiny of the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

In front of God’s view who sees everything appeared those horrible days when the enemies will encircle the city, will destroy and kill their children and inhabitants, which been fulfilled in every detail as have been recorder from the historian of that age, the Jewish historian Joseph Flavian.

Our Lord wept not only for Jerusalem , but for all people throughout the history, he saw the failing of Adam, the killing of Abel, he saw the betrayal of Judas, he saw all the sins and failing of the humanity til the end of the times.

How could He not weep? He wept for us, for our sins and transgressions, for our bad and unchristian lifestyle.

The tears of our Lord Jesus Christ remind us and calls us to repentance and sanctification of the new life and new beginning, to come back to ourselves, to crucify our body with the fallen nature (Glatians5:24) to remove from us the old man and to renew and clothe with new human made according God with justice and sanctity of truthfulness (Ephesians 4:22-24)

Holy Mother the Church have prepared during the liturgical year , several weeks, the weeks of the great lent for meditation and preparation for spiritual uplifting and spiritual salvation.

We ourselves let weep for our sins, with repentant tears to wash the sinful dots and marks from our heart.

To those who weep for their own sins and who repent, the Saviour has promised them great comfort in Matthew 5:4

That comfort is truly sure, because it is the comfort of the Holy Ghost (Acts9:31) Amen

Rev. Deacon Igor Kalinski OPI

Do Flowers Sin?

Ermitage de Saint Dominic San Souci

Do Flowers Sin?

I grow a lot of flowers; I love the shapes, colors and all the critters they attract, especially the bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. One of my favorites to grow is Celosia, more commonly called Prince feather because of its colorful, feather-like plumage. Now the ones I grow are red to purple, produce a plethora of tiny seeds (about the size of this period “.”) and reseed themselves year after year. Yet unlike those varieties one might buy at the market, mine are deformed and produce blooms that range from the normal feather-like plums to large flat crests reminiscent of rooster’s comb (giving rise to another common name of Coxcomb flowers) or equally large dome-shaped clusters which look very much like some alien’s brain!

No matter the shape or color, I enjoy watching them grow and blossom through the summer and fall.  I do, however, wonder what sin…

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St Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary~The Very Rev. Lady Sherwood, OPI

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Mother Sherwood, OPI

Today, we come together as the Church to commemorate St. Joseph, the Spouse of The Blessed Virgin Mary, and the foster Father of our Lord and Saviour,Jesus, when he became one of us here upon the Earth.

In the same way in which God, our Heavenly Father, who gives each of us as his children, unconditional love, care, stability and who sets us the standard with which we should strive to live our lives with his holy word in the scriptures, a true Father to each and every single one of us, who only ever wants the very best for all his children.  St. Joseph follows our Father’s example, as both husband and foster father.  He gives us examples which men should follow in their lives. Joseph cared for and provided for the Holy Household. There are many qualities that Joseph had which we could use to be the role model for Christian husbands and fathers. Joseph was a very compassionate man.  We can see an example of this when he suspected his wife of infidelity; he planned to divorce her quietly rather than denounce her publicly and expose her to public shame and penalty.

Joseph was always obedient to God and did what he knew was God’s will without thought or hesitation.  Examples of this are that he kept Mary as his wife; he protected and provided for his family when they had to flee to foreign lands to protect them from danger.

Joseph led a life of deep prayer and was in communion with God, and would always seek out that which was God’s will. God often told Joseph his will using dreams.

Joseph was a provider of care, When Jesus’s life was threatened, Joseph would take them out of danger. He took his family to Egypt and only returned when it was safe to do so, and when Jesus went missing at aged twelve, Joseph went searching for him because obviously, both parents were obviously extremely worried about Jesus’s safety.

Joseph also brought much more to Jesus’s life, he taught him his trade which Jesus worked in for about twenty years, he gave Jesus the love and stability he as any child needs, and was his earthly male role model, which was and still is vitally important for a good father to give any child.

He was a man with a firm faith in God coupled with a resilient personality, who did not complain and was not appalled nor distressed in the midst of trials and tribulations, St. Joseph knew how to face, carry and solve the burden of his vocation, of life’s difficulties and responsibilities with serenity, with complete faith and love, entrusting himself totally and unconditionally to God’s plans.

Sadly not all children are brought up in such a way today, but husbands and fathers truly should seek to follow this sincere man of God in the way they run their lives. Are you married? Do you give all the love, trust and respect to your spouse? Or with stresses and strains do you always argue or not truly make time for each other? If you have children, do you know where they are and if they are safe, or who they might be talking to online? Do you give emotional stability, patience and unconditional love? Do your children see you as the role model they need in a Father?  We should always strive to be as our heavenly Father is to each of us, whether that be to our spouses, to our children, and in fact to all as our brothers and sisters.

While the Gospels do not shed much light on St. Joseph’s life, it is believed that he died before Jesus’ public ministry.

St. Joseph is the patron of fathers, spouses, priests and seminarians. But also, St. Joseph teaches  us so much by his silent example of his life, and just how we should love God faithfully and obediently.

Let us pray:

Blessed St. Joseph, husband of Mary,

be with us this day.

You protected and cherished the Virgin;

loving the Child Jesus as your Son,

you rescued Him from the danger of death.

Defend the Church,

the household of God,

purchased by the Blood of Christ.

Guardian of the Holy Family,

be with us in our trials.

May your prayers obtain for us

the strength to flee from error

and wrestle with the powers of corruption

so that in life we may grow in holiness

and in death rejoice in the crown of victory.


Growing Pains – Humanity’s Teens!

By our beloved Bishop Jay, OPI

Ermitage de Saint Dominic San Souci

1st Sunday in Lent: A 2023

Today’s Old Testament reading, the infamous fall of man, the beginning of sin, the old Eve ruined everything, scripture is one of my favorites and also one I detest the most.  Why one I detest you ask: because it is so often misused by religion for purposes of fear mongering and control.  On the other hand, it is  a beautiful allegory on the difficulties of watching your children grow up, watching them make poor choices, knowing their innocence is slowly fading away.  After all, the Creator gave humanity free will, the gift of choosing right from wrong, of choosing our own paths as individual, cognizant creatures and yet, like any loving parent, wanted to extend our life in Eden and spare our loss of rose tinted glasses, the loss of our childhood innocence.

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Justice and Love~ Br. Milan Komadina, Novice

Reading the Bible is very important for every one of us. It could give us strength, encouragement, love, hope, enlarge our faith and also is a way of communicating with God. Often, when we read the Bible we tend to read the New Testament. It seems that in the New Testament we could find more stories about love and forgiveness. This is why I believe more people rather read the New Testament. However, it is good to remember that the New Testament was written based on the Old Testament. And even though in the Old Testament one could read more about things that are related to rituals, knowing the Commandments of God, sacrificing and punishing for sins and it seems that The Old one is a bit harder to read, we could also find some interesting chapters talking about the importance of love and forgiveness. In today`s reading we read Leviticus 19:17/18:

”Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt. Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”

Love your neighbor as yourself. These are words from the Old Testament. It was not only mentioned to love our neighbor which would be also a strong Commandment. It was written to love our neighbor as our own selves. As we live in the time when modern psychology teaches us to be only self-oriented and maybe even a bit selfish, it may be hard for a modern human to love others the way they love their selves. But this is what Bible says. Bible is teaching us to love and forgive. And through love and forgiveness we might also experience peace. Sometimes we may feel that our neighbor is not doing fair enough to us. We may even have an evil neighbor who is envious, jealous or who even make some problems to us. Bible also teaches us to forgive. Here is another challenge for modern human. We usually tend to seek justice and when someone causes us pain or does something unjust we would like to revenge. But life could often teach us that God is the one who sees everything and God is just. In Matthew 5:38-48 it is written:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighborand hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

As we read the New Testament goes even one step further. It does not only teaches us to love our neighbors but it also teaches us to love our enemies. This is a really hard lesson but we have the greatest teacher, the Lord Himself, Jesus who showed us how that love could work. When he was on the cross, dying in pains he did not condemn his enemies, but he prayed for them. This is useful to remember every time when we feel depressed or when it seems that the life is unjust, painful or when we feel that we cannot deal with our daily hardships. We all have our crosses, but God will never give us the cross that we could not bear. Sometimes some hardships or unjust situations may be good lessons to make us better person. Or those could be only one step to some good things that God is preparing for us. We should trust God and rely on Him because everything that is happening to us is happening with a reason. God has a personalized approach to each one of us. Through the years I learnt one important lesson. God is always leading us and sometimes when we think that something is not good for us, God knows why it actually is good because he sees the future and he knows the outcome.

With my wish and prayer for you all to learn about God`s wisdom and grace, to let Him guide your life and being trustful and faithful may He bless you all in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Salt~James M. Taylor, Novice

Isaiah 58:7-10 I Corinthians 2:1-5 Matthew 5:13-16


In addition to other spices, salt serves to enhance the flavor of food. And yet when it is used alone it is able to prolong the distinctiveness of foods for later consumption.

[In Leviticus we read “And every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt. You shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering.”]

The value of salt in small qualities [appear to have been known] in ancient times for use in arid places to help retain moisture, destroy weeds, make stubborn soil easier to till, and make sour grass sweeter and more appealing to cattle. [add a statement introducting how salt relates in the old covenant to our relationship to God.

Leviticus 2:13 reads: “And every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt; you shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering.”

In the New Testament, sacrifices seasoned with salt speaks of covenant fellowship with God, which we have in the Mass can you clarify Mass, all parts, the eucharist? source of the idea which then leads to the next statement. Living the Mass is about “the unbending truthfulness of that self-surrender to the Lord embodied in the sacrifice of Christ, by which impurity and hypocrisy are repelled.” Source??

Salt was can also be a symbol of a curse. If you recall in the story of Lot and his wife recorded in Genesis 19:24, the Lord rained down fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah. God chose to spare Lot and his family, warning them of

the impending destruction and commanding them to leave and not look back., While Lot and his family were fleeing the city, his wife looked back and she became a pillar of salt

Why did she defy a direct order from God when He specifically told them not to look back? St. Luke interprets her action as the manifestation of the unwillingness to relinquish everything at the time of judgment and serves to warn Jesus’ followers ( that is US) against misplaced values. source

What I am reminded of with this incident involving Lot’s wife, is the end of one’s life and how it could happen as quickly as it did for Lot’s wife. Even though she was told not to turn back, she did and immediately, her life was over- there was no time to repent or plea for forgiveness The Son of Man may return at a time when we least expect it. It helps to be ready. In his sermon on the mount, Jesus tells his followers “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men.” Matthew 5:13

Salt’s purpose is not for itself; it is for preserving and seasoning food. In the same way, His disciples are there not for themselves but for spreading God’s truth, the Gospel to all people, and we are supposed to do the same. We are no longer our own the moment we surrender our lives to God Almighty. From that moment, He places His hand on us and calls us into a world of “seasonless” lives. It is our responsibility to be the Salt of the earth for eachother; through Christ, of course.

An illustration that I like to use is this:

In A Peanuts cartoon, Peppermint Patty talking to Charlie Brown said,

“Guess what, Chuck.

The first day of school and I got sent to the principal’s office. It was your fault, Chuck.”

He said, “My fault? How could it be my fault? Why do you say everything is my fault?”

She said, “You’re my friend, aren’t you, Chuck?

You should have been a better influence on me.”

Charlie brown should have been more Like salt; after all, what are we if we are like peanuts without salt?


Behold! ~ Br Christian Ventura~Novice

In the ✠ Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.


If you are a regular catholic churchgoer, you likely are familiar with the general outline of the holy mass. Shortly after we boldly join in reciting our Lord’s prayer, the celebrant will fraction the consecrated host, confer a sign of peace, turn to us, holding the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ in their hands while firmly proclaiming: “Behold the Lamb of God: behold Him that taketh away the sins of the world.” If you speak liturgicalese, you know this to be called the Agnus Dei, where we give reverence to the Son’s  title: “Lamb of God”. In most catholic masses, the celebrant may then go on to say: “Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb”, which is in reference to a passage from Revelation.

The word “behold” appears over 1200 times in most english translations of the Bible, and, in the New Testament, is derived from the Greek word “eido” which is often translated as a command to see, or, to look intently. It is translated most literally as, “be sure to see”.

We can assume this is the sentiment John the Baptist carries in today’s Holy Gospel when he says to the disciples “behold”. In the presence of our Lord, he calls the disciples to take notice, to look carefully.

But that’s not all he says, isn’t it? He says, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Now the language here is especially important and worth paying attention to. When John says “takes away”, he doesn’t just mean get rid of, nullify, or set aside, like when a mother might take away a child’s toy for misbehaving. In this context, John says “airōn”, which in ancient Greek is closer to meaning “bearing up what was laid down”. 

In the Holy Sacrifice of the mass, we celebrate in tremendous awe the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, and remember through Christ’s passion the forgiveness of our sins. We remember in adoration that Jesus Christ laid down His life for us, so that we may be forgiven. The catholic faith has historically been incredibly adamant about the remission of sins through consumption of the Body and Blood of Christ, that the Holy See ex cathedra has declared absolutions of venial sins for all those who rightfully partake in communion.

The breaking of bread isn’t the first time the people of the Church see the consecrated Host in the order of the holy mass, however. In fact, it occurs when the priest lifts up the Host in what we call, the elevation. Most times, the elevation is accompanied by three bell chimes, followed by a genuflection by the presiding clergy. The most important role played during the elevation is not by the clergy, but actually, the people! The priest lifts up the Body and Blood of Christ in view of everyone for the purpose of solemn adoration. When the priest raises the elements, they acclaim with their whole heart, “Behold the Lamb of God. Behold Him who takes away the sins of the world!”.

So the next time you find yourself at mass, I encourage you to lift your head high when you hear the sound of the bells, and intentionally look at the raised Body and Blood of Christ that was shed just for you, out of the abundance of love from our Almighty God.

Lastly, I’ll end with the prayer I usually say before the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, if you find it helpful for your own devotion. “Be present, be present, O Jesus our great High Priest, as you were present with your disciples in the upper room, and be known to us in the breaking of bread through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

It Is Good~The Feast of the Transfiguration~The Rev. Frank Bellino

A week before the Transfiguration, Jesus had promised to His disciples: “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.”

The Transfiguration is now part of the fulfilment of this promise which would really be fulfilled at Jesus’ resurrection. The disciples were experiencing a foretaste of the glory and power of God’s kingdom. God gave them this experience to strengthen their faith and to assure them that the Man of Nazareth was really His beloved Son, the promised Messiah.

Peter became so excited with this experience that he wanted to perpetuate that moment. He didn’t want to go down the mountain anymore, back to the problems and challenges of the daily life. He wanted to stay there: “It is good for us to be here! Let us put up three shelters – one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

It is usually accepted that Mark wrote his Gospel based on the reports he heard from Peter. I can imagine Peter telling Mark about the Transfiguration! It was a unique experience for him, and it touched him deeply. He wrote about the Transfiguration in his first letter as well, confirming the voice they had heard from the Father and the brightness of the light that shone around them.

We are children of God of the new covenant. We know how the story ended with the resurrection and ascension of Christ. We know that Jesus established His kingdom among us. We know that Jesus is now in glory with the Father ad with Moses, Elijah and all other saints. We believe that we will all be there by God’s grace. But for the disciples it was not as easy as it is for us. They couldn’t understand what was to happen: Jesus’ suffering and death. They couldn’t even understand when Jesus spoke about His resurrection! Therefore, Peter wanted to stay there, in glory with Jesus, Moses and Elijah, and his fellows John and James. “It is good for us to be here.”

I – It is good for us…

A) It is good for us to be with Jesus too. This one hour that we spend together in Service is a blessed hour in communion with Jesus! Away from the daily rush, we sit quiet and worship our God. We listen to His voice and partake in His Holy Meal. We believe and confess that Jesus is the Beloved Son of God, our Savior. We sing with angels and archangels: “Holy, Holy Holy!” – The same happens when we read the Bible and pray at home, alone or with our family. It is a moment of peace and of fellowship with God. It is good to be with Jesus!

B) It is good for us to be with Moses too. We need to hear the Commandments, who call us to repentance and show us how to walk according to God’s will. We cannot just take some sweet drink; but we must accept some bitter medicine as well. If people would listen to the 10 Commandments more, the world wouldn’t be as bad as it is. For us it is good to be with Moses; it gives us security; because Moses is not alone, but he comes with Jesus, who reaches His hand to help us as we are unable to obey 100% the Commandments.

C) It is good for us to be with Elijah, the prophet. Elijah called the king and the people of his time back to the true faith. Elijah and the other prophets pointed to the Messiah; and we know that those prophecies were done in Jesus. God is faithful in what He promises. We can be sure about what He promises to us as well. And the biggest promises were done in Jesus promises of forgiveness and eternal life.

D) It is good for us to be with Peter, James and John. They were eyewitnesses of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. When we read what they wrote in the Bible, it is like to be with them and to enjoy their telling the stories and sharing with us their faith and life experiences. Peter wrote (2 Peter 1:16-18): “For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.” This gives us confidence that the Bible is really the Word of God!

II – The end has not come yet

It is good for us to be with Jesus, Moses, Elijah and the apostles, to be strengthened in our faith and in our life. After the Transfiguration Moses and Elijah went back to the glory of God, where all our blessed beloved ones and ancestors are. But the glorious end has not yet come to us. After being with Jesus and His fellows for a while, we must go down the mountain, like Jesus and the disciples after the Transfiguration. Jesus had to face suffering and death, as we will remember it during the Lent Season, which begins this week on Ash Wednesday. We have to face Lent Season in our lives as well. Not like Jesus, because He did the most for us and on our behalf on the cross. But we know that life is not easy. Every one of us has temptations and sufferings to carry. But after being with Jesus and His fellow prophets and apostles, we know and believe that we can lift up our eyes from the darkness and dirt of this world to the glory of the Resurrected Jesus! Like the apostles were comforted in hope remembering the experience on the Transfiguration Mountain, like they were facing persecutions and sufferings, we are also comforted in hope by the glory of the living Christ! Don’t miss the opportunities to be with Jesus and to kneel at His table with your Christian family. God said in our Gospel: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to Him!” As we enjoy being here and always with Jesus, He will never forsake us, according to His promise.

In good and in bad times of our lives, He will reach His hand to us and hold us firm, until we will be with Him, with Moses, Elijah, the apostles and all the saints for ever and ever. Then He will accept our wish when we say: Lord, it is good to be here. And He will answer: “Good and faithful servant. Come and share your Master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:23). Amen.

St. Mary Magdalene, Protectress of the Order

Mary Magdalen is a model of contemplation, and is thus a suitable proctectress for an Order whose end is the salvation of souls by the preaching of the truths contemplated

Epistle: Canticle 3:2-5; 8:6,7

I will rise and will go about the city; in the streets and the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth; I sought him and I found him not. The watchmen who keep the city found me: Have you seen him whom my soul loveth? When I had a little passed by them, I found him whom my soul loveth. I held him; and I will not let him go till I bring him into my mother’s house, and into the chamber of her that bore me. I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes and the harts of the fields, that you stir not up, nor awake my beloved till she please. Put me as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thy arm, for love is strong as death; jealousy as hard as hell; the lamps thereof are fire and flame. Many waters cannot quench charity, neither can the floods drown it; if a man should give all the substance of his house for love, he shall despise it as nothing.

The soul that, following the direction of the watchmen, that is, the priests, teachers, and rulers of the Church, seeks Jesus, He goes to meet, gives Himself up to, takes up His abode in, with all His love, with all His treasures. The soul which has found Christ for delight forgets all outward things, and no longer has love or joy but for and in Christ. How should it be otherwise? What can be wanting to him who truly possesses Christ? This love for Him Who loved us unto death shows itself by outward acts that are heroic. So Mary Magdalen loved Jesus. Follow her example.

St. Mary Magdalene is one of the greatest saints of the Bible and a legendary example of God’s mercy and grace. The precise dates of her birth and death are unknown, but we do know she was present with Christ during his public ministry, death and resurrection. She is mentioned at least a dozen times in the Gospels.

Mary Magdalene has long been regarded as a prostitute or sexually immoral in western Christianity, but this is not supported in the scriptures. It is believed she was a Jewish woman who lived among Gentiles, living as they did.

The Gospels agree that Mary was originally a great sinner. Jesus cast seven demons out of her when he met her. After this, she told several women she associated with and these women also became followers.

There is also debate over if Mary Magdalene is the same unnamed women, a sinner, who weeps and washes Jesus’ feet with her hair in the Gospel of John. Scholars are skeptical this is the same person.

Despite the scholarly dispute over her background, what she did in her subsequent life, after meeting Jesus, is much more significant. She was certainly a sinner whom Jesus saved, giving us an example of how no person is beyond the saving grace of God.

During Jesus’ ministry, it is believed that Mary Magdalene followed him, part of a semi-permanent entourage who served Jesus and his Disciples.

Mary likely watched the crucifixion from a distance along with the other women who followed Christ during His ministry. Mary was present when Christ rose from the dead, visiting his tomb to anoint his body only to find the stone rolled away and Christ, very much alive, sitting at the place they laid Him. She was the first witness to His resurrection.

After the death of Christ, a legend states that she remained among the early Christians. After fourteen years, she was allegedly put into a boat by Jews, along with several other saints of the early Church, and set adrift without sails or oars. The boat landed in southern France, where she spent the remaining years of her life living in solitude, in a cave.

St. Mary Magdalene’s feast day is July 22. She is the patroness of converts, repentant sinners, sexual temptation, pharmacists, tanners and women, and many other places and causes.

Be Still and Listen~ The Rev. Frank Bellino

The story of Jesus in the home of Martha and Mary complements the story of the Good Samaritan, which we heard last week in Luke’s Gospel. Both stories are unique to Luke. The story of the Samaritan opens with the words “a certain man.” Today’s reading opens with the words “a certain woman.” The Samaritan is an example of how a disciple should see and act. Mary is an example of how a disciple should listen. Mary, a woman, is a marginalized person in society, like the Samaritan. Both do what is not expected of them. As a woman, Mary would be expected, like Martha, to prepare hospitality for a guest. Here again Jesus breaks with the social conventions of his time. Just as a Samaritan would not be a model for neighborliness, so a woman would not sit with the men around the feet of a teacher.

Both stories exemplify how a disciple is to fulfill the dual command which begins chapter 10—love of God (Mary) and love of neighbor (the Samaritan). These are the two essentials of life in the kingdom. By using the examples of a Samaritan and a woman, however, Jesus is saying something more. Social codes and boundaries were strict in Jesus’ time. Yet to love God with all one’s heart and one’s neighbor requires breaking those rules. The Kingdom of God is a society without distinctions and boundaries between its members. It is a society that needs times for seeing and doing and also times for listening and learning at the feet of a teacher.

I always feel that Mary and Martha’s home was a kind of sanctuary where Jesus could take time out to be among his friends especially if he had things weighting on his mind. The Bible tells us that Jesus loved Mary and Martha and their brother Lazarus. I wonder why he was so fond of them. Maybe because they allowed him space and time to unwind and share with them his innermost thoughts and feelings. In the first reading Abraham and Sarah did the same bending over backwards to accommodate their three mysterious visitors who turned up at their tent unannounced.

Do we ever make space in our lives for people who could do with a listening ear especially if they catch us on the hop and we’re not expecting them? Loving someone is not just about helping them in a time of crisis, like the Good Samaritan in last Sunday’s gospel, but also about making space and time for them on a more mundane level and especially if it inconvenient to us.

But before this happens it is important to make space and time for God in our busy lives. It mentions a number of times in the Gospel that Jesus took time out for prayer usually in a place where he wasn’t likely to be disturbed. According to the old catechism answer prayer is ‘a raising up of the mind and heart to God’. That simply cannot be done if our minds are all over the place. How can we raise up a restless heart to God if it is preoccupied with other things?

The gospel tells us that Mary sat down at the Lord’s feet and listened to his words. Blaise Paschal, the renowned 17th century philosopher and mathematician, wrote that “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

If that was true of the 17th century, how much more relevant is it for modern people. Even Sunday rest, which the Church calls for, is paid lip service to by many. We need to make uninterrupted space and time for God if we are ever going to give quality time to others. Martha and Mary were equally loved by Jesus. On this occasion he gently reminds Martha that Mary had chosen the better part on this occasion, and it would be a shame to take it from her

If you read about the lives of saintly Catholics who were very active in their ministries, like Saint Teresa of Calcutta or St. Rita, you may be surprised at how much time they spent in a chapel each day, praying at the feet of the Lord, before engaging in their ministries of service.

For this reason, I believe every one of us needs to have both a Mary and a Martha in us. To be a healthy Catholic is to unite in the soul the contemplative life and the active life. That mix will be different for each and every one of us. For those who work all week on the job and at home, this can be a challenging message indeed. My friends, can we devise strategies to help ourselves, every member of our family, circle of friends, and parishioners here at St. Michael’s to be rooted in the Mary side of our relationship with God and neighbor? Do we care enough to voluntarily give the Martha’s in our lives a break every so often, so she too can be rooted in the better part?

For we know the task of running a healthy parish here at Saint Michael’s takes the joint effort of an army of Martha’s, everyone doing their part. On the other hand, if we are not first Mary’s in our daily lives, our efforts are in vain. The Gospel challenges our parish, and in truth the Gospel needs all of us at home and outside of home, to root all of our activities in our prayerful discipleship of the Lord. This is very important because, as imperative as all the things we have to get done each day, if these activities are not rooted in a relationship with Jesus Christ, why does it matter?