August 19, 2018

20TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

BETWEEN HEAVEN AND MIRTH
BY JAMES MARTIN, S.J.
FOR THE NEXT FEW WEEKS THIS COLUMN WILL FEATURE EXCERPTS FROM THE BOOK
BETWEEN HEAVEN AND MIRTH: WHY JOY, HUMOR AND LAUGHTER ARE AT THE HEART OF SPIRITUAL LIFE

WEEK 2
Kuschel, the German theology professor, has a twofold approach to laughter that is helpful when we look at humor from a spiritual vantage point. There is humor that builds up and humor that tears down, a humor that exposes cant and hypocrisy and humor that belittles the defenseless and marginalized. Good humor and bad humor. Of course, most secular observers would agree with this: there is a morality to humor. But religious observers see these two sides of humor slightly differently, for they see the two in the light of God’s desires for humanity. “Good” or “bad” depends not only on a moral sense but also on how the humor deepens or cheapens the relationship with God.

The theological approach to humor-condemnatory or praiseworthy-depends, as with laughter, on its intention. The Roman soldiers who robed Jesus in a purple garment, pressed upon his head a crown of thorns and placed a reed in his hand were engaging in a malicious humor, mocking him as a spurious king: “Hail, King of the Jews!” (On the other hand, the Gospel writers use this episode to their benefit, and the soldiers’ terrible humor makes an ironic theological point. Jesus truly is a king, though the soldiers do not know this. The joke is on them.)

On the opposite end is Jesus’s own use of humor. Many of his parables were most likely not only clever but overtly funny. His barbed comments to Roman officials, some Jewish religious leaders, the wealthy and the complacent often seem designed not only to silence the higher-ups but to provoke some smiles among his listeners. It is usually gentle, but nonetheless effective.

This brings us to joy. When I started to study joy, I was overwhelmed. The theme of joy runs throughout almost all the major religious and spiritual traditions. In Hinduism, the higher form of joy is often called bliss or ananda, and is an essestial attribute of divine reality. In the Old Testament, the people of Israel express their joy to God for having delivered them from slavery. In the Gospels, Jesus often uses that very word as a way of expressing a goal of discipleship. Later, St. Paul encourages the early Christians to “rejoice always.” Joy is one of the traditional “fruits of the Holy Spirit,” that is, gifts from God given to build us up.

A Biblical Lesson on Laughter

“Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh…Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.”
In chapter six of the Gospel of Luke, laughing is both a promise and a warning. It also signals foolish doubt. Matthew, Luke and Mark all tell the story of when Jesus arrived at the home of a synagogue leader whose daughter had died and said, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” The leaders in the room laughed at Jesus. In response he told the 12-year-old to get up, and she did.

To see Week 1 of this series, see “Bulletins-August 12” on our website stphilip.org

MISSIONARY COOPERATION PLAN COLLECTION
Sr. Eileen Tickner, F.M.A., a Salesian Sister of St. John Bosco will be at St. Philip weekend, August 18/19.
She will be speaking about the Missions in general; mostly about the Missionary call of each person in the Church.

Our Jubilee Prayer
Rejoicing in you, O Lord, with thankful hearts we pray as . . .
We Remember
gratefully our past companions on the Journey
whose sacrifice inspires us.
We Celebrate
the good news of love in action that empowers spiritual,
service and social ministry.
We Believe
in God’s providence as faithful stewards who continue
Christ’s work using the Keys to the Kingdom.
Amen

Journey with Us
Open Your Heart to God
Discover the Keys to the Kingdom

RCIA

Are you interested in exploring your spiritual life?
Do you want to discover the abundance of God’s love and peace?
Would you like to have greater motivation for service?
Do you want to know more about the Catholic Faith?
Did you ever think about becoming a Catholic?
Are you a Baptized Catholic and have never made your First Communion and/or Confirmation?
Are you baptized in another faith and have a desire to become Catholic?
Have you never been baptized in any faith but wonder?

Journey with Us!
Through the process of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults or RCIA, we explore all these questions and discover the keys to the kingdom. RCIA is a restoration of the ancient practice of initiation into the Church. Through a process of discernment, spiritual development and ritualizing stages of conversion, you are guided to sacramental initiation. These Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist which are celebrated at the Easter Vigil open your hearts and empower you to lives of service, charity and justice as witnesses to our mission of OPUS CHRISTI, Christ’s work. RCIA is not a program but a sacramental process. RCIA reflects a sacramental attitude that is at the heart of all Christian living: CONVERSION, turning your heart to God.

We invite you to be our companion on the journey and discover the keys to the kingdom. We gather on Monday evenings from 7:00-8:30 PM in the Russo Room. If you would like more information about RCIA, please call Donna Scancarella at 973-779-6200.

Save the Date!
ST. PHILIP’S WOMEN’S CORNERSTONE RETREAT
Peace be with you
November 16 & 17, 2018

CURRENT AND NEW ALTAR SERVERS
There will be a meeting on Tuesday, August 28, 2018 at 4:00 PM in the Church. Grades 4 and up!

To read complete bulletin click here