February 5, 2017

An Understanding Heart

Prayerfully reflect on the Beatitudes below and open your heart to that place of compassion and mercy within you.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
 for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 5:1-12a

Last weekend Fr. Miguel delivered a homily on the Beatitudes that was well received. Several people asked that it be published in this week’s bulletin.

Reflection by Fr. Miguel Jimenez

The Beatitudes presented to us by the Apostle Matthew remind me of a story.  In Brooklyn during the 1930s a pet store owner hangs a sign over the door that reads ‘Puppies for Sale’. Signs like that are very attractive to children, and so it is that a little boy asks, "How much is a puppy?" "Between one and three dollars," replies the owner. The boy reaches into his pocket and takes out some coins and says, “I have one dollar. May I see the puppies, please?” The owner smiles and whistles. From the back of the pet shop come five tiny golden balls of fur. One of the puppies comes limping behind the others.
“How much is that dog?” pointing to the puppy who limped. The store owner said, “You don’t want that puppy. It does not have a properly formed hip joint.  He will always be lame.” The boy is excited and says, “That’s the puppy I want to buy!”  "You do not have to buy that puppy," the shop owner says. “If you really want it, I’ll give it to you for free.” The boy is very annoyed. He looks directly into the shop owner’s eyes and says, "I do not want you to give it to me. I will pay the full price. That dog is worth as much as the others.  In fact, I will give you one dollar now and a dollar each month until I have paid you off completely.”
“I do not think you want to buy that puppy" replies the owner, “he will never be able to run or play or jump with you like the other puppies.” At that moment the little boy crouches down and rolls up the leg of his pants and reveals his crippled leg in a metal brace. "Well," said the boy gently looking at the owner of the pet shop, "I do not run too well either, and the puppy will need someone who understands him!"
Only a person who has the spirit of the poor can understand those who have the spirit of the poor. Only someone who has suffered will understand those who suffer. Only those who are humble will understand humility. Only those who have hunger and thirst for righteousness will understand those who hunger and thirst for justice. Only a compassionate person can understand those who are compassionate. Only those who have a clean heart can understand those who have a clean heart. Only those who have worked for peace will understand those who work for peace. Only those who have been persecuted for righteousness will understand those who are persecuted for righteousness. Only those who have received insults and mistreatment and have been attacked with all kinds of lies can understand those who are insulted, mistreated and attacked with all kinds of lies.
Maybe that’s why these Beatitudes speak to us when we apply them to our life and experience.  Only when we are in touch with our own suffering, our poverty, our humility, our hunger and thirst for righteousness, our compassion, our purity and the times we have been mistreated for doing good can these words become the values by which we live.  Values that we understand, we can make ours. It is not easy to live this today in a hedonistic society that escapes from pain and is hidden from sacrifice. But we know that Jesus lived these very things. The Son of God’s experience of these things is why he understands us and the values of the Beatitudes as a source of salvation.
Pope Francis invites us to reflect on the great virtue of mercy.  Mercy means to give one’s heart to those in need, those who are suffering.  The Beatitudes are about opening our hearts to our own needs and sufferings so that we can develop compassion and mercy for others. That’s what Jesus did and what He does now; He opens His heart to the suffering of others with mercy and compassion. The Gospel has a wealth of stories freely given for the suffering and those in need.
We are challenged by the Beatitudes to become aware of our own suffering and needs so that we can experience the Lord’s help.  Once we are helped, we grow in our awareness and responsibility to help others.  Like the boy in the story, once we identify with our own limp we are ready, willing and eager to help others because we understand them.  We are willing to show mercy and to pay the full price of being a disciple.

Increased Offertory Program

Thank you to all parishioners who have completed and submitted their Commitment Card to the church.  For those parishioners who have not yet had the opportunity to submit their card, a letter will be mailed to you with a personalized Commitment Card.  It is important that all parishioners complete a Commitment Card as we will be mailing out a Summary Report of the program and need all commitments accounted for in this report. If you have any questions, please contact the parish office.  We also encourage parishioners to consider our electronic giving method and to setup your reoccurring offertory gifts electronically.

“SOUPER” BOWL OF GIVING

On Sunday, February 5th, over 100 million Americans will tune in to the Super Bowl game.  There will be parties with abundant food, friendship and fellowship. At the same time, others in our local community will worry about staying warm, finding shelter and a warm meal.
As you head out of Mass, you will see students from our Confirmation Program holding pots and pans. Please consider dropping in $1 (or more!). All donations will benefit our local diocesan soup kitchen/food pantry. Help change the game by tackling hunger!

RCIA

Journey with Us – Discover the Keys to the Kingdom

IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO JOIN US!

Our next session is Monday, February 6th at 7:00 PM in the Russo Room. Fr. Julio will discuss the Sacraments of Healing.
We invite you to be our companion on the journey. Make-up sessions will be available. If you would like more information about RCIA, please call Donna Scancarella at 973-779-6200.

Bible Study

A seven week Lenten Bible Study series begins on Monday, February 27th at 11:00 AM in the Molloy Center.  We will discuss the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus from St. John’s Gospel.

Women’s Cornerstone at St. Philip

November 17-18, 2017
If you have already made your Cornerstone (somewhat recently) and would like to be on our Women’s Cornerstone Team, please contact Donna Scancarella at 973-779-6200 or cornerstone@stphilip.org .

Prayer Opportunities
Exposition of Blessed Sacrament and Benediction

Will take place in Church on
Saturday, February 25th from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Reconciliation from 11:00 AM – 12:00 N  
Benediction at 12:45 PM
BENEDICTION

SAVE THE DATE

7th Annual St. Patrick & St. Joseph
Dinner Dance
Saturday, March 11, 2017

St. Philip’s Players

The Players would like to thank the parish family for their support of both NUNSENSE! and Oktoberfest this past fall. Your support helped to put us closer to a financial position that will enable us to fund another great stage show.
Our next production, May 5 & 6, will be an original comedy written by one of our ‘former nuns’. Watch the bulletin for details! SPP is seeking volunteers from the parish who are interested in learning all of the off stage elements that contribute to and lead up to opening night. We are seeking: stage managers, musical directors, assistants to collect props, help to create sets, costumers, lighting enthusiasts, sound executors, graphic artists for program design, public relations leaders, theatre historian, patron mailing captain, and others. Please contact SPP president Joseph Schreck, Jr. at JSchreck1475@gmail.com to express your interest. No experience needed!

RELIGIOUS EDUCATION

Religious Education Classes schedule
Grades 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6: February 5, 26, March 26
Grade 2: February 5, 12, 26, March 19, 26
Grades 7, 8: February 12, March 19
Confirmation Grade 9, 10: February 12, March 19

To read complete bulletin click here