November 11, 2018

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

SING A NEW CHURCH

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Singing Circles of Color
The Singing Circles of Color symbol above represents our Theme. Notice (color version at www.stphilip.org and Church Banner) the dynamic relationships that each individual circle and a variety of combinations of circles share. Through relationships there is a plethora of creation – new colors and diverse sounds. We SING A NEW CHURCH in the Key of Faith as Love in Action.

75th Jubilee Parish Theme: Sing A New Church
We sing the good news of God’s love. Our song begins as a single note of love whispered to us by God at the very moment of our creation. In every breath through the years we draw notes and melodies together in our relationship with our self, others and God. Our song crescendos in the joyous eternal choir which is the hymn of heaven, a song of never ending praise and thanksgiving.

God’s song of love is gently played in every heart and heard as we share our unique song as Love in Action. Every time a gift or talent is given for another, our church community sings a new song and a new church into being. Faith is our key which gives voice to our collective mission which is to do Christ’s Work, Opus Christi.

During the next weeks we will explore the living relationships represented in the symbols above:

Father Son Spirit, God Self Others, Creation Redemption Sanctification, Body Mind Spirit, Gift Gratitude Action, Awakening Interpreting Responding.

WEEK X

Seventy-two Labors
At many a family table, especially at holiday time, the question is posed, “Who is going to say grace?” The answer is usually profound silence, accompanied by rapid finger-pointing. Rumor has it that this very same behavior has occurred in Rectories (surely not in the Diocese of Paterson). Buddhist monasteries begin each meal with a traditional prayer. Their prayer begins with the phrase:

First, seventy-two labors brought us this food;
we should know how it comes to us.

What might the seventy-two labors be? Labors such as farming are comprised of many ‘laborers’. Just a quick list includes planters, harvesters, crate makers, drivers of carts or trucks, cooks, servers, etc. Wayne Muller beautifully shares these thoughts in his reflection on seventy-two labors, “So many stand silently with us at every meal, and we are indebted to each and every one as we partake of the gift of nourishment. To feel their presence and be thankful for their many gifts to us is to be more acutely aware of our place in this large and generous community of beings. Can we feel this connection?”

Recognizing that all is a gift is the very meaning of the word grace which means gift. We are called to be love in action which means – gift to one another.

In our first reading, the widow and her son are afraid to share the little they have, they hesitate and doubt. Faith is the key that enables them to unlock their love in spite of their fear. Faith is the key that enables us to love when we are afraid that we will run out of our time, talent or treasure. As in the Bible story, God cannot be outdone in generosity. The widow and her son are blessed beyond their imagination and so are we when we give of ourselves in spite of our fears.

In our Gospel, another widow gives the little she has from her heart and with great love. Sometimes, we give freely and without doubt because we love. Those times when we are love in action and feel like love in action are moments of great blessing to treasure. They give us the courage to give when our feelings do not match our actions. Love is the key to giving when we feel it, more often faith is the key to giving when we don’t. But every time we’re called to be love in action, to give of ourselves, it is only possible when we are grateful people.

Taking Prayerful Action
Prayerful practices that may help us to share our gifts are the following:
The next time you’re about to eat something – spend a moment thanking God for the ‘seventy-two laborers’ who stand silently beside you at every meal. Use your imagination and ask God to bless all those whose work provides this food or drink for you.

Jubilee Prayer
As we celebrate our parish seventy-fifth Jubilee year imagine the thousands who stand and pray with us in our church. They shared their seventy-two labors and gifts. Their doing Christ’s Work enables us to worship and to share our spiritual, service and social ministries today. Ask God’s blessing on all those people who have gone before us for three quarters of a century.
So, I ask you, who is going to say grace? Who is going to say thank you for gifts? The answer can be profound silence but please point the finger at yourself and thank God the giver of all gifts.

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