September 8, 2019

TWENTY- THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – SEPTEMBER 8, 2019

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GOD IS LOVE: WEEK II

During the next weeks we are exploring our theme “God Is Love”. Bulletin articles, homilies, music, reflection questions and prayer practices will enable us to grow spiritually and to live our mission to do Christ’s Work as love in action. Follow our journey at www.stphilip.org.

Banner Symbols
At the center of love’s heart is the cross, the symbol of God’s unconditional acceptance of us. The joined hands remind us that we love God by being love in action for one another. The hands reflect our Dalle de Verre stained-glass windows which represent the diversity of God’s gifts in us and in our Church as a community.

God is Love
Beloved, let us love one another, because love has its source in God…No one has seen God, yet as we love each other God dwells in us and God’s love is perfected in us… We love because God first loved us…God is love.

“To love another person is to see the face of God.”

Victor Hugo was a French poet, novelist and dramatist 1802 – 1885. He is the author of the famous work Les Miserables immortalized on stage and on film from which the quote above is taken. All of love is relationship and connection to God, self and others. We are made in the image and likeness of God so to love another person is to see the face of God. Our love manifests God’s providence and reflects God’s Divine nature at work within us. Our mission to do Opus Christi, Christ’s Work is to turn our face to God. We turn our faces in prayer so that we may be empowered and perfected to reflect God’s image through our own faces, words and works of love in action. During our theme “God Is Love” we will explore ways to more fully experience God’s unconditional love for us, through prayer and practices, by turning our minds and hearts to be love in action.

Our Theme Prayer:
Lord, turn my face with grace to love.

Reflection
In 1902 a recently graduated journalist student is being interviewed for his first job by a newspaper editor. The editor notices that the student’s hands are smooth, they are not working hands. He asks, “Did you go to school on scholarship?” “No.” “Did your father pay your way?” “No, my father died when I was an infant. My mother washes clothes to fund my education.” The editor says, “For the second part of your interview, go home and wash your mother’s hands.” The student is surprised but agrees. Upon returning the next day the student shares his experience of washing his mother’s hands. “My mother was confused by your request but let me wash her hands. I never really looked at my mother’s hands before, they are calloused, cracked and bleed in places. I was very gentle with her. I even helped her with her afternoon loads of wash.” The student stops talking as tears run down his face. He stammers, “I have no words for my mother’s love. I did not know. I did not see until I really turned my face to see her hands and then I saw her love.” The editor replies, “Now you have a heart that can turn and see another person. Words can only express what the heart sees. Your heart has turned to really see your mother. Now you know to look for love – you’ve got the job.”

In this weekend’s Gospel, Jesus challenges us to really look at people, situations and possessions to assess them wisely for their value and worth. St. Paul urges Philemon to see a former slave in new ways, not only as a brother but as Paul’s own son. God’s love is always present when we know how to look and how to see with our hearts. God is love. When we see love in our own hearts or in the hearts of another, we see God’s reflection or to express the idea more poetically – the face of God.

Prayer Practice
To look for and to see love is a spiritual work that enables us to share and to do Christ’s Work which is to be love in action. Our Theme Hymn instructs and inspires us to turn our face toward love. Prayerfully reflect on each verse and ask God to help you to turn your face with grace to love by seeing love in yourself, others and in everyday situations. After reflection, what action will you take to reveal the face of God?

LORD, TURN MY FACE WITH GRACE TO LOVE
Lord, turn my face with grace to love,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love the way you love
And do what you would do.

Lord, turn my face with grace to love,
Until my heart is pure;
Until my fear is healed by faith,
Whose power will endure.

Lord, turn my face with grace to love,
May false attachments cease;
Through prayer and works, may I accept
The gift you grant of peace.

Lord, turn my face with grace to love,
Grant empathy Divine,
Until cooperation turns
Each face I see to Thine.

To read complete bulletin click here