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July 27, 2008: Wisdom and The Kingdom of God - Fr. Satish

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today's Mass Readings

Rachel Smith, a young pharmacy student shared this personal testimony with me last week. She writes, “At every mass I try to focus on one thing that God is really trying to speak to me during the scripture readings and the homily. I call it my “one thing” and I try to allow God to remind me of my “one thing” during the week. At mass last Sunday, I felt like God’s “one thing” for me to learn is that opening my heart to receive “the Kingdom of God” is a choice. As Fr. Satish said in his homily, I can choose to let justice, love and mercy reign in my heart or not. I decided that my task would be to be open to the Kingdom at the pharmacy. And then it happened. I came across a serious problem that a customer was having. The man needed a medication that cost $3,000. He needed it soon so that his transplanted kidney would not reject his body. The problem was that his insurance plan wouldn’t let a retail pharmacy fill his prescription. My other colleagues had given up because it was a situation beyond their control. As I became aware of the situation, I didn’t know if I could help him at all but I felt so strongly that God was posing the question, “Will you show mercy? Will you receive the Kingdom today?” I resolved that I would try my best to help this man. After many, many phone calls I was able to set the man up with a mail-order-pharmacy that could help him, help his nurses realize the situation, and finally was able to transfer his prescription to a pharmacy that would emergency-deliver it to his home in time. What was so special about this experience for me was that I felt God was giving me a direct invitation to follow or not to follow the things that had been placed in my heart at mass. And I didn’t feel alone in doing what God was asking of me. Not only did God call me to be open to the Kingdom but God was also with me every step of the way. The feeling that I can have an impact on God’s kingdom was exhilarating. Even better, I felt like I was on God’s team. As more people needed help, I just felt “hungry” to serve someone, because I experienced such a reward in surprising people with kindness.”

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July 20, 2008: The Power of a Mustard Seed - Fr. Satish

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today's Mass Readgins

One of the most decisive events in the history of the world was the gradual emergence of the nation-state. What I mean by that is that the political system existing in the world today based on geographical territories is a rather modern phenomenon. Before nation states existed there were multi-ethnic empires ruled by an emperor or a king. On the other hand, what defines a nation-sate is not ethnic majority or religious affiliation but rather a definite geographical boundary. In a nation-state like the United States, the State becomes an instrument of national unity, in economic, social and cultural life. It is based on a Constitution that determines rights and obligations, discipline and punishment. Peace is often enforced by armed civil authorities. There are seldom second chances offered to those who fail. One of the main characteristic of the nation-state is nationalistic patriotism which almost assumes the level of religion. Thus, heroism is associated with the ultimate sacrifice – death – to defend the boundaries of the nation. Armies are fashioned to defend each nation. The world spends close to three trillion dollar all together to defend itself from each other. Take for example the war in Iraq. It only makes sense when one sees the war as a defense of the nation. More than four thousand people have died in the defense of this nation. But the price is considered necessary for the continuous defense of a nation. Those who give up their lives are honored as heroes. So much for the nation-state...

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July 13, 2008: The Word, The Person. The Event - Fr. Satish

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today's Mass Readings

Words are powerful tools. Today, at this mass we are celebrating the fiftieth wedding anniversary or Fred and Marian Volk. Just two words, “I do,” has bound them together for the last fifty years. And it will for the next many years. As far as I can see, they are going to hang around for a very long time. But I also know a lady who broke her “I do,” over the phone. Words are powerful. They have the power to build or destroy. If you were following the political events this week, then you know the effect of Rev. Jesse Jackson’s careless words over an open microphone against Barak Obama. Just like the news channels, I cannot even repeat those words in a Church. The consternation those words created is irreparable. The power of words...

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July 6, 2008: To Let God Be God - Fr. Satish

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today's Mass Readings

There is movie running these days at the Neon Art theatre – Then She Found Me. Toward the end, there is a rather powerful scene in the movie. But let me give you the context. The movie is about a 39 year old single school teacher April Epner (Helen Hunt), who was adopted into a devout Jewish family as a year old baby. Though she herself was adopted, April desperately wants a child of her own. Her adopted mother’s final advice to her before she dies was to adopt a baby. April is a devout Jewish woman, the kind of person who would not eat a meal without giving thanks and pray before any important event. Then follows a chain of events - her rather sudden marriage, an equally sudden end of her marriage, and her realizing that her only chance of having a baby has vanished. To add to her frustration her biological mother Bernice (Bette Midler), who gave her up for adoption, barges back into her life as if nothing had ever gone wrong. Her hilarious nature adds to the much needed humor in the movie. The last thing April can expect from her mother is faith in God because she had none. Three weeks after her being dumped by her husband, just when she was getting into a relationship with a man who really loved her, April discovers that she is pregnant with her former husband’s baby. We can imagine the complications arising from this new development. Tragically, though, she loses the baby in miscarriage. She is so desperate for a baby that she tries the artificial method. In the room with her on the day of her impregnation is her biological mother. Just before she is impregnated, the doctor asks April if she is ready. She says, yes. But Bernice stops her. Her mother reminds her that she had not prayed like she would normally do. April refuses to pray. Her mother on the other hand insists that she should pray. April breaks down at this point saying, “I had faith!” Obviously, after all that had happened, especially after she had lost her baby, she could not find the strength to believe. This is the most touching part of the movie. Her mother questions her, “You cannot believe in God now? Why? Because God is like you: complicated, difficult to understand?” Something hit her at that moment. April then prays the schema, and she is impregnated. There are more twists to the plot but --I will not reveal the end of the movie in case you want to see it.

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June 29, 2008: I have Kept the Faith - Fr. Satish

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul

Today's Mass Readings

The media did not devote too much attention to it; the Catholic Church did not try to get mileage out of it; the Church of England did not even comment on it; TIME magazine could have dedicated its cover page to it but did not. I am talking about one of the most high profile conversions to the Catholic Church that went almost unnoticed. December 2007, Tony Blair, the outgoing prime minister of Britain became a Catholic. In reality, the news should have generated huge interest and the Catholic Church should have made a big deal out of it. The media usually loves high profile, controversial events like these. And there was controversy. Why did Blair wait to leave office before he converted? Britain has never had a Catholic prime minister and it would have been a boost to the Catholics in a historically Protestant country. A new research had just shown that for the first time in decades, the number of Roman Catholics attending Sunday services in Britain had fallen behind the Anglicans. Secondly, Blair’s record on life issues and war has contradicted the Catholic Church’s teachings. Can one become a Catholic while rejecting core Catholic values? Having debated all the controversial issues, in the final analysis, we have also to view this conversion from God’s point of view. After all, the lives of Peter and Paul, whose feast we celebrate today, looked very different from human perspective and God’s plan.

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