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Severe weather & liturgical celebrations

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We have been visited by severe weather several times this month. This lightning and torrential rainfall impacted our Wi-Fi and affected our ability to offer live streaming of our liturgies. We are taking this opportunity to explore upgrades to the quality of our livestreaming. Hopefully August will be a quieter month. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Despite the heat and storminess, we have managed to install the new masonry work on the staircase of our main entrance on Milmont Avenue. They look quite spiffy!  

This final full week of July is a liturgical celebration of six individuals who were extremely close to Jesus. They include friends, a student, and family. First, the student. 

I wrote about St. James the Greater last week. He was one of the Twelve Apostles, and the brother of St. John the Evangelist. St. James was, along with his brother John, and St. Peter, privileged to share in the most special moments of Jesus’ public ministry. One such special gathering was the Transfiguration when the glory of Jesus was revealed to these three by the Father. St. James would later give glory to the Son by his witness as the first of the Apostles to be martyred. 

We also celebrate friends of Jesus who number three and who were related to each other. They are St. Martha, her sister St. Mary, and their brother St. Lazarus. Scripture records three visits that Jesus made to his friends. The first visit found Mary listening attentively to Jesus while a haggard Martha was overwhelmed with the duties of hospitality. Anyone who coordinates a festive meal knows what that feels like. The second visit was at the death of Lazarus. Jesus tenderly enables Martha to comprehend resurrection which would lead to Lazarus being miraculously raised from the dead. The final visit was shortly before Jesus’ Passion. The family gathered to celebrate the wondrous things that God has done for them. Mary used this occasion to wash the feet of Jesus with an aromatic perfume whose fragrance filled the house.  

Finally, this week celebrates the family of Jesus. Saints Joachim and Anne are the parents of the Blessed Mother, and therefore, the grandparents of Jesus. Sacred Scripture does not reference them. But Saint John Damascene, in the Liturgy of the Hours, writes about the virtues of this couple, the devotional love they shared, and the flowering of grace they extended to Mary, their daughter. The respect of the law, traditions, family, trust, and the importance of prayer, all hallmarks of the Blessed Mother, began in an atmosphere of faith and simplicity of dutiful service. Saints Joachim and Anne were included in the official portrait for the World Meeting of Families when it was celebrated in Philadelphia by Pope Francis in 2015. 

Supportive friends, a loyal student, loving family. This week celebrates the human nature of Jesus in three keys ways. The week also affords us the opportunity to cherish our close friends. When did you last share a meal together? When did you last prepare a meal together? Have you washed anyone’s feet lately? The week gives us a chance to reinforce skills, and talents. Who was your most inspirational teacher? What were the lessons that you learned? What were the lessons you have shared? The week asks us to go deeper into our family tree. How far back can you trace your ancestry? What is special about your grandparents? Where are they from? How did they meet? What are their occupations? What do you admire about them? What more would you like to know about them? What qualities are needed to be a “holy family?” What would your official family portrait look like? 

On this World Day of Grandparents and the elderly we pray… 

Look with love on grandparents the world over. Protect them. They are a source of enrichment for families and for all of society. Support them as they grow older, may they continue to be for their families strong pillars of Gospel faith, guardian of noble domestic ideals, living treasures of sound religious traditions. 

Make them teachers of wisdom and courage, that they may pass on to future generations the fruits of their mature human and spiritual experience. 

May they never be ignored or excluded, but always encounter respect and love. Help them to live serenely and to feel welcomed in all the years of life which you give them. Keep them constantly in your care, accompany them on their earthly pilgrimage, and by your prayers, grant that all families may one day be reunited in our heavenly homeland, where you await all humanity for the great embrace of life without end. Amen. is developed by the Center for Missions and Identity at Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH 

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