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Digging In

 Aug 06, 2020 06:24 pm

This Summer I’ve been re-reading a series of books I adored when I was young. I have had the first book of the series on my bookshelf for years; I’ve taken that book with me whenever I’ve moved to new homes, and it’s gathered some dust over the years. It caught my eye about a month ago, and I sat down to read.  

Instantly, it felt like going home for me. I recognized the characters who I’d loved so much as a kid, was surprised by how many little details I remembered of the story. It all felt so familiar and comforting to be re-connected to this story I read so long ago. But what felt new to me this time around was an appreciation of the skill and artistry of the prose. As I kid, I wasn’t able to appreciate how well the author told the stories that captured my attention. Reading these books again, I’m delighted by the crafting of words and images, and I understand now that it was the giftedness of the author that made such an impression on me, so long ago. 

Recently, I’ve been hearing from parishioners who are members of Beta Groups. These groups meet to read through, talk about and reflect on the Sunday Gospel readings. Each of the people who reached out to me wanted me to know how much this process has enriched their lives. Someone once told me “the more you dig into scripture, the more scripture will dig into you.”  

I invite you to take a new look at scripture this week, even if your bible has been collecting dust on your bookshelf for years. You don’t even have to open a book- you can read this Sunday’s Gospel here, and you can check out this weekend's Beta lesson here. See if this Sunday’s familiar story hits you in a new way this time around. Dig in! 

Blessings, 

Margo

A couple of important reminders before this weekend: Fr. Murray is away on vacation, and we have a visiting priest this Sunday. Since Fr. Murray is away, we won't be able to offer Friday night Mass or Saturday drive through confessions at IC. Please continue to pray for Fr. Murray to be renewed by his time away! Also, we are unable to post a full Mass for this weekend, but invite you to watch Fr. Chudy's homily, here.

 

19th Sunday of Ordinary Time

 Aug 02, 2020 10:29 am

Missionaries remind us that the Church is bigger than our parish. They remind us that we are all receivers of God’s grace and that it is a gift to us given by God, simply because he loves us. 
 
Scenes in previous Sunday Gospel readings taught us that God’s kingdom is all around us and growing and that there is value in searching for it and working toward it. Today’s Gospel challenges us to trust that God is with us in all things but that our part must be played also. I have found that missionaries are people who depend on God’s plan and generosity wherever they are working. I have been high in the Andes Mountains of Peru witnessing missionary priests building roads, radio stations, and solar farms as a means to evangelize [MM1]. I know a missionary from Boston who flew to Lima carrying a car bumper (in the cargo hold, of course, too big for carry-on). This, too, was a necessary part of evangelizing — helping to repair a vehicle in order to protect a driver in case of an accident. 
 
Trust is a large part of the lives of missionaries and those who accompany them. In one country, a missionary and I were driving along a road before turning into a river and crossing it with water almost covering the vehicle’s wheels. This was the safest route to the next piece of dry land on our way to our destination up in the hills. Finally, among the oddest experiences I had was seeing elephants just outside the hotel where I was staying in Africa. Five of them had “escaped” their game reserve to eat mangoes from a tree just outside of the compound at the entrance gate. After they had their dessert, they walked back into the reserve and closed the gate! I am giving these examples (and I have a lot more) because a missionary is coming to speak to us today, and he trusts, like Peter, that you will help him “walk on water” — not literally, of course, but to help him do something extraordinary for the people that he works with. Your assistance to him might help in all kinds of ways that only God knows. 
 
I have helped to build schools and wells in Ghana, Malawi, and Zambia. I have helped to build churches in the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ghana. In all of these, the prospects for success were minimal. However, God invited me and others out of the boat to walk on water (i.e., to do something considered impossible). My hope now is that one day I will meet a person from one of those countries who has immigrated or is here studying because we helped them to get out of their boat. I hope Fr. Carl’s appeal will help you to trust that God calls us, through Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit, to do something daring, too. 
 
I am writing this letter a little early as I will not be here but will be in Maine for a vacation. (I hope they let me in.) It has been a turbulent year, and I will be happy to relax and read for a while. 
 
Peace,
Father Murray 

 

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Mary, Queen of the Apostles Parish

158 Federal Street, Salem, MA. 01970

978-745-9060      info@mqoa.org

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