Monday, October 9, 2017

Who Gives Me Strength - Oct. 15,2017

The Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time A

Reading I:  Is. 25:6-10a

Psalm:  23

Reading II:  Philippians 
                     4:12-14, 19-20
Mt. 22:1-14

Because of the current crises we face today, I decided to focus on
St. Paul’s 
Epistle to the Philippians. He has words of wisdom and encouragement which we need in our times.

In the picture above, we see Paul sitting on his bunk in prison,
thinking about those to whom he preached in the past. Gratefully, he remembers those who are carrying on with the spread of the Gospel while he, Paul, is confined in prison. He now has time to reflect and send letters (epistles) to the 
people he loves.

St. Paul is in prison because of his preaching the Good News. In his zeal to spread the faith, Paul spent short periods of time with many communities and trained members to carry on the ministry.  

Although he had not spent very much time in Philippi, the new community was very devoted and sent him money to take care of his needs. Paul writes to thank them and to affirm their caring for one another, encouraging them to help the women who were following him. 

Realizing that he could be facing death at any time, Paul wants to encourage his followers further by sharing the wisdom he has acquired during his lifetime. He tells them, “I have learned to be content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” Paul, then, assures them that God will meet all their needs.

I have struggled with how God fills the needs when we see situations like that in Puerto Rico and other places these days. The ideal scenario is that we help each other. However, sometimes we fail. 

Does God fill another type of need for those 
afflicted? Are
there greater needs that God fills than the basic 
needs of ours?  

I used to have a copy of a letter found on the body of a young soldier who was hiding in a foxhole. Basically, it said, “Hello God, I haven’t paid much attention to you. However, I may be coming to your house tonight. Would you be willing to let me in?” Facing death, the young man could no longer deny the existence of God and he pleaded for mercy. Maybe the only way God can get the attention of some of us is through suffering. The merciful Father
knows our greatest needs better than we do.

  Reflection Question:  How can I learn to become “content in any and every situation” as St. Paul was?

Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...

Reunidos en Mi Nombre

Debido a las crisis actuales que enfrentamos hoy, decidí concentrarme en la Epístola de San Pablo a los Filipenses. Él tiene palabras de sabiduría y aliento que necesitamos en nuestros tiempos.

En la foto de arriba, vemos a Pablo sentado en su litera en la cárcel, pensando en aquellos a quienes predicó en el pasado. Recuerda con gratitud a aquellos que llevan adelante la difusión del Evangelio mientras él, Pablo, está encerrado en la cárcel. Ahora tiene tiempo para reflexionar y enviar cartas (epístolas) a la gente que ama.

San Pablo está en la cárcel por su predicación de la Buena Nueva.
En su celo por difundir la fe, Pablo pasó cortos períodos de tiempo
con muchas comunidades y capacitó a miembros para llevar adelante
el ministerio.

Aunque no había pasado mucho tiempo en Filipos, la nueva comunidad era muy devoto y le envió dinero para atender sus necesidades. Pablo escribe para agradecerles y para afirmar su cuidado uno para otro, animándolos a ayudar a las mujeres que lo seguían.

Al darse cuenta de que podría estar enfrentando la muerte en cualquier momento, Pablo quiere animar a sus seguidores más lejos compartiendo la sabiduría que ha adquirido durante su vida. Les dice: “He aprendido a contentarme con cualquier situación, bien alimentada o con hambre, viviendo en la abundancia o en la necesidad. Puedo hacer todo a través de Aquel que me da fuerzas. ” Pablo, entonces, les asegura que Dios satisfará todas sus necesidades.

He luchado con cómo Dios llena las necesidades cuando vemos situaciones como esas en Puerto Rico y otros lugares en estos días.
El escenario ideal es que nos ayudemos mutuamente. Sin embargo,
a veces fallamos.

¿Llena Dios otro tipo de necesidad para los afligidos? ¿Hay mayores necesidades que Dios llena que las necesidades básicas ordinarias de la nuestra?  

Solía ​​tener una copia de una carta encontrada en el cadáver de un joven soldado que estaba escondido en una zanja. Básicamente, dijo: “Hola Dios, no he prestado mucha atención a ti. Sin embargo, puede que vaya a tu casa esta noche. ¿Estarías dispuesto a dejarme entrar?” Frente a la muerte, el joven ya no podía negar la existencia de Dios y suplicaba misericordia. Tal vez la única manera en que Dios puede llamar la atención de algunos de nosotros es a través del sufrimiento. El misericordioso Padre conoce nuestras mayores necesidades mejor que nosotros.

 Reflexión:   ¿Cómo puedo aprender a estar “contento en cualquier situación” como era San Pablo?


  1. Sr. Annette, I also struggled with wondering how God could fill the needs of those whose lives have been so drastically impacted by recent weather events. My heart was heavy as I listened to a report about a community in Puerto Rico that was without any supplies for over a week due to the flooding that prevented aid workers from reaching them. They may have felt abandoned. I had a mental image of children crying from hunger and of frustrated and exhausted adults desperately yearning for relief. My prayer was that there would be enough people in the affected areas who would be able to keep the spirits of their suffering neighbors in a state of hope as they waited for help to come. Of course, we recognize that God was / is present in and through all the individuals who are helping to feed, restore power, shelter, make financial contributions, and so much more. We must not forget that recovery will be a long process for these people and we need to keep them in our prayers. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, we will be hearing their personal stories of endurance, determination, gratitude and witness to the Lord for the efforts of all who helped them in their most dire time of need.
    The hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes should certainly serve as a wake-up call to humility, reminding us that we are not in charge and that the only authentic security we have is our faith in God. May these events also serve as a catalyst for change in our hearts.
    Your focus on St. Paul offers a timely lesson as he testified to the Lord while enduring trials and tribulations. How did he bear his sufferings? “Through Him who gives me strength,” states Paul.
    We find ourselves drawn to a banquet in this week’s gospel, thus, I’m inclined to say that Paul had his sights on heaven’s eternal feast where hunger and want would be no more. As a Christian, Paul is very aware that Jesus overcame hunger and suffering by keeping His focus on the Father. So, Paul, likewise, keeps His gaze on Christ.
    Today’s gospel story is one that always perplexed me in that I mused how can someone brought in off the street have the proper clothing for a wedding feast. I am sure there are multiple interpretations of this parable but what came to mind for me was the invitation that is extended to us to participate in the banquet of the Eucharist. All are called but many are choosing not to participate. For those of us who accept the invitation how many of us are appropriately clothed? This question refers not to fashionable attire, but rather to being clothed in Christ-like qualities. I ask myself how many times have I approached the altar – the banquet table of my Lord – in garments soiled with stains of unforgiveness, resentment, insincerity – when this special occasion calls for wearing a cloak woven with reverence, awe and thanksgiving . How often do I show up distracted with my mind reviewing my “to-do” lists as opposed to being fully present to hearing the Word and entering into the mystery of the Eucharistic celebration?
    How grateful I am that the King does not confront me with being inappropriately prepared for the wedding feast of the Son and have me banished. But, in my heart I know when I am not properly prepared for this great event. God deserves all of me being fully present to receive His Love. Our Lord desires that we love Him with all our heart and mind and soul so that we can live and move and having our being in His Grace. How awesome is our God!!
    Pat c., ASBS

  2. Thank you, Sister. St. Paul's "words of wisdom and encouragement" certainly are welcome and appreciated in these troubled times. Alarming news reports seem to appear continuously, day after day. We could be tempted to wonder when (or if) all the evil will end; but, of course we know that prayers are rising to God and He has promised to answer. ("If you ask anything of me, in my name, I will do it." John 14, 14) We'll continue to ask, won't we?.

    The following excerpt is from a homily delivered by Msgr. Joseph A. Pellegrino:

    "Listen to the Holy Spirit speaking through Paul in Phillipians 4:13. Commit these lines to memory and recite them throughout your lives: 'I can do all things in Him Who strengthens me.'

    Alone, I am not that good. Neither are you, but we are not alone. We have Jesus Christ. He gives us the power of His spirit to conquer what might seem insurmountable. The power of the cross is given to us to wage war on any evil that attacks us. I can do it. You can do it. We can do all things in Him Who strengthens us."

    Msgr. Joseph A Pellegrino
    Diocese of St. Petersburg, FL