Fr Bob Writes – July 2, 2017

Fr Bob writes: I have just been reading a moving account someone sent to me of a Polish woman and her husband who protected a Jewish family during the Second World War, thereby running dangerous risks as Poland was occupied by the Nazis at that time.

The readings for this Sunday, at least the first reading and the gospel , speak about hospitality and shelter being provided to those in need, and the blessings that accrue from these acts of kindness. The human person, unlike many other lower forms of life, cannot live long without food and shelter. Biblical hospitality is rooted in these basic needs. To wish another well in the most fundamental fashion is to offer food and lodging. Neither is a superfluity; without either, the guest would not survive.

We certainly practise these acts of hospitality, but one often wonders if we capture the significance of them. To invite someone to spend the night or to come to dinner carries a sense of the sacred, a very basic wishing well of which the one who invites and the one invited should be conscious. Awareness enriches what we do . Moreover, to extend this spirit to an emissary of Christ is to facilitate the spread of the gospel, to be consciously missionary, to be a partner in the guest’s work. We might well meditate a bit on the next invitation we receive – and on the next one we extend.

Happy Canada Day to all our parishioners!!

Fr Bob Writes – June 25, 2017

“Everyone who acknowledges me before humans, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven”

We all pray that if ever brought before a human tribunal for our beliefs, we will remain strong. The present age has seen some examples of this happening, with Christians dragged before Human Rights tribunals in this country because standing up for what they believe in has “offended” someone else.  Or it may happen because a human law has been transgressed as being unjust in the light of a higher divine law.  In recent decades Christians used the defence of obeying a “higher law” when brought to trial for marching onto military air bases and causing damage to the planes etc, or going into abortion clinics to talk to women seeking an abortion.  These latter cases are more difficult and complex.  Discernment and prayer are certainly necessary before action is taken.

But it all proves that faith can be costly.  Conviction can often result in intolerance and hostility – on either side.  Yet charity must be the over-arching consideration.  Opposition is overcome with charity and understanding, as hard as that may sound.  But conviction is still necessary, otherwise faith becomes a weak and comforting construct.  Position-taking is not easy. But we are increasingly asked to do so.

FOOD SHORTAGES IN YEMEN, NORTHEAST NIGERIA AND SOMALIA

Thank you for your generosity in giving to the special collection for Famine Relief last week.  Your donations have already been sent to Development and Peace, and they will be doubled by the matching program offered by the government.  If you were not able to give due to the short notice, please consider giving online, before June 30th, to ‘Development and Peace’ or to the Red Cross.  Donations received before June 30th will be matched by the Canadian Government.

Fr Bob Writes – June 18, 2017

This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ . This is usually known as “Corpus Christi”, but that Latin phrase means only “The Body of Christ “. By changing the words to the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, the Church is reminding us that , at the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper, Jesus gave bread and wine to his disciples, and said “Take and eat” and  “Take and drink”. 

St Paul writes in our second reading, from his first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 10, verses 16-17 “the cup of blessing that we bless  is it not a sharing (or participation) in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break  , is it not a sharing (or participation) in the body of Christ?”

The bread and the cup are a sharing in the body and blood of Christ. Partaking in the one bread and cup we are one body. A bit further on in chapter 12 of the same letter, Paul emphasizes that we are one body, the body of Christ (1 Corinthians  12:27).

Many Catholics have a rather individualistic  “me and Jesus” focus when receiving the Eucharist. Such an attitude is insufficient and should be expanded to “Jesus, me, and all other members of the Christian community”. Therein lies the challenge of Paul’s message..to understand that to receive Jesus in Communion is to commit ourselves to be attentive to one another and work together as one body.

In Chapter 11 Paul warns the Corinthians that, if they fail to discern the presence of Christ in the rest of the believers  and treat them with the same respect due to Jesus himself, they are “eating and drinking a jugement on themselves ” (1 Corinthians 11:35). The person who receives Jesus in communion receives more than a spiritual oneness with Jesus but a responsibility to treat others as Jesus and support them as the Body of Christ at all times.

Veneration of the Statue of Our Lady of Fatima – June 13, 9am – 5pm

Pope Francis has granted a plenary indulgence opportunity for the 100th anniversary of the Our Lady of Fatima apparitions throughout this centennial year.  Join us at St Philips Parish (127 Burke Street in Richmond) on the 13th of every month from May through October— A statue of Our Lady of Fatima will be solemnly exposed from 9am to 5pm for the faithful to venerate.