Bulletin – January 21, 2018

Here is the bulletin for the Third Week of Ordinary Time – Jan 21, 2018 Bulletin

Ordinary Time  Christmas Time and Easter Time highlight the central mysteries of the Paschal Mystery, namely, the incarnation, death on the cross, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, and the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The Sundays and weeks of Ordinary Time, on the other hand, take us through the life of Christ. This is the time of conversion. This is living the life of Christ.

Ordinary Time is a time for growth and maturation, a time in which the mystery of Christ is called to penetrate ever more deeply into history until all things are finally caught up in Christ. The goal, toward which all of history is directed, is represented by the final Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. http://www.usccb.org/

Fr Bob Writes – January 21, 2018

All is not always what it seems.  A look at the first reading this Sunday from the book of Jonah would seem to suggest that the prophet Jonah is an intrepid messenger of God, readily obedient to God’s command that he walk into the capital city of one of Israel’s biggest enemies and call them to repentance.  But in fact as we read all of the book of Jonah, we discover that this is far from the case.

To begin with, this passage in our first reading is not the first time God calls Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh and preach repentance to the people there.  Right at the beginning of the book, we read that Jonah is called to do this, but initially balks at God’s command and runs away from it.  It takes God working through a storm at sea, a near ship-wreck, Jonah being thrown into the sea by the terrorized sailors and a large fish (note: not a whale!) who swallows Jonah, to bring the prophet to the point we reach in our first reading this Sunday . Only then, when Jonah realizes that resistance to God’s will is futile, does he reluctantly do what he is told and goes to Nineveh, where, incredibly, his message is received with overwhelming belief and repentance, leading to God rescinding his decision to destroy the city.

You would think that Jonah would be overwhelmingly delighted that his mission has been so successful.  But again, this is far from the case.  In the last chapter of the book, we learn that the reason for Jonah fleeing from God, was not because he was afraid to carry it out, but because he did not want to carry it out.  He knew that, if he was successful and Nineveh did in fact repent, that God would forgive them.  Because God is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and always ready to relent” as countless references in the Old Testament point out.  And Jonah simply does not want Nineveh to be saved.  He wants them destroyed because they are Israel’s enemy and he thinks they should be God’s enemy as well.

The book of Jonah is thus a satire, a caricature on a particular tendency within the nation of Israel to a certain xenophobia, a judgement and contempt on other nations who do not have the same kind of covenant relationship as they enjoy with God, and so are inferior to them.  That God may have a heart for the pagans just does not sit well with this kind of mindset.  Jesus will run into it as well in his ministry (see for example Luke 4: 18 ff) as will the early church as they reach out beyond the borders of Israel to preach salvation to the pagans (cf Acts 13 ).  To be honest, even amongst Christians, it is possible to find those who have no love for non-Christians and who are only too ready to consign them to hell because they do not have an explicit faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  It is also, sadly, not unusual to come across Catholics who feel the same way towards non- Catholic Christians.  To such as those, the book of Jonah makes salutary reading.

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land – October 22-31, 2018

Follow in the footsteps of Jesus in an amazing journey to the Holy Land.  Trace the roots of Christian tradition as we cross desert and mountains to the cities of Jerusalem, Bethleham and Nazareth.  Yesterday and today come together in this unique opportunity to deeply connect with the teachings of Christ through the land where he lived.  Accompanied by Fr Bob Poole.  Info:  Sandra Ayoub at 613-863-9939 or sayoub@tpi.ca.  Full brochure here:  Holy Land-Isreal Pilgrimage Oct 22-31, 2018

Fr Bob Writes – January 14, 2018

The gospel passage from this weekend is taken from St John’s gospel, and it presents a different slant from the other gospels, on how Jesus went about recruiting his disciples.  In the gospels of Matthew and Mark, Jesus first encounters Peter and calls him to follow him while Peter is putting his nets in order down at the lakefront of the Sea of Galilee. Luke presents a similar lakefront call, but has the initial encounter take place at Peter’s house where Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law.  Here, John’s gospel gives a different scenario as Peter comes to Jesus only after his brother Andrew had spent time with Jesus and, believing Jesus to be the long-expected Messiah, brought Peter to Jesus.

“Where are you staying?” Andrew asked, letting Jesus know he wanted to spend time with him, more than just a quick interview on the spot.  In addition to study, prayer is essential.  The gospel says it was about “four in the afternoon.”  The hour would have been particularly significant if they were approaching the beginning of the Sabbath which began at sunset.  Since Jewish people were not to do unnecessary work on the Sabbath, Andrew and his companion would spend the day in prayer and conversation with Jesus…a wonderful encouragement for us to honor the Day of the Lord by spending time with Jesus in prayer.

Faith is more than just having the right beliefs based on accurate information.  Faith is a way of life which comes through spending time with Jesus.  How will you be spending your time after Mass today?

ALPHA Course in Richmond – All Welcome!

Alpha is a series of sessions exploring life’s big questions in the light of the Christian faith.  ALPHA will run for 10 weeks at various locations.  The schedule of locations is as follows:

St. Philips Parish Hall (127 Burke Street):  January 7 & 28, February 18, 24 & 25, March 11 and April 8

St Johns (67 Fowler): January 14, February 4 and March 18

St Pauls (3452 McBean): January 21, February 11, March 4 & 25

All are welcome – no sign-up is required.  We hope to see you there!

Charity Raffle for Knights of Columbus

St Philip and St Clare Knights of Columbus are hosting a Charity Raffle. Besides supporting St. Philip and St. Clare Churches, proceeds will also go specifically to the Richmond Food Bank and other charities. The Grand Prize is a 100-level suite at a Senators game worth over $5000 and there are other great prizes too.  Only 2,000 tickets have been printed so your odds of winning are good. Tickets are $10 each and the draw date is March 25th. Tickets will be available after Masses beginning this weekend.  Click here for full details of this Charity Raffle.