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Fr Canova Reflection - June 17, 2018, 11th Sunday in OT (B)
 

Sunday, June 17th. 2018 - 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Mark 4:26-34  

 

This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and through it all the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how.”

Jo Ann has been a Catholic her entire life. She had been a party politician for many years, too! Her father was one before her. And she couldn't imagine a day where that wouldn't be true.

But one day, she decided to quit her political party of many years. A reporter from a Catholic News periodical read a story about Jo Ann leaving her Party affiliation and was interested because she cited her Catholic faith as the reason.

So the reporter gave her a phone call. He got her answering machine and as he was leaving a message she picked up. She said she'd been screening her calls because so many people have been calling to say nasty things to her or just pleading with her to change her mind. But when the reporter identified himself, she picked up and answered. She said she assumed that the reporter wouldn't be too mean to her.

Jo Ann had been the focus of quite the firestorm in Pennsylvania because the thing is that Jo Ann isn't just another politician with a blind adherence to her political party. She's the president and founder of the Blair County Federation of Political Women, she was Vice President of the Pennsylvania State Women’s Political Caucus, and was 1st Vice President of the Pennsylvania State Federation of  Political Women (she had been in line for the presidency of that organization in 2014). She met with high-ranking statespersons, and even gave some of them a rosary.  She even appeared on the cover of US News and World Report going to Church with another Pennsylvania political candidate.

Jo Ann has always been pro-life and felt that there was always
room for that position in her political party. But she said that for the past few years she's felt that her party was drifting further and further away from her. She said she never shied away from speaking about her Catholic faith or her pro-life views as a party politician.

She said that for years she hoped that she could change her political party from within, make it more in line with traditional values. "I thought I could make a difference to change our party. It didn’t work," she said. "I noticed that it’s been going more and more away from traditional values. This is not my father’s party. I did not leave the party, the party left me."

In a letter of resignation to her political party, Jo Ann cited her
Catholic faith.

I respect all of you and all that I have achieved in the past. Due to personal matters and faith beliefs at this time, it is only fair to
resign
,” she wrote. “I will miss you all very much as you are all a part
of my family; however, it is time to move forward with my life in a
direction that is more in line with my faith.”

She announced her decision at a press conference at the courthouse in Hollidaysburg and standing next to her was Monsignor Anthony L. of her home parish.

She said it started a few weeks ago, ironically as she and her husband were getting ready for Mass and watching Meet the Press when a party leader, a Catholic, cited his support for abortion and gay marriage.

This shocked her.  She said this party leader always reminded her of her father. But this announcement shocked her. And then,
shortly after, the leader of the political party announced that he'd "evolved" into supporting gay "marriage."

And then as a party committeewoman she received her agenda from her political party espousing the same position. "To stand up and agree and sign off on this I couldn’t do it," she said. "So I talked to our priest."

While she didn't say what they talked about, she said Monsignor Anthony L. warned her that she would be the focus of much criticism.

His words have proved prophetic. Jo Ann said she's heard from people saying she hates gays or that she's a bigot. It got so bad that she started screening her calls. And she didn't know who was calling to say something terrible or something nice to her.

"I’ve been a party member for over 40 years," she said! She's been shocked at how the story about her announcement has taken off with reporters calling and her phone ringing off the hook. She said that's not why she did it but she hopes some good can come out of it.

But as unsure of her future as she is, Jo Ann says she simply had no other choice. When it came to choosing between her faith and her party, she chose her faith. "God is the reason for all being," she said. "We have to follow our faith."

Today, we heard two parables from St. Mark’s gospel; the parable of the seed, and the parable of the mustard seed.  Farmers spare no effort to prepare the ground for the sowing; but once the grain is sown there is nothing more they can do until the harvest;the grain develops by itself. Our Lord uses this comparison to describe the inner strength that causes the Kingdom of God on earth to grow up to the day of harvest, that is, the Day of the Final Judgment.

Jesus is telling his disciples about the Church: the preaching of the Gospel, the generously sown seed, will unfailingly yield its fruit, independently of who sows or who reaps: it’s God who gives the growth. "He knows not how:" it will all happen without people being fully aware of it.

The Kingdom of God also refers to the action of grace in each soul: God silent­ly works a transformation in us, whether we sleep or watch, causing resolutions to take shape in our soul — resolutions to be faithful, to surrender ourselves, to respond to grace — until we reach "spiritual maturity." Even though it’s necessary for a person to make this effort, the real initiative lies with God, because it is the Holy Spirit who, with His inspirations, gives a supernatural tone to our thoughts, desires and actions. It’s the Holy Spirit who leads us to receive Christ's teaching and to assimilate it in a profound way. It’s the Holy Spirit who gives us the light by which we perceive our personal calling and the strength to carry out all that God expects of us. But, if we are docile to the Holy Spirit, the image of Christ will be found more and more fully in us, and we will be brought closer every day to God the Father. “For whoever are led by the Holy Spirit of God, they are the children of God.”

My brothers and sisters in Christ, the Holy Spirit gives a person, like Jo Ann and us, the power to change, to stop adhering to our idols of self sufficiency and selfish ideologies, which she and us were powerless to stop before. This process of transformation is known as sanctification, where we become more like Christ. It’s then where we begin our upward spiral to be Christ-like. The Holy Spirit is working in our souls and in our lives transforming us, perfecting us, if you don’t get into the way.

Jo Ann’s difficult but courageous journey from political ideologue to selfless abandonment to the truths of Christ and her Catholic Faith – from putting her Faith before her political party views, are what Jesus is referring to in St. Mark’s gospel of the parable of the seeds.  The action of the grace of the Holy Spirit, which is active in all of us, thanks to our baptism, grows slowly and subtly, and we know not how, except that we experience the difficult growth over time through a change first in our thinking and then in our behavior. As St. Paul in his letter to the Romans said, “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now."

And as a community of Faith – The Church, we have the opportunity and challenge to help the Jo Ann’s of our country and our world along the difficult road to mature personhood in the likeness of Christ.

We do this in three simple ways; first, by prayer and sacrifice; second, by teaching the truth charitably when called upon; and third, by living a good life and setting a good example.  And if the person is open to the Truth in the heart, the Holy Spirit will absolutely convert their stony hearts. 

Please, pray, pray, pray for and make sacrifices for our world, national, state, local and civic leaders.   Because then, we’ll hear about more powerful and courageous conversion stories like that of Jo Ann!

Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!

 

Fr Lutz Reflection June 17, 2018 -
 

Fr Lutz Reflection June 17, 2018 - 11th Sunday in OT (B)

Dear Friends in Christ,
        All of us have our expectations in life, and, hope for their fulfillment, and hope we will not be disappointed.   Hope implies an element of uncertainty.  Read on ... (The Attachment).
Fr. Joe Lutz

 

Elected/Selected Officers for 2018-19 Fraternal Year
 

Faithful Sir Knights,

The following SK’s were elected/selected as Officers, for the 2018-19 Fraternal Year.

Friar - Fr. Jonathan Bakkelund

Navigator - SK Tim Higgs

Captain - SK Jason Lynch

Pilot - SK Chris Bartosz

Scribe -  SK Bill Dugan

Purser - SK Matt Guthrie

Inner Sentinel  - SK Troy Kluber

Outer Sentinel - SK Rick Marsh 

Year 1 Trustee - SK John Blozis

Year 2 Trustee - SK Henry Lozinski

Year 3 Trustee - SK John Kunkel

Comptroller - SK Jim Palicka (Appointed)

Admiral - SK Ty Simmons ( Appointed )

Color Corps Commander SK Troy Gower (Appointed)