St. Stanislaus RC Church extends a warm
E l e c t i o n D a y I s A l m o s t H e r e
Become an informed Catholic Voter!
Listed below are several resources to help form educated consciences and learn the positions of candidates in order to make a prudential judgment concerning who deserves your vote on election day . . .
For an OVERVIEW of the Catholic position on voting, see Faithful Citizenship published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Copies available in English; en Espanol; on video in English; on video en Espanol.
For information concerning LOCAL RACES visit this link. The responses are reflective of those candidates who chose to respond to the questionnaire sent to them by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. All candidates for these offices were given an opportunity to share their views.
For the positions of Candidates for US Senate candidates from PA, click this link.
For the positions of candidates for other races in PA, click Statewide Races.
Make your voice heard . . . VOTE on NOVEMBER 8th!
Biblical Reflection on Sunday’s Word of God
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C – October 23, 2016
By Rev. Thomas Rosica
Last Sunday’s Gospel focused on the necessity of prayer (Luke 18:1-8). The second of two parables in Chapter 18:9-15 condemns the self-righteous, critical attitude of the Pharisee and teaches that the fundamental attitude of the Christian disciple must be the recognition of sinfulness and complete dependence on God’s graciousness.
Today’s Gospel parable recalls Luke’s story of the pardoning of the sinful woman (7:36-50), where a similar contrast is presented between the critical attitude of the Pharisee Simon and the love shown by the pardoned sinner.
One of Luke’s favorite themes – the reversal brought about by the coming of Jesus – is beautifully illustrated in today’s Gospel. The story of the Pharisee and the tax collector is directed at a particular kind of people: those who were law-abiding in their own eyes but who looked down on everyone else. The Pharisee, a member of the group of the so-called righteous, prayed “with himself” (18:11), and the whole prayer he gives is focused on himself and his own good works. He is a legend unto himself, a shining example in his own eyes, especially as he compares himself to the tax collector, one belonging to a group despised by Jewish society.
The great distance
The tax collector knew that he wasn’t any good. He couldn’t reverse the cheating he had done. Acts of penance, like trying to pay back the people he had cheated, wouldn’t really help. He couldn’t expect people to excuse or forgive him. The only thing he knew was that it was only possible to admit his guilt by bringing it before God. That God would forgive him, he didn’t dare to hope. And it was only in this way that he was able to experience Jesus’ word to him, “You are good because I have accepted you.”
In the parable we are told that the tax collector stood at a great distance. This great distance separating the two people is not only a matter of geographical or physical distance, but rather of the great distance in their status in society and in their attitudes. When the tax collector prays, he cries out to God, begging him for mercy. In the end, judgment belongs to God.
This provocative story warns us of our own behavior in prayer, word, and deed. The parable was a shock to its first hearers. If anyone in Judaism would not go home from the Temple justified, it would be a tax collector. One who worked for a foreign government collecting taxes from his own people, a participant in a harsh and corrupt system, a political traitor, religiously unclean, a publican, was a reprehensible character. While his prayer was in the spirit of the Miserere (Psalm 51), his life was offensive.
Doing justice to the parable
The Pharisee is not a venomous villain and the publican is not the generous common man or woman. To reduce these characters to caricatures fails to do justice to the parable. If the Pharisee is pictured as a villain and the tax collector a hero, then each gets what he deserves, there is no surprise of grace and the parable is stripped of its real meaning. The meaning of the story is not that all Pharisees are by their nature false, dishonest, proud, and arrogant, and that all tax collectors are really poor, humble, truthful people deep down inside. Luke tells us that to set oneself apart from “the rest” is to go home unjustified, unapproved, and ungraced by God.
In Jesus’ parable, what each person receives is “in spite of,” not “because of.” When the two men are viewed in terms of character and community expectations, without labels or prejudice, the parable still shocks us, and still carries the power both to offend and bless. We cannot preach about this parable and depict the characters in such a way that people exit the doors of our churches this Sunday saying to themselves, and perhaps to others, “Thank God I am not like the Pharisee!” It is possible that the reversal could be reversed!
The prayer of the lowly is heard
The words of today’s first reading from Sirach (35:12-14, 16-18) are most fitting to understand the spirit required of us in today’s Gospel parable:
The one who serves God willingly is heard; his petition reaches the heavens. The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds; it does not rest till it reaches its goal, nor will it withdraw till the Most High responds, judges justly, and affirms the right, and the Lord will not delay.
Paul’s life poured out like a libation
Today’s Second Letter to Timothy (4:6-8, 16-18) offers us an important insight into St. Paul’s ministry. Paul, imprisoned in Rome, saw his death approaching and sketched an evaluation full of recognition and hope. He was at peace with God and with himself and faced death serenely, in the knowledge that he had spent his whole life – sparing no effort – at the service of the Gospel. Paul knew that his death through martyrdom was imminent. He regarded it as an act of worship in which his blood would be poured out in sacrifice (cf. Exodus 29:38-40; Philippians 2:17). At the close of his life Paul could testify to the accomplishment of what Christ himself foretold concerning him at the time of his conversion, “I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name” (Acts 9:16).
Having been fortunate enough to spent a good deal of time in Rome throughout my years of priesthood, I can attest to the fact that the memory of Peter and Paul hovers mightily over the Eternal City. Peter and Paul, each with his own personal and ecclesial experience, testify that the Lord never abandoned them, even amid the harshest trials. The Lord was with Peter to deliver him from the hands of his opponents in Jerusalem. He was with Paul in his constant apostolic endeavors to communicate to him the strength of his grace, to make him a fearless proclaimer of the Gospel for the benefit of the nations (2 Timothy 4:17).
Paul modeled his life on Jesus Christ. During the Last Supper, Jesus had already anticipated the event of Calvary. He accepted death on the Cross and with this acceptance transforms an act of unspeakable violence into an act of giving, of self-giving poured forth for the many. “Even if I am to be poured out as a libation on the sacrificial offering of your faith,” Paul says on the basis of his own imminent martyrdom in Philippians 2:17. At the Last Supper the Cross is already present, accepted, and transformed by Jesus.
To live in constant intimacy with God
In conclusion, I offer you an excerpt of a letter to seminarians written by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at the conclusion of the Year of Priests in June 2010. The rich, personal papal message speaks to all of us in light of today’s Scripture readings:
Anyone who wishes to become a priest must be first and foremost a “man of God,” to use the expression of St. Paul (2 Timothy 6:11). For us God is not some abstract hypothesis; he is not some stranger who left the scene after the “big bang.” God has revealed himself in Jesus Christ. In the face of Jesus Christ we see the face of God. In his words we hear God himself speaking to us. It follows that the most important thing in our path towards priesthood and during the whole of our priestly lives is our personal relationship with God in Jesus Christ.
The priest is not the leader of a sort of association whose membership he tries to maintain and expand. He is God’s messenger to his people. He wants to lead them to God and in this way to foster authentic communion between all men and women. That is why it is so important, dear friends, that you learn to live in constant intimacy with God. When the Lord tells us to “pray constantly,” he is obviously not asking us to recite endless prayers, but urging us never to lose our inner closeness to God.
Praying means growing in this intimacy. So it is important that our day should begin and end with prayer; that we listen to God as the Scriptures are read; that we share with him our desires and our hopes, our joys and our troubles, our failures and our thanks for all his blessings, and thus keep him ever before us as the point of reference for our lives. In this way we grow aware of our failings and learn to improve, but we also come to appreciate all the beauty and goodness, which we daily take for granted and so we grow in gratitude. With gratitude comes joy for the fact that God is close to us and that we can serve him.
May the Lord make us better servants who do what we ought, never focusing on being better than or above others, but recognizing our obligation to be greater servants to others, precisely because we have been given so much, forgiven so much, and blessed so much. May God grant us generous hearts as we serve him and love him in others! To him be glory forever and ever.
[The readings for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time are: Sirach 35:15-17, 20-22; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18; and Luke 18:9-14.]
FORMED is an exciting new website, where St. Stanislaus parishioners can access the best programs, movies, audio talks, and e-books to deepen their relationships with Christ and His Church. If offers amazing Faith Formation at the parish and in an engaging style with the best Catholic teachers, authors, and speakers, on-demand, 24/7. Watch the FORMED preview by clicking the formed banner above or the picture below. . .
How to access FORMED:
It’s easy! Log into Formed.org and access all the faith-building resources available there. You will need to set up an account (click on “My Account” in the upper right) and enter the Parish Code the first time you use the site. Our parish code is: ZR6M2C. After you’ve set up an account with your own individual password, you will not need the parish code any longer. Simply log in with the User Name and Password you have chosen for yourself.
This Week on Formed:
On the Video page of the site: The Movie Pope John Paul II
This epic film follows Karol Wojtyla’s journey from his youth in Poland through his late days on the Chair of St. Peter. It explores his life behind the scenes: how he touched millions of people and changed the face of the Church and the world and how he defended the dignity of mankind. Jon Voight’s powerful, Emmy nominated performance as John Paul II was widely praised, as was Cary Elwes as the young Karol. Shot on location in Rome and Poland in close connection with the Vatican, this is the definitive epic film on the life of Pope John Paul II.
Check it out . . . and get FORMED!
Pope Francis’ Prayer Intentions for October, 2016:
Each month, Pope Francis invites the faithful to pray for the intentions he entrusts to the Church. In October 2016, we join the Holy Father in praying for:
Journalists and the Media – That journalists, in the performance of their work, may always be motivated by respect for truth and a strong sense of ethics.
Evangelization Intention: World Mission Day – That World Mission Day may renew within all Christian communities the joy of the Gospel and the responsibility to announce it.
Pope Francis has called for an extraordinary Jubilee to encourage us to become more effective witnesses of God’s merciful love. The Year of Mercy began on December 8, 2015 and continues until November 20, 2016. Pope Francis has encouraged the Church to make its mission be a witness of mercy to all people.
“At times we are called to gaze even more attentively on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives. For this reason I have proclaimed an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy as a special time for the church; a time when the witness of believers might grow stronger and more effective.”
The Holy Father discusses mercy and his desires for the jubilee year in a document called Misericordiae Vultus, the official proclamation of the Year of Mercy. Follow the link to read the original text from the Vatican’s web site. How will YOU celebrate the Jubilee? The Pope asks each of us to celebrate by showing to others the mercy that God constantly extends to all of us. We can do the following concrete things to make this year spiritually fruitful:
- Contemplate Mercy in order to see how God gives Himself to us and asks nothing in return;
- Be attentive to the judgments and condemnations you make of others. We only see the surface actions; God sees the heart. Accept the good in every person;
- Forgive! Is anyone less worthy of forgiveness than ourselves? Forgiveness is an act of mercy not just for the person who impacted us badly but also for ourselves as well;
- Listen to/Study God’s Word. God is a God of mercy who mediates that throughout the pages of the bible.;
- Go on Pilgrimage to a Holy Door in our Archdiocese. The closest one to St. Stanislaus is located at the Polish Shrine of Our Lady in the Doylestown fringes;
- Recognize the need for mercy in the world, to the people of the world, especially the poor. Treat everyone with dignity and offer friendship;
- Practice the “Works of Mercy.” Can’t remember them? They are etched into the windows of St. Stanislaus Church;
- Ask God to change your heart so that God’s mercy can pour out to others through our hands, words, and actions.
Prayer of Pope Francis for the Jubilee