Homily – July 21, 2019

July 21st, 2019

Did you ever notice when you see pictures of Moslems praying in a giant Mosque you see only men. Women are surely there too but in a separate section. Orthodox Jews have separate worship spaces for men and women. This practice goes back for centuries in the Middle East. It was the same in the time of Jesus. It’s what he was used to; it was way things were done.

Probably when Jesus and his friends dropped in on Lazarus and Mary and Martha it was just expected that Lazarus would sit with the men and listen to what Jesus had to say and probably ask questions and discuss things. Mary and Martha would carry on as usual, preparing the meal.

Mary decides to join the men and be part of their conversation. Probably Lazarus was embarrassed by Mary’s brazen behavior and the rest were probably uneasy with Mary being where she just didn’t belong, even though it was her home.

It didn’t seem to bother Jesus in the least. When the over wrought Maratha complains about the unfairness of it all, herself doing all the work, she gets no support from Jesus. So often Jesus has upset the apple cart by not buying into what the culture expectations of people. It’s almost like he’s saying, ‘Martha, chill out and join the conversation.’ You might learn something.

Jesus would not confine Mary to the limitations put on her by the culture of her time. He supported her attempt to break the mold.

How often do we stereotype men and women? Remember a song our years ago called ‘Little Boxes’? There’s a green one and a pink one and a blue one and a yellow on and they’re all make out of ticky tacky and the all look just the same.

Don’t we have a tendency to box people in because of racial origins, skin color, religious background, social standing or sexual orientation? We put them in little boxes and in so doing we limit them to our limited opinions and expectations of them.

Men and women wearing clothes native to their homeland or expressive of their religious beliefs we chalk up as different, strange, and maybe even dangerous. A young black man driving an expensive car is carded, just to be safe, just to keep an eye on him. Black youths walking in a neighbourhood where they don’t seem to belong, we see as a sign of trouble. There can be so many ways we, even unconsciously, box people in, maybe not even giving it a second thought. We diminish them in our own minds. We may not even think of it but we dehumanize them. In our own mind we make them less than they are, we deny them their human worth and dignity as sons and daughters of our common Father. We rob ourselves of the opportunity to discover the goodness and kindness of these good people.

Today’s Scriptures are about hospitality; Abraham welcoming three strangers, Lazarus, Mary and Martha welcoming Jesus and some disciples into their home. St. Paul tells us, ‘Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing so some have entertained angels without knowing it.’ Being open minded, accepting of men and women different from ourselves we image the hospitality of Jesus to each of us when he said, ‘Come to me all you who labor and find life difficult and I will refresh you’. Such open mindedness would bring us closer to living the difficult command of Jesus, ‘love one another as I have loved you.’

God grant us the gift to be open minded and open hearted toward all those who come into our lives.

Homily – July 7, 2019

July 7th, 2019

We know from Paul’s letters to the churches he founded that he had a deep personal relationship with Jesus. He would say of himself, ’I live now, not I, but Christ lives in me and the life I live, I live trusting in the love of Christ who died for me.’ In another letter Paul writes, ‘for me, to live is Christ.’

These powerful words that begin our second reading say everything about Paul’s relationship with Christ, ‘May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world crucified to me and I to the world.

Paul “glories,” not in his circumcision as assign of his Jewishness as some of the Jewish coverts of Galicia did, Paul’s boast was in the life giving cross of Christ, by which the world is crucified to Paul and Paul to the world.’

Paul is utterly rooted in trust, the blessed assurance in a God who bears and nourishes all of us, who would also die for love of us.

So much of the words of Paul sound like a deep personal relationship with Christ Jesus. But it is more. Have you ever heard a person say that they have accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior? It sounds like, ’just the two of us.’ For Paul who did have a deep personal relationship with Christ, but for Paul it was much more than that. Paul saw himself as a member of the Christian community which he describes as the body of Christ. Paul writes to the Christian community in Corinth; ‘ just as the body is one and has many members so it is with Christ…we are all baptised into the one body, Jews and Greeks, slaves and free, male and female. One member cannot say to another, ’I have no need of you.’ In other words, we’re all in this together.

Right now we are members of an embarrassed church because of the sins and crimes of priests and the cover-ups of our bishops seeking to protect the reputation of our church. It’s all coming crashing down around us. That’s part of the picture. But as the eyes and ears and hands and feet of the body of Christ we Catholic Christians are to work to bring peace and justice to our troubled world. Our parish family of St. Gabriel’s is a microcosm of the whole church in our many efforts to help the hungry and homeless, in the way we’ve welcomed and supported refugee families from the Middle East, in our hospital visitors, our support of the Good Shepard Refuge and Rosalie Hall, our support of Share Life, the work of St. Vincent de Paul, in our support of Just Coffee and our young people’s involvement in local issues. We are the Body of Christ in our own simple and small ways bringing Christ love and healing to all the people who come into our lives.

Someone once said that there are two things in life we can’t do alone – get married and be a Christian. Remember the song from the musical Carousel, you’ll never walk alone? We’ll never walk alone, we’ll never pray alone, we’ll never suffer alone, and we’ll never serve alone. We are the Body of Christ. We are all in this together.

As we continue this Mass we give thanks to God for inviting us into our own personal relationship with Jesus. May we be blessed to know that this personal relationship is best lived appreciating the relationship we have with all who believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Homily – June 30, 2019

June 30th, 2019

In our first reading from the Book of Kings we can see in Elisha’s slaughter of his oxen and using his wooden plow for firewood was his way of burning his bridges, of never going back to his former way of living and setting to follow Elijah in his ministry as a prophet to Israel.

In the gospel Jesus put an either or before the three men who wanted to follow. They wanted to take care of unfinished family matters first. They’d catch up with him later on. But Jesus had urgency about him; for him there was neither holding back nor turning back. One time he said, ‘one who sets his hand on the plow and looks back is not fit of the kingdom of God.’

Many good people today find it difficult to make a commitment. They’ve replaced ‘forever’ with let’s wait and see. When it comes to relationships, people can be quite comfortable with the notion of friends with benefits. Commitment can be too demanding. We do not easily make commitments, still less easily do we keep them. This is true of any time and nation. And yet it is particularly true of us. These days, it is difficult for a person to keep a promise fifty hours, much less fifty years. In years past there were plenty of marriage breakdowns but few marriage break ups. Wives were trapped; they had nowhere to go, so they stayed.

As one writer wrote, ‘There’s a loss of heart for almost everything such as for fidelity in relationships, as less and less people find within themselves the resiliency needed to live out the tensions that long-term commitment inevitably brings; Hence, more and more, we have less heart to put up with the strains and tensions of family, church, neighborhood, community, and country. Fidelity is never an easy journey. Yet we are surrounded by examples to promises made and promises kept. We celebrate with husbands and wives who celebrate 25 or 50 or 60 years of marriage. We celebrate with teachers who retire after years of teaching in our schools. Last week at a Passionist community in Jamaica, New York I celebrated with two classmates our 60 anniversary of ordination and others celebrated 50 and 25 years.

Jesus wanted from his followers that same commitment he had to always do the will of his Father, that why Luke tells us that Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem, Jesus was determined to go where he would confront the religious authorities for their allowing his father’s house to become a market place instead of the house of prayer it was meant to be. Jesus’ cleansing the temple was the last straw. The religious authorities made the decision, he had to go.

We can ask how we follow Christ in the ordinary living of our ordinary lives. Some follow Christ in answering the invitation to the priesthood or religious or single life. Most follow Christ by being faithful to their marriage vows, being faithful in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. Most follow Christ by being source of life and love to one another and their children. We all follow Christ when stand for the worth and dignity of all people regardless of their faith, their race, their life styles. We follow Christ when we support social justice issues such as a living wage or adequate housing. We follow Christ when stand against bigotry and racism and discrimination.

We follow Christ when on this Canada weekend we give thanks for living in this country of immigrants where all are welcomed and we ask God for the grace we need to be faithful followers of His Son, Jesus Christ the Lord and giver of life and love.

Bulletin – June 30, 2019

June 29th, 2019

Happy Summer!

This is the last bulletin until the Labour Day Weekend in September. We wish you all a happy and safe summer!

Monday, July 1st is Canada Day.

The office will be closed on Monday for the holiday.

There will be no 9:00 AM Mass on July 1st.

PARISH BBQ

Sunday, July 7th after the 12:30 Mass

The Parish BBQ Picnic will be held on Sunday, July 7th after the 12:30 Mass in the parking lot. There will be hot dogs, games, face painting, lucky draws, music and more.

Tickets are $3 each.

Please bring your families, friends and neighbours to enjoy a summer afternoon with your parishioners.

We need more young volunteers to help and make this event happen. Please sign up by putting your name and phone number on the sheets at the back of church. For more information, you may call Linda Law at 416-918-8029.

CATECHISTS AND ASSISTANTS NEEDED CHILDREN’S FAITH PROGRAM

The Children’s Faith Program is in need of catechists and assistants for the 2019/2020 classes. The classes are held every second Sunday from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM at St. Gabriel’s School. If you are interested in joining this important ministry, please leave your name and contact information at the Parish Office at 416-221-8866 or email stgabrielsparish@bellnet.ca.

STEUBENVILLE – JULY 12th to July 14th

Several members of our St. Gabriel’s Youth Group will be attending the Steubenville Youth Conference from July 12th to July 14th. Our prayers go with them for a successful conference and a wonderful experience.

THANK YOU TO OUR CHOIRS

Thank you to our faithful choir members for their ministry! They will be taking a break, returning in September. New members are welcome to join them.

The senior choir practices on Tuesdays from 7:30 to 9:00 PM and sings at the 10:30 AM Mass.

The junior choir practices Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:00 PM and sings at the 12:30 PM Mass.

For more information, please call Marilyn Calderone at 416-618-2041.

VOLUNTEERS FOR HOSPITALITY MINISTRY

The Volunteer Hospitality Ministry is looking for new members. If you are interested in serving in this very important ministry, please leave your name and contact information with the Parish Office at 416-221-8866.

CHURCH BULLETIN ADVERTISING

Liturgical Publications will be setting up the advertisements for our church bulletin. The advertising will begin in September 2019 and supports the bulletin service. Please support the bulletin and advertise your product or service. Call Liturgical Publications at 905-624-4422.

ANNOUNCED MASSES

July 1st – July 7th, 2019

MONDAY – CANADA DAY – No 9:00 AM Mass
TUESDAY – ROSITA MILLARES-DE BORJA – Requested by her Children
WEDNESDAY – DELPHINE OAKIE – Requested by her Family
THURSDAY – CATHERINE MINNAN-WONG – Requested by her sister Noreen
FRIDAY – ROMULO CHRISTIAN GONZALEZ – Requested by his Parents
SATURDAY – GUS & MARIE CALDERONE – Requested by their Family
SUNDAY 10:30 – B. DUNLOP – Requested by the Lazaro Family
SUNDAY 12:30 – SUSANA ALMENARA – Requested by Carolina Almenara

Announced Masses for July and August will be posted on the bulletin boards.

CHILDREN’S FAITH PROGRAM – 2019/2020

Registration forms for the Children’s Faith Program are now available in the parish office. This program is for children of the Parish who attend other Catholic schools, public or private schools. Classes are held at St. Gabriel’s School every second Sunday beginning September 8th, 2019.

Please note that a separate Sacramental registration form is required if your child will receive the sacraments of First Communion, Reconciliation or Confirmation during the 2019/2020 year. These forms are also available in the Parish Office. Baptismal Certificates are required for First Communion and Confirmation.

CASSEROLES FOR THE GOOD SHEPHERD CENTRE

Summer Collection: July 27th/28th, August 24th/25th

Thank you to all who prepared casseroles for the Good Shepherd Centre for the month of June. During the summer, your prepared casseroles (frozen please) will be collected at the Masses on the weekends of July 27th/28th and August 24th/25th.

More volunteers are needed, especially during the summer months, to help feed the hungry in our city. We encourage you to pick up a copy of a casserole recipe and a pan and give it a try. Three recipes are available on St. Gabriel’s web site. Printed copies of the recipes are also available in the Parish Office. Please remember to mark the label on the pan lid with the name of the casserole. For more information please contact Irene Albrecht at 416-221-2791.

SHARELIFE

Living the Gospel by supporting at-risk youth

The single mother of Trinity worried about who might influence her daughter after school, given the presence of gangs in the neighbourhood. She enrolled Trinity in a program at the St. John Paul the Great Family Centre, a ShareLife-funded agency. Along with helping with homework, the centre provided music training that would otherwise be too costly. Now 15 years old, Trinity volunteers at the centre so others can benefit just as she has.

The 2019 ShareLife appeal ends on July 31st. The total results to date of $164,515, consisting of collections at the Parish of $108,021, together with the contributions of $56,494 received directly at the ShareLife office on our behalf, means that the Parish is near its goal of $180,000. If you have not already contributed to this year’s appeal or wish to add your donation, please consider contributing to ShareLife prior to July 31st. Thank you for your continued generosity.

FOOD FOR ROSALIE HALL & GOOD SHEPHERD CENTRE

Each month the food we collect is sent to Rosalie Hall and the Good Shepherd Centre.

Rosalie Hall assists young parents and their children to realize their potential through the provision of a wide range of child development, community, residential and educational services.

Good Shepherd provides hot meals and shelter for the homeless in our city as well as a chance to start again through the Resettlement or DARE Programs.

Your food donations are especially important as the number of casseroles often drops during the summer months but the numbers of needy people do not. Please check the expiry dates before donating since we cannot pass on food that has expired. Thank you for your generous support.

CELEBRATION IN HONOUR OF SEÑOR SANTO NIÑO

Saturday July 13th beginning at 9:00AM

Shrine of Our Lady of Grace at Marylake
13760 Keele Street, King City, Ontario

The 7th annual celebration in honour of Señor Santa Niño will be celebrated on Saturday, July 13th at the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace at Marylake.

Fr. Richie Mercado O.S.A. will be the main celebrant.

The festivities begin at 9:00 AM with assembly at the Great Crucifix followed by a rosary procession, Open Air Mass and Benediction. The Sacrament of reconciliation will be available from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM in the Angel Courtyard. There is ample space for fellowship and picnic following the Mass and Benediction.

Please join them for this great Augustinian Feast with the Filipino community. For more information, please call 416-787-4547.

ANNUAL MASS FOR THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED

Wednesday, August 14th at 7:00 PM

Catholic Cemeteries and Funeral Services, Archdiocese of Toronto wishes to invite all families to participate in the Annual Mass for the Faithful Departed on Wednesday, August 14th at 7:00 PM.

Thomas Cardinal Collins will celebrate Mass at Holy Cross in Thornhill. Rev. Msgr. Robert Nusca will be the celebrant at Mount Hope Cemetery in Toronto.

In the event of rain, Mass will be celebrated in the mausoleum at Holy Cross and at St. Monica’s Church instead of Mount Hope Cemetery.

THE GARDEN SHED

Parish Picnic South Garden Mini-Tours: The members of the Garden Ministry will be offering mini-tours of the south garden at the parish picnic on July 7th. Please drop by our booth and arrange a tour with one of our members.

Workshop – Building Raised Garden Beds: On July 14th, at 1:30 PM, Cameron Couchman, who gave us many of the workshops over the past two years, will be leading a workshop on building raised garden beds.

Call for volunteers
Any of you who have gardens know that they need love and attention and our gardens at St. Gabriel’s are no different. They need us to love them and take care of them. The garden ministry needs volunteers who actively want to get involved in maintaining and shaping our gardens. If you are not able to weed, harvest and plant, consider giving the garden a little love. Spend a few moments savouring the haskap berries in the north garden (you’ll find them hiding under the leaves). Or, sniff some lavender and notice the profusion of blueberries now ripening. Or watch the butterflies and the birds flit from blossom to blossom.

Homily – June 23, 2019

June 23rd, 2019

St. Paul tells us that Jesus did not consider his equality with God as something to be clung to. He emptied himself of his divinity and took to himself our humanity, becoming as we all are. He became a slave to his father’s will being obedient, even unto death, even death on a cross.

On this feast of the Body and Blood of Christ we are awed by another expression of Jesus’ emptying – becoming a piece of bread, a small host, for our nourishment. Our celebration of the Eucharist is the most important religious thing we do; it is our act of thanksgiving, Eucharist means thanksgiving, for the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus, the event that restored our friendship with God.

When we receive that small white host on our tongue or in our hand we are receiving Christ, our bread of life.

Baptism is the most important of all Sacraments but the Eucharist is the greatest of the Sacrament. We receive the body and blood of Christ and this nourishment strengthens us to be more Christ-like in the living of our lives.

Paul’s description of the Last Supper came from a direct testimony of Jesus, because Paul was not present at the Last Supper, as he said, ‘I received it from the Lord.’

At every Mass Christ is received, the memory of his Passion is recalled and a pledge of future glory is given to us.

Every cultural has a stable food they use as a basis for survival; it is usually some form of bread. As Catholic Christians our stable food is Holy Communion as we receive Christ our bread of life. When we eat any food it becomes part of our body. When we receive Communion we become more like Jesus who gave us this promise; ‘ he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood live in me and I live in him and I will raise them up on the last day.’

Before communion we say the words, Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof but only say the words and my soul shall be healed. None of us are worth to receive such a gift but all of us are needy.

The words of Pope Francis ring true for all of us; The Eucharist is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.’ God know we are all weak. May we all accept Christ’s invitation- take and eat, take and drink – this is my body, this is my life given for you.

May we always be thankful for such this gracious gift.