Well, it’s high season for church festivals and fairs. The rides, the games, the food—and those big, fluffy clouds of cotton candy. You put it into your mouth, and…GONE! Into nothingness..leaving only a sugary taste on your tongue.
What if the apostles had handed out big cones of cotton candy to the hungry people following Jesus in the gospel today? After a few bites, they would still be starving—and VERY thirsty! The true meaning at the heart of this gospel is that God feeds us with real food for body and soul. There is not a need we can experience that God cannot fill. As Psalm 144 puts it, “You open your hand, satisfying the desire of every living thing.”
And yet—does it ever seem that God doesn’t fulfill our everyday needs all that easily? If God satisfied the desire of every living heart, how come we can still feel so unsatisfied? In the larger context, we see in the compassionate sharing of bread today a deeper Eucharistic meaning. The thousands of people in the story today did not come for the meal. They came to hear the amazing words of liberation from sin, to be healed, taught, and TRULY nourished.
The way Jesus feeds them is not just a flashy miracle; it means that Jesus can provide whatever is needed for our bodies and souls—no matter how little we have to build upon. Our thirst is a sign that we are seeking God. Isaiah had a vision of God being holy, just, righteous, and good; so he wrote: “All you who are thirsty, come to the water!…Come without paying and without cost, drink wine and milk.”
Have you ever let your spiritual thirst move you to take action for peace and justice? If so, give thanks to God. Let’s help each other grow up beyond cotton candy, and line up for the water of life!
In this our 125th Anniversary Year…eternal rest and peace upon Mrs. Carolyn Brautigan, who was the oldest living communicant of St. Rose Church! On Saturday, July 26th I celebrated the Funeral Mass for Carolyn “Mom” Brautigan, who had a long and full life of 101 years; she would have been 102 on August 11th. A devoted parishioner of St. Rose, God blessed her with 73 years of marriage to her husband Clifford, one son and daughter-in-law, 6 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren, and 3 great, great grandchildren! In my 35 years of priesthood, I never had a funeral for one who lived to be 101 years. We can certainly count her as one of the “pillars of faith” in our loving Catholic community of St. Rose!
Looking ahead: Friday, August 15th is the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, a holyday of obligation. A Vigil Mass will be celebrated on Thursday, August 14th at 7:00 pm and on Friday, Mass will be celebrated at 6:45 and 9:00 a.m. After the 9:00 am Mass, we will have and outdoor procession to the Marina in Belmar for the Blessing of the Waters and Fleet. Father Dave Baratelli, who assists us on many occasions here at St. Rose, is coordinating this event with the Borough of Belmar. I hope many of you will join us in this annual summer tradition as you did last year. It is a loving expression and witness to our Catholic faith in honor of Mary, the Mother of God, as we walk and pray through the streets of beautiful Belmar. Invite your family and friends and join us for the 9:00 Mass and procession.
On Saturday, August 23rd, the Feast of St. Rose, our patron saint, we invite you to join us for a special event in this our 125th Anniversary Year—our Grand Parish Picnic after the 5:00 Evening Mass. All the festivities will take place on our parish grounds and more information is in today’s bulletin, so bring the family and let’s celebrate as a parish!
Although it is not officially confirmed, Pope Francis has been invited to Philadelphia to participate in the International Conference on the Family that will take place September 25-27, 2015. From what has been reported, especially by Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia, it is almost certain that Pope Francis will be coming. An official announcement will not come perhaps until six months before the event, but let’s pray that he will bless us, our church, and our country with his dynamic and charismatic presence, the Vicar of Christ on earth!
“If we wish to follow Christ closely, we cannot choose an easy, quiet life. It will be a demanding life, but full of joy” (Pope Francis on TWITTER). Continue to enjoy these beautiful summer days, have a good week and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love!
I invite you to scroll down on this page and leave a comment. I look forward to reading your thoughts!
Submit your photos! You are invited to send your best cellphone photo of you and your family at Mass — at the entrance to church, in front of a stained glass window or seated in your pew. Photos will be posted on the following or a subsequent weekend, as space permits. Please give the name(s) as you would like it to be listed under the photo. [Send the photo(s) to GJRyan(“at”)optonline.net]
Click to listen to Deacon Rich’s homily today (August 3, 2014): 08.03.14 Homily Deacon Rich
Spend time with today’s Scripture Readings (August 3 2014) here.
Joyfully in the Lord,
Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish