St. John Fisher Roman Catholic Church

30 Jones Hollow Road, Marlborough, CT 06447

Christmas 2018

“Do not be afraid.” “Do not be afraid.”          

That is a common refrain throughout the Scriptures. In fact it, or its equivalent, is found 15 times in the Jewish Scriptures and at least 12 times in the New Testament. I took those figures after looking up the word “afraid” in an exhaustive concordance of the Bible.[1]

3rd Sunday of Advent, C18

“Shout for joy!”[1] “Brothers and sisters: Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!”[2] On the 3rd Sunday of Advent we are called to rejoice.

But the Church in the United States has difficulty in rejoicing this year because of the sex abuse scandals which once again made headlines, maybe even worse than the original stories 16 years before. As a member of the clergy, I can only apologize for the behavior of some of my brothers. As I said this summer, I am sickened by their crimes against children and young teenagers. I am appalled by the bishops who covered up the crimes, listening to their lawyers rather than to victims. And I was shocked by the credible accusations made against some priests that I have known for years, not ever suspecting they were guilty of sexual abuse of minors. They hid their depravity well.

2nd Sunday of Advent, C18

In the reading of Scripture, you have to pay attention to the placement of words, phrases, and whole sections.

For instance in today’s Gospel Luke begins his account of John the Baptizer (and eventually Jesus) with a list of people who governed the Jewish people either civilly or religiously. Did you notice who they were or did your mind wander when Deacon John read their names and positions? Luke named them because they would show up later at the end of Jesus’s ministry when they would play important roles in his death. The seeds of the end are planted at the beginning.

Bartimaeus would not be denied. He heard the clamoring crowds and could feel the excitement. He heard that Jesus was near and also knew that this was his chance, maybe his last and only. He cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.” Many told him to shut up 1, but he once more begged, “Son of David, have pity on me.” The blind beggar’s cry pierced through the noisy crowd and reached Jesus’s ears. He stopped, probably surprised that the beggar used a royal title to name him, “son of David”, a king who was responsible to bring justice to the poor, and healing if possible. Jesus asked what he wants. Bartimaeus responded, “I want to see.” And Jesus said, “Your faith has saved you”. And the once blind beggar receives his sight. No laying on of hands, no spittle on the eyelids, nothing like that, just his faith. Instead of going his way, Bartimaeus follows Jesus on the way 2.

What were James and John thinking?

They had already heard Jesus’s chastisement of the 12 who were arguing about who was the greatest. Jesus said then if one wishes to be first, he shall be last of all and the servant of all. Now they are asking for places of honor when Jesus comes into his glory. This, after he had already predicted his passion three times!

Helping Hands T ShirtSt. John Fisher T-Shirt Sale to raise funds for our Helping Hands project.  The t-shirts can be ordered on-line and will be shipped directly to you (for an additional charge) or will be shipped in bulk to the church and then distributed after masses.  The shirts were designed by senior Ellie Packer and all the profits will go to help fund the CRS global food packaging event to be held in the spring of 2019 to benefit the people of the Burkina Faso.

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