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Our Lady of Lourdes Parish
130 Main Street
Carver, MA 02330
Phone: (508) 866-4000 Fax: (508) 866-5588
A Parish of The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston MA

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Weekend: Sat. 5 pm; Sun. 9 am & 11 am
Weekday: Fri. through Wed. 9 am
Holy day: 9 am & 7 pm
Confessions: Sat. 4:15 to 4:45 pm
Eucharistic Adoration: (1st Fri.) 9 am to 12 Noon


Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 3, 2014


Rev. Anthony Medairos, pastor

Isaiah 55:1-3

Psalm 145:8-9, 15-18

Romans 8:35, 37-39

Matthew 14:13-21


Saint Paul asks “What will separate us from the love of Christ?”  He looks outside for those forces potentially separating us from Christ, like persecution, famine, peril, the sword.  Obviously, some of these external forces still thrive.  Muslim extremists, while seeking the death of all Jews, are just as determined to exterminate Christianity, first of all in the Middle East and extending into Africa.  It is difficult for Christians there to avoid forced conversions to Islam or exile from their homes in the face of this violent extremism.  Ironically, persecutions that caused early believers to flee Jerusalem may have been God’s instrument of bringing the Christian gospel to far-flung parts of the world. [1] Even today most Christians under the threat of violent persecution do choose exile and the loss of all their material goods or even martyrdom rather than to deny Christ. 


Not to that degree, but the Christian faith – and other religious communities – are under a subtle form of persecution by secular humanists in Western society.  First comes the marginalizing of religious faith – the “keep it in the church or synagogue” phase.  It is not “fair” to others for one group to display a manger scene in the public park during the Christmas season.  So please remove it; let’s be open minded.  Chaplains of many religions are provided for our military members and their families.  Isn’t it “fair” to also have atheist chaplains for those who don’t believe in God?  (That’s an actual proposal.) 


And then pressure is applied on the moral values that underpin various civic activities.  History is our best teacher here.  It was important for the Nazis to dismantle the Bund Neudeutschland, the “New Germany Group” (the Catholic youth organization), first by ridicule, then by restricting some of its activities and finally by outlawing it outright, leaving only the Hitler Youth to attract the young.  Pope John Paul II as a young priest secretly nurtured an alternative Catholic youth movement under the Communist regime in Poland that would eventually bear fruit in the destruction of communism there.  Inculcating values in the young is so very powerful.  So in our own times, secular humanism must attack such things as the Boy Scouts, for Scouting’s value system is seen as an enemy to be eliminated, first by trying to change Scouting’s own standards and eventually by providing a secularist alternative to it. 


And the question is:  Do Christians, do Catholics, do people who hold Judeo-Christian moral and religious values accept exile in our own land?  Think of the times when you have had to “hold your tongue” when faced with criticism of our faith, rather than to speak out boldly as an apologist for our beliefs?  The fear of being “different,” being seen as “out of step,” of calling our dissent “hate speech” is the beginning of persecution.  This is a kind of internal exile.  And history teaches it will only get worse over time. 


But Saint Paul asks, “What will separate us from the love of Christ?”  He suggests persecution, famine, peril, the sword and so forth.  But then he answers, “No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us.”  So the question is whether you and I believe that Christ’s love for us will enable us to conquer all these things. 


And for the answer to that question, may I suggest that we must also look within for forces that will separate us from the love of Christ?  Might we become people who feel we don’t need God’s grace, or cannot trust God’s love, and so try to save ourselves, by ourselves?  What will separate us from the love of Christ?  Might it be golf or beach instead of Sunday worship?  Might it be career or paycheck ahead of charity?  Might it be self-esteem or the approval of others rather than abiding in the things that Jesus approves? 


What Christ approves is not self-service, but service to others.  He manifested this numberless times especially on the cross, but today in the feeding of the multitude, where he placed his trust in the Heavenly Father to feed so many with so little, and where he had more left over so the apostles could feed even more people.  


And, ironically, for those who do have a place for God, our seeking God’s approval can also separate us from the love of Christ.  This happens when religiosity and formalism take the place of a relationship with Christ, when our keeping the rules of religion is confused with openness to God.  Isaiah made it clear, as Jesus did himself, [2] that rule-keeping doesn’t make God owe us salvation.  Instead, “Come, without paying and without cost ... that you may have life.”  God’s love is free!


While one person needs not God, so turns to his own devices to find some sort of salvation, the other person needs religion more than Christ.  Both are internal ways that will separate us from the love of Christ. 


Christ’s love can conquer, has conquered, all those forces outside us that can keep us from his love, even today’s violent persecution of believers abroad and subtle persecution of the faithful in our own land.  And Christ’s love can conquer all the things-within that people put in the place of God, whether these be self-reliance without God or religiosity without a genuine relationship with Christ.  Our readiness to trust God in those exterior threats and our readiness to change attitudes within ourselves will conquer anything that tries to separate us from the love of Christ.  For, as Saint Paul wrote, “…  in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us.” 

[1]  Acts 8:1.


[2] Matthew 23:23, Luke 11:42.

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 27, 2014


Rev. Anthony Medairos, pastor

1 Kings 3:5, 7-12

Psalm 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-130

Romans 8:28-30

Matthew 13:44-46


            If you had a wish, what would it be?  The story goes:  a man discovered an ancient oil lamp thrown onto some rubble and, for kicks, he rubbed it.  And a genie emerged, offering him one wish.  He said, “I’d like a million bucks.”  But because the genie was hard of hearing, there appeared (poof) a million ducks!  King Midas wished that everything he might touch be turned to gold.  The “Midas touch” was wonderful – until he touched his beloved daughter, and she turned into to a golden statue.


            God offered the new king of Israel just such an opportunity.  “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.”  Solomon asked neither for a long life, nor for money, nor for the death of his enemies, but for an understanding heart.  And because God granted him an understanding heart and wisdom, people even today speak of “the wisdom of Solomon.”


            You and I are unlikely to encounter a genie.  Nor will God consecrate us the king of Israel.  So, for the things we wish or seek, achieving them is up to our own effort.  And the issue really is:  what are we willing to do to reach that goal for which we seek?  Jesus framed two parables about this. 


In the first, a man working in another’s field discovered a treasure.  Perhaps it had been buried there to hide it from a marauding army and the one who buried it had died suddenly.  Clearly the land’s current owner did not know it was there, or he would not have put the land up for sale.  The hero of the parable re-buried that treasure, sold everything he had, and bought that field.  Of course there may be real ethical or moral questions about what that man did.  But Jesus was not teaching ethics or morals here.  He was pointing to that man’s willingness to do anything to get hold of something he truly valued:  that treasure. 


The man in the second parable is just as focused.  This merchant found the pearl he wanted and sold everything that he owned to buy it. 


            All of Jesus’ parables compare everyday activities to the kingdom of God.  So, the question Jesus sets before you and me today is:  The kingdom of God:  Are you willing to do anything to be part of it?  Are you willing to give up everything to be part of this kingdom?  Those are questions for lifelong consideration by Christians. 


            At some level the kingdom of God is important to you and me, else we would not be in church today.  But for lifelong reflection is this question:  Just how focused on the kingdom am I?  How ruthless am I willing to be to participate in God’s kingdom?  What will I give up to be part of this kingdom? 


            Am I ready to change a habit, if that habit is out of step with God’s kingdom?  Of course some of the most difficult habits that come to mind are addictions to alcohol, gambling, or pornography.  There are other habits:  exercising power, gaining fame, seeking fortunes.  Anything that one relies on for one’s happiness can distract a person from God’s kingdom.  Will we allow it to distract us? 


It’s not that some of our distractions are evil, just as wishing for a million bucks is not evil.  Driving the kids to sports activities is certainly not evil, but should a parent do this on Sunday morning while avoiding worship, for example?  Jesus suggests that focusing on the thing that one values – however virtuous it may seem – before seeking the kingdom of God in one’s life is a detour and a distraction from God’s will for you and me.


            Consider interpersonal relationships:  do relationships draw me away from God’s kingdom?  Am I unfaithful to my spouse, distant from my siblings, neglectful of my parents’ dignity, failing as a model of discipleship for my children, enjoying the company of unrighteous people, disrespectful of coworkers, employer or employees?  Is the way I relate to others, or the way my companions treat others in accord with God’s kingdom?

            Might my financial planning better coincide with God’s kingdom?  Do I lavish myself or family with unnecessary material possessions while neglecting to tithe to church and charity?  Do I place my trust for my future well-being entirely in Social Security or IRA’s and 401k’s, but not so much in prayer and a life of Christian service to my neighbor?


            That treasure hunter, that merchant in the parables were bold and decisive.  That’s the boldness and decisiveness required for discipleship.  That’s what Jesus raises for our consideration in today’s parables.  That his hearers might ask themselves, “What actions do you or I take to uncover the roots of our faith in prayer, in scripture study, and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church?  How bold are we in proclaiming the new life we’ve received in Christ Jesus by speaking the Lord’s name to others?  How decisive are we in supporting the mission of the Catholic Church and Our Lady’s Parish?”


            When I hear these parables, these are the questions that come to mind.  “Whoever has ears ought to hear.”  Jesus was not talking about a crafty land deal or an ambitious pearl merchant.  He was talking to you and me today.  Jesus wanted you and me to consider whether we treasure unimportant things.  Jesus understood that these stories – given a proper hearing – would alert you and me (perhaps to our surprise) that our behavior reveals what we actually treasure.  We might come to realize that, instead of these earthly and temporary treasures, you and I have the opportunity to seek first the kingdom of God and to find a treasure there that will survive beyond the grave. 

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 20, 2014


Rev. Anthony Medairos, pastor

Wisdom 12:13, 16-19

Psalm 86:5-6, 9-20, 15-16

Romans 8:26-27

Matthew 13:24-30


            Jesus proposes an interesting situation in this parable: an enemy has sabotaged his neighbor’s fields by broadcasting weeds among the farmer’s wheat.  This might be bearded darnel, a weed that winds around a crop and looks exactly like wheat until the wheat finally bears fruit.  So even if the farmer could distinguish one from the other, he would pull up the wheat along with the weed.  But an enemy’s sabotage is not really the point of the parable.  


            Jesus leads us to consider a farmer’s response to sabotage.  He suggests that in this story we may discover a mystery of the kingdom of heaven.  It is this: God waits to see.  God deals with the good and the bad differently, but God is patient, slow to judge and ready to forgive.  The parable is not about weeds.  The parable is about how to deal with weeds.  And since every parable is about God’s kingdom, we may discover here how patiently God deals with weeds – the evil that people choose – while God gathers in wheat that bears fruit – God’s righteous children.


            But why doesn’t God remove the evil from our world so that we can live in peace?  Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, at his installation 9 years ago, raised the same issue.  Pope Benedict said:


How often we wish that God would show himself stronger, that he would strike decisively, defeating evil and crafting a better world.  All ideologies of power justify themselves in exactly this way: they justify the destruction of whatever would stand in the way of progress and the liberation of humanity.  We suffer on account of God’s patience.  And yet we need his patience.  God, who became a lamb, tells us that the world is saved by the Crucified One, not by those who crucified him.  The world is redeemed by the patience of God.  It is destroyed by the impatience of man. [1]  [emphasis mine]


            Despite our human sense of “justice,” which sometimes actually means retribution or vengeance, Jesus suggests in this parable that the kingdom of God is about divine patience and God’s mercy.  One writer put it this way:  “[God] is not a God of wrath.  He is a God who is an Ocean of Mercy.  And that does not mean that on occasion God shows mercy.  Rather, Mercy is what God is.  Compassion is what God is.  When we see Mercy and Compassion, Jesus is telling us, we know that we are in the presence of God. [2]  [emphasis mine] 


            God’s patience and mercy toward others may seem baffling to you and me.  At the same time, though, we fully depend on God’s patience and mercy toward ourselves.  But that is because we do not think like God.  In our better moments, however, we honestly want to be like God, but our tendency is towards self-interest.  And so we become judgmental about other people.  Were we the farmer in the parable, we would, with great abandon, pull up anything we might perceive as a weed.  We judge people.  We categorize them.  We exclude the weeds; we gather to ourselves the wheat.  That is, unless they perceive us as weed!


            Jesus’ parable leads us back to today’s reading from the Book of Wisdom.  “And you taught your people … that those who are just must be kind….”  You see, as Wisdom teaches, even though God is all powerful, God judges with clemency, God governs us with leniency.  God’s patience and mercy toward others may seem baffling to you and me.  At the same time, though, we fully rely on God’s patience and mercy toward ourselves.  And so you and I, while we still need to be prudent and careful with whom we associate and whose examples we might emulate, we should not pretend that we are their judge.  God is their judge and our judge.  And God is a patient judge.  If by chance criticism by us seems just, we must criticize with kindness.  For that is how God deals with you and me.


            Another thing:  Saint Francis de Sales reminded us, “Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself.” [3]  So as you and I try to become less judgmental and less confrontational with others, we must be gentle especially with ourselves.  To admit one’s own faults can lead to a sense of discouragement or even self-loathing.  But we must be as patient with ourselves as God is.  Genuine conversion is a life-long mission for us.  But as Wisdom reminds, “[God] gave [God’s] children good ground for hope that [God] would permit repentance for their sins.”  God deals with the good and the bad differently, but God is patient, slow to judge and ready to forgive.  “The world is redeemed by the patience of God.  It is destroyed by the impatience of man.” [4] 

[1]  Pope Benedict XVI, sermon at the Mass of Installation (April 24, 2005), quoted by George Weigel, God’s Choice -- Pope Benedict XVI and the Future of the Catholic Church (New York:  HarperCollins Publishers, 2005), p. 191ff.


[2]  William H. Shannon, Seeds of Peace:  Reflections on Contemplation and Nonviolence (New York:  Crossroad, 1996), p. 130.


[3]  St. Francis de Sales;  The full quote is “Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself.  Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them – every day begin the task anew.”


[4]  Pope Benedict XVI.

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 13, 2014


Rev. Anthony Medairos, pastor

Isaiah 55:10-11

Psalm 65:10-14

Romans 8:18-23

Matthew 13:1-23


            Each of Jesus’ parables was intended to heighten awareness of the kingdom of God.  But most people seem to let parables wash over us like a wave at the beach.  For a moment that wave gets one’s attention, but once it has passed, it’s quickly forgotten.  And that’s okay because we’re at the beach to relax.  But really hearing a parable requires attentiveness.  It needs focus and, frankly, it requires work to understand.  And many are not willing to do that work.


            But each of Jesus’ parables was meant to astound, not confound.  They were intended to prompt surprise which, hopefully, might lead the listener to deeper thought and new insight.  The parable of the sower and the seed is one so familiar that we hardly note its challenge.  It is so familiar that we may not hear its power.


            Now, one must remember that the gospels took written form rather late, in fact, many decades after Easter.  The community’s memory of what Jesus did and said lived on in oral form – in story telling – for at least a generation before being written into books. 


The parable of the sower and the seed must have been particularly memorable, as it found its way into each synoptic gospel.  Matthew (which we read today), Mark, [1] and Luke [2] include it nearly word-for-word the same.  It is even found in a Gnostic gospel reputed to be from the apostle Thomas – which is neither scriptural nor even a gospel, in that it is not a narrative (a story) but only a collection of sayings reputed to be from Jesus.  But in Thomas this parable also appears word-for-word the same. [3] 


            As a collection of supposed sayings from Jesus, the parable in the Gospel of Thomas stands alone, without explanation, while the synoptic evangelists say that Jesus explained the meaning of the parable.  Personally, I am not convinced that Jesus actually explained the parable to his apostles.  Rather, his “explanation” is the inference made by each Christian community that heard the parable.  The reasons I say this are three.  First, parables by definition are stand-alone stories that are intended to startle and prompt new thought.  Second, an explanation of a parable weakens its startling aspect and dampens the challenge to come up with a new insight, like a stand-up comedian trying to explain a joke.  Sometimes people “get” a joke, some people don’t.  But if a joke needs to be explained, it’s not much of a joke.  Sometimes people are spiritually provoked by a parable, some people are not.  If it needs to be explained, it’s not much of a parable.  And third, the “explanations” of this parable are different in each of the gospels.  Each evangelist inferred or “remembered” the explanation Jesus gave differently.


            Two gospels are similar.  Mark writes, “The sower sows the word.” [4]  Luke recalls it a little more specifically, “The seed is the word of God.” [5]  And that is an easy interpolation for each of us to make:  using the agricultural method of his day, unlike today’s professional farmers – or even amateur gardeners – who plough their ground and make neat furrows in which seeds are planted carefully at intervals, people of Jesus’ time simply “broadcast” their seed on ploughed ground, hoping that some of it would implant and grow, full knowing that some seed would be lost in the bushes and brambles and some people would walk on them.  While some seed would bear fruit, other seed would wither and die.  In Mark’s and Luke’s recollections, Jesus implied that various people would respond differently to the word sown among them, as seeds responded to the earth.


            But Matthew’s recollection is subtly and significantly different.  It’s the message we’re left with today.  And it requires some introspection on our part.  As Matthew relates Jesus’ explanation of the parable, the seed is not the word or the word of God.  The seed is the listener.  “The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word … without understanding it.”  “The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word … but has no root and lasts for only a time.”  “The seed … among thorns … hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word….”  “But the seed … on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it [and] bears fruit and yields a hundred- or sixty- or thirty-fold.”


            The seed is the listener.  The seed is you and me.  Matthew’s interpretation of the parable places responsibility for the fruitfulness of God’s gifts to us squarely on how we listen to God.  And this requires some honest introspection from each of us.  How, we must each ask of our self, do I listen to God? 


            This may actually make a better examination of conscience than running through the Ten Commandments before going to bed each night or before going to confession. [6] Am I someone who has heard the message but doesn’t care?  I don’t find God relevant to real living, so I pay God little heed, thus making myself easy plucking for “the evil one.” 


Has my initial enthusiasm for our faith failed?  When a tribulation or persecution pops up, am I rootless and so turn from faith?  Like at the recent Church sex scandals:  people who thought themselves pillars of the parish just wander away.  Tribulation, certainly; but the abandonment of sacrament and worship exposes the rocky ground, the rootlessness, that had always been there.  Persecution, yes; both from Muslims martyring Christians overseas and the ridicule of our neighbors and the resistance of government as we Christians attempt to live a moral life.  Perhaps the most disconcerting place I see this is while teaching a moral truth and our own teenagers look with utter mystification that the Church could possibly think that, for example, marriage is between a man and a woman.  (“Where do you get this stuff, father?”)  God is facing a world-wide field of rocky ground – people who are taught to hear only what they already believe because of their immersion in secular humanism rather than in the gospel.


Did some thorns in my life drive me away?  There are many difficult people to deal with even in this Christian community; are these the weeds choking me?  Or perhaps I am the weed, teaching my children and others in word and example that Church is not important. 


Or do I listen to God by preparing fertile ground through my prayer life, my study of today’s issues, my reading of scripture, my involvement with other Christians, my celebration of the sacraments, my service to neighbor?  It is in listening to God in these ways that I nourish the word and will surely bear fruit, yielding “a hundred- or sixty- or thirty-fold.”

[1]  Mark 4:3-8, 14-20.  


[2]  Luke 8:5-15. 


[3]  Marvin W. Meyer (trans.), “The Gospel of Thomas or The Secret Sayings of Jesus” from The Secret Teachings of Jesus – Four Gnostic Gospels (New York: Random House, 1984), Saying 9.


[4]  Mark 4:14.                                                                                                                                     


[5]  Luke 8:11.


[6]  Edward F. Steiner, “Homily Backgrounds,” The Priest (June 2014).































































































































































































This Roman Catholic, God-centered community of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish seeks to be compassionate and faith-filled, empowered by the Holy Spirit through the grace of the Eucharist and the sacraments to proclaim and live the gospel as believers in the risen Christ.  Therefore, we commit to share joyfully our time, talents and treasure in works of mercy and justice both within and beyond our parish. 




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