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Founded:1950
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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_______________________SCHEDULE______________________

Weekend: Saturday 5 pm; Sunday 10 am
Weekday: 9 am (except Thursday)
Holy days: 9 am & 7 pm
Confessions: Sat. 4:15 to 4:45 pm
Eucharistic Adoration: (1st Friday) 9 am to Noon

 


Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

January 18, 2015

 

Rev. Anthony Medairos, pastor

1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19

Psalm 40:2, 4, 7-10

1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20

John 1:35-42

 

            My first week in Korea, friends took me by taxi to a restaurant in Tongduchon, a bustling, crowded city just outside our camp.  The hostess was very friendly; it turned out she owned the restaurant.  I asked her to write down its name and address so I could return some day.  She wrote in the beautiful Hangul alphabet words that she had to translate:  “Come and See.”  “Come and See?  That’s an unusual name for a restaurant.”  She explained that, as a Christian, she hoped to share the message of Jesus Christ through a ministry of hospitality, so she took the restaurant’s name from the Gospel of John.  That scriptural verse is found in today’s gospel, where the words of Jesus are translated:  “Come and you will see.”

 

            Rabbis would gather disciples and teach them at the same location each day – often at the rabbi’s home.  So, for these inquirers to call Jesus “rabbi,” and then to ask him, “Where are you staying?” they were not merely asking, “What is your address?”  They were inquiring, “What are you teaching?  What knowledge do you have to impart?”  And Jesus answered, “‘Come and you will see.’  So they went and saw where Jesus was staying, and they stayed with him that day.”  And lest anyone miss the significance of that encounter, John the Evangelist identified the exact moment it happened, as had been recounted many times by Andrew and his companion in the re-telling: “It was about four in the afternoon.”  This is the occasion that changed these men’s lives.  They would never forget the words; they would never forget the place; they would never forget the time: “It was about four in the afternoon.”

 

            Samuel’s first encounter in a personal relationship with God resonates with the same vivid memory.  The lad, apprenticed to the holy man Eli, “was not familiar with the Lord.”  God’s call was misunderstood by Samuel and even by his mentor.  But when the elder discerned that it was  the Lord who was calling the boy, he advised Samuel:  “If you are called, reply, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’”  And this is what Samuel did and so entered his journey as a prophet.

 

            We see in Andrew and his friend, we see in Samuel, eagerness, curiosity, and willingness to be touched by God.  These men were called to special ministries.  But you and I are each called, while less dramatic than becoming a prophet or one of the Apostles, we are called to discipleship that is essential to God’s revelation.  But do we have the same eagerness, the same curiosity, the same willingness?  Many do; but some of us are marking time.  It is good that we stand within this worshipping community, for our eagerness, curiosity and willingness to be disciples finds support here.  And if we are marking time, God’s grace flows here – just being around those who are eager, curious and willing, and in the real presence of Our Lord in the sacraments.

 

            But there are others whose curiosity has been piqued, but who are not being nourished.  While they could become eager and willing disciples of Jesus the Christ, they haven’t encountered him.  And that’s our task as believing Catholics:  to facilitate that encounter, as did Eli when he told Samuel to answer the Lord, “Your servant is listening;” as did John the Baptist, when he told two men as Jesus passed by, “Behold, the Lamb of God.”  Andrew certainly continued that impulse as he brought his brother Simon Peter to Jesus.  Later, Andrew would do the same for many.

 

            This is called evangelization.  How are you and I to evangelize?  First, recognize in these stories that God approaches us first.  God spoke in Samuel’s dreams.  Jesus was present in the place where Andrew and his companion might encounter him.  God is delivering invitations all the time.

 

            But then people whom God summons need to respond.  There were many dreamers, but it was Samuel who said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”  There were many on Jordan’s riverbank where John was baptizing, but it was only Andrew and his friend who asked Jesus where he was staying and followed him.

            God calls you and me.  God even calls people who do not come and worship with us.  There are invitations and calls from God all the time.  Some people are just not curious.  Some are not eager to change their lives.  Some are unwilling to be disciples.  But there are some who are.

 

These are the ones who ask the Lord to speak.  These are the people who make time for prayer and scripture.  There are those who ask, “Lord, where do you stay?” meaning, “What is it that you teach, Lord?”  Where the Lord stays is within the teaching ministry of the Church as formed by the scriptures and the Spirit-guided Tradition of Catholicism. 

 

This is what we disciples are called to do:  to develop robust prayer lives so that we may learn to listen for the Lord’s word.  We are to seek out and embrace the gift of the Church’s teaching authority and to immerse ourselves in the Word of God as found in scripture.  Having done these things in our own lives, we are then to share our encounters with others:  praying with them and for them; sharing with them the words of scripture; explaining Christian teachings; inviting them into the community of faith, the Catholic Church, in other words evangelizing.

 

We disciples must ask the Lord where he is staying – and then go there:  The Lord may be found in the Church and its scriptures.  We disciples pray in order to hear God’s word so we may respond with curiosity, with eagerness, and with willingness, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”  And, like Eli and John the Baptist (and Andrew, too), we disciples are to guide others to hear the Lord calling them, inviting them to “come and see” where the Lord is staying.

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

January 11, 2015

 

Rev. Anthony Medairos, pastor

Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7

Psalm 29:1-4, 9-10

Acts 10:34-38

Mark 1:7-11

 

            Charlie was a quiet man; his wife was the more talkative one, outgoing.  Charlie was tall and thin; she, a little bit plump.  He worked for the town DPW; she worked at the rectory.  Charlie was around the church almost as much as she.  But for years he and I never spoke, beyond pleasantries.  One hot day, while a group of us were doing some repairs on the religious education center, during a break it happened that Charlie and I were sitting under the same shady tree.  He asked about my membership in the Army Reserve.  “Did you have any military service, Charlie?”  And he told the story of his experiences in the Army Air Forces during World War II:  how he was a 19 year old tail gunner in a B-17 (the Boeing “Flying Fortress”) and how he had flown many bombing missions over France and Germany.  The next day Charlie died.

 

            Years later I was called to attend a dying, elderly man in Southie.  His hospital bed, set up in the dining room of a triple-decker, was circled by family.  After we prayed, stories began to flow about their Dad, who had plied the streets of Boston as a letter carrier for the Post Office.  And in some quiet moments I wandered through some of the memorabilia on the family’s bookcases and mantelpiece.  And there:  a framed Army certificate awarding this simple family man the Purple Heart for – as the citation read – “wounds received on June 6, 1944 in France.”  (For those unfamiliar with our history, that was D-Day, our invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe.) 

 

            Today we celebrate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by John the Baptist.  In Mark’s account of this baptism – as also in Matthew and Luke – John announced to the people not only their call to repent of sin, but he protested that someone was about to arrive who was greater than he.  John confessed that he himself was not worthy even to untie this other man’s sandals. [1]  When John the Baptist baptized Jesus, the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus, God’s beloved Son.

 

John the Evangelist’s gospel is even more vivid:  when Jesus was baptized and the Spirit descended on him, the Baptist pointed to Jesus and shouted to the crowd, [2] “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.  He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’”

 

Jesus had passed through that crowd, unrecognized.  He seemed just an ordinary man who, out of faith or out of curiosity, came to the river like so many others to see the great preacher and prophet, perhaps even to be baptized.  Jesus seemed a man among many.  And even those who perceived him later to be a provocative rabbi or even a prophet did not recognize his true nature until after his resurrection from death on Easter.

 

How many people pass by you and me unnoticed?  Or even if we might take note of them, it is only as a skinny DPW worker or a letter carrier or a carpenter from Nazareth.  We walk by folks every day without noticing much about them.  Or if we take note of them, they are part of a throng of people going to work or school, shopping, driving, getting in our way. 

 

Perhaps we might make it our mission – at least a little bit of the time – to attend to the people around us.  We cannot do this all the time, of course.  If we tried constantly to attend to every individual, it would be psychologically exhausting.  But perhaps we can notice one another at least a little more than we do, especially those who stand in close proximity to us.  Who knows?  We may encounter a World War II hero! 

 

But even if that kind of personal intimacy with every single person is psychologically exhausting – and probably even harmful – believers like you and me should be open to recognizing that all these people around us are children of God, creatures of our Creator, and should be acknowledged as possessing a unique dignity.  In each person we must recognize that God abides within each one of them.  Through them, God touches you and me.  Through them, you and I have an opportunity to love and serve God. 

 

One South American preacher explained it this way: “Be alert, be alert, so that you will be able to recognize your Lord in your husband, your wife, your parents, your children, your friends, your teachers, but also in all that you read in the daily papers.  The Lord is coming, always coming.  Be alert to his coming.   When you have ears to hear and eyes to see, you will recognize him at any moment of your life.” [3] 

 

            As the crowd at the River Jordan barely acknowledged Jesus, the Son of God, their Savior, so you and I may wander through our lives barely noticing that in the people who surround us we may encounter the living God.  I don’t often quote poetry, but I think Elizabeth Barrett Browning said it succinctly.  She was, of course, reflecting on how Moses was told to take off his shoes as he approached God, speaking to him through the Burning Bush in the desert.  She wrote:

 

Earth’s crammed with Heaven

and every common bush

afire with God.

And only he who sees

takes off his shoes.

The rest sit round it

and pluck blackberries. [4]

 

            Too often, I have “plucked blackberries” and missed encounters with some special people, and indeed some holy encounters with God within them.  How about you?

 



[1]  Matthew 3:11-17 and Luke 3:15-22.

 

[2]  John 1:29-31.

 

[3]  Oscar Uzin, as quoted by Henri J.M. Nouwen, ¡Gracias! (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1983), p. 57.

 

[4]  Elizabeth Barrett Browning, quoted by George A. Maloney, Jesus, Set Me Free! (Denville, NJ:  Dimension Books, 1977), p. 161.

 

The Octave Day of Christmas

Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God

January 1, 2015

 

Rev. Anthony Medairos, pastor

Numbers 6:22-27

Psalm 67:2-3, 5-6, 8

Galatians 4:4-7

Luke 2:16-21

 

            A newspaper feature was brought to my attention.  It is a recent Dear Abby installment:

 

            Dear Abby:  Recently a friend of mine went to a ritzy gala.  When dinner was served, she closed her eyes and said a brief and quiet prayer.  When she opened them, the people at her table were appalled.  One guest admonished her, telling her that, out of respect for others, she shouldn’t pray.  Was she wrong?  What’s the proper etiquette?  Should she stop saying grace? [1]    

 

            That scene reminded me of one of those wonderfully evocative illustrations by Norman Rockwell.  It is a scene in a 1950’s roadside diner in which an older woman in a neat pillbox hat [2] sits at a communal table with a youngster, perhaps her grandson, both with heads bowed over their greasy spoon lunch.  And all eyes are on them – truck drivers staring bemused and bewildered, a topcoated gentleman craning his head in the woman’s direction.

 

            For good or for ill, the simple act of public prayer affects other people.  And that act of prayer – unless it is just an “act” to impress people – grows out of a person’s attentiveness to God in his or her own life.

 

            With all the astonishing things that happened at that very first Christmas – the invitation of angel Gabriel, the shepherds summoned by choirs of angels to see a baby in a manger stall, the birth itself – it is said of Mary that she “kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”

 

            From Mary, the mother of Jesus, the Mother of God, you and I may take direction for our own spiritual lives.  God has done amazing things in our lives, too:  the election of Israel as God’s Chosen People, the revelation of God’s love in the person of Jesus himself, two millennia of Christian saints and martyrs and ordinary, struggling believers, our own personal encounters with God – all these things you and I must keep, and reflect on them in our heart.  And if you and I were to keep these things and reflect on them in our heart, it will certainly elicit from you and me a response at all levels of our life:  our hopeful outlook, our willingness to serve others, our readiness to forgive, our boldness in introducing others to God, and in our prayer – whether that prayer is in a community as we are doing now, in private as we go to our homes, or in public as we dine at the East Bay Grille or at McDonald’s. 

 

            As many of us toy with New Year’s resolutions, please consider not just outward behaviors like quitting smoking or getting to the gym more often.  Consider what each of us is keeping and reflecting on in our heart.  And consider how that very intimate, personal thing can affect others.

 

            The Virgin Mary’s act of taking on her role as the mother of Jesus involved trust in God, and it involved her own humility.  Hers was a choice made possible by her readiness to hear God and to submit to God’s outlandish request that she become the virgin mother of a divine child.

 

            But Mary’s choice was deeper than merely making a decision for her personal benefit.  Beyond her willingness to submit to God’s will, Mary’s humility was based in her selfless concern about how her choice would affect others.  It is unlikely that you or I will change the course of the world as did Mary’s choice.  But we can change the course of some people’s lives, starting with our own and expanding to influence first our family and friends.  Perhaps if our family and friends spied us praying in times of joy or in times of sadness, or even simply saying grace before dinner today, we may be awakening them to God’s presence in their lives as well.  And if we were to practice our faith a little more publicly – say, for example, signing the cross and saying grace over a restaurant meal – we may help improve some strangers’ relationship with their God as well.

 

            This is what evangelization is about:  perhaps we should risk upsetting people by daring to improve our own relationship with God and with our readiness to show that relationship to others.  Who knows what a change seeing more people praying would make in our world?  It may make more people think about God.



[1]  The Tennessean, October 9, 2014.

 

[2]  Norman Rockwell’s illustration “Saying Grace” appeared on the cover of  The Saturday Evening Post (November, 1951).


 

 

OUR MISSION STATEMENT

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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