Stonewood, West Virginia

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Connect! Sunday Reflection

LIVE A LIFE OF MERCY

February 14, 2020  •   Angie Windnagle

For Sunday, February 23, 2020
7th Sunday in Ordinary Time

God's Mercy Endures

Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18
1 Corinthians 3:16-23
Matthew 5:38-48

Recently, I posted a controversial article on social media, and not surprisingly, I was met with a slew of responses from friends describing ways they either agreed or disagreed with me. It was like a lot of social media debates — one sided, heated, and in the end, somewhat pointless. As I reflected, I wondered if my posting was necessary much less virtuous. Had I accomplished what I set out to do? Did I change anyone’s mind, or did I stir up discord in friends who normally interact in unity? Was my posting helping further the kingdom of God on earth, or did I compete against that goal?

As I ponder the readings for this weekend’s Mass, I find my answer. The theme of holiness is pervasive in each reading, but looking deeper, the theme of mercy shines even more. Indeed, all of Christ’s followers are called to be as holy as he is. But more than that, the holiness we are called to is only made possible by his unending mercy, as the psalmist rightly proclaims: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he put our transgressions from us.” It simply isn’t enough to say we want to be like Christ. Instead, true disciples are called to be living witnesses of his love and mercy to all those they encounter — whether in person, online, or in passing.

The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order shares that “… all people of good will, are called to build a more fraternal and evangelical world so that the kingdom of God may be brought about more effectively. Mindful that anyone ‘who follows Christ the perfect man, becomes more of a man [i.e., human] himself,’ let them exercise their responsibilities competently in the Christian spirit of service.”

To me, this rule exemplifies precisely how we are to heed the words of Jesus in the Gospel. He doesn’t call us to keep count, to hold on to grudges, or to constantly defend ourselves when wronged. When I posted the controversial article on social media, it was clear that everyone had an opinion to defend. Rather than helping build a more evangelical and fraternal world, the post became a space for “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” only with words and intellectual arguments.

In the first reading, Moses is called by God to not only be holy, but to show no revenge. The antidote to the selfish desire for revenge is mercy. Even from the days of Moses, God has shown mercy is one of His greatest attributes. This mission of mercy is also given to all His followers.

The psalm continues with this theme as we sing of the Lord’s kindness and mercy. I often wonder if my social media activity is a reflection of God’s action or the opposite. I wonder if those who follow me could say my posts are “kind and merciful.” God reveals Himself as a just judge who speaks immutable truth, but this is not separate or isolated from His unending kindness and love toward humanity. If I don’t follow that same mission, I cannot say I’m truly Christian.

The final gut check for me is found in the words of St. Paul in the second reading as he reminds us that we are temples of the Holy Spirit. This means that even those who disagree with me bear the image of God. They should be treated accordingly, not with a tolerance that accepts sin, or with an avoidance of proclaiming the truth, but through actions and words that truly exemplify the love we have received from our Father. This is a love that calls us to conversion and holiness, but one that is kind and merciful.

So, in the end, I realized that posting the article didn’t help anyone see Christ better. Instead, it sowed a seed of division and discord. The readings this weekend urge us to live a life of mercy in order to be holy so we can be saints someday. A saint is one who sees the beatific vision. That vision needs to start on earth in how we treat those around us who are temples of the Holy Spirit, the same Holy Spirit with whom we want to spend eternity.

Angie Windnagle

 

PRAYER

Dear Jesus,
help me to spread your fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with your spirit and love.
Penetrate and possess my whole being
so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of yours.
Shine through me and be so in me
that every soul I come in contact with may feel your presence in my soul.
Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus.
Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine,
so to shine as to be a light for others.
Amen.
— Prayer of St. Teresa of Kolkata


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Statement from U.S. Bishops Chairman of International Justice and Peace Committee on Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan’s Pastoral Solidarity Visit to the Church in Cuba

WASHINGTON—Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued the following statement:

“I would like to congratulate His Eminence Cardinal Timothy Dolan on his recently concluded pastoral solidarity visit to the Church in Cuba. His Eminence, who traveled to the island at the invitation of the Cuban bishops, celebrated Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Caridad del Cobre in Santiago--the spiritual heart of Cuba--as well as at the Cathedral of Havana, the Adolfo Rodriguez convalescent home in Camaguey, the Carmelite Convent in Havana, among others.

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Catholic Response to Outbreak of Coronavirus

WASHINGTON - Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace; Sean Callahan, president of Catholic Relief Services; and Sr. Mary Haddad, RSM, president of the Catholic Health Association of the United States, issued a statement addressing the Catholic response to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Their joint statement follows:

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Statement from U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace Committee on Nuclear Disarmament

WASHINGTON — The Committee on International Justice and Peace for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has released the following statement on nuclear disarmament.

During the recent visit of Pope Francis to Japan, the Holy Father took the opportunity to speak forcefully on the subject of nuclear weapons and the threat that they represent to the world. Speaking at Nagasaki, he emphasized the need for a wide and deep solidarity to bring about security in a world not reliant on atomic weaponry, stating, “A world of peace, free from nuclear weapons, is the aspiration of millions of men and women everywhere. To make this ideal a reality calls for involvement on the part of all: individuals, religious communities and civil society, countries that possess nuclear weapons and those that do not, the military and private sectors, and international organizations.” - Address of the Holy Father on Nuclear Weapons, Atomic Bomb Hypocenter Park (Nagasaki) Sunday, 24 November 2019.

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Saturdays: 5:00 PM
Sundays: 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM
Monday: No Mass
Tuesday: 6:00 PM (Chapel)
Wednesday: 9:00 AM (Chapel)
Thursday: 6:00 PM (Chapel)
Friday: 9:00 AM (Chapel)

PLEASE NOTE:
Consult "Events Calendar" for services on Holy Days of Obligation.

ALSO,
If we have a funeral, it will take precedence over daily Mass. We invite you to attend the funeral Mass.

NOTICE:
If Harrison County schools are delayed or closed weekly Mass is canceled.

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Note: Chapel is only open on weekdays

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