SIXTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Rest a while….and Pray

In the gospel reading this week Jesus says to his disciples, “Come away by yourselves
to a deserted place and rest a while.” I am sure that Jesus wanted his disciples
to take a rest from all the travelling and ministering to recharge physically, but I feel
that he wanted them to reconnect to the source, and have time for prayer. In our
busy schedules, prayer can be left behind and forgotten. Believe me I am speaking
from experience.
I would like to speak specifically about the Rosary this week and what I feel is the
key to a fulfilling experience of the Rosary. The key, I feel is the meditative aspect
of the
Rosary. Sometimes, I see people speaking of the Rosary as just a repetitive prayer.
However, when you add meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary as you pray, it
makes all the difference. The mysteries follow the life of Jesus and Mary, and how
their lives together were in total service of God. For me, it is a spiritual exercise for the soul, and our minds.
It’s funny how people will work on a Stairmaster for hours, which is extremely repetitive, but it is good to do
as a physical exercise. Well, the Rosary is a spiritual exercise for our souls so that the soul will remain
healthy as well.

Don’t forget to please go to the new section on prayer in our website, http://stm-parish.com/stm-prayerresources/.
I know you will be enriched by the resources there.

God bless you all, Deacon Dan MacDonald

PRAYER FOR BEGINNERS

For the last three weeks, Father has been talking about Prayer during each Homily, and about getting connected to
the source of power.
This week, we’re highlighting another great resource: an online audiobook called Prayer for Beginners. Whether
you’re a beginner at prayer or not, this book is for all those who feel that they struggle to pray, but desire to become
much better at it. Author Peter Kreeft’s practical, short, straight-forward words on prayer will inspire and encourage
you! Here are some of my favourite quotes from the book:
“Prayer is easier than we think. we want to think it is too hard or too high and holy for us, because that gives us an
excuse for not doing it. This is false humility. We can all do it, even the most sinful, shallow, silly, and stupid of us.”
“One moment of prayer, of weak worship, confused contrition, tepid thanksgiving, or pitiful petition will bring us
closer to God than all the books of theology in the world.”
“The single most important piece of advice about prayer is one word: Begin!”
This week, go to www.formed.org (if you haven’t registered yet, enter our code K3ZWQZ to create a free account)
and search for “Prayer For Beginners” to listen to the audio book or download the ebook!

Hello from Becca! Our Pastoral Associate

We all reach moments in our lives where we desperately need to hear God’s voice to tell us how to act in a certain situation. Do you ever get frustrated that God won’t just speak words
from the heavens to guide us?
In fact, God already did: He gave us the Bible. In the Scriptures, “the Father who is in heaven
comes lovingly to meet his children, and talks with them,” (Catechism of the Catholic
Church, #. 104).
When reading the Bible, it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are a few tips:
Believe it or not, don’t start at the beginning! Start with the Gospels, which are the stories of the life of Christ
found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (found about 2/3 of the way in).
Read slowly. Focus on quality, not quantity, of reading.
If something stands out to you, stop! Re-read that section a few times and let the words sink into your heart
and mind. Listen to the still, small voice of God in your heart and mind.
This week, commit to pray with Scripture! To learn 5 steps for reading and praying with Scripture, go to our
website, click on the PRAYER section, then watch the video about Scripture from Fr. Josh Johnson.

FIFTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

God does provide….one way is through Prayer

In the Gospel reading this week Jesus sends His disciples out two by two, and tells them that He will provide for us. In turn, Jesus sends us out as
well today, as modern day disciples. Now while I do believe He has provided for our physical needs for our journey, Jesus has provided in
another very essential way….. through prayer. Jesus is there to lead and guide us all days of our lives as we live a journey of faith with Him and
others. Jesus is our source of power, strength, and encouragement. A few weeks back, Fr.Toochukwu spoke about our cell phones and how when the
cell. phone battery gets low, we go and reconnect the phone to it’s source of power. If we don’t plug the phone in, the connection will get lower and
lower and eventually it will die. I believe our prayer life is very similar in the sense that if we don’t connect to our source often, our personal connection with the Lord will weaken, and weaken,
and eventually we too will lose total connection to the source. I know in my own life, if I don’t pray everyday, suddenly I feel vulnerable and alone, and I need to reconnect with the source, which is the Lord.
So what is prayer? One of the gifts St. Mother Theresa had was to express complex thoughts very simply, she said about prayer “Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God.” Isn’t that a beautiful way to say it?

Next week, we will be speaking about different forms of prayer, but in the meantime please go to the new prayer
section on this website

Saint Thomas More: Prayer

God bless you all, Deacon Dan MacDonald

Support Dan Perera

Dear parishioners,

My name is Dan Perera, most of you know me as Danny or have seen me running around trying to help out around the parish in anyway I can. I’ve been a parishioner here at St Thomas More for about the past 6 years and it’s been such a blessing to be apart of this beautiful, loving community.

This past school year I was blessed to be serving with NET Canada (National  Evangelization Teams) as a Catholic missionary in beautiful British Columbia where myself and my six other teammates from across Canada served primarily in the Archdiocese of Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. It was such a great experience to be able to fully immerse our selves in the community there where people so lovingly accepted us as we made Vancouver our home for the year. Continue reading “Support Dan Perera”

TWELFTH WEEK OF ORDINARY TIME

If it were Today

Today is the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (the Feast Day of the birth of John the Baptist). Both the life of Jesus, and John the Baptist were foretold by prophets, especially Isaiah. The only record of the birth of John the Baptist appears in the Gospel of Luke and it is at the heart of our Gospel reading today. A key player in this event is, of course, John the Baptist’s father Zechariah. Zechariah was a Jewish priest, but when the Archangel Gabriel revealed to him that he would father a child, Zechariah refused to believe it. As a result he was rendered speechless un-til John was born. Zechariah had total trust in the Lord. Although it was traditional at that time to name the first son after the father, he and
Elizabeth had been told that they were to name him John. As reported in the Gospel, Elizabeth said “He will be called John.” The family protested at which time Zechariah wrote “His name is John.” When he did that, Zechariah could speak once more. He did not say “should be”; he said “is.”
The trust shown by Zechariah is an example to us that we must trust in God, not just when it is
convenient, but all the time.
When I was researching the life of John, I guess after all was said and done, I was left with a ques-tion. If John were here today, how and what would he be telling us ? Of course, John would be pointing us to Jesus, and preparing the way for in this case, the return of the Lord. While over 2000 years have passed, in one sense nothing has changed, Jesus is still our source of light in the world, and He is still offering us a relationship with him that is life changing; where we can be immersed in His love. I feel that John would be speaking out about injustices in the world. I can see him
being the most vocal opponent to things going on in the world, like the detaining of migrant
children in the U.S., tearing children away from their families and holding them in an old Wal-Mart. He would be the first person down at the Olivet cemetery, cleaning up the statues and signs, and
decrying that Christianity should not be the one last religion, philosophy, or belief system that it is ok to persecute. At the same time though, he would be reminding Christians to pass on the
authentic, loving, mercy filled good news gospel, and to use scripture and the traditional teachings of the church as guides in our new evangelization. Lastly, I feel as if he would be so in touch with the poor, that maybe he himself would be living on the streets, and proclaiming the gospel to
everyone that he meets. So what is the message that is being given to us today by John, when
remembering his feast day? We are to point all we meet to Jesus, the best we can, and to live the authentic gospel message while remembering those who are left behind, so they too can live in the light of Christ.

God bless you all, Deacon Dan

SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD

A Gift that will Sustain and Transform us

 

This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi. This is a solemn feast in which Jesus
offers us yet another free gift, the gift of himself. We see Moses coming to the people where
they all answered with one voice. “We will do everything that the Lord commands”.
Jesus, on the other hand, provides a food that will sustain to eternal life.
Originally, we were created out of love, to be one with God. Eventually we as people turned our backs on God, but
through the sacrifice of Jesus, our relationship was renewed. The thing about this gift is that it cannot be forced, or manipulated
in any way, it is our choice to receive the gift or to not receive the gift. God’s desire is to be in relationship
with us and through offering this gift, he wants us to become a Eucharistic people.
This may be an odd sounding phrase to be a Eucharistic people but I believe the key underlying theme that helps us
understand it is the theme of sacrifice. Two examples of sacrifice come to mind as throughout the Old Testament we
read about sacrifices to God. Then in the New Testament ,Jesus sacrifices his own body so we can be in right relationship
with the father. I believe that if we are going to be a Eucharistic people, we need to sacrifice in our own lives.
A couple of examples come to mind, the first being that we are called to reach out to communities in need and help
anyone living on the margins, that can often take sacrifice. Sometimes too we may be estranged from someone and
need to reconcile, that takes sacrifice.
Now, you may be recalling the words of Jesus when he said that he doesn’t require sacrifice. It’s absolutely true, it’s
absolutely nothing to do with what he needs, it’s all about what we need to be a Eucharistic people.
From the reading though we can be encouraged by the fact that every Sunday, Jesus offers us this gift of the Eucharist,
to sustain us and help us in our Christian Journey. This is truly the greatest gift that we can receive and that we can in
turn share with our families, friends, and all whom we encounter.
Let us pray for the grace to encounter Jesus and become the people he wants us to be. Amen
God bless you all,
Deacon Dan MacDonald