Our Ministries
1 Feb

Mobile Loaves & Fishes Help Wanted

The Mobile Loaves & Fishes ministry needs help in filling the following important roles:

  1. Bread Transport Team** drivers (two hours once a month)
  2. Commissary Team** members to inventory, arrange supplies, place new orders, and check-in weekly Labatt Food Service deliveries.
  3. S.A. Food Bank Pick-up Team** drivers with large SUVs or pickup trucks who can transport our food orders to the MLF kitchen (two hours once a month).
  4. Egg Boiling Team members for weekends (two hours shifts) and other boiling times are flexible. This is a great option for busy teens who need service hours.
  5. Meal Delivery drivers (using MLF truck) at various locations for 2nd Friday supper, 3rd Sunday lunch, and 4th Tuesday lunch deliveries.

**These teams all have rotating schedules.

If you can assist with these jobs, please contact Julie Mellin at volunteermlf@gmail.com.

2 Dec

2nd Sunday of Advent

Isaiah’s Dream for All

DkruppaEach of this Sunday’s readings is so rich in meaning for us. The season of Advent brings together so many images of harmonious creation and human activity as God created them. Isaiah the prophet describes the dream of a “peaceable kingdom” of primal paradise where the animals did not follow their predatory instincts. Images of the “wolf and the lamb,” “a child playing near a cobra’s den,” and natural enemies living in harmony with each other. The lyrics to Glenn Rudolph’s “The Dream Isaiah Saw” inspire us: “Little child whose bed is straw, take new lodgings in my heart. Bring the dream Isaiah saw” described in the last line of the three verses: “life redeemed from fang and claw, justice purifying law, and knowledge, wisdom, worship, awe.” Oh, how we need this today!

In the second reading, Paul prays for the community challenged by universal salvation—both Jews and Gentiles. He asks for three different expressions of unity: “to think in harmony,” to be in “one accord,” and to glorify God in “one voice.” This unity does not obliterate the differences between Jew and Gentile; it is a unity in diversity. Oh, how we need this today!

And in the Gospel, John the Baptist’s preaching is filled with passionate fire—a cry from the heart calling for life-altering change. What in today’s world would arouse John the Baptist’s wrath today? What in our lives can be considered as worthy wheat and as chaff to be swept up and tossed into the fire?

Does the dream of Isaiah with its pairing of opposites offer hope in our own day, when there is so much division in the world, in government, and even in the Church?

Can we restore a “peaceable kingdom?” Can we see “difference” as a blessing, as an opportunity rather than a threat? And can we gather some kindling and throw it on the fire for justice? We too can be led by the little child whose bed is straw. May Jesus take new lodgings in our heart this Advent!

25 Nov

1st Sunday of Advent

Staying Awake to God’s Presence

DkruppaStay awake! Walk in light! Be attentive! War no more! Beat swords into plowshares! Live not in rivalry or jealousy! Wow! The readings for this First Sunday of Advent are a call to escape the darkness, pay attention, and act!

Walking in the light and staying awake to God’s presence in our life and in the lives of others demands that we embody God’s universal unconditional love. The Advent season gives us time to begin to prepare for re-birth of little virtues and practices that will help us to celebrate Jesus’ birth at Christmas.

About those little virtues and practices—here are some ideas. Find an Advent Calendar that suggests random acts of kindness for each day of Advent. Most of them ask us to expand our circle of those included in our love of God and love of neighbor. We can “wake up and stay awake” by being attentive and seeking ways to strengthen our relationships with God, family, friends, co-workers, and even strangers—the friends we haven’t met yet.

In these divisive times, we can seek out and engage in intentional conversations with those who are different from ourselves and try to identify common ground, or unity in the community that characterizes the making of God’s kingdom here on earth.

Not one of us knows when God will call us to make an accounting of our lives on earth! Will we be found ready? The Advent season provides us with a checklist of attitudes and actions. We ask God to help us pray, help us act, and help us achieve and live in peace. And then hopefully we will sing with joy as we go to the house of the Lord.

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18 Nov

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

The Power in Remembrance

Dkruppa“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom…”

This Sunday is commonly known as the Feast of Christ the King, and the image that is used is Jesus on the cross, surrounded by two other crucified thieves and countless, raucous soldiers with shields and spears. Not very “kingly” imagery!

There are two thieves with equal access to Jesus, equal opportunities in the event, equal choices. One thief taunts and rails against Jesus, participating in the chaotic demonstration of crucifixion, a seeming unity with the mob below. In fact, Jesus was taunted to exert royal powers on many occasions in his life. Hanging on the cross, the most unlikely throne, seeming to be totally without power, Jesus answers the humble, simple plea “remember me” of the other “repentant” thief. Jesus utters these compassionate words:   “…today you will be with me in Paradise.” Jesus took the message “remember me” seriously!

We too are challenged by ignorance, force and fear, false opinions and prejudice, out-of-control emotions, and mob mentality. We too have choices. Today, Jesus our King invites us to measure our use of power against his: Do we serve others or manipulate?…build a more just society or secure our own interests?…cause pain to others or help to alleviate it?

Looking forward to Advent, let us open ourselves to God’s power of love, mercy, compassion, and sense of justice, and then reach out to empower others, just as Jesus did in the midst of his own redemptive suffering. What a novel use of power—the power of remembrance—the power of taking all the people seriously.

4 Nov

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Life After Life

DkruppaWhat happens to us when we die? What do you believe about life after death? How does that influence the way you choose to live your life, the decisions you make and the values that you live?

As Catholics, we believe in the resurrection, or life after the present one we are living. The Gospel for this Sunday poses some questions about what that life will be like, the afterlife or resurrected life. Are the two related? Some people believe that happiness is part of resurrected life while our life on earth is filled with trials, tests, suffering, unhappiness, and misery. Heaven then becomes a reward for our long-suffering.

Others believe that we have choices to make about how we live on earth. Heaven is like the eternal promise or a reward. Hell is punishment. Which are we choosing?

According to John Kavanaugh, SJ, there is a third option. I tend to believe what we says:

What if there is no discontinuity between this life and the afterlife? What if there is just life, some of it eternal, some of it temporal? If that is the case, then the way we live now is the way we will always live. How we live is the promise of our destiny.

In this option, God does not threaten us with hell. We fashion it for ourselves by the choices we make: enclosed, egocentric, untrue, uncaring, unloving. That’s a hellishly mean existence, whether in this life or the next.

Thus, as we live and die, so we become eternally, outside the limits of space and time. There may not be marriage in the afterlife, but there is the fulfillment of what we have been becoming.

All of us, from the moment we begin, are endowed with an openness to God. But those of us who live long enough to exercise our freedom actually take part in determining our fate.

Like the Maccabees, we become what we have most loved, most believed, most hoped.

Thus, Lewis’s fascinating parable of The Great Divorce is a story of people confronted with the deepest choices they make. Those who cling to their fears, who hug for dear life their resentments, who refuse to let go of their prisons, can only be given what they endlessly demand.

Those, however, who give their lives in hope and trust, who cast themselves into the arms of the living God, no matter what their shame or sorrow, find what their hearts desired.

They encounter not only the graces of the earth and the faces of the beloved, but also the one in whom they lived, moved, and had their very being.

11 Nov

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sun of Justice & Its Healing Rays

Dkruppa“But for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.”

Some events in our lives change us irrevocably, causing us to lose for good a sense of invulnerability. One of those events was 9/ll. That day we learned that we were no longer secure; our world was turned upside down. Many were left in a world of fear, insecurity, and anxiety. Unfortunately, such experiences characterize so much of human history.

The destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. was an “end of the world” experience for the people of Jerusalem. The temple was for them the heart of the city, the most sacred place, God’s dwelling place among the Chosen People. That which they valued so much, that which gave them strength was destroyed. Additionally, Luke’s community also knew the persecution and hardship Jesus speaks of in the Gospel today. What was important then and remains important now is a willingness to give witness to Jesus in all that we do, in all circumstances, in all that we see as threats to our way of being. Jesus gives us comfort in these words, “I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.”

In the next days, months, and years, we acknowledge that in the midst of fear, insecurity and anxiety, we are totally dependent on the wisdom that God reveals to us in Scripture and other sources. How are we called to live as witnesses to the Lord in our lives? How does Scripture inform us about right relationships with all of God’s people? How do we live with diversity of thought, with differences that we don’t yet understand? Where do we seek wisdom, counsel, understanding, and peace?

What are we to do? We are to persevere by staying focused on the teaching and example of Jesus who reminds us that “by your perseverance you will secure your lives.” We are to fear (live in wonder and awe of God’s power), keep busy doing God’s work of justice freedom and love, and trust that each day the sun’s rising brings healing rays of God’s love.

Today and perhaps every day, we can pray the Prayer of St. Francis for unity and healing.

Lord, make me a channel of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow your love.

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,

Grant that I may seek

Not so much to be consoled, as to console;

To be understood, as to understand;

To be loved, as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

On the “Day of the Lord,” we encounter Jesus in the Eucharist, in each other, and in the community gathered. There we receive the grace to persevere through whatever trials and upheavals come into our lives. And when we think of that final “Day of the Lord,” the one where God calls us to eternal life, God will find us ready. Peace to all!

28 Oct

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Christ Makes Us Want to Be Better

larry-perry-headshotThis week in the reading from the Gospel according to Luke we hear the wonderful story of Zacchaeus, the rich man who collected taxes (or tolls) on behalf of the Roman government. It always seems that there is something charming and delightful about this story. This man who is described as short in stature climbs a tree in order to see Jesus pass by. The Gospel says that he wanted to see who Jesus was. It appears that the sight of Zacchaeus in a tree made Jesus laugh.  I think that is what Luke is saying when he writes that Jesus “received him with joy” when he came down. Jesus couldn’t help but laugh at the sight of the little man who climbed a tree to see him; Jesus wants to spend some time with Zacchaeus, and he invites himself to Zacchaeus’ home. What a delightful meeting! I sometimes imagine that everyone else started laughing with Jesus at the sight of the little man up in a tree.

Clearly, Zacchaeus was not the most loved and admired person in the town, however. The Gospel tells us “they began to grumble” when they heard that Jesus was going to stay at his home.  That doesn’t sound good. The Gospel commentator, John Pilch, tells us that it is almost never incorrect to translate “rich” in the Gospel as “greedy.” We might think of Jesus words: “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich (greedy) man to enter the kingdom of God.” Little Zacchaeus seems to have a big reputation — nothing like the “big hat, no cattle” syndrome we may hear of in Texas. Zacchaeus is a little man with a lot of money.

There is something in the presence of Jesus, however, that brings about a big change in Zacchaeus’ heart. Maybe, like the Grinch, with his little heart that begins to grow bigger, Zacchaeus, when walking in the company of such a big and merciful love, can’t help but grow in stature himself. There is something irresistible about being in the presence of goodness and love. He pledges to give away half of all he owns and pay back 400% of anything he has extorted from others. Wow, that’s big — more than anyone would have expected. Zacchaeus is full of surprises.

I am reminded of that wonderful scene in the movie As Good As It Gets. Melvin Udall, played by Jack Nicholson, says to Carol Connelly, played by Helen Hunt, “I’ve got a really great compliment for you, and it’s true.” Carol says, “I’m so afraid you’re about to say something awful.” After he says something really awkward, she says, “I don’t quite get how that’s a compliment for me.” And Melvin says, “You make me want to be a better man.” Carol responds, “That’s maybe the best compliment of my life.”

Isn’t that about the best compliment any of us could ever want to hear? I think that’s what being in the presence of Jesus was like for Zacchaeus. It made him a bigger and better man. Isn’t that what we should also feel when we are in the presence of the Body of Christ in this community of St. Francis of Assisi? Jesus makes us all want to be better. Let’s pray for that this week — that we might all become better because we are a part of this community, members of the Body of Christ for each other. May we be fed at the table around which we gather to “see who we are and become what we eat.”

21 Oct

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

How Shall We Pray?

DkruppaJesus’ parable gives us some guidance in how we should pray in the form of a story about two men. This image paints the picture. Our prayer is to be in humility, praising God, and recognizing our complete dependence on God’s mercy. In Pope Francis’ words, we are to be among the sheep, to smell like the sheep, and to recognize that we are all sinners depending on God’s mercy.

While I am on pilgrimage and praying for all of us, I suggest these two websites for further reflection on this Sunday’s readings.

www.liturgy.slu.edu/30OrdC102316/reflections_osdieck.html

www.liturgy.slu.edu/30OrdC102316/reflections_justice.html

8 Dec

To Celebrate a Life of Love: Guadalupe “Memo” Rosales

September 8, 1930 – December 3, 2016

guadalupe-rosales-photoGuadalupe Heredia Rosales, 86, began her journey home to be with Spirit on December 3, 2016. She was surrounded by the love and support of her family in her final hours. She will be greeted in heaven by her husband Beto Rosales, parents Beatriz and Jesus Heredia, and brothers Andrew, Jose and Juan Heredia.

Guadalupe was born in Gonzales, Texas on September 8, 1930. She professed her life to Christ at an early age and was united in holy matrimony to Norberto “Beto” Rosales on April 11, 1959. This union was blessed with two children. She supported her family by pursuing her passion in life as a seamstress, and had the fortune of raising 4 generations of children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and a great-great grandchild. Her favorite pastime was relaxing in her sanctuary tending to her outdoor garden. As matriarch of the family, she leaves behind her teachings and legacy inspired by love, generosity, kindness and compassion.

Her beautiful life will forever be honored and cherished in the lives of her two children Bert and Mabel, grandchildren Brian, Eric, Erika, Zachary, Triston, great grandchildren Brian, Julius, Andrew, Brooke, Beverly, Mariaemilia, Eliana, Santiago, Gavin, Braylon, great-great grandchild Davian, siblings Jesus, Pauline, Alice, Manuel, Gloria, Concepción, and Lisa.

Memo, you will be greatly missed and we will always carry your memory in our hearts and souls! May your spirit soar to new heights, and may your impact on Earth continue to be felt through the healing power of love.