St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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1 Corinthians 3

Paul is scandalized by the behavior of the Corinthians. He also shows his understanding of where they are at spiritually and their inability to grow. They are still living in the flesh. His complaint is not far from what we do. Paul states, “Brothers, the trouble was that I could not talk to you as spiritual men but only as men of flesh, as infants in Christ” (v1). He is referring to when they first became Christians.

This is somewhat of an expectation. When a person first comes into the faith, they are still learning the language and habits of faith, practically speaking. Paul is expecting the faithful to grow in faith and in knowledge of spiritual things, but they cannot make that step. Paul continues, “I fed you with milk, and did not give you solid food because you were not ready for it. You still are not ready for it even now” (v2). He points to the quarrels as proof of this spiritual immaturity.

Not much has changed today. As humans, we look at what physically happens, and many times only that. This is what Paul is referring to when he says they are “still very much in a natural condition” (v3). We think about the natural and spend no time thinking about the supernatural. We obsess about what is visible, but pay no attention to what is invisible. As we say in the creed, God made both, but one is more eternal. This is where he challenges us, too: “is not [this] behavior that of ordinary men?” (v3). We fuss over such trivial things. Things that do not bring any good fruit. Paul wants to guide us to think as God does.

It is a supernatural way of thinking, not of the lower natural ways. We were cut above that. Paul is stressing all of His works are just that: His works. It does not matter who is doing the labor, it is God in all things. Don’t look at the minister. It is God working through the minister. It is His name that should be praised and not Paul, or Apollos or anybody else. Each minister is doing their part as God ordains it. “He who plants and he who waters work to the same end” – our salvation (v8). That is why we need to ask God to continue to send out laborers for the harvest. We do not have to judge the works of God’s workers; it will be tested in due time.

God tests with fire each and every one of us. On the day of the testing, all will be made apparent. “If different ones build on this foundation with gold or silver, precious stones, wood, hay or straw, the work of each will be made clear” (v12-13). God will test our works as with the foundation. If the foundation is good, it will stand, but if out of hay, the reality of our lives will be made apparent and therefore judged accordingly. Yet this analogy is meant for those who are intent on good works. They are not necessarily bad people. They built; how well they built is the question. So it is tested. If we come short of God’s expectations, we “will suffer loss. [We ourselves] will be saved, but only as one fleeing through fire” (v15). This is purgatory. When we remain thinking at the natural level, this does not mean damnation, it means we come short of God’s desire for us.

God destined us for greatness, not mediocrity or to be “ok.” He wants you to be a light to the world, something special. But if we remain at the natural level, we limit God’s plan for us. It holds us down. To inspire the Corinthians, Paul makes them aware of this great calling God has given them. “Are you not aware that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (v16). You are so precious to God that He wants to live in you. When we see these realities and live by them, we discover the true wisdom of God.

Paul turns around his previous argument, “If anyone of you thinks he is wise in a worldly sense, he had better become a fool. In that way he will really be wise” (v18). What seems to the world to be wise is in fact foolishness to God. Because God is seeing things at a supernatural level. With a God that sees all things, it is good to know that He is our helper. The question is, are you open to what He has to say?
Father Barr


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Updated Message from the Bishop

Office of the Bishop

March 26, 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we continue to respond to the spread and the danger of the coronavirus, I write once more to offer a word of encouragement. Many exceptional steps have been taken both in the Church and in the wider society, in an effort to protect individuals from exposure to the virus or from becoming a carrier that might expose others.

As Catholics, we recognize a particular obligation to see Christ in every moment of our lives, both the good and the challenging. Every sacrifice that we make is another step on our way to choosing for Christ, and therefore for eternal life in heaven itself.

We are a people of hope and trust in the Lord. Jesus has told us that His true followers are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. That means that we have received not only the gift of faith, but also the responsibility that comes with that gift. The current moment challenges us to live as those who truly believe that Jesus has not left us alone, but is with us even more closely when difficulties arise. Others, especially those who are fearful, ill, lonely or without faith, need to have our witness, especially now.

As the coronavirus problem is projected to intensify in the coming days, I write to convey to you some further dispositions to address the projected spike in cases and the longer timeframe that appears to be anticipated for protective measures. To that end:

1) Through Easter Sunday (up until and including Easter Sunday), all Masses are to continue to be celebrated privately without the presence of the faithful.

2) I also take this opportunity to extend the dispensation given to all the faithful from the obligation of attending Sunday Mass through Easter Sunday.

3) All adoration chapels are now to be closed in order to increase our response to protect the faithful from the spread of the coronavirus.

Given the continuing unavailability of the sacraments to the faithful except in grave circumstances, there is a widespread feeling of longing to be with Christ and with the Church. It is important that we continue to recognize the ability of Jesus to be close to us even in such an exceptional time.

I have asked Father Jonathan Bakkelund, Director of the Office of Divine Worship of the Diocese of Rockford, to prepare some thoughts on the Plenary Indulgences that the Vatican has made available at this time, as well as means for a spiritual communion when Eucharistic communion is not available, and likewise the richness of making a perfect act of contrition when sacramental reconciliation cannot be accessed. His very helpful comments are attached.

Please know of my prayers for all of you during this unprecedented time. I ask for your prayers as
well.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend David J. Malloy Bishop of Rockford

Attachment

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Pro Life Corner

Baby Feet Pro-LifeWhy is it that the very people who say the government
should “stay out of my bedroom” are the same ones who
want the government to pay for abortions with our tax
dollars? Why is it that pro-abortionists fight so viciously to
keep parents from having a say in whether their minor
daughter has an abortion or not? We must choose
politicians who respect and defend life at all stages.


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Take Advantage of the Technology

Going stir crazy? We hope that you may stay healthy. We pray that all those who have health conditions will not take the risk of getting the virus. To help accommodate you and to help you not have to watch the same old thing on TV and the internet, we have some things that may help lighten up your life as well as inform you.
cropped-layout-mockup-2-done-jpg-5WEBSITE – I will continue to put on updates about the COVID-19 virus and other spiritual things on the website. There is an option to “follow” the website. When you “follow” the website, you automatically get an email whenever anything new is put on the website. It is a way to keep up-to-date.
SJ outsideFACEBOOK SM outside– Stephanie has been a great help and puts up many inspirational posts consistently for the St Joseph Facebook. Angela takes care of the St Mary Facebook and has done a wonderful job. Both will be a great connection to your community. I hope by the time you receive this, that I will have figured out how to stream the Mass live on Facebook. Just go to the Parish Facebook at the time Mass is normally scheduled. If it is not on, then I have not figured it out yet. As Our Lady tells us, Pray, Pray, Pray. I also hope to be able to stream the Stations of the Cross and possibly the rosary. The location may change to keep things interesting and you may have a Deacon or one of the Sisters lead in prayer. Fr Diego is also looking into doing something in Spanish.
App-icon PARISH APP – You can keep the parish app as a resource. Access to the bulletin is on the app as well as the Sunday homilies, Bishop Barron talks, Top of the Morning with Bishop Malloy, access to the FORMED app, prayers, the readings of the day for Mass, and reflections that may inspire. We are looking at getting the streamed Masses on the app as well. The parish app also can give you reminders that there is something going on like a streamed Mass, or if there are messages from the Bishop.
The simplest way to get the parish app is to go on your smart phone or tablet and download the My Parish App from the Play Store for an Android or App Store for an Apple. When the app is downloaded, on the upper right corner of the home screen, there are three lines: click on the three lines. You might see St Joseph and St Mary Parishes, click on that and you will be at our parishes’ app. If our parishes are not on the list, click “Find a Parish.” If you are in Freeport or close by, St Joseph and St Mary Parishes should be on the list, so click on that. Note that the My Parish App will know where you are at and will only pull up the Parishes that are near you, so it will not pull up parishes that are out of state. If you are out of state, then you will have to search for the parish.
FORMEDFORMED is a great resource to help get you through cabin fever. You can access it online or through your smart phone. There are many movies, kids’ shows, a bible studies series called “Lectio,” classes, books, and audios both in English and Spanish. This may be great entertainment and education that might help you keep your sanity.
To get this service free, go to stjosephstmary.formed.org, click “register” and enter your name, email address and desired password. From there you can watch and enjoy everything available. However, if you are accessing through a smart phone or tablet and not through a computer, you will want to download the app from the play store or app store. If you have problems, just give me a call. As I learn more about this service, I hope to be able to help you. — Fr. Barr


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We still need your help!

Our parishes are going to be hit hard financially with no Mass availability and no collection.
Please continue to be generous and give.
You can send a check in the mail or sign up for online giving by going to the parish’s website.
There you can give once, or put yourself on a schedule so that we can rely on your gift.
Thank you for your generosity. 


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1 Corinthians 2:1-16

Paul begins the second chapter on the issue of wisdom. There are two types of “wisdom” he talks about. There is the conventional human wisdom, and then there is the wisdom of God. By the conventional human wisdom, Paul admits he did not share with the people. Everybody likes the idea of people sharing quick one-liners as a tidbit of wisdom. We open the fortune cookies at the Chinese restaurants and have our daily calendars that remind us of some wise saying. Most of these sayings may be helpful to an extent. We take it in, ponder it for a second, and feel better or somehow a little smarter. Then we go on with our lives. Continue reading