.=: T H I S W E E K E N D :=. from Father Pat Umberger __________________________________________________ I R E L A N D 2 0 1 0 Our Ireland Pilgrimage is on for 18-28 October 2010!, 799 from Chicago (ORD) and $2859 from LSE (La Crosse). The brochure is now at my Web Site and copies are available in the back of Church. I hope you can join us on this wonderful Pilgrimage! We'll stay in 4 Star Hotels and better. Links to Hotels are at the Web Site as well. All admissions, breakfasts and dinners are included this time. And it will be possible to leave from La Crosse. 25 La Crosse seats are available. We'll visit Galway, St. Patrick's Mountain, the Dingle Peninsula, Killarney, the Ring of Kerry, Blarney, the Cliffs of Moher, Bunratty Castle (where we'll stay overnight), Cork, Wicklow, the Rock of Cashel, Dublin, and much more. In Dublin we'll stay at the venerable Gresham Hotel, Bishop Treacy's favorite hotel in Dublin. Of course we'll have Mass every day while we're in Ireland. If you're interested visit my Web Site to download the Brochure and sign up for informational e-mails. www.frpat.com If you'd like me to mail you a brochure, just send me an e-mail: frpat@xxxxxxxxx .=: V O L U M E 2 0 1 0 , Number 02-14 :=. .=: T H I S W E E K E N D ' S S C R I P T U R E S :=. Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C. Weekend of 13 and 14 February 2010 .=: R E F L E C T I O N Q U E S T I O N S :-. The Scriptures for this weekend are found here: http://www.nccbuscc.org/nab/110109.shtml "The one who bears the sore of leprosy shall keep his garments rent and his head bare, and shall muffle his beard; he shall cry out, 'Unclean, unclean!'" Who are the lepers of today? What fears within us keep us from accepting them as part of our society? "He shall dwell apart, making his abode outside the camp." In what ways do we exclude others from being part of our community or neighborhood. What would need to change in order for us to open ourselves to them again? "Avoid giving offense, whether to the Jews or Greeks or the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in every way, not seeking my own benefit but that of the many, that they may be saved." Is it realistic to believe that we can be all things to all people? Why did Paul try to do that? How much differently would he have ministered if he had not had that goal? "A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, 'If you wish, you can make me clean.'" What kind of faith would lead a leper to approach Jesus? How was Jesus able to transcend the boundaries society had set up to deal with such people? "Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, 'I do will it. Be made clean.'" Imagine how the leper's life was changed? How would such a cure affect his community, family and work lives? Would these changes be easy and joyful, or sometimes difficult and challenging? "He (Jesus) remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere." Where did Jesus get the energy and faith to deal with so many people and problems? How can we regroup and recharge when it seems that people are coming to us from all sides? How are these Scriptures comforting? Challenging? .=: S P I R I T U A L R E F L E C T I O N :=. Many of us have had the experience of being diagnosed with cancer, or learning of the cancer diagnosis of a friend. We quickly become aware of how quickly everything changes. Things that used to be very important don't seem important at all. We are embraced by family members and friends. The medical community goes to work and tries to help us find the best treatment. Surrounded by much love and caring we turn our lives over to the care of those who know more. We seek the healing and comfort God provides. We learn that we are not alone. The experience of being diagnosed with leprosy was not filled with such support and comfort. There was not much that could be done for the disease. Because it was contagious a certain caution seemed necessary. People were not willing to take chances that they might catch it. Lepers were ostracized from the community and lived in deserted places with other lepers. Whenever there was the remote possibility that someone was coming near, they were to yell out, "Unclean, unclean!" There was no help from experts. There were no embraces from family members. They were very much on their own. The Leper in today's Gospel did not forget the love and power of God. We can marvel at the courage he mustered in approaching Jesus. He realizes how powerful Jesus is. He simply states, "If you wish, you can make me clean." Although the Gospel doesn't paint the scene, we can imagine it took place in an out-of-the-way place where Jesus was staying. Jesus was captured by the man's faith and honesty. The Gospel tells us he was "moved with pity," stretched out his hand and cured the man. Jesus then asked him not to tell anybody what happened, but to present himself to the priest and offer for his cleansing what Moses prescribed. We know that the man did not keep quiet. As others heard of the miracle they too began to have hope. They came in large numbers from all directions. They were coming to believe in the healing love that was available to them. They came to see that God's love was not limited even by their own laws and customs. God cares! In this weekend's Second Reading, Saint Paul expresses his desire to be all things to all people, that many may be saved. Paul too, could see beyond categories of slave, free, Gentile and Jew. He knew quite well that God's love was open to all people. Although we might judge his desire to be all things to all people a little unrealistic, it was that desire that pushed him beyond what he could have done with less lofty goals. God loves all of us. We, like Paul, are called to reach beyond the barriers and boundaries society is so good at setting up. We are called to stand up for those who need our help. We can try to determine what people are being excluded these days, and for what reasons. We are confronted with the reality that God would have us ease and remove those boundaries. This week we can feel the plight of those who are excluded. We can pray for an openness to see these situations through God's eyes. Opportunities to reach across barriers will present themselves this week. Let's be ready. Have a good week! (c)MMX Fr. Pat Umberger. This Spiritual Reflection is found each week at the Web Site www.frpat.com. Feel free to link to this page or reproduce them for parish use as long as this credit remains. __________________________________________________ <TW>This Weekend is free, and comes from: Father Pat Umberger, a priest of the Diocese of La Crosse in Wisconsin U.S.A. 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