Each week during our summer message series, Wonder Women: Female Heroes of the Bible, we highlight a male figure in the life of our feminine champion. This week’s man is Joshua, whose people were saved by our heroine, Rahab.
Joshua was an apprentice to Moses, the great liberator of the Israelite nation. Moses charged Joshua with defending the people against their enemies as they wandered in the desert before entering the land God had promised them. Once on the edge of the Promised Land, Moses asked Joshua and eleven other scouts to reconnoiter the area, in order to determine whether the land was fruitful, the cities penetrable, and the people vincible.
Upon their return, all but Joshua and another spy, Caleb, claimed that the mission was impossible because the inhabitants were “veritable giants” (Numbers 13:33). The people rebelled in fear and demanded to return to slavery in Egypt. As a result of their faithlessness, that current generation was not allowed to enter the Promised Land but rather would die wandering in the desert. God recognized Joshua’s leadership potential, however, and chose him to lead the next generation into the Promised Land years later.
The first step was to cross the Jordan River with two million people, including women and children. The water was raging and overflowed the river banks because it was harvest season. With the water about a mile wide and six feet deep, the task was formidable. But Joshua’s great faith in God allowed him to shepherd the people safely into their new home when the waters parted.
The next challenge was to conquer the land inhabited by Canaanites and other nations, whose savagery and bloodthirstiness were notorious. The first city to be conquered was Jericho. Although its fortified walls were reputed to be insurmountable, God told Joshua that they would fall once the people had marched around the city each day for six days and seven times on the seventh day, blowing trumpets on the final round. Joshua believed the Lord, and the city was conquered. Following his victory, he went on to defeat no fewer than thirty-one nations.
Joshua was faithful to God and a great leader. However, the Israelites soon grew weak because they began to quarrel with one another. Foreign nations exploited those divisions, invaded, and reconquered part of the land. After Joshua died, “a later generation arose that did not know the Lord or the work he had done for Israel” (Judges 2:8-10).
Young people today are hungry for hope and insight. But they also are growing up at risk of not knowing God, to the extent we do not invest in them. We invite you to consider sharing your faith with the next generation. Help with our new Sunday children’s curriculum this fall, serve as a catechist for youngsters, or walk with teens as they move into adult discipleship. It doesn’t take a Ph.D. in theology, just an open heart and a love for sharing the faith with youngsters.
Learn more about our faith formation ministries on our website.
In the second reading this weekend, the Apostle Paul reflects on the nature of his ministry. He is writing to the Corinthian community whom he “fathered” in faith but now is torn apart by divisions fostered by false apostles.
Despite the problems and hardships they face in their ministry, Paul and his coworkers are not discouraged, he says, but remain confident, because they believe that God will reward them later. “We are afflicted in every way,” he writes, “but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor. 4:8-9).
In their difficulties, the apostles participate in the cross of Christ. Because they suffer with and for Christ, they also will experience his resurrection. Paul asserts that the effects of their mortality, the “wasting away” of their bodies, and the destruction of their “earthly tent[s]” in the present moment is well worth the sacrifice because they will receive eternal life in the future.
“All of this has been done for you,” Paul continues, “so more and more people will know how kind God is and will praise and honor him” (Contemporary English Version, 2 Cor. 4:14). The apostles work themselves to death, so that those they serve will have life through Christ.
Paul’s message is clear. To call ourselves God’s stewards involves a sacrifice of our time, talent, or treasure. But what we receive in return will be the “eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:17).
--Father Roger Gustafson, Pastor
Each week during our summer message series, Wonder Women: Female Heroes of the Bible, we highlight a male figure in the life of our feminine champions. This week’s man is Moses.
Today, we focused on four women who preserved the life of Moses. Through their courage and faithfulness, they were instrumental in preparing him for God’s plan to lead the Israelite nation out of slavery and form God’s chosen people. But when we look closely at Moses’ own story, we see that he needed a lot of encouragement not to become a stumbling block himself to God’s plan (Exodus 3-4).
“Who am I that I should . . . lead the Israelites out of Egypt?” (3:11)
Do you hear yourself saying these words?: “Who me? I’m just an ordinary person.” All of us are God’s children. There is no one who is just an “ordinary person.” We are all special and great in the eyes of God. God’s reply to Moses was: “I will be with you” (v.12). When God calls us, he remains with us. You are called to mission and ministry in the Church. God wants you, and he will always be with you.
“But . . . suppose they will not believe me, [or] listen to my plea?” (4:1)
Do you hear yourself saying these words?: “Am I credible? Am I worthy?” God calls us to reflect his power, not our own intelligence or abilities. God’s reply to Moses was an instruction to perform three signs by turning a staff into a serpent, normal skin into leprous, and water into blood. All these signs and wonders were given to Moses for people to believe in God. You are called to mission and ministry. God wants to show his presence and love through the miracles you can work in everyday life.
“I have never been eloquent; . . . I am slow of speech and tongue.” (4:10)
Do you hear yourself saying these words?: “I don’t have the talent for that.” God does not call us because of our abilities but because of our availability. Once we make ourselves available, God gives us the abilities to fulfill his plan. Indeed, God does not call the qualified; he qualifies the called. God’s reply to Moses was: “It is I who will assist you in speaking and will teach you what you are to say.” You are called to mission and ministry. Say “yes” to God, and the Lord will assist and equip you.
“If you please Lord, send someone else.” (4:13)
Do you hear yourself saying these words?: “Call someone else.” The Lord chose you for a purpose. You may not understand the reason, but he chose you. Each one of us has a calling from God, for everyone was created for a purpose. God’s reply to Moses was that Aaron would accompany him as a spokesman. Each one of us has a special role. You are called to mission and ministry, because your particular contribution is yours to fulfill. Your vocation is non-transferrable.
Moses sprinkled the blood of young bulls on the ancient Israelite people to signify their assent to follow God’s laws. In exchange for that rather paltry offering, God established a lasting covenant and adopted them as his own human family. Through the sacrifice of Christ’s blood on the cross over a thousand years later, humanity now no longer needs to offer the blood of bulls and goats for the atonement of their sins (Hebrews 9:14).
In the gospel today, Jesus sent two of his disciples into the city to acquire a place where he could eat the Passover with his disciples before he was to be crucified. They were to speak to the owner of a particular home and request a guest room. As Jesus predicted, the cenacle was provided, and the return for that small act of generosity on the owner’s part was the Bread of Life given to all future generations in the Last Supper.
In both cases, the Lord transformed human gifts—the blood of animals and a room—into the precious gifts of divine adoption, sustenance, and redemption. Indeed, the paltry gifts we are able to offer are always one-upped by God.
“How shall I make a return to the Lord?” asks the author of the responsorial psalm today, who answers his own question: It is through a “sacrifice of thanksgiving,” always calling upon the name of the Lord.
Our practice of stewardship begins and ends with the recognition that God pours out his abundant blessings in return for our small sacrifices.
--Father Roger Gustafson, Pastor
Each week during our summer message series, Wonder Women: Female Heroes of the Bible, we highlight a male figure in the life of our feminine champion. This week’s man is Rebekah’s son, Jacob.
The patriarch Abraham had a son named Isaac, who in turn had a son named Jacob. Jacob’s twelve sons made up the twelve tribes of Israel that eventually became the nation of Israel. In many of the psalms and other parts of the Scripture, God is referred to as the “God of Jacob,” because it was through Jacob that God first formed his human family.
The name Jacob means to “supplant,” “scheme,” or “cheat.” Jacob was always thinking about how he could get more in life. He had an older twin brother named Esau, with whom he fought even in the womb. Their mother, Rebekah, called out to God, who told her that there were two nations in her womb, that one would be stronger than the other, and that the older would serve the younger.
Esau turned out to be an athletic, hairy, “man’s man,” while Jacob was a smooth-skinned, quiet “momma’s boy,” who liked to stay indoors. Isaac’s favorite was the tough-guy, Esau, while Rebekah’s favorite was Jacob. As the first born son, Esau had a birthright that entitled him to spiritual, moral, and political authority over the family once he received his father’s blessing. When Isaac’s death drew near, he asked Esau to bring him a final meal and receive the blessing he was entitled to from birth.
Rebekah overheard this and conspired with Jacob to steal his father’s blessing away from Esau. She covered Jacob’s forearms and neck with animal fur and gave him Esau’s smelly clothes to wear, so that his father, who had become blind, would believe he was Esau.
Soon after, Esau returned from the hunt and discovered the fraud. Rebekah overheard Esau comforting himself with thoughts of killing Jacob and warned him to escape and hide at his uncle Laban’s house far away. On his way, Jacob stopped at a shrine to sleep and dreamed of a ladder leading to heaven and God promising to bless him.
Jacob then spent the next twenty-one years in exile, away from his home and family. Over time, he amassed wealth by managing Laban’s property, but tensions with his uncle eventually led him on a long journey back home. About a day away, he sent gifts ahead of him to Esau, in an attempt to smooth his return, but soon heard that Esau was advancing with 400 men. Afraid, Jacob stayed awake all night fighting with a “man,” who turned out to be God. At break of day, Jacob then received God’s true blessing and was renamed “Israel,” which means to “wrestle with God.”
Working, planning, and scheming will not produce the life for which we long. We were not meant to arrange for it, but to receive it from our heavenly Father as a blessing. To the extent we desire God’s blessing in our marriages, businesses, and lives, we must renounce scheming, strategizing, and always attempting to get what we want on our own. Instead, our role simply is to cling to God, as Jacob did, and receive his abundant blessings.
At the heart of stewardship is generosity. Called to be charitable with every blessing, human beings nevertheless struggle to be truly generous. Out of fear, we often are tightfisted and stingy when it comes to sharing our time, talent, and treasure.
Trinity Sunday, however, is the celebration of divine generosity towards the human race. On this day, we remember God’s radical love revealed in the Father who rescued his chosen people from slavery, displayed in the Son who gave his life in a sacrificial death on the cross for us, and poured into the hearts of believers through the power of the Holy Spirit, so that we could become adopted sons and daughters of God.
We know that “God is love” and love, by definition, is generative, overflowing, and ever-expanding. Therefore, the essence of God is the generous outpouring of self directed towards a second divine person that we call his “Son.” In a display of unrestrained love beyond compare, the Father gives of himself to the Son without counting the cost, and the Son returns that love reciprocally, generously commending his life and all that he is and does to the will of the Father in loving obedience. The Holy Spirit is the result of that generous love and the bond between the Father and the Son.
The exchange of love within the community of God is shared with all of humanity. And since no one is excluded from the expansive love of God, Jesus commands the apostles in the gospel today to go out and make disciples of every people and nation.
Shouldn’t such unstinting generosity call forth a mutual response in us. How can we make a return to the Lord today?
--Father Roger Gustafson, Pastor
Each week, we summarize a specific style, form, or approach to prayer, using the highly-acclaimed book by Robert J. Wicks, Prayer in the Catholic Tradition: A Handbook of Practical Approaches (Franciscan Media 2006). In this article, you’ll learn more about prayer and marriage.
The title of this chapter reminds me of the old Frank Sinatra song:
Love and marriage, love and marriage
They go together like a horse and carriage
This I tell you, brother
You can't have one without the other
The reciprocal relationship between prayer and marriage
Research shows that in couples for whom faith is important, all spouses pray regularly for each other and for their children. However, outside of mealtime grace and church liturgy, few spouses pray with each other. Those spouses who do pray report that prayer helps them communicate with each other and manage conflict. Prayer also helps them to stay committed as the marriage itself becomes their spiritual director.
Two ways to enrich a marriage through prayer are reflective questions and prayer activities. An example of a reflective question would be: "How would you answer, 'I knew my marriage was a sacrament when. . .'" There are numerous prayer activities couples can sample, including saying the examen together, reading spiritual poetry to each other, reading and discussing books on prayer and spirituality and reading and writing psalms together. Creating a prayer space in their home through the use of icons, pictures, prayer cushions or an altar could be an enhancement to marital prayer.
A popular exercise in Marriage Encounter is the end-of-the-day practice of writing about one's feelings, exchanging journals, and discussing them with the partner. Each learns what the other is celebrating or struggling with. This practice gives husbands especially time to access their feelings.
Father Roger adapted the body cross prayer for use by married couples attending Retrouvaille. The spouses stand facing each other. One at a time they trace the sign of the cross on your spouse with your thumb. I will say “receive the sign of the cross,” and then I will name a part of our spouse’s body. Make the sign of the cross there, husbands go first and then wives. Our response will be:
R/: Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Receive the sign of the cross on your ears, that you may hear the voice of the Lord through the loving words of your spouse.
--Lisa Rosenlund, Parish Manager
The people of Saint Brendan are moving into the Easter season with a new message series called “Bold Moves.” Each week, we’ll highlight a different step you can take to prepare for the bold move God wants you to make.
As Father Roger and Father Pete said in their weekend messages, waiting on God and sometimes delaying gratification is a necessary step to getting ready for the bold move God wants us to make. But while we are waiting, we are not to be standing still. We are called to be people of action.
We have been redeemed in Christ, but the work of getting everything back to where God intended it in the first place is still a work in progress, and it is our job in Christ to restore the world. That work of restoration is called “mission.”
The Church literally is on mission. It is most fundamentally who we are and what we do. Maybe we have come mistakenly to think of church as a building, a destination, or a “holy huddle” of like-minded believers. But the Church actually is a movement out into the world, which means that it has to move.
Each one of us has the opportunity to influence and have a positive impact on the people around us. Even though we often just think about getting through the day and dealing with our stress, God wants you to know that he has a plan for your life and that he has positioned you exactly where you are, so that you can have an influence on others.
“Think about your family members, friends, co-workers, teammates and classmates, and the parents next to you on the sports field,” said Father Roger. “They are your mission field. God has placed them in your life on purpose. In fact, you never leave your mission field. Wherever you are, that is your mission field. Indeed, missions are so much more than signing up to serve once in a while. Mission is about viewing our every day lives as an opportunity to influence other people for good and for God.”
You don’t need to go to the ends of the earth to be a better listener, to deal with others with an open heart and a smile, and to try to connect with them from the first encounter forward. You can do that with everyone you run across every day. Imagine how many people could begin a relationship with God because of that attitude and your good work in the mission field of your life.
What the church asks you to do to help with God’s mission is very simple. Invest in the people around you and, when you have the opportunity, invite them to church.
This week, take a bold step in discipleship and ask yourself: “Who is the one person this week in whom I can plant God’s seed, invest in that relationship, and then invite them to church when the time is right.
By Lisa Rosenlund, Saint Brendan Parish Manager
Each week, we summarize a specific style, form, or approach to prayer, using the highly-acclaimed book by Robert J. Wicks, Prayer in the Catholic Tradition: A Handbook of Practical Approaches (Franciscan Media 2006). In this article, you’ll learn more about praying with the psalms.
The “Book of Praises,” as it is translated in Hebrew, has been prayed by Christians for well over two millennia and by Jews for hundreds of years before that. Our spiritual ancestors were bold in their prayer and placed every aspect of their lives before God. Their prayers are songs, as well as poems, that express the emotions of the psalmist and elicit from us our own feelings of yearning, hope, trust, anger, etc. The 150 prayers that make up the Psalter can be divided into four primary types: praise, lament, thanksgiving and trust.
The psalms praising God focus on God as creator of and sovereign over all the earth. Seemingly incongruous in a text entitled the “book of praises,” a third of the psalms are prayers of lament in which the psalmist pleads both individually and communally for God’s compassion and mercy. Prayers of thanksgiving express gratitude for the saving power of God who has delivered the psalmist from tragedy to the other side of pain. Finally, a small and easily overlooked group of prayers express the peace and contentment that result from placing one’s trust in God.
Churchgoers will recognize psalms that have been set to music for use as the responsorial psalm at Mass. In addition, many of their favorite songs are actually adaptations of psalms. Anyone who has prayed the Psalmody contained in the Liturgy of the Hours has prayed with the psalms.
When praying the psalms in private, bring more of yourself to prayer. Engage all your senses by lighting candles or using incense. Pray the psalms aloud or use a recording such as a Youtube video. The psalms are meant to be sung, so try chanting or singing them. No one other than God will hear you! Consider using gestures that help express the mood of the psalm, such as lifting up your hands or arms or bowing gently.
The practice of lectio divina, which was discussed in detail in the bulletin article on prayer in the Benedictine tradition, can be used in prayer with the psalms. The traditional approach is to use a single psalm at a time and move through the Psalter systematically, beginning with Psalm 1. You can also choose a psalm based on the type of prayer. Praise: 8, 15, 19, 29, 33, 46, 47, 76, 84, 87, 93, 95, 97-100, 103-104, 119, 122, 145-150. Lament: 3-5, 22, 27, 42-43, 51, 88, 130. Thanksgiving: 30, 34, 66-67, 92, 116, 138. Trust: 11, 16, 23, 62, 91, 121, 125, 131, 139.
It is helpful to make notes in a journal identifying lines that spoke to you and the type of response they evoked. By collecting verses under different categories, eventually you will have a wonderful resource for prayer. You can also compose your own psalms. An ideal time to do this would be on retreat, or even a weekend away. Whether expressed in the words of the Psalter or your own words, be bold and let your psalm be the words of your heart.
By Lisa Rosenlund,
Saint Brendan Parish Manager
Each week, we summarize a specific style, form, or approach to prayer, using the highly-acclaimed book by Robert J. Wicks, Prayer in the Catholic Tradition: A Handbook of Practical Approaches (Franciscan Media 2006). In this article, you’ll learn more about praying through life’s challenges.
To be honest, I tried to get Father Roger to skip these two chapters of the book. Reading the account of the traumatic death of the author’s brother forced me to relive the loss of my sister fifteen years ago. As Stephen Joseph is quoted as saying, the effect of such losses on a person’s psyche is like “breaking a mirror into hundreds of small pieces that can never be restored to the original mirror again.” (429) Some, like me, find themselves staring into the face of God, while others lose God and faith entirely.
Death of a loved one is only one of life’s challenges. Events such as medical emergencies, divorce, loss of a job and other unwanted experiences all affect our inner life in some way. Even events that seem positive can shift our inner landscape. Psychologists refer to this transitional phase of losing the security of “knowing” what is coming next as liminality. A “limen” is the threshold or in-between space in a doorway, where one is neither in nor out. It represents the ambiguity that develops when we are standing in the middle of a juncture of significant change. Other metaphors abound, including that of the butterfly in its chrysalis or a seed beneath the soil.
At difficult transitions in our life, it can feel as though we are in the middle of a dense fog. As with physical fog, when our inner world is clouded, we can only perceive what we know from past experience and wait for what will be revealed. During these periods, it is easy to lose hope and succumb to despair. St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Ávila called this the “dark night of the soul.” More than simply a bad experience, the dark night of the soul can lead to spiritual growth.
Even though at times like this our fantasy of being in control mocks us, we cling to it nonetheless. James Finley, author of Christian Meditation, reflects on how we must be willing to release our inner world of its egoistic security, “I was being led by God along a path in which I had to be willing not to understand, on my own terms, what was happening to me. Nor could I know just where my self-metamorphosing path would end.” (422) Trust in God helps a person to grow spiritually by seeing the broken glass of the mirror as something that can be reassembled to create a new mosaic.
Sometimes the most helpful prayer in times of stress is to embrace a symbol of hope and develop a ritual surrounding it. This could be lighting a candle every day as a reminder of the inner light or looking at an empty seed pod when trying to find the courage to let go. In addition to private prayer, church, support groups and other communal prayer experiences can help by decreasing our sense of isolation. Praying with others can also help us frame our life in a way that allows us to appreciate the little things as supports while we face the big challenges. Praying in community can give us the strength to endure suffering, while maintaining hope, as we pick up the shattered pieces of our innocence.
St. Brendan the Navigator
29 Rockaway Ave.
San Francisco CA 94127
In the Archdiocese of San Francisco
Sunday 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Monday - Thursday 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
The rectory office is closed on Independence Day,
Labor Day, and other official holidays.
Weekday Mass Schedule
Monday-Friday 6:30 am & 8:15 am
Weekend Mass Schedule
Saturday 8:15 am & 5:00 pm Vigil Mass
Sunday 7:00 AM, 8:00 AM, 9:30 AM, 11:30 AM
Holy Days of Obligation and Ash Wednesday
6:30 am, 8:15 am, 6:00 pm
Wednesday 7:15 pm - 7:45 pm
Saturday 4:15 pm - 4:45 pm
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Wednesday 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Saturday 4:00 pm - 5:00pm
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