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Engaging the Word: 08/31/2014

You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

 

When is saving something really wasting something?

Cake is meant to be eaten.  If it doesn’t get eaten, it goes to waste.  So if you save it, you waste it.

Now for a cake there’s no pain involved in fulfilling its purpose.  Cakes do not experience agony and distress as they are put to work exciting taste buds.  Being what it is called to be and doing what it is called to do has no cost for a cake.

Each of the readings assigned for this Sunday point to our purpose, to what we humans are meant to be, and to the cost and life carried by being and becoming the persons we are called to be and       become.

No matter how much we may fight it, God has called each one of us in a unique and personal way.  The truth is that we long for our Creator, and in the end, the only way we can really get close to God is to be the persons who we have been created to be.  Our uniqueness brings with it some struggle.  It may seem easier hide our gifts and talents, not developing them or using them.  Some of our quirks and tastes may make others laugh or ridicule us, but if we bury the persons that God has created to live and flourish and bring life to the world, then in saving ourselves from pain, in attempting to save our lives, we really lose them.

Jesus embraced the human life he was given, even at the price of death.  It’s really the only way to live.

Let’s pray for the grace to come to know God’s unique call to each one of us, to embrace these calls, and live them, no matter the cost.

 



Engaging the Word: The Twentieth week of Ordinary Time

An important theme in today’s readings is the universal call of Christianity. Many religions in the ancient world were national religions, but Jesus preached a different message. Jesus is the one savior of all mankind, so he taught that the Church would be open to peoples of all nations, races, and ethnicities. It is faith, not blood, that makes someone a Christian.

The woman who approaches Jesus for help in today’s Gospel is a Canaanite, a foreigner to the Jews. At first, Jesus seems to reject her harshly. But the woman persists with amazing humility, and Jesus soon responds with words of praise, “O woman, great is your faith!” This interaction be-tween Jesus and the Canaanite woman illustrates a common occurrence in the spiritual life: a time of testing and difficulty can lead to a deepening of faith. Jesus’ seemingly harsh words allow the Canaanite woman to show the true depth of her faith, something that amazes even Jesus. Many of the saints report having experienced a “dark night of the soul” when God seems to have left them; how-ever, by staying faithful through such a period of emptiness they reached an intimacy with God deeper than anything they’d experienced before. If at times God seems to be ignoring us, perhaps instead he is calling us to an even deeper faith.



Engaging the Word: August 10th, 2014

Today’s readings invite us to listen to God—and warn us against those “noises” that prevent us from hearing him. In the first reading, God’s mes-sage comes to the prophet Elijah as a “tiny whispering sound” after the distractions of storm, earthquake, and fire. In our own day, too, the Gospel is often difficult to hear because of louder, flashier messages from the media giving us false and negative images of the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, the Church’s enemies are not shy about loudly going on the attack.

Forces inside us can also make it hard to listen to God. In the Gospel, the disciples see Jesus walking on water, a truly miraculous event. Jesus invites Peter to come to him on the water, and at first Peter goes to him, doing something he never thought possible. But then fear gets a hold of him, and he starts to sink. Fear is one of the devil’s favorite weapons to hold us back. How often do we hesitate to reach out to others because of fear of being rejected? How often do we let fear of giving offense hold us back from speaking up for what is true? Fortunately, when attacked by fear, Peter does the right thing: he calls out to Jesus. When life seems overwhelming or frightening, we can turn to God to give us the courage and the strength to do what we never thought possible.



Family Recovery Times for August

In August, the 12-Hour Family Recovery program will be held from Monday, August 11th thru Thursday, August 14th , 2014 at the MilksCamp Community Bldg in Bonesteel, South Dakota.

The 12-Hour Family program is facilitated by local native people who live on the reservation, the program is structured to meet the needs of those family members who are living on the reservation.

Family Members will learn:

  • The side effects that drugs and alcohol have on the body and emotions.
  • The process of addiction and relapse.
  • Will learn about twelve step programs and other healthy ways designed for those who are affected by drugs and alcohol.
  • Learn different ways that will help you cope and maintain a less stressful life while coping with a person who is using drugs or alcohol.
  • The how and why alcoholism or drug addiction is a family disease.
  • About Co-dependency and have a greater understanding about the issues that surround the Co-dependent family member.
  • How to overcome these family roles and dynamics in a healthy way in order to bring about a healthier family structure.
  • Effective communication, listening and observing skills
  • Co-dependency and enabling conduct and its role in the addiction cycle and in family structure.

Administrative Leave will be granted to any Tribal Employee who wishes to attend, and there is no cost to attend.

For applications or questions you can contact: Geraldine at 747-5547 or Jim at (605)259-3365 or email: icimani@sfmission.net



Welcome Fr. Chris Johnson!

Fr. ChrisWe recently welcomed Fr. Chris Johnson to the Mission!

Christopher P. Johnson, SJ, 50, was born in Minneapolis and raised in the St. Paul suburbs. Johnson entered the Jesuit novitiate in St. Paul in August 2004 after a 13-year career in the executive search industry and other professional experience that included service on the executive staff of the Boy Scouts of America and work for a national trade association.

After completing the novitiate and taking vows in August 2006, Johnson studied at Ford-ham University in New York, earning a master’s degree in philosophy and an advanced certificate in spiritual direction in 2009. He was then missioned to teach philosophy and religion at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, Nebraska, for the 2009-2010 school year, and in 2010 he was missioned for one year to teach religion — both Christian and Lakota sacred stories — at Red Cloud High School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

In 2011, Johnson began studies at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. While there, he helped lead retreats for people experiencing homelessness and sup-ported the faith formation programs at St. Mary the Assumption Parish in Revere, Massachusetts. Johnson was ordained a priest on June 7 and has been missioned to serve in pastoral ministry at St. Francis Mission on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

 

 



Engaging the Word: August 3, 2014

Today’s Gospel reading begins with Jesus getting news of the death of John the Baptist. John was Jesus’ cousin, who began his preaching many years before Jesus. John’s mission was to prepare the way for Jesus, and his message was clear and urgent: “Repent!” John told both rich and poor, strong and weak to turn away from their sins without delay. He even challenged King Herod, who was living in a sinful marriage. In retaliation Herod ordered John beheaded.

In the second half of the Gospel reading, Jesus feeds the crowds through the miraculous multiplication of loaves of bread. We cannot help but think of a still more important miracle to come, when Jesus gives us the true Bread of Life, his own Body and Blood, to eat and drink.

It is no coincidence that we are reminded of John’s message before reading about the miracle of the loaves. Sinning is like eating cardboard or dirt—something that will fill our bellies but make us sick instead of giving us nutrition. We have to give up this false food before we will have an appetite for true bread. This reality is also why baptism and confession, the sacraments that free us from sin, must come before we receive communion. No other food can compare to the Bread of Life!

 



Engaging the Word: July 27, 2014

King Solomon is the Old Testament figure most known for wisdom. As a young king instead of asking for wealth, health, or power King Solomon prayed for an even more precious gift—wisdom. What is wisdom? Wisdom is different than IQ. Wisdom does not mean knowing lots of facts or getting a good SAT score. Even uneducated people can be wise because wisdom means having the right priorities in life. If we have the right priorities, we will make wise choices.

Jesus is very clear about what our number one priority must be: our relationship with God. Our relationship with God is so important that it is worth giving up absolutely everything else in life in order to remain faithful. We cannot allow anything else in life to draw us away from the Lord, not even good things like family members and friends. God must be Number One.

Of course, if we get our number one priority right, other priorities will follow. A strong relationship with God will lead to better decisions all around. God, after all, has taught us how to live a good life by giving us his commandments. Wisdom will help us to follow these commandments with joy.

 



Engaging the Word: July 20, 2014

Jesus offers several images that give us insight into the difficulties faced by the Church. Some of these images, such as the images of the tiny mustard seed or the yeast, remind us that at times the Church will be a small minority. A small but faithful group, however, is better than a lukewarm crowd. It is more important to be faithful than to be popular!

Another image Jesus offers deals with a problem the Church has always faced: evil among the Church’s members. Jesus uses the image of the devil spreading weeds in a wheat field. But Jesus tells us that we shouldn’t tear up the whole field just because of the weeds. We can probably think of times when other Christians have hurt us in some way; we can even think of examples through-out history of priests and bishops who have com-mitted serious sins. But Jesus warns us not to let the sins of others draw us away from the Church. At the end of time, God will judge those who have done wrong. But if we focus on other people’s sins, we risk becoming weeds ourselves! Instead, we should focus ever more on following Christ, and pray that the Spirit comes to the aid of us all in our weakness.



Lakota Summer Camp

immersion camp 2For three weeks this July, 3rd and 4th grade students (including those from Sapa Un Academy) are experiencing Lakota Cultural & Language exposure activities in our Lakota Immersion Summer Camp. The goal of the camp is to give the students as much variety in Lakota cultural activities and use the Lakota language in those activities, to help foster use and understanding of the Lakota language and traditions.

During the three-week immersion camp, students are learning many aspects of the Lakota culture and using as much of the Lakota language as possible. Students are engaged in the following types of activities:

  • Learning about Lakota Songs & Dances (including learning how to sing the songs & do the dances)
  • Learning about different communities on the Rosebud, such as the Spring Creek Community, and learn community history
  • Learn how to build a tipi
  • Visit a sweat lodge and understand the sweat lodge cermony
  • Learn about honoring songs – learn to sing and say them
  • Participate in traditional Lakota arts & crafts including small items that can be beaded, quilled or painted
  • Take nature hikes, and learn the Lakota names for plants, trees and natural surroundings

These are just a few of the activities that our third and fourth graders are participating in. Stay tuned for more updates from the Immersion program as we finish off the month!



Family Recovery Program Times for July

In July, the 12-Hour Family Recovery program will be held from Monday, July 28th through Thursday, July 31st, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. at the Icimani Ya Waste’ Recovery Center in St. Francis.

The 12-Hour Family program is facilitated by local native people who live on the reservation, the program is structured to meet the needs of those family members who are living on the reservation.

Family Members will learn:

  • The side effects that drugs and alcohol have on the body and emotions.
  • The process of addiction and relapse.
  • Will learn about twelve step programs and other healthy ways designed for those who are affected by drugs and alcohol.
  • Learn different ways that will help you cope and maintain a less stressful life while coping with a person who is using drugs or alcohol.
  • The how and why alcoholism or drug addiction is a family disease.
  • About Co-dependency and have a greater understanding about the issues that surround the Co-dependent family member.
  • How to overcome these family roles and dynamics in a healthy way in order to bring about a healthier family structure.
  • Effective communication, listening and observing skills
  • Co-dependency and enabling conduct and its role in the addiction cycle and in family structure.

Administrative Leave will be granted to any Tribal Employee who wishes to attend, and there is no cost to attend.

For applications or questions you can contact: Geraldine at 747-5547 or Jim at (605)259-3365 or email: icimani@sfmission.net



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