Daily Reflection

Daily Reflection:
Sunday, July 19

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
This is my homily for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Jesus shares a number of parables in the Gospel today.
I focus on the parable of the “Wheat and the Weeds.”
--Fr. Mike
When I was a kid, life was pretty simple and much was painted in blacks and whites. 
I couldn’t understand why anyone would not want to be a Catholic.
I couldn’t imagine people choosing to be anything but American, if they had the choice.
I wasn’t positive that it was superior to be Polish, but my grandparents, and my uncles and aunts, thought so, so I leaned in that direction.
Then the “Polish Jokes” became popular and I had to take another look at my world vision, and deal with my anger at those where discriminating against people of Polish descent with no real reason to do so, other than it seemed to be fun. (Maybe like Blonde Jokes?)
I thought that kids who went to Public Schools weren’t smart enough to know what they were missing in the Catholic Schools. And somehow Catholic School kids were better than Public School kids.
And I believed that the Smith’s who lived down the street, and who were very generous with their time in a variety of neighborhood activities, were actually inadequate because they didn’t belong or go to any Church.
My world was divided into very neat categories: Catholic and non-Catholic, Americans and foreigners, churchgoers and non-church goers, smart kids and dumb kids.
As I journeyed through life, became older, and experienced many new things, I realized what a simplistic, convenient, and easy way this was to look at life.
The tendency to put people in boxes, to stereotype them on the basis of the categories they fall into, is a trap that we humans, all of us, fall into, and we must work hard to not keep falling into that trap.
Such simplistic thinking creates a virus, a pandemic, if you will, “this versus that,” virus and a “them versus us” virus.
We divide the world into all kinds of opposite categories: male and female, young and old, black, brown, and white, insiders and outsiders, weak and strong, rational and emotional, sacred and secular, heterosexual and homosexual, clergy and laity, documented and undocumented immigrants, winners and losers, and the list goes on.
Wheat and weeds! Wheat and weeds!
What makes things even worse is that we often rank people who fall into the same category better or superior to the other.
Take the category of Catholics for example. We divide that category into clergy and laity, and clergy seem to rank better than the laity.
People say, “Father say a prayer for me, you are closer to God than I am.”
No, we are all equally close to God if we choose to be. A priest is no closer to God than others simply because he is a priest.
And with all the various categories, what happens in the worst-case scenarios, and this happens often, is that these opposites begin to see each other as enemies.
Finally, we then know what happens when these dualisms become institutionalized. We have racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, suspicion, violence, and fear of Arabs and all Muslims. These attitudes are destructive to society, and they are a result of simple categorical thinking.
In today’s Gospel, we are given Jesus’ Parable about the wheat and the weeds. This was included in the Gospel because the early Church was struggling with simple categorical thinking. This is nothing new!
The early Christians were stumped about what to make of those who were different. Who were God’s faithful followers, and how was the community to regard non-believers? What should they do about them?
The best solution seemed to be the obvious one: “Aren’t those weeds growing among the wheat? Shouldn’t they be pulled up and thrown out? We can see the differences. Let us sort out what doesn’t belong!”
It is a struggle not to draw lines between what we would accept and what we would reject. It is easy to fall into simplistic categorical thinking and create those categories: “them and us,” “the good guys and the bad guys,” “the moral and the immoral,” “the saved and the sinners.” 
Who are the “thems” in our lives? Who would we like to weed out?
The “in-law” that is not Catholic or not Christian… All Muslims because of the few terrorists… Liberal or Conservative Catholics… Republicans or Democrats… Maybe it would be “members of the good ol’ boys club” or “strident feminists”… “Blaming the Black Lives Matter” movement for the looters and destroyers of property…
We see what is happening today in our political system with everyone drawing lines in the sand, taking pledges about certain ideologies… We even argue about the politics of wearing face coverings and masks for the safety of our health…We are slowing freezing ourselves into a total lack of immobility. We cannot move forward on important decisions that face our country. Yet, the definition of politics is “the art of compromise.” We have lost the sense of compromise!
In recent years there has been serious conversation within all circles, and at all levels of the Church about who should be able to receive Communion and who shouldn’t. Who should be buried from the Church and who shouldn’t?
Again attempting to separate the wheat and the weeds…
For me, that kind of conversation and our decision to separate wheat and weeds is a slippery slope. We should not go down that path because the possibilities are endless, and we each have our own particular “weeds” that we would want to pull up to be burned.
Fortunately, the Gospel Parable today reminds us that it is not our job to be separating the wheat from the weeds. We are spared that chore. It belongs to God who is the harvest master, the One who is more skilled and more generous than most of us.
We must not be too hasty about pulling up weeds or too confident about identifying them. We are all growing together in the Lord’s field not really knowing who is “good seed” and who is weed. 
The truth is, if we are willing to admit it to ourselves, that oftentimes, we are both – wheat and weed.
Let God be the Final Harvest Master. When the time comes for the great harvest, some of those who are gathered into the barn will surely surprise us. And, I am sure, we may surprise them.
Let God be the Harvest Master. Let God be God.

Click on he image below to watch Online Mass in English or Vietnamese

Congratulations to the Children Who
Celebrated Their First Holy Communion
on Saturday, July 11!

The Mass was recorded in case you would like to watch. Click on the image or check the Parish website and select Online Mass.

Please keep these children and the others who will be celebrating their First Holy Communion in the future in prayer.

Brother Benno’s
Drive-By Collection
Saturday, July 25, 8:00-10:00am

During this pandemic, Brother Benno’s has been forced to stop its hot breakfast program and go to sack lunches for the needy. Of course this means a different source of food, and they have sent out a request for the following:

Small bags of chips, fruit cups, protein bars, crackers, small juices, Gatorade, and bottled water. They also need hangers, adult diapers, and baby wipes. Finally, they are seeking face masks for the homeless.

Deacon Tom will be in the STM parking lot with his truck, so drive by and drop off your donations. Thank you!

Attention STM Women!

Watch your mail for an invitation to join the STM Women's Guild for the 2020-2021 year or download the membership info HERE.

Click on the photo to peruse the types of activities and fundraisers we host, understanding that we will make adjustments as needed.

Questions? Email Trish Feeley.

Hello Faith Formation Families!

We would like to share some information about our Religious Education Program (REACH) for the Fall. Please click on the images above for more details and to request your enrollment packet. Thank you!

Many of us make our contributions when we attend Mass each week. Our Parish still needs our weekly contributions even though we cannot attend Mass, so that we can continue providing services and ministering to you. Please consider giving online, using text-to-give, or mailing in your contributions to STM at 1450 S. Melrose Dr., Oceanside, CA 92056. Thank you!

If you know Parishioners or have family/friends who do not have access to email, please share this information with them. Thank you!

If you or anyone you know needs anything, please contact the Parish Office. We are closed but checking voice mail regularly and will do our best to help. You may also call
2-1-1 for assistance with resources of various types.

The bulletin link is available in every email we send (see golden orange button below. People without email or internet access will be able call the Parish Office and leave a message requesting a bulletin via snail mail each week during this time. Thank you!

The Larger Church
Fr. Bejarano Consecrated as
Auxiliary Bishop of San Diego

Father Ramón Bejarano arrived in the San Diego Diocese in July from the Central Valley, where he served as a priest of the Diocese of Stockton for 21 years.

He was consecrated as Auxiliary Bishop of San Diego on Tuesday, July 14, in a ceremony that was livestreamed. The recording may still be available: https://www.sdcatholic.org/bishops/livestream-of-consecration-mass-for-aux-bishop-bejarano-july-14-2-p-m/

He sent the following message ahead of his arrival:
Dear faithful of the local Church of San Diego and the Imperial Valley:
Greetings from the northern Central Valley. I write this note as I prepare for my episcopal ordination.

I am very happy to be able to carry out the mission that our Lord has called me to do, even though I’m a little fearful. I have been asking the Holy Spirit to help me to be faithful and to be truly of service to the community of the Diocese of San Diego ...

His statement is continued here: https://tinyurl.com/bejarano-sd
(The Southern Cross, July 2, 2020)

Solutions for Change FarmBox

We hope you are doing well during this turbulent time. Many of us have been "thrown for a loop" the past couple of months from COVID-19, but the good news is, we are learning to find a way forward, and slowly but surely, able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We want you to know that we have a special place in our heart for your church and the people you serve, and we hope everyone is safe, happy, and healthy. 
As you may or may not know, our Solutions for Change has a farm! Solutions Farms provides work development training for the formerly homeless families in our program and funds the transformation of these families. 
Pre-Covid, we sold our lettuce to local restaurants. Unfortunately, with business shut downs, we lost these accounts, and a valuable source of funding for our program. We needed to get creative, so we quickly pivoted, partnering with local fruit and vegetable farmers to come out with our own CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Box - Solutions FarmBox!
Solutions FarmBox delivers organic fruits and vegetables straight to your front door. The box includes our 100% organic spring mix with local farm fresh veggies and fruit such as avocados, apples, oranges, tomatoes, zucchinis, spinach, strawberries etc.
To continue to serve those in need, we offer this CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box for purchase on our website, and 100% of the proceeds go towards solving family homeless at Solutions for Change. 
If you would like to purchase a box click here .
If you do not want a box but would like to support Solutions for Change, click here .

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