This Sunday's readings are focused on the call "to see as God sees". This is not an easy task since we are frequently influenced by the values and attitudes of our culture and the world. The first reading from the Book of Samuel relates how the Israelites demand to "have a King, just like all the other nations." Up to this point, the people had looked to God as their King and the prophets as the Lord's messengers. Gradually, however, the people became dissatisfied with the prophet Samuel and wanted to be governed, not through the prophets but by an earthly king. When Samuel told God this, He replied, "They have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them." God's greatest gift of love to humanity is free-will. God does not take back this gift of free-will even when our decisions will hurt others and ourselves. The people of Israel were blind to the ramifications of their request and to what God had done for them. Yet God constantly seeks to enlighten and lead His peopleback to Himself.READ MORE
My name is Henry (Hank) Fatton. I believe I am one of the longest serving parishioners of St. Magdalen’s Church in Flemington. I was born in Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, NYC in June of 1922. When I was 12 years old, my parents sent me to live with friends in New Jersey since I was suffering from major intestinal problems. It was then that I first attended Mass at St. Magdalen’s. At that time, it was a wooden church on Park Avenue. In later years, the building was modernized with brick facing and now holds Catholic Charities.READ MORE
Taking care of a garden requires more than just rooting out weeds. Rather we must water the plants and provide for their general upkeep. The same is true in the spiritual life. We must not only repent of wrongdoing (weeds) but also seek to counter evil with good by practicing virtue (water). Everyone struggleswith temptations, weaknesses, and sin. Instead of trying to manage these struggles on our own, we ought toinvite Jesus to do battle beside us. When we approach Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration, asking for His help Hewill fortify our souls with peace. He will provide us with all the grace necessary to do battle for the sake ofthe Kingdom of God.
St. Magdalen's 7th and 8th grade Confirmation students are again sponsoring "Project Hope House"; an effort to collect groceries and basic toiletries for Hope House, our parish's hub for social outreach, which support over 85 families. Please join our students in this corporal work of mercy by taking a purple reusable grocery bag and filling it up with items found on the grocery list inside. Return the bag in the narthex in the wooden bins. Thoughts from our 8th grade students on why Project Hope House is important for our parish:
"It is important to give and help others because it not only will benefit their lives, but will brighten up your spirit, making you feel better about yourself."—Alex SimoneREAD MORE
This Sunday's gospel from John 4:4-42 is the longest recorded conversation Jesus had with anyone… And what a conversation it is! One author has titled it "An Encounter with Three Movements," comparing it to a symphony.
In the FIRST MOVEMENT Jesus gradually discloses Himself to an unsuspecting woman, drawing her to discover His significance for her life. She approaches the well where Jesus appears to be resting and waiting for someone, He suddenly says, "Give me a drink." She is caught off guard because a Jewish man would never speak to a woman in public…and never to a Samaritan woman. As the conversation unfolds, the woman becomes increasingly intrigued yet remains guarded.READ MORE
The Church is a very wise teacher. During each liturgical season, we can learn something about God andabout our connection to Him in the world. During Lent, we remember that we are creatures, dependent uponGod our Creator for everything. Sometimes dependence can be seen as a bad thing, but Jesus teaches us thatthe most privileged souls are those who become child-like and embrace their dependence upon God. DuringLent, we can foster a spirit of childlikeness through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. We pray, recalling thatGod is the giver of every good gift. We fast, recalling that only God can fulfill the deepest desires of ourhearts. We give alms, recalling that God is our safety and security. May this Lent be an opportunity for us tobecome more child-like towards God our Father.
In this week's Gospel, Jesus reveals His glory to three of His disciples. This incident is in stark contrast with the chapter before when Jesus predicts that His Passion—that He will suffer and die on a cross. Peter is indignant that such a thing should occur. In order to strengthen the disciples before this suffering Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up the mountain and before their eyes He is transfigured, meaning that His appearance was "as radiant as light and shining like the sun." Jesus was suddenly seen with Moses and Elijah, two giants in the history of Judaism who gave great hope to their people. Peter wants to stay in that moment and place rather than face the prediction of the cross with its suffering and death. The disciples fell prostrate in fear yet Jesus touches them and says "Rise, and do not be afraid." They look up, and "they saw no one else but Jesus."READ MORE
The Lord’s Supper ministry was originally formed in 1989 to provide wholesome meals to the Ozanam Men’s Shelter in New Brunswick and to a few needy people in our community. When the shelter was no longer in need of food, the ministry was expanded in Flemington and the surrounding townships. Since its inception, there have been many dedicated volunteers to serve in the Lord’s Supper ministry. At present, there are approximately 60 parishioners who serve as shoppers, head cooks, assistant cooks, salad and desert makers, and drivers. The meals are prepared in the Parish Center kitchen, assembled and delivered by this group on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month. The number of meals served is usually between 60-70. Through the years, a very efficient scheduling and communication system has been developed so participants are well informed. The nature of this ministry provides varied opportunities for participants to help by shopping, cooking, baking, or driving.READ MORE
Lent is a time for us to seek Jesus in the ‘desert’. Why the desert? The desert is a place of dryness and solitude. There we recognize our profound need for the ‘Living Water’, Jesus. Itwas in the desert that the Israelites wandered and sought the Promised Land for 40 years. Itwas in the desert that Jesus prayed and fasted for 40 days in preparation for His public ministry. So also, the Church asks us to enter into the silence and solitude of the internal desertof our hearts. Here God speaks to us. In the silence, we feel our need and our thirst, for not only earthly food, but also the “bread come down from Heaven.”
Lent is a time for each individual member of the Church to honestly evaluate his or her relationship with Jesus. To accomplish this, the Church proposes three practices: to pray, to fast, and to give alms.
Prayer: What I spend my time on reveals what I value
Q: How much time do you spend with God in prayer?
Fasting: Often we use food as more than just nourish ment but rather as an escape
Q: Do I allow Jesus to comfort me when I am in distress?
Almsgiving: What I spend my money on often reveals where I place my security
Q: Am I conscious and concerned for the needs of the Church and of my neighbor?
This Lent consider spending time with Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration. He will help you to evaluate and reorient your life towards your holiness and happiness.
There was always a good reason why we were taught something in elementary school, reviewing it over and over and over again. Some of us may have "got it" the first time, but there were many others who benefited greatly from repetition. Our Holy Mother Church also has a way of reinforcing the important messages of our faith. It is called THE LITURGICAL YEAR. If we find that every year we make the same 'resolutions' in the exact same way as the year before and with the exact same results, maybe that is a sign that we may need a little more "schooling" in what it means to be a follower of Christ in this world. For a time we may have thought of Lent as a time to "give up" something. However, another way to approach Lent might be to "pick up" something that will foster a greater consideration for others. We could 'pick up', intentionally performing hidden acts of kindness. Yet in order to love our neighbor we must first foster a deeper love for God. Consider "picking up" more time and space in the week to be with God.
As we approach the beginning of another Lent the Church calls us to take time to ask ourselves the following:
Have I become a deeper believer, follower, and disciple of Jesus, the Christ, since last Lent?
Additionally, will I be willing to embrace growth and change to deepen my relationship with God?
Fr. Thomas Dailey will be giving reflections for our parish’s Lenten Mission on Sunday March 12, 13, and 14 at 7pm.
1. When did you first realize that Jesus was more than a person in history or a religious figure, but your savior and friend?
With my fading memory, I cannot point to such a moment of first realization. However, I do know that the Lord has actively guided my life in many ways. Through a priest who taught me in high school, I was encouraged to discern a vocation to the priesthood, which I became convinced was the path on which God was calling me. Through encounters with other people along the way, I have come to know the gentle and merciful hand of God at work in the world and in my life. Through varied opportunities in my work I have come to experience the peace that radiates from conforming to God's will for me.READ MORE
What could draw a group of men to leave the countryside of Flemington to venture into the inner city of Newark? Nothing short of the love of Jesus Christ and His poor. For this reason, once a month several members of St. Magdalen’s parish travel to aid the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in serving the poor.READ MORE
Our life on earth could be compared to a tread-mill; it can be monotonous yet it never stands still. What is true on the physical level can also be said of the spiritual. If we do not ‘continue to go forward’ with Jesus we will ‘fall off the treadmill’. Therefore everyday we must honestly evaluate whether we are growing closer to Christ or making compromises and readjust from there. Further, just as our daily routine can become burdensome and monotonous, so also our prayer life can feel this way. Although it may seem like nothing is happening when we pray and nothing is changing in our circumstances yet in faith we know that God is providing for our deepest needs and is keeping us afloat ‘on the treadmill’. Our relationship with God is strengthened when we are faithful to His commandments and to prayer. May we embrace the invitation He offers us through Eucharistic Adoration.
Perhaps Adoration can seem counter-intuitive. All day long at work and in school we are expected to pay attention and to be productive. We can even begin to measure success by how much we are able to accomplish.Understandably then, coming into a silent chapel and sitting before God in the Eucharist can seem to goagainst everything within us. Yet, God teaches us that to receive we do not have to do or give anything, wesimply need to be open. God’s grace is not earned but it is not “cheap” either. He asks only for a heart ready toreceive the good things He has in store for us.
It is difficult to imagine how glorious Heaven will be. St. Paul says, “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, andwhat has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). We havesmall glimpses of the joys that await God’s faithful ones even on earth, but they are simply that—glimpses. We experience the joy of good food and this is a foreshadowing of Heaven as an eternal banquet. We experience the joy oflove in human relationships and this foreshadows the joy of communing with the Triune God. One of the greatest joys ofHeaven will be to behold the beauty of God, face to face. Yet even now, we have a glimpse of that glory when we praybefore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. The joys of Heaven will be truly amazing but God does not wait until Heaven tocommune with us, He does so now through the Eucharist.
Before coming to St. Magdalen’s I had always been a teacher, but now God is asking me to try something new. The first week I was at Hope House I felt I was in the middle of a whirlwind; I had no idea what God was asking of me! I was so nervous; I could not even sleep. Finally, I just told the Lord, “Jesus I don’t know what to do, you have to help me.” He did. He guides me and He gives me people to help when I do not know the answers myself. I really love the work I do here, even more than I loved teaching.READ MORE
There is a deep sense of peace in Jesus’ Eucharistic presence. This calm is perhaps most palpable when we feelstorm-battered and worn thin from the cares of the world, work, and our family obligations. Jesus calls us toHimself especially when we feel close to drowning, when we feel the waves of adversity going far above ourheads. In those moments, Christ addresses Himself to us in the same way that He addressed St. Peter, “Takeheart it is I; have no fear.” (Matthew 14: 27). Jesus takes us by the hand and provides the strength and courage we need to endure in trials. The peace of Christ brings healing and fortitude.
Every year thousands of pilgrims gather and peacefully protest one of the greatest atrocities against humankind,abortion. Buses from churches, towns, and universities gather to not only ‘march for life’ but to pray and peacefullywitness to the dignity of every human person from conception to natural death. I was one of over 100 pilgrimswho traveled from St. Magdalen’s Church last Friday, January 29th to pray and to witness to the goodness of humanlife. We began the day prayerfully, attending Mass at 6amand then traveled by bus to our nation’s capital. We prayed the rosary on the way up to Washington and stopped at the Golden Corral for dinner to feast and debrief about what wehad experienced during the march.READ MORE