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All are Welcome
 
Pastor: Fr. Gigi Philip
Administrative Assistant: Cynthia Livera

Sunday Masses
Saturday5:00 PMEnglish,
Singles for Christ Choir
Sunday9:00 AMItalian
Italian Choir
10:30 AMEnglish,
Children's Liturgy
Organist/Soloist
12:00 PMEnglish,
Couples for Christ Choir
Weekday Masses
Tuesday7:00 PMItalian,
Devotion to Padre Pio
Wednesday7:00 PMEnglish,
Devotion to Our Lady of
Perpetual Help
Thursday7:00 PMEnglish,
Devotion to St. Norbert
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament till 8:00 PM
Friday8:35 AMItalian
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament till 9:15 AM
Elementary Schools
St. Norbert - 60 Maniza Rd. 416-393-5309
St. Robert  - 70 Bainbridge Avenue 416-393-5297
Secondary Schools
Madonna   - 20 Dubray Avenue 416-393-5506

 
Wheel Chair Accessible

Office Hours
Monday - Friday    8:30 AM - 4:30 PM;
(Lunch break 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM)
Contact
100 Regent Road
North York, Ontario M3K 1H3
Phone: 416-636-0213
Fax: 416-636-9431
office@stnorbertschurch.org
www.stnorbertschurch.org
Confession
Saturdays 4:15 - 4:45 PM and upon request
Sacrament of Baptism
Please contact the office as soon as possible
Sacrament of Matrimony
Please contact the office way in advance
Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)
Please contact the office
Sacrament of the Sick
Please contact the office
Blessings (home, vehicle, workplace)
Please contact the office
Visiting the sick and elderly at home
Please contact the office

Thinking about the priesthood or religious life? Hearing Jesus' call "Come and follow me"? Not sure?

Visit Vocations Toronto at www.vocationstoronto.ca, a resourceful site in answering these questions.

Knights of Columbus
Meetings 3rd Thursday of the month
Please contact the office
St. Vincent de Paul Society
Please contact the office
Youth Group
Please contact the office
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Reflections
for Sunday, June 21, 2009

Last week our cycle of liturgical readings returned to what is termed Ordinary Time during which we look at the parables, miracles and teaching of Jesus and the events of his ministry; we do so this year through the eyes of St Mark.

Of course, in reality the time is anything but "ordinary". The period covered in the Gospel was a blessed time—the days on which the Son of God walked this earth and graced us with his presence.

I don’t know about you but I often wonder what it must have been like to live in those times and to have listened to Jesus' teaching and witnessed his miracles. Mind you I'm slightly nervous in case I would have found myself among those who did not take Jesus seriously enough or among those who simply failed to see the point of his message.

And the time that we are living in now can hardly be called ordinary either. For this is redeemed time. We live in the age in which the Kingdom of God is gradually becoming a reality. God's plan has been revealed, Christ has brought us salvation and now we await the final days - the culmination of his mighty work.

And during these present days God continues to work in us and on us. We experience each day his mercy and love. We who are awake and sensitive to the working of God in the world see his hand all around us.

This is a Lord who stills the wind and the waves. And not only on the Lake of Galilee but he also calms the wind and waves in our own lives and in the lives of those around us. This is indeed a blessed age, at least for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.

The People of Israel were not a seafaring nation and only once or twice in the Old Testament are there references to sea-going ships and then they utilised them to little effect. They were a desert people and for them the sea was hostile and dangerous, it was a place of storms and monsters—just think of the story of Jonah.

In the extract from the Book of Job in our first reading God stresses that it is he who has ultimate control over the forces of nature and the sea in particular. God is in charge and he has set the parameters of the forces of nature and everything else for that matter.

This is reflected in the incident on the Lake of Galilee. When Jesus calms the storm the apostles are in awe of his power - a power attributable only to God. We are here still quite early in Christ's public ministry and they are still not absolutely sure who he is. This display of his extraordinary authority over the elements, which goes far beyond what any mere healer can do, makes them wonder more than ever.

The Gospel stories always deserve close examination. We are so used to them that the tendency is only to see the obvious and to miss the important details. And there is something that is easily overlooked in today's text.

Like many people I easily get seasick. I only once slept overnight in a boat and, although I did eventually go to sleep, it took me ages to adjust to the rocking of the ship and the movement of the waves.

But here having a nap is no trouble at all to Jesus - there he is up in the stern with his head down on a leather cushion sound asleep. And this is no ordinary calm voyage for, as we are told, they are in the middle of a storm with a gale blowing and waves coming over the side so that the boat was almost swamped.

Anyone else would have wakened long before, but not Jesus. For he is Lord of the wind and the waves, he is Lord of all. He is serene in the face of the storm. All around are petrified that the boat will sink but not Jesus. He is a picture of peace and tranquillity amidst all the panic of the apostles and tumult of the storm.

Jesus rebukes the storm but he also rebukes the apostles and this is more surprising since their fear is all too understandable. He accuses them of being afraid and lacking faith which seems a little unfair.

But faith and the lack of it is one of Mark's constant themes and what he wants us to understand is that although the disciples were privileged to be close to Jesus they still had to make a personal act of faith in him, just the same as we do.

This story of the calming of the storm was very important for the early Church because it was a Church under attack from all quarters - it was a persecuted Church. Its people endured many storms and frequently its members were faced with the stark choice of martyrdom or apostasy.

They must have taken great heart from this wonderful story and it surely helped them to realise that Christ was with them too, and that he would not permit their little ship of faith to be overwhelmed.

The Church today may not seem to be attacked openly in the same way as the Church of the first apostles. But it is subject to a more subtle and insidious attack. And Christianity, particularly in Western Europe, has as a result suffered an extraordinary decline in numbers in recent years.

We are not being actively persecuted but we are being ignored and marginalised. We might not be attacked in the street but we are ridiculed for our beliefs - even if only behind our backs.

I recently had a visit from a class from a local non-Catholic primary school. One of the boys put up his hand and said, ‘Who is that bloke in the corner standing on a box?' I tried to hide my incredulity and told him that it was a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and calmly gave him an explanation.

Such ignorance is commonplace today; it is the direct result of an active policy of secularisation by the media and many others. Ordinary people don't know even the most basic things about Christianity. Things that we used to take for granted such as that everyone would know the Lord's Prayer are now largely gone.

As children we were told that we needed to know our catechism in case we met a Protestant and had to defend our faith to them. Nowadays we don't see Protestants as enemies to be defended against, in this more ecumenical age we regard them more as allies in a common cause.

The real enemy is the widespread ignorance of anything connected to religion in our society. In the face of this we can put our head in the sand and ignore what is going on around us. Or we could react and condemn society and its rejection of God. Or instead we could be proactive and engage with society and the people around us.

The first two choices are negative and we won't waste our time on them. But being proactive and engaging with society is very difficult and would require a great deal of effort on our behalf and it might be counterproductive and lead to people dismissing us as some sort of moral crusader.

There is however another option which is to deepen our own faith, to ensure that our beliefs change us and to simply let that be our witness to Christ in the world. Perhaps this is the most authentically Christian response to the widespread apathy towards the things of God.

Actually the Gospel message today is one of real hope. We might feel embattled as Christians and feel that we are fighting a loosing battle, and we may feel at times vulnerable because of our faith. But at a deep level we know that the struggle with the forces of evil is already won.

These are not "ordinary times"; these are extraordinary times. We must remember that the time in which we live is redeemed time. Christ has won the victory and we are his standard bearers in the world today. The indifference and occasional ridicule that we experience does not affect us, in fact, it makes us feel sorry for those who do not possess the gift of faith.

We may from time to time experience panic but, like the apostles, our lasting feeling is one of awe and wonder that we have such a powerful redeemer.

 
Readings of the day:
First Reading:
Second Reading:
Gospel:

Homily from Father Alex McAllister SDS - RC Church of Christ the King

   

Reflections are available for the following Sundays:

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2009
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St. Norbert's Church - Toronto