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Monday, April 29, 2013

The Homecoming

By Father Bede Jarrett

When a person sins, that friendship is at once broken, for sin means that the soul has deliberately turned its back upon God and is facing the other way, and thus it has been able, by some fatal power, to prevent God's everlasting love from having any effect upon it. God cannot hate; but we can stop his love from touching us . . .

Grace operates to restore all these lost wonders. Sin itself is forgiven; all the ingratitude and disloyalty are put on one side; not simply in the sense that God forgets them, or chooses not to consider them, but in the sense that they are completely wiped away. It is the parable of the Good Shepherd where the sheep is brought back again into the fold, and mixes freely with the others who have never left the presence of their Master. It is the parable of the prodigal son taken back into his father's embrace.

That is what the forgiveness of sin implies. God is once more back again in the soul. He had always been there as the Creator without whose supporting hand the soul would be back in its nothingness; but he is now there again as Father and Master and Friend. Not only the saints who have been endowed with a genius for divine things, but every simple soul that has had its sins forgiven comes at once into that embrace. We are far too apt to look upon forgiveness as a merely negative thing, a removal, a cleansing, and not enough as [a homecoming], a return to something great and good and beautiful, the triumphant entrance into our souls of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.”
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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Suffering, Death and Resurrection all Seem Odd – as Weird as a Mango in Winter

By Fr. Frank Desiderio, C.S.P.

An old man from Haiti,
told me his greatest fear;
the humiliation
of being killed by a
hurricane-driven mango.
At the farmer’s market in Kauai
a really good one
will cost you as much
as a bottle of wine.
The best one, standing over a sink,
knife in hand,
gnawing the flesh of the
palm-sized seed
in March in Michigan.

Tropical fruit in the heartland
as improbable as the Resurrection.
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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Drawing the Line: The Self - Righteous v. the Merciful

"At dawn Jesus appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them.  The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

"But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote in the sand.

"At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”  “No one, sir,” she said.  “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared."  John 8:1-11

About one year ago, bloggers, visitors and readers of Homeless In America were asked to, in their opinion, fill in the blanks of the above story.  Here is the question they responded to:

"Jesus defended his divine mercy for sinners when he wrote in the sand protecting the woman caught in adultery from certain angry and violent self-righteous church leaders of his day. In your opinion, what do you think he wrote?"

81% responded that quite possibly Jesus wrote in the sand a combination of two things.  First, the secret sins of the priests and the Pharisees.  Second, a dividing line between the self-righteous church leaders on one side and those that stood for mercy on the other side.

19% responded that quite possibly Jesus wrote neither.  More than likely, he wrote something else that we are not aware of since it is omitted from the story.

Thank you for participating in this and all the Homeless In America survey questions.  Please scroll down to near the bottom of this main page and participate in other polls that are still open.
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Post checks to - Servants of the Father of Mercy, Inc., P.O. Box 42001, Los Angeles, CA 90042. All Donations are Tax Deductible.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

One Can Not Live On McDonalds Alone

Recently, Elise Solé, a Shine staff writer reported about the black-and-white homeless tomcat, dubbed Frankie (photo) by McDonald's staff and customers.  As a kitten he was abandoned by his owners. So the cat made his home in the parking lot of a local McDonald's where he would beg for chicken nuggets or fries from cars as they exited the drive-through lane.

But just as the human body can't properly function from a junk food diet, Frankie's couldn't either and the McDonald's staff became concerned for his health.

One day, Jessica Watson, a field officer with the Waikato SPCA and regular McDonald's customer, spotted Frankie. After noting his swollen face, eyelids that wouldn't properly close, and matted coat, she brought him into her care and launched a search for his permanent owners.

"I estimate he has lived in the McDonald's parking lot for 12 to 18 months," Watson told Stuff.co.nz. "Everyone knew to keep an eye out for him. You would go through the drive-through and ask for a burger for you and an extra patty for Frankie. He would watch you and trot after the car, wait until you stopped the car and then you would toss him the meat. It was his little routine."

Thankfully, after a few weeks of living inside and eating nutritious food, Frankie's eyes are clear and his coat is shiny. "He wasn't overweight," said Watson, "but McDonald's wouldn't meet the nutritional requirements for a cat. They need very high levels of protein and I wouldn't think takeaways would provide that."

But weaning Frankie off burgers and fries wasn't easy.  "When I first took him home he refused to eat anything because it wasn't McDonald's," said Watson. "I seriously considered going back there to get him a burger. I would put pet food down and he would give me a look like, 'What is that?'"

It took a few days but Frankie has quit his fast food habit and consumes water and cat biscuits. And he always asks for seconds. "He's a big, and healthy, eater," said Watson.
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Friday, April 12, 2013

Hungry for the Needs of Others


By Father Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalene

The Gospel (Jn 6:1-15, “five loaves and two fish”) answers the question by the narrative of the multiplication of the loaves, the great miracle by which Jesus meant to prepare the people for the announcement of a much more startling miracle, the institution of the Holy Eucharist, in which He, the Master, would become our Bread, the "living Bread which came down from Heaven" (ibid 6:41) to nourish our souls. This is the cause of our joy, the source of our delight. Jesus is the Bread of life, always at our disposal to appease our hunger.

Although Jesus appreciates spiritual values much better than we, He does not forget or despise the material necessities of life. Today’s Gospel shows Him surrounded by the crowd which had followed Him to hear His teachings. Jesus thinks of their hunger, and to provide for it, performs one of His most outstanding miracles. With His blessing, five loaves of bread and two fishes suffice to feed five thousand people, with twelve basketfuls left over.

Jesus knows that when a person is tormented by hunger or material needs, he is unable to apply himself to the things of the spirit. Charity likewise requires of us this understanding of the bodily necessities of others, a practical understanding which translates itself into effective action. "If a brother or sister be naked and want daily food, and one of you say to them, ‘Go in peace’ . . . yet give them not these things that are necessary for the body, what shall it profit?" (Jas 2:15-16).

The Apostles had suggested to the Master that He dismiss the crowd "that they buy themselves food and drink" (Mt 14:15). Jesus did not agree but provided for them Himself. We, too, must strive, as far as we are able, to show ourselves considerate for the needs of others . . .

The Apostles tell Jesus that a young boy has five loaves and two fishes, that this is very little, in fact, nothing at all for feeding five thousand men. But the Lord asks for this nothing and uses it to accomplish a great miracle. It is always thus: the all-powerful God, who can do everything and create from nothing, when dealing with His free creatures, will not act without their help. Man can do but very little; yet God wants, asks for, and requires this little as a condition of His intervention. Only the Lord can make us saints, as only He could multiply the small supplies of the young boy; still he asks for our help. Like the boy in the Gospel, we too must give Him everything in our power; we must offer Him each day our good resolutions, renewed faithfully and lovingly, and He will bring about a great miracle for us also, the miracle of our sanctification.
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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Van - tastic, 175,000 Miles and Still Going Strong


Since 2008, the Servants of the Father of Mercy ("Homeless In America" blog), our KIA Rondo van (photos) has travelled 175,000 miles and intercepted 10s of 1,000s of homeless men, women and children – as well as collected 1,000s of clothing and food donations.  The van has made 100s of deliveries of food, water, clothing, blankets and shoes in Ventura, CA - Los Angeles, CA - El Paso, TX - Shreveport, LA - Nashville, TN - Knoxville, TN - Myrtle Beach, SC -  Denver, CO - Seattle, WA and others.


On Thursday, the KIA Rondo was taken off the road for 1 - 2 weeks due to major repairs.  Beginning this week it will undergo more than $3,300 in critical and expensive maintenances in order to keep it running on the streets serving 10s of 1,000s of more homeless for many more years to come:
  • Timing Chain
  • Water Pump

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  •  Engine Overhaul
  • Rear Brakes
 
  • Front and Rear Tires

 

How can you help?  The van and the homeless requests everyone’s generous help this week in order to keep the KIA on the road and doing its job for the homeless.  Please donate however little or much by clicking on the following link:   http://servantsofthefather.org/donate_2_homeless

If you prefer, you may post a check to the Servants of the Father of Mercy, Inc., PO Box 42001, Los Angeles, CA 90042.  The Servants of the Father of Mercy is an IRS 501 (c) 3 tax-exempt, nonprofit organization and a Private Association of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, listed in the Official Catholic Directory.  All donations are tax deductible.

God bless you and thank you for your compassion and kindness for the poor homeless we serve!
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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Homeless Man Giving Away $100 Bills

Today, Eric Pfeiffer from Yahoo! News reports Dennis Mahurin (photo) has been homeless since around 1978, living in his tent. And he plans to stay there despite having won a $50,000 lottery off a scratch card ticket.

"I scratched it off right here in my tent,” Mahurin told CINewsNow.

However, the Bloomington, Indiana native does have a plan for how he’ll spend the money: dental work, visiting his son and putting away some of the winnings into savings.

He’s also considering an upgrade to a new tent, saying he’s “happy as can be in my nature,” with no desire to move into a more traditional home.

After taxes, he’ll take home about $35,000. A jackpot total that relatively small would not normally make international headlines. But it’s Mahurin’s plan to give away some of his cash that has roused the most attention.

"With all the other homeless people around here, I've made up my mind,” he said. “I'm gonna give them each $100."

Mahurin says he has eight fellow homeless men in mind that he plans to give $100 to, but he jokingly says he is leaving open the possibility of donating more with all of the new “friends” he’s likely to make as his story spreads.

Tales of generosity are not uncommon when it comes to freshly minted lottery winners. But Mahurin’s truly humble lifestyle, and his insistence on sharing the relatively small lottery winnings, reflect his kind spirit according to locals who know him.

"He’s a very, very nice guy. He's one of the sweetest people I've ever met,” said Emmarie Cross an employee at the Circle K where Mahurin bought his winning ticket. “I've been telling everybody, this couldn't have happened to a nicer guy."
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Monday, April 1, 2013

Youth & Family Easter Crafts Fundraiser for the Poor Homeless a Success!


Christian, a junior Servant of the Father of Mercy taste tests offerings at Palm Sunday's spring farm and craft sale at Sacred Heart Church.

This Easter Season it looked more like the Easter version of Santa's workshop at the Servants of the Father of Mercy, better known as the "Easter Bunny!"

Since early February on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school, the children along with mom and dad, grandma and grandpa - they have been making Easter crosses and wreaths from wire hangers and leftover sewing materials and even a few Easter bird houses and hats.  All in an effort to have fun, educational and help the homeless.  Local area farms donated flowers, strawberries, oranges, lemons and more to the Palm Sunday fundraiser.  Here are a few pictures from the day . . .  Enjoy, and if you were unable to attend, it's never too late to donate and help out our mission to 70,000 homeless in the So Cal region by clicking on http://servantsofthefather.org/donate_2_homeless
 



 
 
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  • Post checks to - Servants of the Father of Mercy, Inc., P.O. Box 42001, Los Angeles, CA 90042. All Donations are Tax Deductible.