With Open Hands

Dcn. John Stanley’s Homily March 31, 2019

“We’re all familiar with this beautiful Gospel so richly packed.  We all know it as the story of the prodigal son but perhaps it should be called the story of the two sons and the loving father.  Jesus tells us this story in the context of him sitting down among tax collector and other sinners. Meanwhile Pharisees and Scribes are looking on from a distance.  They’re grumbling and murmuring at what they are seeing. How could this Rabbi, this would be prophet defile himself by eating with sinners? For to Jews to eat with anyone unclean was to make yourself unclean and clearly sinners especially tax collectors were seen as unclean, so why does Jesus sit with tax collectors and sinners?  We see it throughout the Gospels. Well today, he answers that question as he often does with a story and St. Luke tells us that sinners and tax collectors have been drawn to him in this scene. St. Luke also tells us that the parable of Jesus is intended for the ears of the Pharisees and the Scribes, so we can just picture the scene of the Pharisees and the Scribes standing at a distance just within earshot to make sure that they hear this blasphemy and Jesus begins his story.

A man had two sons and the younger son was deviant.  He was rebellious and he goes up to his father and he rudely and crudely and obnoxiously tells his father, ‘Give me my inheritance.  I want my money and I want it now.’ It’s akin to him saying to his father, ‘Dad you mean nothing to me. I wish you were dead. Give me my inheritance.’  Amazingly, the father allows his son to have the freedom that he asked for. He gives him his inheritance and we know what happens. We know that money does not buy happiness or buy us freedom.  He squanders all of his money on loose living and then when he has no money, a famine hits and he’s hungry and he goes out and finds the only job he can find, a job that is the lowest of the low for any Jew to accept.  He is hired to slop hogs, to feed the swine. After doing this for some time he realizes that his father’s own hired workers are eating much better than he and he has a change of heart. The shame and the guilt, they’re laid upon him and he decides to go back to his father to seek forgiveness.  When he gets to his father he tells his father, ‘Father, I’ve sinned against you and I’ve sinned against Heaven. I no longer should be called your son.’ And what does the father do? With open hands he embraces his son, he puts a ring on his finger, he gives him a fine robe around his shoulders, puts sandals on his feet.  ‘Kill the fatted calf for today we celebrate. My son was dead and has come back to life. He was lost and has been found. Let the celebration begin.’ Now let’s go back to the scene. We can see Jesus with these sinners, tax collectors, perhaps prostitutes sitting around near him and his eyes are gazing lovingly on him and now he turns his eyes and his head and he gazes at the Pharisees and the Scribes and what do they do in return?  Do they look down? Do they look away? Do they say anything? We don’t know.

Who do we identify with?  Which son are we? Are we the younger son who needs to pick himself up and leave the pig slop of his sins that he’s wallowing in, sins of perhaps substance abuse? Materialism?  Pornography? Infidelity? Our Heavenly Father is waiting with outstretched hands for us. Notice that the father does not go after the son and pick him up out of the muck.  No, the son is required, we are required to turn to the father, to come and ask forgiveness for Jesus, God, has given us that freedom and it all begins with humility. Now others of us are the older brother.  We think we’re good. We think we’re good because we go to Mass regularly. We tithe and we follow the Church rules. Yes, we pray, we pay and we obey and isn’t that our ticket to Heaven? No. We are guilty of the sin of presumption.  We need conversion just as much as that younger brother and it’s only with a sense of humility can we recognize this sin and have a change of heart for sin is insidious. We know how easy it is to fall into sin and how easy it is to fall back into that same sin.  Yet we also know that with the grace of God we can turn away from Sin and turn to God.  Christianity is not a presumption of God’s mercy rather as in our story.  Christianity is a life long celebration of second chances and the sacrament of reconciliation is our chance to start anew as children of our loving father.”

Resurrection 40

Resurrection 40/ Lent 2019 Sign up here

Goal/ Purpose:

The goal and purpose of this exercise is to grow in community through prayer, vulnerability, shared experience, and intentionality. This is not only a challenge to push our limits, but to push us into our brothers and sisters. It is difficult to follow Christ, but it is easier to do this together.

What it is:

Resurrection 40 is modelled after Exodus 90, a program intended to help men break an addiction. We have changed a few things to make the program more manageable in the life of a high school student, while still rigorous and challenging. This is NOT something to do on your own; this is a community activity. We’re all in this together. The four guideposts of Resurrection 40 are Happy, Healthy, Holy, and Normal.


– Computer only for work or school except by permission of group

– No TV/ Netflix/ Hulu/ YouTube/ video games without group permission

– Minimum of six hours of sleep each night

– No social media (SnapChat/ Instagram/ Facebook/ etc.) besides GroupMe


– No sweets or desserts

– No soda or sweetened drinks

– 20 minutes of physical activity or 30 burpees each day

– No fast food without permission of group


– Study one chapter of either Mark or Luke’s Gospel each day (read those footnotes!)

– Daily rosary, or at least one decade of the rosary each day

– Minimum of 20 minutes of prayer each day (Scripture and rosary can count towards this)


– Pray together at least once each week (see Anna for chapel code, if needed)

– Spiritual leadership from adult leader

– Participate in group chat/ accountability

– Lukewarm, cold, or short showers

– At least one meal with your family each week

– Take a rest day on Sundays, discuss with your group what that looks like

*All of these things can be adjusted to better suit your group. If for example, your bff is in town for the first time in a long time and wants to catch up at Culver’s, you can go to Culver’s if you get permission from your group beforehand. If your birthday falls during Lent and someone surprises you with a cake, don’t reject the charity of someone making a cake for you, offer it up and eat some cake.

**If this is looking too easy for you, consider making an additional sacrifice of some sort. I.e. when you would normally go out for coffee, skip the coffee shop and donate the money you would have spent (https://www.ricebowls.org/ or https://www.marysmeals.org/ ). Donate a beloved article of clothing each day or week of Lent. Read all four Gospels. Spend more than twenty minutes in prayer. Go out of your way to do something for your family, a friend, stranger, or roommate.

***Similarly, if this is looking too difficult for you, consider scaling down some of these practices. Again, the point of this is not to see how hard you can push yourself, but to draw closer to Jesus and to grow in community.

Scripture Study:

For our Scripture study, we will begin with the Gospel of Mark and finish in the Gospel of Luke. You will read one chapter each day, except on Sundays which will use the prescribed readings according to USCCB. Our plan is outlined below in case you get lost. Remember to check out those footnotes and the context. Look at https://formed.org/ or https://www.blueletterbible.org/  or http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year/lent/index.cfm for more cool stuff!

Ash Wednesday: Mark 1

3.7: Mark 2

3.8: Mark 3

3.9: Mark 4

3.10: DT 26: 4-10, Ps 91:1-15, Rom 10: 8-13, LK 4: 1-13

3.11: Mark 5

3.12: Mark 6

3.13 Mark 7

3.14: Mark 8

3.15: Mark 9

3.16: Mark 10

3.17: GN 15: 5-12, 17-18, Ps 27:1-14, Phil 3:20-4:1, LK 9:28b-36

3.18: Mark 11

3.19: Mark 12

3.20: Mark 13

3.21: Mark 14

3.22: Mark 15

3.23: Mark 15

3.24: Ex 17: 3-7, Ps 95: 1-9, Rom 5:1-2, 5-8, Jn 4: 5-42

3.25: Mark 16

3.26: Luke 1

3.27: Luke 2

3.28: Luke 3

3.29: Luke 4

3.30: Luke 5

3.31: 1 Sam 16:1, 6-7, 10-13, Ps 23: 1-6, Eph 5: 8-14, Jn 9:1-41

4.1: Luke 6

4.2: Luke 7

4.3: Luke 8

4.4: Luke 9

4.5: Luke 10

4.6: Luke 11

4.7: Ez 37:12-14, Ps 130:1-8, Rom 8:8-11, Jn 11:1-45

4.8: Luke 12

4.9: Luke 13

4.10: Luke 14

4.11: Luke 15

4.12: Luke 16

4.13: Luke 17

Palm Sunday 4.14: Luke 19: 28-40, Is 50:4-7, Ps 22:8-24, Phil 2: 8-9, Luke 22: 14-23:56

4.15: Luke 18

4.16: Luke 19

4.17: Luke 20

4.18: Luke 21

4.18: Luke 22

4.18: Luke 23 (Holy Thursday Mass readings Ex 12:1-8, 11:14, Ps 116: 12-18, 1 Cor 11:23-26, Jn 13:1-15)

4.19: Luke 24 (Good Friday readings Is 52: 13- 53:12, Ps 31: 2-25, Heb 4:14-16, 5:7-9, Jn 18:1-19: 42)

4.20: Holy Saturday http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042019.cfm

EASTER Sunday! http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042119.cfm

Sign Up Here

Women of Ascension 2019 Lenten Book Study

Fearless and Free is a  Bible study based on the book of Ephesians. So many of us are wrestling through the reality that life isn’t easy, even when we are doing the right thing. Suffering can slam into us from left field, leaving us reeling. This study provides a firm foundation to stand on no matter what life throws our way. With an emphasis on healing and wholeness, this is the a personal and transformative study.

Morning and Evening Offerings:

Morning sessions :
Weds. 9:30-10:30 am
March 6, 20, 27, April 3, 10, 17
St. Matthew/St. Mark room

AM Class Registration

Evening sessions:
Tuesday, 6:45-8:00pm
March 5, 19, 26, April 2, 9, 16
School Library

PM Class Registration

This is what we’ll discover through the pages of this study:

We need to WAKEN to the reality of who we are in Christ, and that we have an enemy who seeks to steal our true identity.

We need to WRESTLE with the battle in our minds– bringing our thoughts in captivity to Christ.

We need to be strengthened as WARRIORS so that we can move forward in life– not just surviving, but flourishing.

Readers will experience being grounded in truth while wrapped in the embrace of the One who loves us all completely and without end.

Registration Deadline: Feb. 27. Contact Mary Connor 913-579-3287 with questions.

Sister Parish

Tamale & Soft Taco Dinner

Thank you for your support of the Tamale Dinner!

Take Out “Double Stuffed” Tamale Pre-Order

Purchase Tamales by the dozen (12 per bag)
$15 if pre-ordered by February 4, 2019.
$20 after February 4, 2019.
Pickup available on February 16th from 10:00a-Noon or 5:30p-6:30p.


How to cook your tamales: Take all your tamales place them standing up in a colander or large steamer in a tall stock pot with a upside down bowl in the stock pot to keep tamales out of the water and steam for 90 minutes (you start counting 90 minutes when you first put it on the stove). Not when it starts boiling. Cook for entire 90 minutes, when they come out they will be soft and will harden as they start to cool. Eat and enjoy!

Our sister parish project is with All Saints Parish in KC,KS.  Our Mission:  To share our faith, service and fellowship through the diversity of our culture. Located at 8th and Vermont Streets in Kansas City, Kansas, All Saints Parish has quite an interesting story to share from it’s one hundred and twenty-year-old history.  The parish, originally named St. Joseph, was founded by immigrant families, primarily of Polish descent, who built their homes and lives around the worship, social, and educational opportunities within their church. Over the years, this hard working and dedicated community was able to add a parish rectory, thriving grade school, gathering hall for social activities, and even a bowling alley to their parish complex.

Time, economic, and cultural changes altered the makeup and future of the St. Joseph community and its surrounding ethnic parishes.  Eventually St. Benedict, St. Thomas, and St. Cyril & Methodius had to close their doors, and their parishioners were then welcomed into the surviving St. Joseph parish. This combined community was then renamed “All Saints Parish”.   A statement from the church centennial celebration book is a testimony to the enduring faith and purpose of our sister parish.  “Although the makeup of the community has changed over the years, the goals of the parish are timeless:  that is to live according to the laws of God, and in doing so, gain everlasting happiness.  Despite the fact that members may be old or young, natural born or immigrant, Polish or Hispanic, rich or poor, these goals are superior to all obstacles that may occasionally block our path.” Ascension parish is humbled and honored to pair with such an inspiring sister parish, and we look forward to sharing our faith, service and fellowship through the diversity of our culturesClick here for All Saints web site

Family Life: Griswald Family Traditions

by Ray Martin

Every year my brother and I exchange a phone call on Christmas to say, “Merry Christmas, $h!tt#r’s full!”  Christmas Vacation is one of our favorite movies and we grew up watching it together every year.  My kids and I quote the movie year round!  I love the opening scene where they go to get their tree out in the woods…decorating the house with too many lights, having the big sit down dinner, waiting on the holiday bonus, etc.  I think that a great point is raised by Clark’s extreme nature in that we tend to do some things each year just to do them or because it’s what we’ve always done, but in reality they may not be all that healthy for our family.  So in the great Griswald family tradition we’re gonna discuss…drum roll please…drum roll…rituals!

How To Pray The Rosary

Rosary Diagram

  1. Starting on the crucifix, make the sign of the cross and then pray the Apostles’ Creed.

    I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified; died, and was buried. He descended into Hell; the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

  2. On the next large bead, pray the Lord’s Prayer.

    Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, Amen.

  3. On the next three small beads, pray a Hail Mary.

    Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

  4. On the next bead before the decades, pray a Glory Be.

    Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

  5. On the large bead, meditate on the first mystery and pray the Lord’s Prayer.

    You pray mysteries for each of the five sections (decades) of the rosary according to the day of the week:

    • Mondays and Saturdays:

      The Joyful Mysteries remind the faithful of Christ’s birth:
      – The Annunciation (Luke 1:26–38);
      – The Visitation (Luke 1:39–56);
      – The Nativity (Luke 2:1–21);
      – The Presentation (Luke 2:22–38);
      – The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41–52)

    • Tuesdays and Fridays:

      The Sorrowful Mysteries recall Jesus’ passion and death:
      – The Agony of Jesus in the Garden (Matthew 26:36–56);
      – The Scourging at the Pillar (Matthew 27:26);
      – The Crowning with Thorns (Matthew 27:27–31);
      – The Carrying of the Cross (Matthew 27:32);
      – The Crucifixion (Matthew 27:33–56).

    • Wednesdays and Sundays:

      The Glorious Mysteries focus on the resurrection of Jesus and the glories of heaven:
      – The Resurrection (John 20:1–29);
      – The Ascension (Luke 24:36–53);
      – The Descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1–41);
      – The Assumption of Mary, the Mother of God, into heaven;
      – The Coronation of Mary in heaven.

    • Thursdays:

      Pope John Paul II added The Mysteries of Light, also known as the Luminous Mysteries, in 2002:
      – The Baptism in the River Jordan (Matthew 3:13–16);
      – The Wedding Feast at Cana (John 2:1–11);
      – The Preaching of the coming of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14–15);
      – The Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1–8);
      – The Institution of the Holy Eucharist (Matthew 26).

  6. Skip the centerpiece medallion, and on the ten beads after that, pray a Hail Mary on each bead; on the between each decade, pray a Glory Be.

    Many add the Fatima Prayer after the Glory Be and before the next Our Father: O My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell and lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy. Amen.

  7. Repeat Steps 5 and 6 four more times to finish the next four decades.

  8. At the end of your Rosary, pray the Hail Holy Queen or the Memorare.

    Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve, to you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us; and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb Jesus, O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.


    Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence we fly unto you, O virgin our Mother. To you we come, before you we kneel, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate despise not our petitions but in your mercy  hear and answer them. Amen.

    9. Concluding Prayer: O God, whose only-begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal salvation; grant we beseech Thee, that meditating upon these mysteries of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

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