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PLEASE PRAY FOR: Chris Pass, Kathy M., Kay DeBonis, Tony Perry and Darlene Lenhart.

Fr. Tom Whitman
St. Joseph Pastor

  From the Pastor's Desk
3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time 


With the help of the diocese of Erie all parishes in the diocese will now have their own parish App that can be downloaded to your phone. All you need to do is text APP to the phone number 88202. Then follow the instructions for St. Joseph Parish, Sharon, PA.

In September we started a census of St. Joseph Parish in order to update our records as people have moved, given up land lines and use cell phones, and others have registered at other parishes. This was an attempt to also reduce unnecessary mailings to those who are no longer members of St. Joseph Parish. It will also help to update our mailing of envelopes to people who no longer belong to the parish – which is an expense for us. We had hoped to have this completed by the end of October and the updated census in place by January 1, 2018. We still have over 500 families who have not responded to the census.

This week a second letter is being sent out to those who have not yet responded to the census. PLEASE complete this form as soon as possible. If we do not hear from people by March 15, they will be removed from the parish roster.

The parish office will no longer be open on Saturdays.

Our readings this week focus on two “fish” stories. If you know a fisherman, you know someone who tells a good story, even if it has little basis in fact, or is somewhat exaggerated. The fish stories this week call us to “repent.” Not a word we like to hear because it means we have to change, but here it is to change for the better.

The first reading is PART of the story of Jonah, a fish story well worth reading in its entirety. We hear today of Jonah going to preach to the Ninevites and how his preaching is successful. The Ninevites change from their brutal and violent ways, and thus God relents of his threatened punishment upon them. All of this is a grave disappointment to Jonah.

Remember Jonah didn’t want to preach to the Ninevites. Jonah knew they were a violent people and he didn’t want them to repent, he wanted God to wipe them out. Jonah was a self-righteous person, kind of like us at times. Jonah reminds us that when we preach to others, we always have to preach to ourselves first. If we are preaching repentance to others, we have to repent in our own lives as well. It is the hardest part of preaching the Word. If you read the whole story of Jonah, you see how God is not only transforming the Ninevites through Jonah, but he is also transforming the self-righteousness of Jonah.

In the second reading Paul tells the Corinthians that “time is running out, - the end is near.” There is a tremendous sense of urgency about living the ways of Jesus rather than the ways of the world. Paul invites the people to see that there is something more to life than simply eating, working, marrying, weeping, buying, and selling. We often move through our days and weeks going from one activity to another without ever stopping to reflect on the meaning of what we just did, or whether it has any meaning at all. We just do it. We become washed along like a dead fish in the waves and tides of the modern day.

In the Gospel from Mark, whose Gospel we will be reading from all this year, John the Baptist is arrested. This seems to be the launching point for Jesus’ ministry. And notice carefully the first words Jesus speaks, “Repent and believe in the Gospel (good news).” (Sometimes the words the priest speaks when he puts ashes on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday.) Just as Jonah called the Ninevites to repentance, so Jesus begins his ministry by calling people to repentance.

What is the repentance, or change of heart, that Jesus is calling us to? Jesus invites us to believe in the Good News (gospel). The good news that he preaches is the Good News of the Kingdom of God. Kingdom was not a good word for the people of Jesus’ time. The kingdom of the Romans was one that oppressed the people. The kingdom of Herod was one that arrested people like John the Baptist and killed them. The neighboring kingdoms were violent and warlike, ready to kill and destroy at a moment’s notice. The kingdom Jesus proclaims is a kingdom that called the disciples to leave everything and follow Jesus. They were to leave their families, their jobs, their possessions. This kind of repentance or change of heart is in total opposition to the ways that other kingdoms work.

The challenge of the Word today is whether we are willing to change our way of thinking? Do we seek a kingdom that is about power, oppression, violence and brutality, or is there a kingdom of justice, love and peace that we are willing to give up everything to obtain?


Mass Schedule

Weekday and Holy Day schedules can be found in the bulletin.

Saturday: 5:15 pm (Vigil)

Sunday: 8:30 am and 11:00 am


Baptism: Baptisms are scheduled by appointment. Pre-Baptism class is required. No baptisms during Lent and Advent.

Reconciliation: Saturday afternoons, 4:00-4:30 pm. Confessions at other times by appointment.

Matrimony: By appointment six months in advance.

Sacrament of Holy Orders: Some men fulfill God's call to holiness by serving as priests or permanent deacons. Men, high school age or older, who feel God may be calling them to pursue the Sacrament of Holy Orders should contact our parish priest.


Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA): Please call the rectory office.

Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help: Every Wednesday after the 12:10 pm Mass in the Mother's Chapel.

Prayer Line: For intentions, please call 724-962-5996.

Religious Education Program: CCD Grades K-11, at Case Avenue Elementary, Sundays 9:30 am -10:45 am (during the school year).

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