FROM THE PASTOR’S CORNER:
A word from Pope Francis ~ “If we are to know the Lord, we must go to Him. Listen to Him in silence before the Tabernacle and approach Him in the Sacraments.”
On this final Sunday in October, we celebrate the 30th Sunday in the Ordinary Time of the Year. This week’s Gospel reading continues the episodes of tension and conflict between Jesus and the Scribes and Pharisees, the religious leaders of his day. In this episode, a scholar of the law steps forward and attempts to discredit Jesus and his authority to teach. He asks which of the six hundred thirteen commandments of the law is the most important. Jesus offers not one commandment, but two – love God with the entirety of your person, and love your neighbor as yourself. For Jesus, love of God and love of neighbor are intimately connected and embrace all the other commandments. Jesus is faithful to the tradition of the law and thus teaches with authority.
Each autumn we conduct our annual “Stewardship as a Way of Life” renewal process and commitment weekend. This year especially, as we deal with all of the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the loss of our ability to gather together in person for Eucharist, has hit us hard. We need to renew our commitment to be faithful stewards of the gifts God has freely given to us. Today’s Gospel of the two great commandments challenges us to be disciples who place God at the center of our lives and then love our neighbor as we love ourselves. This Gospel provides us with a wonderful opportunity for us to hold our commitment weekend this weekend. We are committing to all three aspects of Stewardship – Time, Talent and Treasure – on the same weekend. Our recommitment materials were emailed to those for whom we have email addresses and sent by US mail to those we do not have email addresses.
As Catholic Christians, we believe that everything we have is God’s gift to us. All that we have and are is a gift from God who loves us more than we can ever understand. We can receive God’s gifts with open hands and say ‘thank you,” or respond with closed fists and claim God’s gifts as “mine!” Whatever our response, God’s gifts continue to flow. If we receive them with open, grateful hands, God’s gifts can flow through us and bless those around us. Our call is to gratefully receive God’s gifts with open hands, let them bless us and then flow through us to bless others. We may have begun life with clenched fists claiming everything is “Mine!” But our call is to become grateful stewards of everything we receive and to share them. Today we have an opportunity to take the next step in living our lives as grateful stewards and recommit ourselves to sharing!
We continue our observance of Respect Life Month during this month of October. Several years ago our bishops designated October as Respect Life Month. Throughout this month, we are called in a special way to reflect on the gift of human life, the threats against it and how we can protect all persons from conception through natural death. When we first think of our Respect Life values, we think of the evil of abortion in our times. And that often is the Respect Life rallying point. But our Catholic Respect Life values are much broader. Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have several opportunities in our parish to put our Respect Life values into practice. Please continue your online support of the Knights of Columbus “Baby Bottles for Life” project. Even though we weren’t able to physically distribute baby bottles this year, donations are still accepted online at https://secure.ministrysync.com/ministrysync/event/website/?m=4955469 . Also, please continue to support our efforts to supply dinner for PADS guests on the third Thursday of each month at https://www.osvonlinegiving.com/1119/DirectDonate/77005 . We may not be able to welcome our homeless neighbors overnight, but we can continue to provide meals for them in the local motels where they can spend the night. Please continue to care for our hungry neighbors through our monthly food drives for Neighborhood Food Pantries. We continue to pray for our expecting couples on our “Expecting Couples Prayer List.” Our celebration of “Grandparents Day” with our St. Isidore Catholic School last Wednesday was another opportunity to put our Respect Life values into practice. Once the pandemic restrictions are lifted, we will resume our weekly Masses in the local nursing homes and our practice of sending Communion on Sunday mornings. We are a people who respect human life from conception
In preparation for the Feast of All Saints on Monday, November 2nd, our parish Book of the Dead is now in the Narthex of the Church. You are welcome to add the names of your personal beloved dead. They will be remembered on All Soul’s Day, at our Parish Memorial Mass and throughout the month of November. If you are unable to do this in person, please contact Sue in the parish office (firstname.lastname@example.org) to add the names of your deceased loved ones.
Please see this digital bulletin every week posted on the parish website and linked to our Flocknote emails, along with additional notices on social media. As we celebrate Halloween on Saturday and change our clocks next Sunday, the beauty of autumn is quickly fading. The earth is preparing for the death of winter. Our Scripture readings will soon turn our focus upon our ultimate destiny with God. It is time to focus on the truly important things. May we do so as best as we can.
As always, may God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy