A word from Pope Francis ~ “Loving the truth means not only affirming it, but rather living it, bearing witness to it in your work.”
On this final weekend of August, as we celebrate the 22nd Sunday in the Ordinary Time of the Year, we continue our chronological reading of St. Luke’s Gospel. Luke is the primary Gospel in the cycle for this year and we will be reading from Luke until the end of the church year in November.
In our Gospel reading this weekend, at first glance, Jesus seems to be offering Emily Post-style advice on etiquette meant to ward off the likelihood of being “embarrassed.” To avoid such a plight, Jesus advises taking the lowest place so the host can invite you higher, making you the envy of all.
But the second half of the text puts the first half in its proper perspective. It reveals, as occurs often in Luke, Jesus’ concern for the poor and his attitude toward the rich. We see Jesus’ advice is not given as a means to an end – a strategy to gain, in a roundabout way, the praise and admiration of others. He suggests doing for those who can’t do back for us. This time, he predicts no earthly honor or affirmation. Instead, he offers an eternal reward visible only through the eyes of faith, which will come at the eternal banquet that celebrates “the resurrection of the righteous.”
We normally begin the school year with a morning retreat for our entire parish staff. We were able to continue that practice on August 16, when we gathered for a morning session led by Deacon Bill Johnson. It was great time for us to pause and to gather as a full parish staff for prayer and reflection. A few years ago, Father Ed Shea, OFM, was our speaker. He shared with us what he called the “Updated Beatitudes.” I came upon my notes from that day last week, and I would like to share some of his wisdom with you this weekend. While Jesus’ words in the original Beatitudes in Matthew’s Gospel are timeless, Father Ed offered another set of Beatitudes, intended to guide us in living our lives as disciples of the Lord Jesus today. Here are the “Updated Beatitudes:”
- Blessed are those who expect nothing, for they shall not be disappointed.
- Blessed are those who can give without remembering, and accept without forgetting.
- Blessed are those who can see beautiful things in humble places where others see nothing.
- Blessed are those who have learned how to laugh at themselves, for they shall never cease to be entertained.
- Blessed are the “cracked,” for they shall let the light shine.
I hope that sharing these light-hearted reflections from a few years ago comes at a good time and is helpful in dealing with some of the heavier issues all around us.
As Catholic Christians, our beliefs regarding the Eucharist are at the very center of our faith. We hold fast to the beliefs Jesus gave us from the beginning. For close to 2000 years now, we have recognized his presence in the Eucharist and responded to his desire to be with us. During the summer of 2019, our parish was blessed to open our Eucharistic Adoration Chapel on the north end of the main church, dedicating it on November 2, 2019. This space gives each of us the opportunity for Eucharistic Adoration around the clock, 24×7. The chapel is open to all visitors during the daytime, from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm. At night, the door is locked for safety, but if this is the best time for you to visit, you may obtain a key card from the Parish Office during business hours. All are welcome to come and go as they need. You can stay for as long or as little as you would like. It is a great time to simply be in the presence of the Lord, to share our thoughts and cares with him, and then to be quiet in his presence. If you have never tried this form of prayer before, the opportunity is here – give it a try and experience the peace and calm that can come from spending some quiet time with the Lord.
May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy