21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 26, 2018

Today we celebrate the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time. “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15) “To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life?” (John 6:69). On our final Sunday of reading John 6, it’s decision time. Some heard the words of Jesus and it was too much for them; they left His company. Turning to the inner circle He asked them, “Do you also want to leave?” If we are honestly making the faith journey, we may face similar questions. “Do I stay or do I go?…Do I believe the Church’s teachings or not? What difference does being Catholic make?” Look at Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians this weekend. He calls us to be subordinate to Jesus’ words and ways. Jesus embraced the limitations of human life, even death. His one exception? Sin! That sacrificial love and total gift of self is modeled in the relationship of husband and wife. It is often misinterpreted. For husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the Church and as their own bodies requires subordination, listening to, and responding to what one hears. Obedience is about listening. To love another person as I do my own body I must listen to my body and do what it asks. Sometimes that listening stretches me. At other times, I must accept limitations. Serving the Lord and following the Holy One of God stretches and limits us. Jesus’ words, and sharing in the Eucharist also stretch and limit us, calling us to live differently than our pagan society. With Peter we must learn to say, “To whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Our final Mass on the Grass for this season, weather permitting, will be on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 3rd at 9:00am. Hope to see you there as we unofficially end summer and begin our round of regular meetings and programs.

Every year a pastor is expected to give an annual financial report to parishioners that reveals how funds donated were used in good stewardship. Last year we mailed such a report to all parish families. This year we will be doing things a bit differently. Our financial giving is part of a bigger picture. This year we are returning to the promotion of living the Stewardship Way of Life at St. Luke’s. We will be highlighting the fundamental premise that everything we have and everything we are have been given to us by God as gifts. What does God expect us to do with these gifts? He wants us first to recognize them. What are my gifts and talents? Then to offer them in some way as to build up His Kingdom and invest in the life of the Church.  Archbishop Carlson has told us that we begin with prayer, asking ourselves how we can be using what God has given us for His Kingdom.  The Archbishop then asked us to reflect on how well we participate in the life of the Church. What gifts can I share? What talents can my parish use that I can offer? Finally the Archbishop encouraged us to be generous; not just with our financial giving, but also our time and talents. Next month you will hear more about the Stewardship Way of Life in bulletin columns, mailings, my homily, lay speakers and our annual Stewardship Report. Donna and I have been working on this project to share with you the vitality and generosity of St. Luke Parishioners. I think you’ll like the new format.

One talent I possess is the love of music. I have composed several Mass settings, (the Mass of the Sacred Heart we sang this past Lent.) As Pastor I appreciate music at the liturgies that is varied and sung well. Music inspires our worship and can be a way for us to praise God who loves to receive our praise. For the past many months, we have been blessed with the gifts and talents of Mr. David Byrne, who has generously given his time and talent. David informed me that this will be the 175th Anniversary of St. Joseph’s Shrine and will be very busy in the coming year. He is scheduled for the next couple of Saturdays, but afterwards will relinquish this to our 10:00am organist, Mr. Francis Jorns. On behalf of the entire parish I extend my deep gratitude to David. Thank you “Maestro” for the inspiring music. Beginning on the 1st weekend in October, Frank has agreed to become our regular organist. Working together we have some good ideas for the music at St. Luke’s. Stay tuned.

God Bless! Have a good week!

Remember those 3 Hail Marys (Fr. Pete)