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23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 10, 2017

Dear People of God,

Today we celebrate the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. Today’s reading challenges all of us to work toward unity and harmony in our lives; both personal and communal. The one thing St. Paul urges us to owe others is the fulfillment of the Law, “to love.” In the Gospel Jesus directs His disciples about standards of communal behavior. A procedure is outlined in which a ‘brother’ or sister who has strayed is to be confronted and either welcomed back into the Church or ostracized. We call this Church discipline. Unfortunately this is not how we normally proceed, is it? When someone has ‘strayed’ our first course of action is to tell everyone. (Gossip!) Jesus is teaching us how to maintain a community that welcomes and loves. We are always to have the other’s best at heart, and to show respect. Some call it ‘tough love,’ which sets boundaries that can separate someone from the community until the person chooses to change. It’s their choice. That’s the message the prophet Ezekiel reminds us in the first reading. St. Catherine of Sienna said, “Speak the truth in love.” That’s how God treats us, even when we turn from Him. We are called to speak from a desire that the other will change, never to destroy them. It requires being caring rather than judgmental ~ again, like God treats us. “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

This afternoon I will be leaving for a 12 day holiday, celebrating my 60th Birthday. Before coming to St. Luke I had planned this trip to the Southwest coast of England/Cornwall but was unsure I would be able to go ahead with the double duties of St. Luke/Immaculate Conception. After the past 12 weeks with you I feel confident that the parish will be in good hands for 12 days. This will be the remainder of my allotted vacation for 2017. My friend, Monsignor Gene Morris, will be covering the weekend masses while I am away. Please welcome him to St. Luke. During the weekdays, there will be prayer services at St. Luke at 8:00am Monday – Friday. Deacon Dave will host our Thursday Adoration and Benediction at 6:30pm. (There will not be confessions available on 9/14 & 9/21.) If there are any pastoral situations, please contact Donna at the parish office, 644-2144. Donna will coordinate these and assist you. I look forward to seeing everyone when I return on the weekend of Sept. 23rd/24th. (Due to my absence there will not be a Pastor’s column for the next couple of weeks.)

Thanks to all who helped set up for our 2nd ‘Mass on the Grass’ on Msgr. McMahon field on Labor Day. It was great to see so many come out for Mass. Special thanks to our Women’s Guild for providing refreshments following the Mass. Thanks to Deacon Dave for coordinating the liturgical aspects. Holy Mass, food and fellowship! It doesn’t get much better, (unless of course, there’s chocolate)!

On Labor Day we bid a fond farewell to Fr. Emmanuel Luhumbu, who has been with us for most of August. He returned to his home in the Democratic Republic of the Congo after making three mission appeals and taking a couple of weeks vacation. I certainly enjoyed his visit and extended an invitation for him to return to St. Luke for at least the next 17 years. I know my three Anglican associates will miss him too as he was very generous in giving them treats and speaking to them in French, his native language.

Finally, on the Sunday I return, the Archdiocese will be celebrating the 17th annual Stewardship Sunday. I will be preaching on stewardship on Sept. 23rd/24th to help us grasp more fully this way of life which helps all of us become better disciples. And, of course, all of us want that, don’t we?

God Bless! Have a great week!

Remember those 3 Hail Marys (Fr. Pete)