23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 6, 2018

Today we celebrate the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. “Ephphatha,” Jesus says and a miracle occurs. Jesus made clear God’s desire to heal, free, and reconcile all creation. Divine healing in the scriptures never exists for its own sake, but as an impetus to proclaim God’s glory. When we experience healing, our lives must be opened up to be faithful witnesses. How much do we realize the importance of listening to people’s stories so as to have our eyes opened and our ears hear about their faith journey. Sacred listening is an intentional opportunity to do just that. In the process we enter into deeper understanding and build relationships. In Baptism we ask for this gift as the priest or deacon prays over the infant, “May the Lord soon touch your ears to receive His Word, and your mouth to proclaim His faith, to the glory of God the Father.” Reflect on what experiences this past week have opened your ears to hear God’s voice in new ways?

Our final Mass on the Grass for Labor Day was another wonderful experience of community here at St. Luke’s (and our sister parish, Immaculate Conception). Special thanks to our awesome deacon for setting up the altar and coordinating all the necessary things for Mass. We gave thanks for the gift of human Labor and prayed for those seeking meaningful ways to use their talents in jobs that are fulfilling.

R.C.I.A. got off to a good start this past Wednesday. We have several who are journeying with us to the Sacraments of Initiation next Easter and also a couple of parishioners who are taking advantage of our program to renew their faith. It’s not too late to join us. We meet on Wednesday evening from 7-8:30 in St. Joseph Hall. Y’all are Welcome!

This weekend, in place of my regular homily based on the Sunday Scriptures I am taking the opportunity to share with you my vision of the Stewardship Way of Life. As noted last weekend in the bulletin, during September we prepare to celebrate Stewardship Sunday (this year on Sept. 23rd). I hope my stewardship homily helps you to understand the call to be good stewards of all God has given us, and inspires you to reflect on your own particular gifts and talents. This coming week you will receive a mailing from the Parish Office. Included will be our Stewardship Report for the past year, a brochure about this year’s Stewardship Sunday taking place throughout the Archdiocese, and a commitment card. Over the next two weeks, please reflect on how YOU can commit a portion of your gifts to St. Luke Parish in the coming year. What ministries or ways of service match your gifts? Can these be ways to return to God a portion of your time and talents? As you reflect on the brochure’s giving of treasure, look at your current level of giving to St. Luke. Is the same as it has been for the past 5, 10, or 20 years? Consider striving for the biblical tithe; 10% of your gross income. Whatever you commit to offering St. Luke by way of serving in a ministry, joining an organization, or offering your talents and treasure, let it be by way of Sharing the Joy of being a good steward, grateful to God for all your blessings. On Sept. 23rd, Stewardship Sunday, please bring your commitment card with you to Mass and place it in the offertory basket. Thank you for embracing this way of living. It’s truly what God expects of us.

Finally today, there will not be a Pastor’s Column for the next two weekends. I will be taking a couple weeks to visit the Northern part of England beginning in Edinburgh, Scotland and then heading south to walk a part of Hadrian’s Wall, then traveling to many Cathedrals. I was asked when I would be back from the trip. I responded, “I’ll be back for Midnight Mass”.  

God Bless! Have a good week!

Remember those 3 Hail Marys (Fr. Pete)