25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 19, 2021

Today we celebrate the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time. The readings for this weekend invite us to reflect on what true greatness, in light of God’s Kingdom, entails. Our first reading from the Book of Wisdom can be read in light of the scribes and Pharisees who found Jesus ‘obnoxious’ because He called them out on their hypocrisy. They fulfill the prophecy found in Wisdom by condemning Jesus to a shameful death. In today’s second reading St. James calls us to reflect on the root cause of disorder, selfishness, and jealousy. Against these he poses the wisdom from above which is pure, peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits. These are the ways of the disciple of Jesus, thinking of others before self, serving rather than being served, and imitating the Master. In the Gospel Jesus continues to instruct the disciples as they journey through Galilee heading to Jerusalem that, “the Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill Him, and three days after His death, the Son of Man will rise.” This is the second time Jesus clearly instructs them of His approaching suffering and death. But they fall silent. They are arguing about who among them is the greatest. Jesus says, “Whoever wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Then, in a masterful way, Jesus teaches them by way of example. He takes a child and places it in their midst for all to see. A child was totally dependent on others to provide for their needs. Jesus says the greatest disciple will be the one who does that without desire for gain. This week, strive to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ by serving rather than being served.

It is with a deep sadness that I announce the decision of our organist, Mr. Frank Jorns, to retire as our Music Director. Frank has been a wonderful man to work with over the past three years and has been a faithful servant leading us in song. Frank made this decision after facing some health related issues. He and I discussed the decision and, while I regret it has come to this, I whole-heartedly support him in recognizing that this is his time to perhaps enjoy a more relaxed pace of life. Frank, and his sister Joan, who has been a member of our small choir, have plans to move to Branson in the near future. He will continue to provide music through the end of September. Please join me in expressing our gratitude for all he has brought to our worship here at St. Luke’s. Thank you Frank so very much. “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Over the past couple of weeks I have received several comments from parishioners and former parishioners of St. Luke the Evangelist regarding my bulletin column on the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, especially the paragraph outlining the Strategic Planning Process that has begun throughout the Archdiocese. Most comments were not too favorable. I am not surprised. I don’t think too many of us like change, small changes, and the changes we may be facing in the near future. Life would be so much easier if we could just continue doing what we’re doing and never have to change. But we are in a time where it is becoming more and more essential that we face the reality of a need to make difficult decisions that aren’t always easy to accept. As your Pastor, I feel it is my duty to be honest and transparent with you, especially now as we begin to address a decline in clergy, a model of parish communities that was based on larger communities oftentimes providing Catholic Education for a large number of children, necessitating a parish parochial school. We live in a different time where migration to other demographics has challenged the need for all the current parishes we are struggling to maintain. My purpose in bringing all of this to you is to make you aware that we are in this process of assessing the future. Will it mean change for us? I don’t know the answer to that, but I want us to all be prepared for what may come. Pray for the Archbishop, the Task Force undertaking this process, and all people who will be involved as the process unfolds.

God Bless! Have a great week!

Please continue praying 3 Hail Marys.

Fr. Pete