August 20, 2017
Dear People of God,
Today we celebrate the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Gospel story of Jesus and the Canaanite woman who comes seeking His help for her daughter. The region of Tyre and Sidon was pagan territory. Here people who had once been part of the Chosen people had mingled with the natives and had begun to worship pagan gods. Jews looked on all pagans as lower than dogs. In the encounter described today we are shocked at Jesus’ treatment of the woman, but I think at closer look He is using the woman’s faith and persistence to teach His disciples. In the first reading from Isaiah we learn that God’s holy mountain is a home of prayer for all. This includes the ones we might think are enemies. But they too are made in the image and likeness of God, potential brothers and sisters. Perhaps this story can challenge us to think of the enemy in our lives who we can’t imagine reconciling. Ours is a God of surprise when we least expect it. He can and will bring healing where we least expect it.
Mark your calendars for another ‘Mass on the Grass’ opportunity for our family on Labor Day, Sept. 4th. By popular request we will celebrate Mass on McMahon Field at 9:00am. (I heard several people suggest we move the holiday Mass time up to 9:00am. Happy to oblige.)
Now that we have passed the mid-month mark, many of our Catholic Schools have begun another year. (Much to children’s dismay, but an answered prayer for many parents.) I am learning that some of our families with children of school age enroll their children at our neighboring parish, Little Flower. I have begun to establish a good working relationship with Little Flower, Fr. Herzog, offering to help whenever needed for school confessions, etc. It is a blessing to have several good Catholic Schools in our area and Little Flower is right in the area. Please pray that all the students, faculty, and staff have a fruitful and faith-filled year.
As I write this column I am praying for the escalating tension between our country and North Korea. The real threat of a nuclear confrontation is truly frightening. Pope, St. John Paul II and then President, Ronald Reagan, worked together to bring about a nuclear disarmament that realized the devastation and annihilation a nuclear war would bring. Through much behind-the-scenes negotiation, these two men helped the world to come to its senses. Please pray for the same grace for us in our times. May our Lady, Queen of Peace, intercede for us.
Finally today, on the weekend of Aug. 26/27th, St. Luke Parish will participate in the Archdiocesan Missionary CO-OP annual program. We will have a missionary speaker at all the masses to share his work on behalf of the missions. This annual appeal is a way for all of us to participate in the final command of Jesus just before ascending to the Father, “Go make disciples of all nations…” All of us are called to be missionaries, sharing the Good News in our families, work places, and neighborhoods. By His Providence, God has also called men and women to take the Gospel into the whole world. Please join me in looking forward to hearing how the Gospel is being spread in the particular area we will hear about. As always, please join me in responding with prayer and generosity.
God Bless! Have a great week!
Remember those 3 Hail Marys (Fr. Pete)