October 28, 2018
Today we celebrate the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Our Church year is winding down with just three more weeks before we conclude with the Feast of Christ the King, (Nov. 25th). As we continue our journey of discipleship, learning from Jesus the cost of being disciples, today we hear of people with persistent faith calling out to God. In our first reading from the prophet Jeremiah we hear of the Hebrew slaves freed from slavery being given hope by the prophet. Jeremiah calls God’s delivered people, God’s ‘remnant.’ He will bring them back rejoicing to Jerusalem. In today’s Gospel, a blind man, Bartimaeus, calls out to Jesus to have pity on him. He is direct and persistent when asked by Jesus what he wanted. “Master, I want to see.” His faith in Jesus was his salvation. Even when people rebuked him Bartimaeus persisted. Jesus heals the sick, gives sight to the blind, forgives sinners, and is crucified because He persisted in trying to open eyes that were threatened by Him and His message. As disciples, Jesus is our model. He shows us that as His disciples we need to be honest, let our faith impel us to find strength in weakness, courage in opposition, and a powerful voice when people seek to silence us. At all these times, Jesus calls us to be persistent.
Thank you to everyone who helped in the celebration of our patron, St. Luke the Evangelist last Sunday with the “Soup for the Soul,” luncheon after the 10:00am Mass. Thanks to all who made soup and other delicious food, to those who set-up and cleaned-up, and to all who came to join together with our community in this simple meal. May our good patron, St. Luke, bless us.
This coming week we begin the month of November with two special Holy Days; Thursday, the Feast of All Saints, a Holy Day of obligation, and Friday, the Feast of All Souls. November is often referred to as the Month of Remembrance. We begin by recalling our friends and intercessors, the Saints, recognized by the Church as being with God in Heaven. We follow with the opportunity to recall our beloved family members, friends and neighbors who have finished their journey of life here on earth. Mass for Nov. 1st, All Saints Day, will be on Wednesday, Oct. 31st at 5:00pm, and on Nov. 1st at 8:00am in the main Church. On All Souls Day, Nov. 2nd, Mass will be at 8:00am in the main Church. During November we will have our traditional “Book of Remembrance,” near St. Joseph’s altar for you to inscribe the names of your faithful departed loved ones. Parishioners who have died over this past year will be especially remembered.
Last weekend we concluded our three weeks of recording attendance at our weekend masses. I have to admit I was discouraged by the numbers. St. Luke’s parish has just a little over 350 registered households. Over the past three weeks we averaged under 150 at weekend masses. The numbers attending the Oratory are significantly more, as well as those at IC in Maplewood. While we have been through a major rescheduling of Mass offerings and have given up our early Sunday Mass, the low numbers should be a matter of concern for all of us, especially for the long-term viability and stability of the parish. Our Parish Pastoral Council is aware that one of needs we face is a vibrant ministry of evangelization, and will hopefully be working on this. There are a lot of Catholics in our neighborhood who have fallen away from the Church and have many reasons for not practicing their faith. Some are young singles or couples who have not discovered the warm community we have here. Some are couples who have remarried outside the Church and perhaps don’t feel welcome. Some are older, my age, who have felt scandalized by the sins of the Church in the past two decades and claim to be Catholic, but are in need of healing. We have our work cut out for us, folks. If every practicing member of St. Luke’s would invite 3 neighbors to come to Church, or perhaps we hosted a “Returning Catholics” program in the next year, we might see our parish come alive and even thrive. As I said, our Parish Pastoral Council will be addressing this issue this coming year and will need all of us to participate in evangelization efforts to share the Good News that Jesus is here at St. Luke’s.
God Bless! Have a good week!
Remember those 3 Hail Marys (Fr. Pete)