October 27, 2019
Today we celebrate the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Our readings this weekend focus on the justice of God. Our society sometimes thinks justice means seeking revenge or retribution. This is opposed to God’s justice, which desires that all things be in harmony with each other. The old phrase from the Campaign for Human Development said, “If you want peace work for justice.” This annual campaign was referring to God’s justice. In today’s first reading, the legal protection for the weak and vulnerable woven through the Old Testament’s first five books are reaffirmed in Sirach. The author doesn’t base his confidence only in the Law, but in the very nature of God, who is a just judge. Our second reading which is a continuation of Paul’s advice to a young bishop named Timothy, also speaks of divine judgment. “The Lord, the just judge will award me.” As Paul reminisces about his long life of service to the Gospel, he is confident of what lies ahead, despite being deserted by many of his supporters. The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector is found only in St. Luke. Jesus shows that it is the tax collector and not the Pharisee who demonstrates the appropriate response to God’s mercy and is thus justified. God’s justice is God-centered, like the tax collector who admits his need for God’s mercy. Our call is to be God-centered at all times, as faithful sons and daughters, imitating our Heavenly Father.
Over the past three weekends all parishes of our Archdiocese were to take a head-count at masses. Here at St. Luke we complied with this annual task from the Office of Strategic planning. The results may (or may not) surprise you. Our 5pm Vigil Mass averaged 52. Our Sunday 10am Mass averaged 76. Ouch! I don’t think I have to say what this means. If our parish is going to continue to stay open we all need to pray and evangelize. This is not just unique to us. While I was home in Vermont the main Mass on Sunday (which I celebrated for 2 weekends) saw about the same number as our 10am Mass. St. Luke Parish has a long history and a proud tradition. As parishioners I want us all to be invested in ensuring the Office of Strategic planning doesn’t see our numbers in a negative light and force us to make changes. What do we need to do folks to get the word out that St. Luke’s is a Grrrrrrreat parish community? Please know that I will calling on our Parish Council to discuss this at length.
As the weather turns colder and we have frosty mornings that means that our gardens will soon end their glory for this season. Once again I want to thank all those who helped to make the parish grounds inviting and beautiful. I enjoy hearing comments from parishioners and visitors how lovely things look around the Church. It is a great compliment for all of us here. It takes a lot of hard work and I want to thank everyone from our maintenance man Amir to all parishioners who lent a hand this past year. I look forward to seeing it all return next Spring.
We are preparing for a new Parish Buzz-Book and as you have probably seen in the bulletin that means we want to be sure it is as up-to-date as possible. Please let Donna, at the parish office, know if there are changes in your personal information that need to be made. Have you moved, changed your phone #, etc. Please let us know.
This coming week we begin the month of November with a special Holy Day; Friday, the Feast of All Saints, a Holy Day of obligation. 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 Thursday, Oct. 31st at 5:00pm, and on Friday, Nov. 1st at 8:00am in the main Church (Eucharistic Adoration will immediately follow in St. Francis Chapel). 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.
Finally today, it is good to be home and back in the saddle. I am not planning any other trips until next year. Priests are eligible to take 30 days vacation, a week for retreat, and a week for study per calendar year. I have used-up my allotted days for vacation, will make my annual retreat at the White House at the annual Archdiocesan Priests retreat next month, and I have no plans for a study week. I’m all yours!
God Bless! Have a good week!
Remember those 3 Hail Marys (Fr. Pete)