31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

November 4, 2018

Today we celebrate the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time. The famous poet, Elizabeth Barrett Browning asked, “How do I love thee?” In today’s Gospel Jesus answers a similar question posed by a scholar of the law. Jesus simply quotes the passage from Deuteronomy, which every faithful Jew recited each morning on rising and every night before retiring. This prayer, the “Schema,” (which means ‘hear.’) clearly reveals the most important command and the foundation of the covenant God made with Israel; Love! Love God above all things. But then Jesus adds a passage from Leviticus, the Book of the Law, “love of neighbor,” (Leviticus 19:18). In doing this Jesus reminds His disciples, (and us), that love of God is borne out by love for one another. How do we love God? By loving all God’s people, that is, everyone, for God is the Creator of all. Love can be simple, like making a phone call, sending a card or email, or making a visit to a neighbor. Love can sometimes take a bit more work, like helping a sibling with chores, doing errands for someone, making a meal for someone who is incapacitated, or volunteering at a local shelter. Moses tells us to “hear and observe” God’s statutes and commandments in order to grow, prosper, and become the people God calls us to be.

This month of November sees the change in weather. By now the trees are almost finished their magnificent last hurrah of color, and leaves are falling. The early morning temperatures are chilly and late night dog outings are the same. Like the season of Autumn, with its dying of the season, the Church focuses our attention on the last things; Heaven, Hell, Death, and Purgatory. We began the month this past Thursday with a reminder of our call. Yes folks, we are called to be saints. Ours is a journey to the same place where our venerable ancestors and heroes have merited a crown of righteousness. They followed Jesus, loved Him, and their neighbor, and now enjoy the glory of the resurrection. On this past Friday we also remembered all those who have died. Many lived saintly lives and we pray they now enjoy the company of the saints. Like many of you I thought of Mom & Dad, my brother Dave, and sister Eileen, dear friends who have been such an important part of my journey who have inspired me, and members of this faith community who have died this past year and to whom we bid fond farewell. Each Mass we celebrate, whether on Sunday or during the week, we remember our beloved dead and pray for their soul, that if not in Heaven yet, God will bring them home soon. The Mass is our highest form of prayer. It has been a long-standing custom in the Catholic Church to offer Mass for a deceased loved one or for a special intention. I encourage you to consider having the intention of Mass for your loved ones; on their birthday, perhaps the anniversary of their death, or other special dates.

Our Parish Festival Choir will begin rehearsals for Christmas in two weeks. I continue to hear some good, strong voices in the congregation that I am hoping will consider joining me on Sunday, Nov. 18th at 7pm. Christmas 2018 at St. Luke will be special for all participating in the ministry of music and will be a way to touch our guests with the message of God’s love in sending us our Redeemer. Join me the best Christmas EVER!

Finally today, November is also the month of Thanksgiving. Our Mass on Thanksgiving Day will be at our holiday time of 9:00am. (No, sorry, we will not be having Mass on the Grass on Thanksgiving). Thanksgiving Day is a day to count our blessings and to remember those less fortunate. At St. Luke’s we invite you to bring canned goods and place them in front of the communion rail. We will also will take up a special collection for the work of our St. Vincent de Paul Society. Please be generous. 

God Bless! Have a good week!

Remember those 3 Hail Marys (Fr. Pete)