November 11, 2018
Today we celebrate the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time. This week two widows feature prominently in our scripture readings and teach us something about putting God first. The widow of Sidon in our lesson from 1 Kings, offers hospitality expected in a culture without convenience stores and fast-food restaurants. The prophet Elijah asks for a small cake to feed him before the widow feeds herself and her son the last bits of food. She does. She puts Elijah and the God he serves first. Her generosity was blessed. The widow in the Gospel, giving “from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.” She put God first, unlike the rich. Both stories offer hope. When we put God first, sacrificing what we have out of love for God and others, we find blessing, even in the midst of poverty. When we put ourselves first, we might gain attention for a while, but it doesn’t last. Stewardship reminds us of where our gifts come from and challenge us to put God first. St. Francis of Assisi, in his famous prayer says, “It is in giving that we receive. In pardoning that we are pardoned. And in dying that we are born to eternal life.” The widows, and Jesus who put God and us first, witness the truth of these words. They give me hope that I can make God my priority, and in the process receive more than I can hope or imagine by giving, even all I have.
I want to thank our St. Vincent de Paul Society for once again helping us to understand the tremendous work they do. Last weekend Mike Hughes gave a good presentation after communion to let us know all the ways they have used our gifts to be the compassionate face of Christ, helping those less fortunate in our neighborhood with food, rent, and utilities. Our monthly donations go a long way and we are grateful to the generosity of our parishioners in this endeavor. We are reminded of the words of our Lord who said, “Whatsoever you did to one of my brothers and sisters, you did it for me.” Thank you St. Vincent de Paul members and parishioners for this ministry.
Our Parish Festival Choir will begin rehearsals for Christmas NEXT week. Music is ready and our organist, Frank and I are looking forward to seeing what is possible in building a parish Festival choir for the major feasts of Christmas and Easter. If you like to sing, are looking for a way to offer your talents, join other parishioners in a small faith community, and want to bring others a beautiful Christmas liturgy, please join me next Sunday at 7pm.
I am happy that several parishioners have given me comments on my bulletin column regarding the low numbers attending Mass here at our parish. Their comments were thoughtful and encouraging. Their suggestions were definitely good thoughts for me to consider with the parish pastoral council. In the near future you will have the opportunity to also share comments and ideas through a parish survey. I know we did this a few years back, (and I have been returning to the results several times this past year), but as the Council and I address priorities for us to focus upon in the next year and beyond, we want to elicit the “sensus fidelium” (the thoughts of the faithful. Stay tuned.
Finally today, please mark your calendars and plan to join us for two special events that can use your muscle and elbow grease; Church cleaning on Saturday, Dec. 1st at 9:30am and Church decorating for Christmas on Saturday, Dec. 22nd at 10:00am. Last year the Church sparkled and made for a good spruce up of Church for the holidays. There were many hands that helped decorate last year on a Sunday. This year, due to our new Mass schedule, it was suggested to move decorating to Saturday with the hope that more people might be available. So we’re giving it a try, (even though it will be before the final Sunday of Advent.) Please plan to come and lend a hand for both. Watch the bulletin for more details.
God Bless! Have a good week!
Remember those 3 Hail Marys (Fr. Pete)