February 3, 2019
Today we celebrate the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time. We hear this weekend of the job description for the prophetic vocation, in both the Old Testament Lesson from Jeremiah, the reluctant prophet, and from the Gospel Lesson where Jesus prophesizes in His native town of Nazareth. Jesus identifies Himself with Elijah and Elisha, prophets who challenged people to discover that God is more inclusive than we tend to be. The widow of Zarepath and Naaman the Syrian were Gentiles whom God loved. By doing so, they proclaimed that God is not limited by our expectations. That challenged their hearers and Jesus‘ own people. But part of a prophet’s job is to announce God’s word to the people, even when it is challenging. When Jesus challenged the understanding of His own people, they tried to stop Him, but He walked through their midst. Jeremiah was also rejected. But God was with him to deliver him. It seems that the prophetic skill set requires the ability to handle rejection and to keep prophesying no matter what. Like the love St. Paul describes, a prophet needs to bear, endure, and hope for all things. A prophet needs to love as God loves us. A prophet needs patience, kindness, truthfulness, to be without guile, jealousy, rudeness, or quick temper. A prophet needs the same kind of love that God shows us and calls us to show one another. Because we were formed in God’s likeness and image in our mother’s womb, we are called to love. We may not be a prophet, but part of our job description as disciples is to announce God’s word by how we live. Open to that word, some will be open to us. Resisting that word, some will resist us. Remember, God is with us and will help us to do our job. Resistance is futile!
This weekend we will be concluding our Parish Survey. Last weekend at both masses we took time to offer every one in attendance the opportunity to fill it out in Church. All surveys need to be completed and returned this weekend. Your input is important as the Parish Council determines priorities for the coming year. We have been working on addressing our strengths and the areas of improvement that will be parish-wide strategies of making St. Luke’s the best we can be and faithful to our mission as disciples of Christ here in Richmond Heights. Thank you for taking the time and thoughtfulness in helping us to hear from you.
Even though we won’t be selecting new Parish Council members until Pentecost (June 9th), I want to ask you to consider putting your name in selection when we begin our nominations on the 2nd Sunday of Easter. Pray about the gifts you can offer our Parish Leadership Team as we work to make our community thrive. The Council meets 9 times a year, January, February, March, April, May, June, September, October and November on the 4th Tuesdays of the month in the Rectory. In order to begin a yearly rotation of members, three members will be leaving the council in June. On Pentecost we will pray to the Holy Spirit, then choose three new members and two alternates. Is one of those YOU?
Mark your calendars for a special event happening here at St. Luke’s on Sunday, February 17th. The Missouri Choral Artists will present a concert at 4:00pm titled, “Made in America, A Choral Tapestry,” with guest conductor, Marques Jerrell Ruff. The acoustics of St. Luke’s Church lend themselves to exceptional choral music and this will be a concert sure to please. There is no charge for this event, but donations will be gladly accepted.
Finally today, I will sadly not be around the campus next weekend or the following Saturday at 5pm Mass. The annual gathering of priests and the Bishop of Knoxville, Bishop Stika will be taking place from Feb. 9th to the 16th in the Turks and Caicos Islands in the British West Indies. I have been counting the days since late December and it is almost here. This will be our 8th annual gathering and a time for us to renew our fraternity and friendship which has lasted over 34 years.
God Bless! Have a great week!
Remember those 3 Hail Marys (Fr. Pete)