December 31, 2017
Today, within our Christmas Season, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. The Holy family was not your typical nuclear family. It consisted of a child, His birth mother, and an adoptive father. And yet they lived as faith-filled families of their day were expected to live. They went to the Temple to present Jesus to God. They heard words of thanksgiving and praise about their Son and a prediction of possible hardship from Simeon and Anna. Returning home, Jesus grew in wisdom and strength, as most children do. Abram, Sarah and Isaac were not typical either. Sarah became a mother well beyond childbearing years. And yet their lives are prototypes for living one’s faith. They trusted God even when He seemed to ask the impossible. Whether we describe our family as “typical’ or in ways other than “typical” we are all children of God, who promises to be with us throughout our lives. Sometimes we feel the presence of God in concrete and clear ways, as did Mary and Joseph and Abraham and Sarah. Sometimes God seems absent or life is challenging, as it was for them too. Mary’s heart was pierced watching her Son ridiculed, rejected and crucified. Yet she knew God’s presence and God promises to be with His children, in good times and bad. Look for God in your life as it is. Be the best version of yourself, for the same God who was with Abraham and Sarah and Isaac, and Jesus, Mary and Joseph promises to care for us today, tomorrow, and every day. Look to find God’s favor, to grow and become strong, filled with wisdom and grace.
On this Holy Family Sunday I wish all families of our parish a Happy New Year. As we continue to strive to be a Parish Holy Family, may the Lord bless us in 2018 with renewal of faith, growth in hope, and abundant acts of charity for one another. Make good resolutions as we enter 2018, especially to discern what gifts you have that you would like to offer in faithful stewardship to build up our community. Each of us has been blessed by God with unique gifts and talents. When we each share these in our parish community we become the best version of community we can be. In 2018 I encourage you to discern your gift(s) and offer your Time and Talent for St. Luke. God will bless you abundantly. Now might also be a good time to review your gift of Treasure and perhaps increase your weekly/monthly gift to the work of the parish.
Today I want to thank the choir for their hard work over the past many weeks and their gift of music to us at the Christmas Masses. Their gifts of Time and Talent were so very much appreciated as we celebrated our Lord’s Nativity. Under the direction of Mrs. Donna Owen, we were blessed by the opportunity to lift up our voices in song with the old familiar melodies we associate with this holy time of the year. Thank you for your time and talent in being Ministers of Music for our community. This weekend will be Donna’s final weekend as our Music Director. Please join me after the 10:00am Mass this weekend in St. Joseph Hall to express your gratitude to her and her family.
On January 13 I will be gathering with the Parish Pastoral Council for an extended time to do some strategic planning and goal setting strategies. I am happy that one of our 8:00am ushers, Christian Rusteberg, who does this (strategic planning) professionally, has agreed to help our Council in the process of looking at our strengths and weaknesses and help us look ahead to possible ways we can address these. I am grateful to Christian for agreeing to offer his Time and Talent for this day of Pastoral evaluations.
Finally today, next weekend, January 6/7, is the Feast of the Epiphany of our Lord, traditionally known as “Little Christmas,” as we recall the visit of the Magi who came bearing gifts to the Christ Child. Next weekend we will offer you the opportunity to take home one of Memorial Poinsettias as our gift to you. After Mass please feel free to take home one of these beautiful plants.
God bless! Happy New Year!
Remember those 3 Hail Marys