17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 30, 2023

Today we celebrate the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time. This weekend we continue our annual journey of Discipleship 101; learning lessons that will help us to follow Jesus more nearly. Our first reading from 1 Kings recalls the great King Solomon being invited by God to ask Him for anything, and it will be given. Solomon is humble, wise, and young. He knows that the task God has asked of him will be challenging. He asks not for wealth, power, and long life, but wisdom. God gives Solomon a heart so wise and understanding that there will never be anyone that can equal him. Wise choice! In a short passage from Romans St. Paul reminds us that, “All things work together for good for those who love the Lord.” In our discipleship and particularly at this stage of All Things New, we ought to remind ourselves often of this truth. In our Gospel this weekend Jesus continues to use parables to teach His listeners about the Kingdom of Heaven. It is like buried treasure, a pearl of great price, a net which collects fish of every kind. These were simple images His listeners would understand. Jesus never says the Kingdom of God is ‘this’ or ‘that’. He says it is ‘like’; again calling His listeners to think about the images He used. When we understand the things Jesus is teaching us, then following Him, advancing God’s Kingdom on earth, making the Kingdom our highest value, then we are set on the path that Jesus tells us will bring us the greatest happiness.

This will be my final column and my final Sunday as Pastor of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish. This coming Tuesday, August 1st, the transfer of priests to new assignments will take place, and the All Things New configuration will go into effect. It has been an absolute blessing to have served you these past six years through all the changes and challenges we have faced. A pastor’s true love is His parishioners and having an opportunity to know them and help them on their journey to Heaven. I have shared your joys and your sorrows, baptized, married, and buried many wonderful and holy parishioners. We have celebrated the Eucharist together with a sense of community and welcome, worked at being good and faithful stewards of God’s bounty, and have had some fun in the process. All that I feel we have accomplished in these past six years has been a collaboration of all our efforts, and a sign of the love we have for our beautiful parish family. To say that I will miss you is an understatement. I have grown to love our beautiful Church and its grounds, the wonderful neighborhood we call home, and all of you. But the ministry of a priest is to be open to go where the Lord calls, and the Archbishop has now asked me to return to Union. I look forward to this final chapter of ministry, and the opportunity to use all I have learned in 39 years to serve the people there. I see the wisdom of Solomon’s request in asking for an understanding heart, to judge wisely the decisions and challenges that lie ahead. I will always look back at my time with you as a blessed chapter of ministry. Please pray for me as I will for all of you as we all follow the paths the Lord now calls us to follow.

My new address and contact information will be:

Fr. Peter M. Blake

Immaculate Conception Rectory

100 N. Washington Avenue; Union, MO   63084

Phone: (636) 583-5144; email: [email protected]