4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

January 29, 2023

Today we celebrate the 4th Sunday of Ordinary Time. This weekend’s scriptures give us words like lowly, humble, meek, poor in spirit, merciful, humility and peace. Each one of these would be good to spend time reflecting upon. In today’s first reading the prophet Zephaniah calls people to, “Seek the Lord…seek justice, seek humility.” He then goes on to describe a ‘remnant’ of people humble and lowly who take refuge in the Lord. Our psalm response is the familiar, “Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is their!” This is a line from the Gospel; Jesus’ famous ‘Beatitudes’ from the Sermon on the Mount, His recipe for finding true happiness. Blessed are we who live this way. Is it the way the world tells us to live? I don’t think so! But a good question to ask might be if we’re living according to the world’s standards, “How’s that working out for you?” Many people today seem unhappy as they focus their lives on getting ahead at all cost, taking care of canal appetites and forgetting to hunger for what truly satisfies, out for #1 and living an Old Testament “Eye for an eye” way of life. Again, “How’s that working out for you?” On this early Sunday in Ordinary Time, as Jesus is inviting us to journey with Him and teaching us a better way, hear Him speak to you this weekend. How close am I to being a Beatitudes disciple?

This past week I shared the Parish Feedback Summary for All Things New with the Parish Council. This included the feedback from the listening sessions where 74 people attended, and online feedback to which 26 parishioners responded. In models A, B1 and B2, St. Luke is merged with Immaculate Conception, Little Flower and Our Lady of Lourdes. A summary of the listening sessions revealed that many of those attending were concerned about evangelization of younger people to become members of the Church. Several mentioned that “evangelization needed to start with the schools.” Many had concerns about financial matters, such as what happens to assets and buildings if churches are closed. “Where does the money go?” They were also concerned about debts of one parish when combined with a financially vibrant parish and how that would be addressed. Parishioners of St. Luke stated that they are debt free and concerned about what would happen to their ball field and buildings. There were numerous questions about our relationship with the ‘Oratory’ in the future. A summary of online responses highlighted the need for youth and young adult evangelization and also bringing Parishioners who have fallen away back to Church. In regard to ministries that need to be developed, it mentioned more resources need to be allocated to a Homeless Shelter, Food Pantry, use of St. Vincent de Paul Ministry, and repurposing buildings in the future. 5 respondents shared their concern for more affordable Catholic education. 6 respondents mentioned that the Oratory should be moved to another location. Regarding the models presented, the majority believe that Option A, and B1(St. Luke, IC, Little Flower, and Lourdes) is the best grouping of parishes. A common challenge mentioned in all the models was the loss of parish identity.

God Bless! Have a great week!

Please continue praying 3 Hail Marys.

Fr. Pete