“I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and in what I have failed to do…”
Penitential Act – Confiteor
The Gospel this Sunday (Lk. 16: 19-31) reminds us of the importance of acting. We are not simply called to avoid doing evil, but we are called to actively do good. God has given each one of us a mission to accomplish in this world. We have been created to give ourselves away in love… that is what it means to be created in the image of God. That is what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.
The rich man in the parable is not an evil man. He does not seek to harm Lazarus. He simply fails to respond with love and compassion to the person right in front of him. He allows his own selfishness to blind him to the reality of suffering “lying at his door” (Lk. 16:20).
Poverty, hunger, and other forms of injustice are complex issues. We can get overwhelmed. But feeling overwhelmed does not let us off the hook. As disciples of Jesus we are not called to solve all of the world’s problems. We are, however, called to respond with compassion to the suffering around us. Simple actions to help alleviate the suffering we encounter every day helps us to develop a heart that is sensitive and responsive to the actions of the Holy Spirit. Building relationships with those who are suffering keeps us in touch with Christ suffering in our world.
Disciples do not ignore or flee from suffering. We enter into the suffering of our friends and neighbors. Why? Because we have confidence in the one who has been raised from the dead (Cf. Lk. 16:31).
Lincoln A. Wood
God and Science: An Inner Conflict | LiveScience.
The “conflict hypothesis” is overstated these days, because that is what gets the press. This article at least attempts to explore some of the complexity.
Thanks to my sister for sending me this link.
Word Made Flesh.
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.””
Heb. 13: 2
This weekend I have the joy of introducing two new staff members to our community. Both of these women have been involved in ministry for a number of years and both are part time in serving our community.
Maria Scherer comes to us from New London where she teaches part-time as a teacher at Most Precious Blood. Maria is our new part-time coordinator of Youth Ministries. She will be helping us to form our middle school and high school youth as disciples of Jesus Christ. Maria has already been busy planning our summer youth mission trip and working with our catechists to prepare to begin our religious education year. We are blessed to have such a talented minister to help us form young disciples.
Sr. Pauline Feiner, SDS comes to us most recently from Shiocton and Stephensville where she served as the Parish Director/Pastoral Leader. Sr. Pauline recently retired from full time ministry and has joined our community as a part time Pastoral Associate. Prior to that ministry, Sr. Pauline has served as a Catholic school teacher, principal, Director of Religious Education, and Pastoral Associate throughout Wisconsin serving nearly 10 parishes over the course of her career. We are blessed to have someone with broad and deep ministerial experience. Sr. Pauline will be living in the rectory at St. Mary’s as she engages in part time ministry.
I encourage you all to get to know these fine women. They bring many gifts and generous hearts. My hope is that you can be a blessing in their lives as you are in mine.
May God continue to bless our community as we welcome new ministers in our midst!
Lincoln A. Wood
And here is the interview. I like Pope Francis more and more every time he opens his mouth.
A Big Heart Open to God | America Magazine.
“His Father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast…’”
In the parable of the lost son (Lk. 15), the father welcomes his younger son back with open arms. This is the son who asked for his inheritance early and left his father behind to pursue his own selfish ends. It is for this son that the father throws a party.
Like the father, Jesus embraces those who have left God behind to pursue their own desires. And that is a great gift to us. We, the church, are like that younger son. Each one of us has chosen to leave God behind in some way. Jesus welcomes us to the divine feast. That’s grace.
But grace doesn’t stop there. The grace of God’s mercy cannot be contained. If celebrating our own salvation becomes all we do, we have turned salvation into another selfish goal. We have owned it and forgotten that it is a gift. It is true that we have been included in the Father’s feast, but God’s mercy flows beyond our selfishness.
Like the servant in the parable, God’s grace empowers us to prepare the feast. When God’s mercy touches a human heart, we, the church, are there to rejoice and celebrate. We aid the repentant sinner and embrace them, showing them a new way of life. That’s grace. But God’s grace doesn’t stop there.
Imagine the end of the parable. The elder son is standing alone while the party continues inside. He hears the joy and laughter but can’t bring himself to go in. Imagine the younger son coming out of the party to embrace him. He and the father listen to him and meet him in the midst of his anger and pain. After hearing him out, they apologize for their own failings and invite him in to share the feast. That’s grace.
God’s grace has been poured into our hearts…. but it doesn’t stop there. It has been given to us to be shared.
Lincoln A. Wood