Peace be with you all,
We are now into week 33 of ordinary time for our liturgical calendar. That means we are getting close to the Advent Season. I really cannot believe we are a couple weeks away from Advent and the COVID restrictions continue to endure and inhibit our worship life in the church. But this can also be a great reminder that God’s grace is much greater than anything our world or nation or culture will endure. We simply must endure as a people of faith.
Today’s Gospel from Matthew proclaims…. “Well done my good and faithful servant.” These are the words of the Lord to those who trust God’s gifts of grace and have the courage to apply them properly during their life. I really find these words as a conviction to accept all I have, all that is good, all the time, talent and treasure is from Him… not me! With that I need to use these gifts for their intended purpose…for my support of others. Sounds so simple and logical and yet experience shows me how challenging this truth can be in everyday life.
The Gospel message should always make us uncomfortable in some way. Clearly this week we face the challenges of proper stewardship of all our gifts. This includes our monetary gifts as well. The timing of this message is apparently very relevant as St. Mary’s is now beginning the Grand Annual collection. Perhaps this is coincidence or perhaps we should be open to the possibility that the Holy Spirit is indeed at work and reminding us of this responsibility. I encourage you again to open those Grand Annual envelopes and consider how much this parish needs your monetary support. This Grand Annual is not a luxury but an essential element of our daily operating budget.
On another important front, Colleen Debruychere, our Religious Ed coordinator, and her company have miraculously gotten some form of religious education off and running. Last Sunday, and hopefully this Sunday, many classes were in full swing under a number of blue tents spread out (in social distancing style, of course) along the back of the parking lot. This is a great sign of so many folks working together in order to get a critical part of our faith life back in gear. Thanks to everyone for making the effort.
Looking forward, there is much debate and analysis going on at the diocesan level regarding Christmas. As a member of the Cardinal’s Presbyteral Council, I am privy to much of the particular constraints surrounding this issue. Believe me, there is much to consider about how we could approach Christmas Masses given the myriad of significant issues. Much is beyond our control but we need to carefully plan and consider what is best for everyone. Basically, I see this as a wicked problem of providing for the sacramental and spiritual needs of everyone as well as responsibly acting to prevent any harm. Of course, we will keep everyone informed. Please pray for those involved with these decisions and planning will have the wisdom and courage to do His will.
“Well done, my good and faithful servant.”