God's Love

This weekend we celebrate Catechetical Sunday.  The focus this year is: Teaching about God’s Gift of Forgiveness.  Those serving as Catechists for Saint John Paul II Parish will be called forth at each of the Masses and will be commissioned for their ministry. Catechetical Sunday presents us with the wonderful opportunity to reflect upon the role that each person plays in catechetical ministry, by virtue of his or her Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel. It is a special time for all of us to rededicate ourselves to this mission as a community of faith.  Today we express our gratitude for all those who share in the catechetical ministry of the Church.

Faith Formation Registration and Orientation took place last Wednesday.  Sessions for all children, Pre-school through Grade 5 begin this Wednesday, September 24, from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.   You may notice that this year we are specifically using the term faith formation because it relates to a life-long process as opposed to a classroom model or understanding in which at some point in time one graduates and then no longer intends or chooses to attend “classes” anymore.  The experience of our faith, the understanding of its teachings, the development of our prayer life, the reception of the sacraments, our deepening relationship with Christ, and our ministry of service are not simply components of a whole that are completed in a certain number of years.  Nor are they items on a checklist once completed that no longer need attention.  Rather, faith formation takes place throughout the course of our whole lives.  It is our responsibility to grow in our faith and to help our children grow in their faith by taking part in opportunities offered for faith formation.  Our parish offers several experiences for adults, in addition to Youth Ministry and weekly sessions for Pre-School through Elementary School age children.  Check out the series on Catholicism on Monday Evenings, encourage your Middle School age and High School age sons and daughters to take part in their respective Youth Group, register your children and grandchildren for faith formation classes, and take part in one of our movie nights. If we really want to have a vibrant parish community, we need to have committed disciples, individuals who are really excited about their faith, Christians who really know the Lord Jesus, and who put that faith into action, and, thus, draw others to that faith.  When we have a parish of Catholics making a commitment at this level, then we gain a wider perspective on what it means to be church.   As we gain this bigger picture, so to speak, we begin to reach out to others in new ways and share in the process of evangelization.  I invite you, this week, to think about some ways in which you are able to make a commitment to catechetical ministry, continued faith formation, and growth in your own discipleship in Christ?

Next Saturday, at 4:00 p.m. we will celebrate the Inaugural Mass for Saint John Paul II Parish.  Bishop Cistone will preside at the liturgy.  I do hope that a great many of you will be able to attend the celebration.  Images of the Saints as well as the holy oils (the Oil of the Sick, the Oil of the Catechumens, and the Sacred Chrism) from our three merged parishes will be presented in procession.  The Installation of the Parish Pastoral Council will take place after the homily.  Following the Mass, there will be a reception with hors d’oeuvres at the Ed Center.  Please plan on joining us next Saturday for this special Inaugural Liturgy.  And don’t forget to set aside the time to join us for the reception as well.

God fills each of his faithful servants with all that he has promised.

Don’t forget the Harvest Buffet Chicken Dinner next Sunday, September 28th from 12:00 – 3:00 p.m.   This is the last weekend that tickets for the dinner will be sold after the Masses.  You will still be able to purchase tickets this coming week at the Parish Center Office or from various parishioners.  And, of course, tickets will be sold at the door.

This Sunday’s Gospel passage is the story about the landowner who hired laborers to work in his vineyard at various hours of the day. He agreed to pay those first hired the usual daily wage.  And the others he agreed to pay a just wage.  At the end of the day, all were paid the usual daily wage.  Those hired earlier in the day began to grumble because they thought they deserved more.  The landowner countered by saying that he was not cheating them since he paid them what they agreed to.  Then he asked them two questions: Am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?  Are you envious because I am generous?  Sometimes it is human nature to compare what we have done against what others have done and even whine a bit when they get more recognition than we do.  It is also human nature at times to be upset with others who seem to have things handed to them “on a silver platter”  when we have had to work so hard to achieve what they have.  And it is also human nature to complain when we feel others aren’t being fair, according to our standards.  Even children realize when something doesn’t seem fair and they tell us so.  Of course, we know that today’s parable is really not about just wages, proper recognition, fairness, or injustice.  It is about our God who loves us unconditionally, who is continually calling us to conversion, and who offers the gift of eternal life to each and every one of us.   Jesus calls us to share in his life and his mission.  Not all of us respond at the same time, at the same age, or with the same kind of enthusiasm.  No matter at white age or time we respond, we know that our work and our ministry in the kingdom of God is not about fair wages, but about eternal life, joy, love, and peace without limit.  God fills each of his faithful servants with all that he has promised.  For that we should be most grateful.  

Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ