Today we celebrate the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. This weekend’s Gospel passage presents Jesus and his disciples coming to his native place. On the Sabbath, he teaches in the synagogue. Many are astonished and wonder how he received such wisdom. They recognize him as one of their own who grew up with them. Yet, they wonder what happened to him that he speaks with such authority and does such mighty deeds when he is simply the carpenter’s son. And so they take offense at him. Jesus humbly replies, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.” I think we can identify with this Scripture passage from a certain perspective. Have you ever heard anyone say, “Who does he think he is?” or “What gives her the right to speak in such a way?” or “Whoever chose that person to do such and such?” There is a certain amount of jealousy and fear behind those statements. Sometimes, instead of seeing the hand of God in a certain situation, being grateful for the gift he has given us through a person, or acknowledging the way in which God has made his presence known through what another has done, we tend to minimize and criticize the situation and the person. Do you ever wonder what it would be like if all of us were 100% faithful to our call to discipleship? I think we would draw people to our churches just by the way we lived. I think we would not be so focused on ourselves, but really concerned about the mission of Christ. We would be so immersed in “the work of Christ” that some petty things would not matter, and there would be no jealousy and anger about who gets to do what. Just think what the Christian Community would be like if we spoke the truth, if we spoke with wisdom, if we regularly affirmed one another, if we worked with one another for a single cause instead of our own “pet project,” and if we adopted the compassion and sensitivity of Jesus. If we acted in such a manner, our Church and our world would certainly be positively impacted by that.
Once again we welcome Father Bill Taylor who is celebrating Mass with us this weekend. He is covering for Father Jim who is with the Knights of Columbus this weekend. We are grateful for Father Bill’s presence and his scriptural expertise he shares with us. Thank you, Father Bill, for ministering to us this weekend.
This past Wednesday, we celebrated our first anniversary as Saint John Paul II Parish. We have so much to be thankful for: many good people who have so many gifts to offer and who want only the best for our parish and for the Church. We need to recognize one another’s gifts, affirm them, and come to appreciate that we have all answered the same call to discipleship, and thus, can make a difference in our little corner of the world, of the diocese, and of the Church. Each of us has an important part to play in creating who we are as a parish. I offer a few reflection questions regarding our role in building community.
1) How many new people in our parish have I gone out of my way to meet this past year?
2) Have I initiated conversation with others?
3) Have I extended a helping hand to an elderly member?
4) Have I affirmed a young member for sharing his or her gifts with the faith community?
5) Have I offered someone a ride to church?
6) Have I invited another who may have been “out of touch with the Church” to join me/us in worship?
7) Has hospitality and welcome been a mark of my discipleship?
Let us continue to pray to our patron, Saint John Paul II to help us “open wide the doors to Christ.”
One project that will help us put names on the faces of one another is the Parish Pictorial Directory. Taking on this project was a goal of both the Faith Formation Commission and the Pastoral Council. Please make sure that you sign up to have your picture taken because the directory won’t be complete without you. You can sign up in church on the weekends, and online during the week, Monday 10:00 AM through Friday until 2:00 PM. Our first set of photo shoots is July 27 through August 1. Please note that you do not have to purchase pictures to be part of the photo directory. All who have their pictures taken will receive a complimentary directory and 8x10 photograph.
Special and heartfelt thanks to all who came and helped out at the “Yard Work Day” last Saturday. The parish grounds look great! A lot was accomplished before it began to rain at Noon. It was great to see young and old working together on this project. Thanks to those who provided coffee cake, cookies, and lunch. Thank you to: Jim, Don, Chuck, Diana, Janet, Janie, David, Andrew, Jeffrey, Greg, Drew, John, Paula, Mary, Jo, Cathy and Rita! Please watch for our next Yard Day. (I know some of you mentioned that because of your schedule last weekend, you were unable to help out. Hopefully, you will be able to join us next time).
Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ