This weekend we celebrate the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Once again we hear a portion of the Bread of Life Discourse in John’s Gospel. For the past two weekends we have been called to deepen our understanding of how we “become what we eat,” (that is, the Body of Christ). We have reflected upon how the reception of Eucharist creates a transformation within us. That transformation helps us to be the face of Christ to all whom we encounter. Eucharist gives us the grace to be persons who are hospitable, loving, compassionate, forgiving, and who help create unity and community. Living in this manneris quite unlike the individuals we hear about in the Scriptures who are murmuring, grumbling and complaining, whether about the manna from heaven God provided or about the “Bread of Life who came down from heaven” himself and is in their midst. This Sunday’s Gospel passage begins by repeating the final verse of last Sunday’s Gospel. The Jews begin to quarrel among themselves. They do not understand how Jesus can give them his flesh to eat. Jesus says, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life…” If we really believe this, what about Catholics who go week after week without celebrating and receiving Eucharist? They are becoming spiritually mal-nourished. Some of them are our relatives and friends. Do you ever think of inviting them back to Church? Do you ever think of giving them a ride to church and sitting with them (especially if they have been away for a long time)? Do you ever think of sharing your appreciation of Eucharist with them, telling them what it means in your life? You may think all of these questions are for priests and religious. However, we are all called to evangelization. Evangelization can begin right at home. In some cases it may be the hardest place to begin, because our efforts may create some tension. My suggestion: gently invite (more than once), enter into conversation, tell others how much you care for them and want only the best for them, let them know the community misses them and let them know you are praying for them.
Welcome, Father Randy Kelly! Thank you for covering for Father Jim so that he could accompany his parents to Wyoming and attend the family celebration of his brother Joe’s 25th Wedding Anniversary. I always look forward to Father Randy’s homilies. All who were here last Saturday know the he gave us much to think about, when speaking of spiritual maturity and the Eucharist. He reminded us that “the “Gift” part of Eucharist is easy to accept. However, he said that the “call” part (the expectation that comes with the “Gift”), the Divine challenge that is part of sharing in the Divine life sometimes can cause us to grumble, murmur, and complain. He left us with a question to ponder: “Are you spiritually mature enough to walk up the aisle this Sunday to accept the Gift…as well as the challenge? Or might you walk away grumbling…murmuring or complaining?”
All of the necessary paperwork and materials for the next phase of selling Saint John the Baptist Church were submitted to Bishop Cistone this month. The Bishop met with the Presbyteral Council this past Tuesday. Our request to put Saint John the Baptist Church up for sale was on the agenda. In consultation with the Presbyteral Council, the bishop granted our request. According to Sister Mary Judith, Chancellor to the Bishop, we will soon be receiving a decree, signed by Bishop Cistone, changing the future status of the Saint John the Baptist Church from consecrated to profane use. The Latin words nunc pro tunc are used in the decree, meaning “now for later” (when the time comes). Just for your information, the word profane in canonical terminology does not have a negative connotation; it simply means that the church building will no longer serve as a place consecrated for Catholic liturgy and may be used in the future in a way that serves or complements the faith. When I receive the official decree, it will be posted in our church buildings and I will share a copy of it with you via the bulletin. Until the Church is sold, Sister Mary Judith reminded me that we are to continue to have altar, ambo, chair, seating, etc., in place and continue to use it as a church for occasional use (as we have been doing).
In the past two weeks, we received 12 more CSA pledges. A total of 292 households have made a pledge (73% of our parish households). This is a great response thus far! Our total pledges amount to $42,530.00. Thank you for your generosity. We still need a response from 108 households. Together, we can make a difference. If you have not yet made a pledge, please prayerfully consider how you are able to help out this year.
I will miss being with you next Sunday for Eucharist as I will be on vacation. Pray for safe travel for me and for all who continue to vacation these last weeks of summer. Be good to Father Jim!
Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ