This weekend we celebrate the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time. Once again, the Gospel passage from John is taken from the “Bread of Life” Discourse. In this section, many of the disciples of Jesus are murmuring and questioning: “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” Many of them walk away and return to their former way of life. I would think this might be unsettling to Jesus who then asks the twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answers, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” A couple of weeks ago, I read a reflection on this particular scripture passage from Saint Cyril of Alexandria (a Doctor of the Church and one of the most important theologians of the early Church) thatI would like to share with you.
To whom shall we go? Peter asks. In other words, “Who else will instruct us the way you do?” Or, “To whom shall we go to find anything better?” You have the words of eternal life; not hard words, as those other disciples say, but words that will bring us to the loftiest goal, unceasing, endless life removed from all corruption. These words surely make quite obvious to us the necessity of sitting at the feet of Christ, taking him as our one and only teacher, and giving him our constant and undivided attention. He must be our guide who knows well how to lead us to everlasting life. Thus, shall we ascend to the divine court of heaven, and, entering the church of the firstborn, delight in blessings passing all human understanding.
But accompanying the Savior, Christ, and following him is by no means to be thought of as something done by the body. It is accomplished rather by deeds springing from virtue. Upon such virtue, the wisest disciples firmly fixed their minds and refused to depart with the unbelievers, which they saw would be fatal. With good reason they cried out, “Where can we go?” It was as though they said, “We will stay with you always and hold fast to your commandments. We will receive your words without finding fault or thinking your teaching hard as the ignorant do, but thinking rather, How sweet are your words to my throat! Sweeter to my mouth are they than honey or the honeycomb.”
The first of our socks, t-shirts, and underwear collections for Carrollton and Zilwaukee Elementary School students takes place this weekend. If you are able to make a contribution, and have not done so, you may still do so next weekend.
Throughout this past year, Bishop Cistone has been providing some talks on CD related to the Year of Marriage proclaimed by the Bishops of Michigan. Since the CD will not be played in Church this weekend, I asked Alex to put a copy of his message in the bulletin. Be sure to read it.
Thus far, we have approximately 200 households (including those who have already had their pictures taken) signed up for a photo session for the Parish Directory. If you have not yet signed up, please do so soon. We need your participation to make the Directory complete. The final week for pictures to be taken is September 8-12. There are still several appointment times available. Also, if any of you have pictures from parish celebrations this past year (i.e. Baptism, Confirmation, First Eucharist, Marriage, etc.), please share them with Alex who will be working on the layout of the directory. You may bring the pictures to the Parish Office or send a digital copy via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to Alex. Soon, she will begin taking pictures of the various Councils, Commissions, Ministries, and groups of the parish.
CSA contributions continue to be turned in. Thank you for your generosity and for being so conscientious about returning your pledge! Remember, it is not the size of the pledge that matters; together we can make a difference.
I am writing this article two days before leaving for vacation and have not yet received the decree from the Bishop regarding changing the status of Saint John the Baptist Church. When the decree does arrive, it will be posted in all three Church sites and copies will be made and inserted into the bulletin so that you may read it.
Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ