This weekend we celebrate the Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Gospel passage presents us with two unrelated situations. Both deal with a form of hardness of heart. Both demonstrate the failure of individuals to see and understand relationships with one another and with God as key to discipleship. The first part of the Gospel relates the story about the Pharisees, who, in their “hardness of heart,” confront Jesus regarding his stance on marriage and divorce. The second segment of the Gospel deals with the disciples’ “hardness of heart” in rebuking people for bringing their children to Jesus. In both of these instances, Jesus upholds human relationship as fundamental to embracing the kingdom of God. In each situation, Jesus embraces and affirms those who are faithful and those who are blessed by God. Jesus “raises the bar,” so to speak. He expects more from his disciples than the Jewish law simply permits. Jesus challenges old traditions in which women and children were seen as the “least,” as those who counted for nothing. Jesus always tries to teach us God’s intention for our lives, and he emphasizes that nothing should get in the way of God’s intention. God desires to be in relationship with us. He sent his Son, Jesus, who through the Incarnation, demonstrates that it is possible for all of us to be in relationship with God. Both the Pharisees and the disciples suffer from short-sightedness in today’s Gospel. They look at situations and laws merely from a human point of view. Sometimes we experience the same thing when we allow unimportant or insignificant things to come between us and our relationship with God and with one another. As we further reflect upon today’s Gospel, let us ask ourselves the following questions: 1) When have I been “hard of heart” or “short-sighted”? 2) How did it affect my relationship with God or with another person? 3) How has Jesus helped me to “soften my heart” because of his loving embrace of me?
Every two years, the priests of the Diocese of Saginaw gather for an Assembly with the Bishop. It is a time of spiritual and intellectual enrichment and recreation. This year, they will gather this Sunday evening, October 4, at the Grand Traverse Resort in Acme, MI. This meeting is required of all diocesan priests in active ministry and is open to those senior priests who wish to attend. Their time together will last through Wednesday, October 7. Father Frank DeSiano, CSP, president of Paulist Evangelization Ministries in Washington, D.C., a nation-wide speaker and noted writer in the area of evangelization, discipleship and spirituality, will address the priests this week. Please keep Bishop Cistone and all the priests of our diocese in your prayers. As most of the priests are away this coming week, there are a small number of Senior priests available for funerals. Please carefully consult the Daily Prayer and Liturgical Schedule in today’s bulletin for Mass times and places this week. Saint John Paul II Parish will only have Mass on Friday. Liturgy of the Word with Communion will be celebrated on both Wednesday and Thursday this week.
October is Respect Life Month. Today is Respect Life Sunday. This year’s theme is: Every Life is Worth Living. On Sunday, October 11, Bishop Cistone will be celebrating the annual Respect Life Mass at 5: 30 PM at the Cathedral.
October is also the month dedicated to the Rosary. Each weekend, (both Saturday and Sunday) 45 minutes before Mass begins, the rosary will be led by members of the Rosary Altar Society. If you wish to join in praying the rosary, please be in Church by 3:15 PM on Saturday and 8:45 AM on Sunday.
Now is the time of year to renew or submit names for the Memorial page of our bulletin. If you wish to continue to have your loved one’s name on the back cover of the bulletin, or if you wish to add a name for the coming year, please see the flyer with instructions in today’s bulletin.
Lifetouch Pictures will be at Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish at the end of the month for photo sessions. Those who missed our photography dates (or had to cancel) may have their picture taken at Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish. For further information, please see the article in today’s bulletin.
Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ