This weekend we celebrate the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time. In the Gospel passage Jesus tells the parable about two people who went to the temple area to pray, one a Pharisee, and the other a tax collector. Note the first line of the Gospel: “Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else.” In his prayer, the Pharisee boasts about all that he does, and thanks God that he is not like the rest of humanity. The tax collector simply prays, “O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” Jesus points out that the tax collector went home justified. Jesus then says, “…whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” The Pharisee prayed in such a way that he really had no need of God; he felt justified in his words and actions and separated himself from the tax collector, and all of humanity. We encounter people like this in our own lives. We don’t necessarily hear their prayer, but we do witness their words and actions. Basically they criticize everyone around them and can’t seem to say a good word about anyone. They think their ways are best. Through their words and actions, they alienate others. “Buying into their world view,” only brings grief, frustration, sadness, delusion, and negative energy to those who bond with and follow them. So, how do we react to them, and how do we try to convince them to move in a positive direction, to see the goodness in others, and to realize our common need of salvation? Jesus came to save us. He saw the tax collector’s sincerity of heart in his prayer, “be merciful to me, a sinner.” The tax collector trusted in the love and mercy of God. Because he experienced God’s mercy and forgiveness, he could extend the same to others. A person that prays in like manner, usually is kind and compassionate toward others, inclusive of others, appreciates and respects life, and has a positive effect on those who associate with him or her. When we are around people like that, we say, “What a blessing that person is!” We might even comment on how Christ-like the person is. No matter how Christ-like we are, we still need God’s mercy. Let our prayer this week be similar to that of the tax collector: “O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” Then, we shall be justified, raised up, and exalted by our God.
Next Tuesday, November 1st is a holy day of obligation. Please take note of the Mass schedule in today’s bulletin. Besides the holy day schedule, you will find the Mass times for The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed/All Souls Day and the Remembrance of the Dead Liturgy.
Special thanks to Father Bill Taylor for covering 9:30 AM Mass for Father Jim this Sunday. Both Father Jim and I are most grateful to Father Bill for offering to cover next weekend’s Masses and those of the holy day while Father Jim and I have the opportunity to participate in the diocesan Pilgrimage to Italy with Bishop Cistone and Father Richard Jozwiak (this Jubilee Year of Mercy). Please pray for us as we will be praying for all of you at Mass each day of the pilgrimage.
The Fall Craft Show and Bazaar is two short weeks away. Please make it a point to buy or pick up some raffle tickets to sell. The prizes are all $100.00 gift cards to the following places: Cabela’s Outpost, Macy’s, Toys R Us, Meijer, and Target. Any proceeds from the sale of the tickets will go toward long needed improvements to the Education Center Kitchen. The more tickets we sell, the more money we will have for the kitchen. Tickets are available after weekend Masses and at the Parish Office Center during the week.
Our Annual “Remembrance of the Dead” Liturgy will take place on Tuesday, December 15 at 2:00 PM. All those who have lost a loved one in death whose funeral Mass or Funeral rites were celebrated this past year as part of the parish of Saint John Paul II are invited to this celebration. A candle will be lit in memory of each of them and will be placed near the baptismal font. Their pictures will be in the bulletin during the month of November.
Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ