Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

This weekend we celebrate the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time.  For our parish, it is hardly an ordinary Sunday.  Father Jim will baptize triplets.  We congratulate Jessica and Jason Bursick and son, Brodey, on the baptism of: Bevyn Rosaleigh, Breckyn John, and Blake Richard.  What a joy it is for all of us to welcome these children into the Catholic faith!  We pledge our continued support and prayers to the Bursick family as they begin no small task of keeping up with and raising their children in the Catholic faith.

This Sunday’s Gospel passage recounts the story of a Pharisee who invites Jesus to dine with him.  A sinful woman, in town, learns that Jesus is going to be at the house of the Pharisee.  She brings ointment, stands behind Jesus weeping, begins to bathe his feet with her tears, wipes them with her hair, kisses them, and anoints them.  The Pharisee is quite uncomfortable and presumes Jesus doesn’t know the woman’s reputation.  Jesus turns to him and praises the woman, comparing her actions of hospitality with Simon’s lack of hospitality.  Jesus then says, “I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love.  But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”  That line may sound a bit strange since we know God is generous in forgiveness.  However, not all of us appreciate the depth of God’s love.  This Jubilee Year urges us to take time to experience God’s mercy, to let it touch our hearts, to express our gratitude for that mercy, and in turn, to treat others with the same great love, mercy, and compassion God has for us.  As we reflect upon this Gospel further, let us ask ourselves a few questions.  With whom do I identify most in this Gospel: the Pharisee, the woman, or Jesus?  How have I experienced God’s great mercy and forgiveness?  How has this mercy and forgiveness caused me to treat others with compassion, respect, and hospitality? 

You will notice that there is a large crucifix now hanging in the sanctuary of the church.  During the past year, the parish Art and Environment Committee has discussed the possibility of placing the large crucifix in the sanctuary.   It had been in storage here and recently has undergone a little bit of “touching up.”  Built of Living Stones, published by USCCB contains the guidelines of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops regarding art, architecture, and worship.  It is the document (along with the Introduction to the Roman Missal and particular diocesan guidelines) which dioceses and parishes within the United States follow and consult when considering a change or addition to the Worship space.  Regarding the cross (#91), Built of Living Stones says: “The cross with the image of Christ crucified is a reminder of Christ’s paschal mystery.  It draws us into the mystery of suffering and makes tangible our belief that our suffering when united with the passion and death of Christ leads to redemption.”  It further states: “There should be a crucifix positioned either on the altar or near it…clearly visible to the people gathered there…Since a crucifix placed on the altar and large enough to be seen by the congregation might well obstruct the view of the actiontaking place on the altar, other alternatives may be more appropriate.”  The alternatives mentioned are a cross-suspended in the sanctuary, a cross affixed to the wall in the sanctuary, or a processional cross.  The document also states: “If there is already a cross in the sanctuary, the processional cross is placed out of view of the congregation following the procession.”    The Guidelines and Protocols for the Design and Renovation of Churches and Chapels (for the Diocese of Saginaw) summarize material from the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, the Book of Blessings, and Built of Living Stones.  It states: “There is to be a crucifix with only one corpus, the image of the crucified Christ, placed near the altar.  This crucifix may be permanent (suspended above the altar or fixed to a sanctuary wall are two approaches) or it may be a processional cross that is placed near the altar to serve as the altar crucifix. Whichever option is chosen, the cross is to be clearly visible to the assembly as a reminder of Christ’s paschal mystery.  The use of the processional cross is to be retained during the celebration of the Eucharist…Following its use in the procession, the processional cross is placed out of the view of the assembly so as not to duplicate the image of the fixed crucifix.”


Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ