This Sunday we celebrate the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Gospel passage is familiar. Jesus enters a village and is welcomed by a woman named Martha. Her sister Mary sits at the feet of Jesus, listening to him as he speaks. Meanwhile, Martha is doing domestic chores and then complains to Jesus that her sister is not helping out. Jesus responds, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. Mary has chosen the better part...” Our first reaction may be that Jesus prefers Mary to Martha or that he is belittling what Martha is doing. Think back of the past several Sundays’ Gospels: Jesus is teaching his followers about the meaning and the cost of discipleship. We know that he had both men and women followers. He encourages those he sends forth by telling them he will be with them no matter what they encounter. When Luke wrote this Gospel, he may have been confronted by Christians asking the question: Is being a true disciple of Jesus one who embraces the contemplative life (being in the Lord’s presence) or the active life (doing good works motivated by the teachings of Jesus)? Both are viable ministries: prayer and service. Both can bring us close to the Lord. However, we must maintain a balance between both of them. Prayer supports service (our vocation); service (ministry and vocation) lead us to prayer. When prayer or service are out of balance, it may mean that, like Martha, we are anxious and worried about many things which may cause us to use either prayer or work as an escape. Perhaps Mary found the balance and Martha was still working at it. There was a time when Sisters were given a religious name. My class was told that we would be keeping our baptismal names. Members of the class who entered a year earlier were invited to submit three names. One individual, with whom I was in Novitiate, was given the name Sister Martha Mary (one of her choices). She asked for that name because she believed we all had to have a balance of Martha and Mary in our lives. This week, let us ask ourselves: How do both Martha and Mary have an impact on the way in which we live out our discipleship?
This weekend, we welcome Father Bill Taylor. We are grateful to have him preside at our liturgies. When Father Bill works out his quarterly calendar dates (every three months), he always checks with me before he finalizes them, to see if Saint John Paul II Parish needs the assistance of “our priest for occasional use” (as he calls himself) on his open dates. It certainly makes scheduling substitute priests easy for me. Thank you, Father Bill, for being with us once again!
This is the last weekend that Saint John Paul II Parish T-shirts will be on sale. The absolute deadline for orders to be turned in to the Parish Office is this coming Wednesday, July 20. If you are still considering whether or not to buy a t-shirt, please know that they are available in both youth and adult sizes. They are a 50% cotton 50% polyester blend. Sizes through extra-large are $10.00, and sizes 2x and larger are $11.00. Please consider buying a t-shirt to wear at parish events: parish picnic, funeral luncheons, food pantry, paczki sale, etc.
Make sure you take a look at the stewardship report and the CSA report in today’s bulletin. For the first two Sundays of the new fiscal year, we are on target and a bit ahead of our budgeted Sunday income. Thank you very much for being so conscientious about making sure your envelopes get to us in a timely manner during these summer months. As for CSA 2016, we have now reached 91% of our assessment ($50,200.75 of $54,960.00). Thank you for your continued generosity to the wider Church!
I will not be present at the parish for liturgies next weekend as I will be at Nazareth celebrating my Golden Jubilee with my two classmates, other sisters celebrating 60, 70, and 75 years, and the Sisters of Saint Joseph living at Nazareth. Bishop Paul J. Bradley, bishop of the Diocese of Kalamazoo, will preside at Eucharist on Sunday. I am really looking forward to being with and celebrating with my Religious Community. Please pray for me and all of the Sisters of Saint Joseph celebrating a jubilee this year.
Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ