This weekend we celebrate the Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time. In the Gospel passage, tax collectors and sinners are drawing near to listen to Jesus. And of course, the Pharisees and scribes are present. The latter complain: “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them. So, Jesus tells two parables, both in the form of a question. The first relates to a person with a hundred sheep who loses one. Jesus asks those gathered, “What man among you…would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it?” The question in the second parable is: “Or what woman, having ten coins and losing one, would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it?” In some ways, one might think that the man in the first parable would be foolish to leave the 99 and risk losing them in order to find the one sheep that is lost. Our thinking, our love, and our compassion do not begin to measure up to God’s generosity and love. Also, we do not see the whole picture as God does. We have been given free will and God knows that once in a while one of us may stray, but even when God is attentive to the one who strays, he never takes his eyes off of the rest of us. God’s love and compassion are big enough to handle 100, 1,000, or 1,000,000 of us at the same time. He is always with us, even when we think he may have abandoned us. If we ourselves look at the questions Jesus poses in today’s parables and answer them honestly, it will give us an idea of what we, as disciples of Christ, need to do better in responding to the call to discipleship. We might ask ourselves: Who are the lost? Are we lost? How do we reach out and bring home those who are lost? When we ourselves are lost, how do we find our way home, back to God? Do we really realize God’s tremendous love for us? Are we willing to share that love with others? Are we willing to reach out to others at some cost to ourselves so that no one may feel lost?
The Parish Picnic will take place next Sunday at 12:00 Noon in the Meeting Center (and outdoors). Please join us and take the opportunity to spend some time with fellow parishioners, and, perhaps, meet some new people of our parish. All you need to do is sign the sheets on the parish bulletin board (or call the parish office), let us know how many from your family will attend, and bring a dish to pass. Hope to see many of you at the picnic next Sunday. If you have a Saint John Paul II T-shirt, you might consider wearing it to the picnic.
Each Tuesday, as his schedule permits, Father Jim celebrates evening Mass at 6:30 PM. You are invited and encouraged to attend that Mass, especially if you are unable to attend a morning Mass during the week. Beginning this Tuesday, whenever Father Jim is unable to have evening Mass, we will still have prayer together at 6:30 PM. That prayer will take the form of Liturgy of the Word with Communion. This Tuesday, September 13, will be the first evening we celebrate Liturgy of the Word with Communion.
The Annual Parish Report was to be included in this week’s bulletin. However, the Finance Council had to be rescheduled due to a Funeral Vigil Liturgy at which I presided this past Wednesday evening. I am in the process of touching base with all Finance Council members this week so they can at least have access to this report before it is included in the parish bulletin. Thus, the annual parish report will be available to you in next week’s bulletin.
Special thanks to all who made a donation to the annual mission appeal. You still have one more week to make a contribution (if you have not already done so) before we send our donations to the diocesan Mission Office. They will then send them on to the Diocese of Lexington (Kentucky) where Sister Marge Eilerman who spoke to us last week ministers.
This weekend, 80 members of our parish will be commissioned as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. We thank them for their willingness to take part in this ministry at our parish not only at Sunday Masses but during weekday Eucharist as well, and in ministry to the sick, the hospitalized and the homebound.
Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ