This weekend we celebrate the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Gospel passage from Saint Matthew continues with Jesus challenging his disciples, and all of us, to go deeper into what laws, precepts, and traditions appear to indicate at face value. Today Jesus particularly takes up the notion of revenge: an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Jesus makes it very clear that this is no way for a disciple to act. He says that we must love our enemies and do good to those who persecute us. Why? It is because our heavenly Father loves, unconditionally and without distinction, all whom he has created. As children of the heavenly Father, and as brothers and sisters in Christ, the law of love reigns above all laws. Jesus says, “If you love those who love you, what recompense do you have?” He points out that tax collectors and pagans do the same. And then Jesus presents us with the challenge, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” He knows that this is not easy. We would rather exchange a rude remark when someone hurls one at us. We prefer to boycott an event or hold back something (e.g. our love, our forgiveness, our money, a smile, a kind word, etc.) when we feel someone has wronged us. How easy it is in this age of technology to respond curtly immediately, before giving thought, to an email message, a text, or a tweet. How much easier it is to listen to the loudest voices, who may not be speaking the truth, instead of listening to the word of God in the silence of our hearts. When we do this, we react to a perceived wrong instead of responding as a disciple who reflects God’s love. This coming week, let us reflect upon what we ourselves need to do or change in order to “be perfect” as our heavenly Father is perfect.
We welcome Father Andy Booms who is presiding at the 4:00 PM Mass this Saturday. Father Andy is one of our younger priests of our diocese, ordained in 2007. He is presently Rector of the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption and Director Vocations for the Diocese of Saginaw. We also welcome Father George Amos who is presiding at the 9:30 AM Mass. Father George comes from Nigeria. He was ordained in 2001 and has served as Parochial Vicar, Pastor, and Chancellor in his home diocese. In 2014, his bishop sent him for studies in the United States. Recently, Father George has been in residence at Saint Helen Rectory/Christ the Good Shepherd Parish. Beginning this week, he will be filling in at Holy Name of Mary Parish in Harbor Beach for the next six weeks. We are most grateful that both Father Andy and Father George are able to be with us this weekend while Father Jim is in Baltimore for the Mid-Atlantic Religious Education Conference.
Blessings on your Week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ