This week in prayer:
Once again, it is about Christian courage – the ability and will to do things that (a) are scary, that align with God’s hopes, and that rely on God’s help. We need the gift of Christian courage to be the priests, prophets and kings God calls us to be. This week’s readings underscored the Christian courage we need to be excellent priests.
As baptized persons, we form “the priesthood of all the baptized.” We are called to be people of prayer, people who speak to God and who listen to God. The speaking requires Christian courage. So does the listening, especially when it invites us to change course.
Sunday’s first reading, from Isaiah 66, expressed God’s invitation for people to change their imaginations. Instead of imagining a New Jerusalem populated only by Abraham’s descendants, God wants the people to share the holy mountain with all sorts of strangers. People who truly listened to God had work to do.
The second reading asked people to reconfigure their perceptions of difficulties. Through the author of Hebrews, God encouraged people to stop thinking of difficulties as a sign of God’s displeasure and to see them as consistent with a father’s love. People who truly listened to God had work to do.
In the Gospel, God himself encouraged people to change direction, to head for the narrow gate rather than the wide one, to do the work of making better choices, choices that aligned with God’s hopes. People who truly listened to God had work to do.
What about you? You have had moments when you knew it was God nudging you to change direction. You needed courage to acknowledge the nudge, its source, and its implications. No fireworks. No thunder and lightning. Just a quiet conviction that it was time to change direction and you needed courage to do all that. Perhaps you became aware that your ways of recreating weren’t so great? Perhaps when you convinced that your romance needed a new direction? Perhaps you became sure that you needed to give yourself more generously to studies, or family, or work, or good health, or works of mercy or to prayer? Looking back, how did you know the voice was trustworthy and true? How was it that God gave you the Christian courage to listen well and change direction?
This week in service:
- Starting this weekend and for the next two weeks, parishioners are invited to write encouraging letters to members of the U.S. military stationed all around the world. Directions for how to write the letters will be available in the gathering space. The collection box will also be in the gathering space. Thanks to Grace McHugh for implementing this terrific Point-of-Light Project.
- Remember the “Caregivers Morning of Recollection” on September 10. If you are caring for a loved one who needs extra help, join us. If you know people who are doing that, encourage them to join us. Professional caregivers are also encouraged to attend. No need to be a parishioner or Catholic.
This week in community:
- PARISH PICNIC, September 11 (admission is, as always FREE – as is the fun and the food);
- SESQUI-PALOOZA, October 7 (Tickets go on sale on September 12);
- Sesqui closing Mass with our bishop, Saturday, October 8 at 4:45.
All best blessings – as you round into summer’s home stretch and as you start to imagine all the miracles in store in the upcoming school year.
Fr. Hank, SJ