This Week in Prayer, Service & Community - October 19, 2017


Dear All: 


Christ’s Peace!


This Week in Prayer


Our heavenly father is perfectly fair. The second part of Sunday’s gospel might seem to depict God as somewhat unfair, but a closer look helps to dispel that misperception.


The first part of Sunday’s gospel (Matthew 22: 1-10) describes a tragic situation. A king invites people to his son’s wedding but the invited guests kill the messengers. The king has an extreme reaction; he executes the murderers and destroys their city. The destruction is a little hard to reconcile with our belief in an all-loving God, but beneath the king’s rage lies an anger we might regard as “fair.” The king is entitled to be sad, angry and outraged.


The second part of Sunday’s gospel (Matthew 22: 11-14) is harder to absorb. The poor fellow described there gets the bum’s rush. And why did the king’s attendants tie him up and throw him out the door? Because he did not dress properly. The extreme reaction to a dress-code violation seems quite unfair – until the parable is considered more carefully.


The pieces of the parable are easily grasped: the king is God the Father, the Son is Jesus, the wedding feast is the early church, and the messengers are the later prophets including John the Baptist who invite people to follow Christ in the church. The wedding garment is a symbol of conversion. Like an adult’s white baptismal garment, it symbolizes conversion. It shows that the person has put off the old habits and put on the new. 


Thus, the person who shows up at the banquet without discarding the old garment is the one who comes into the church but has no intention of converting or repenting. The person who shows up without changing clothes is the person who says, “I am fine the way I am; I have no need to change.” Such a person would not be at home in the church, a community of imperfect humans who recognize their imperfections and continually strive for conversion and the symbolic putting on of new garments. Seen from that perspective, the dress code violation and the king’s reaction seem to be fair.


What about you? Chances are you accept as “fair” God’s invitation to ongoing conversion. Chances are you are wearing the proverbial wedding garment, you are dressed for conversion, you are willing to answer God’s invitation to greater holiness. What are some of your recent conversions? What have been some of the small steps – not dramatic overhauls, or radical alterations, just the simple next steps – that indicate your availability to ongoing conversion? How have you grown in prayer, in service, in the building up of the community? Which of your choices remind you that God is fair in asking for ongoing conversion and you are good at responding? And what about next steps? Where might you be feeling the nudge to take that next step in prayer, in service, in community? That next step that reflects God’s completely fair invitation to ongoing conversion.


This Week in Community

  • MONSTERS INC. – Do what you can to get you and your small ones to the hospitality room at 7:00 pm on Friday for the first children’s’ movie night of the season. The big screen is ready and the carpet is all scrubbed up! Feel free to come in your PJs and bring blankets. Unlike Sunday’s gospel, no dress code!

  • Thanks to those Veterans who have already submitted their cards for the 11:30 Mass on November 12, at which we will pray for and honor our veterans. We hope that most will be able to join us for lunch.

  • N.B. – Parents and spouses of currently active service members – we would be honored if you too could join us for the Mass and lunch on 11/12. Please fill out a card with your service-person’s info.

  • Those who participated in Sunday night’s Taizéprayer service know what a gift the evening was. Thanks to the diocesan festival choir and to all at St. Joe’s who supported the effort. Special thanks to our youth group for providing hot dogs and pizza between the 6 pm Mass and the prayer service.

  • BIG thanks to Natalie Zuccarello and the teen volunteers who restarted CHILDREN'S LITURGY OF THE WORD on Sunday. Your efforts are a great gift to the entire community. 

  • High Schoolers - are you ready for Scare Farm? See you Saturday at 6pm. Don’t forget your permission slip!

  • Seventh graders - great work at the Young Ministers’ Mass this Sunday! You were an inspiration to the community.

  • Stay tuned for updates about our ways of welcoming new parishioners. There will be plenty of chances for plenty of parishioners to be part of the welcome process. 

This Week in Service

  • Our PUMPKIN PATCH KIDS (PPKs) will be selling pumpkins after the 9:30 and 11:30Masses this Sunday. Proceeds will help combat hunger in our very own part of the world. Superb work PPKs!

  • Great thanks to all the St. Joe’s folk who participated in our effort to co-sponsor last week’s shelter at the Dutch Reformed Church. Your effort to support the Interfaith Hospitality Network is exemplary.

  • The Baby-Bottle Project is almost here. Proceeds from this collection enable young women to live in a safe and respectful setting as they “yes” to the graces and challenges of motherhood. Fill a bottle!

  • Great thanks to Susan Wund, Peter Tabernero and our entire squad of sacristans. Your efforts draw so little attention and provide such a terrific service. Think of how befuddled we would be without you.  

Today’s feast is quite a special one. St. Isaac and his companions demonstrated extraordinary devotion to their communities. They lived and moved in our part of the world and have so much to teach us – especially those parishioners who are facing significant challenges. For every parishioner, for the upcoming week and always, may God continue to multiply your joys and divide your sorrows.


Best blessings


Fr Hank