This Week in Prayer, Service & Community - October 5, 2017

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Dear All: 

 

This Week in Prayer

 

In this current stretch of gospels, Jesus tells us something he wants us to know about Our Father. He does that in the gospels of last Sunday, this coming Sunday and the one after that. Last Sunday he told us about how forgiving Our Father is. 

 

Sunday’s first reading made the same point; Jesus’ father, who is our father, forgives lavishly. Ezekiel 18 reveals two shocking truths about the father’s mercy. First, the father does not punish children for their ancestors’ sins. Neither does he punish the parents for their children’s sins. This was an earth-shattering revelation for Ezekiel’s audience. Second, if a sinner puts down the sinful habit and takes up a better way, God the Father will not rub the former sinner’s nose in the old dirt. Sunday’s first reading assures us that if the sinner “turns from the wickedness he has committed, and does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life; since he has turned away from all the sins that he has committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.” As the saying goes, “Every sinner has a future.” God calls each of us to a future of true peace, even after we have done something awful.

 

God’s happiness about our conversions also shines through Sunday’s gospel. The good son in the story is the one who sinned and then repented, the one who said “no” with his words and then “yes” with his actions. The father in the story evidently has no intention of punishing the boy for his earlier transgressions. All the father seeks is the sinner’s true conversion. Jesus suggests that even tax collectors and prostitutes – viewed as the lowest of the low by his peers – need only put down the old sin and lay hold of the peaceful future God the father has prepared. Every sinner has a future.

 

So what about you? When have you teetered on the brink of despair? When have you thought “it’s all over” because of some blunder great or small? What helped you reclaim the path to peace? What helped you remember that it was not “too late,” that true peace was still possible? And maybe, is there someone in your life who is dwelling right at the edge of despair? Someone who thinks they have committed an unforgivable sin? Who might need to be reminded, with great sensitivity and deference, that Jesus’s father, our father, is a trillion times more forgiving than the most forgiving person who ever lived (except Jesus of course!). Where might you be called to spread that good news: Every sinner has a future?

  • All best blessings for the dozens of women who, on Monday night, started the new year of “Walking with Purpose.” Special blessings for those who are both new to the program and new to the parish. May your adventure be greatly inspired. And special thanks to Mary MacPhee and all program leaders.

  • Hats off to the several parishioners who joined the “Life Chain” on Sunday in Somerset to, among other things, pray for a more pervasive respect for every human life.

  • Thanks to Fr. Greg Uhrig for Wednesday’stalk about St. Francis. In typical Fr. Greg form, it was fun, informative, and challenging. How do we “rebuild the church” as “imitators of Christ?”

  • The Remembrance Trees return on November 1. Help us remember your deceased loved ones. If you turned in their names last year, you are set. If not, put their names in the communications box ASAP.

  • Listen to this week's readings and homily
  • Read last Sunday's readings 
  • Read the coming Sunday's readings 

This Week in Community

  • Attention Gluten-intolerant parishioners – Eucharist for the gluten intolerant will start this weekend. Check with Fr. Hank or the ushers to learn more. (Also, please see the handouts on the Moses Table.)  

  • The new and improved parish calendar is up and running on the parish web page. Good for us! PLEASE NOTE – over the next few weeks we will try to put EVERYTHING on the calendar. If you expect to be in church other than at Mass time, make sure your event is listed on the calendar. Otherwise, the space you expect to use might be given away. The surge in parish activities is a huge blessing – and requires good coordination. Thanks for helping. We will soon have a parish email address for you to use to submit your entry for the calendar. 

  • Remember Veterans – Mark your calendars for the 11:30 Mass on Sunday November 12, the day after Veteran’s Day. Your parish wants to honor you. Check out the Moses table for the cards we want you to fill out and return before November 5. (It will take you about 90 seconds to complete the cards.)

  • Great blessings for Fr. Greg and for all who facilitated the festivities on ST FRANCIS DAY. It was a great day to participate in Mass, learn about St. Francis, join the prayer for the rededication of the St. Francis garden and room, and enjoy the remarkably great food. 

  • Special thanks to the Knights for the new TV in the Hospitality Room, to Al Garlatti for the renovations, and to the Bogado family for enabling the painting to happen so very well. Big thanks too to all who worked in the garden, especially in the hot months, to dig out the old soil, put in the new, and get the planting going: Walt Rusak, Elizabeth and Roger Prince, the Girl Scouts, Michelle Tuck, John Tamburini, Ken Wetzel, Mark Dorrler, Vin and Suzanne Kral, JoAnne Delasko (who always seemed scheduled to work on the hottest days), and Rich Pennachio. Extra special thanks to Ken and Donna Scherer and Hillsborough Irrigation for providing extra labor at the clutch moments and for installing the sod and irrigation system, but only charging us for the downspouts! Thanks to Jane Lappin of Wainscott Farm for donating the truckload of plants that launched the whole project.

  • The blessing of the animals will take place on Saturday morning, 10/7 – right after the 8:30 Mass. Bring your pet, whatever it is. Just make sure that if it can move it is on a FIXED-LENGTH LEASH!

  • The diocesan festival choir will provide us with a Taize concert on Sunday, October 15 at 7:30 pm. If you have never heard a Taize chant concert, seize the opportunity. If you have heard one, you know you don’t want to miss this. The music reflects themes found in Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato si' (On Care For Our Common Home). I will be giving a brief reflection on the encyclical. 

This Week in Service

  • The poor boxes will continue to collect money for disaster relief. The situations in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands call for even more help. Thanks for your continued generosity. 

  • Thanks to the parishioners who have generously agreed to join the two new committees of the Parish Council: the Social Ministries Advisory Committee and the Mission and Planning Committee. Both groups are off to rollicking great starts and both are situated to make great contributions to our parish life.

With prayers for the many parishioners who, this month, are bravely facing difficult medical situations. You are an inspiration to us all. And with hope that these spectacular days are days of great grace for every last parishioner. 

 

Best blessings

 

Fr Hank