This Week – November 9, 2018
Thank you to all our veterans and boundless thanks to the loved ones of all who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. We look forward to praying for you and with you and to thanking you this weekend, at the 11:30 Mass and at the party that follows in the parish hall. Thanks in advance to Debra Grimmer and her many generous helpers who make the event happen. And of course thanks to the Knights for the lunch.
Sorry about the phishing emails some of you received from a fake “Father Hank” account asking you to donate gift cards or to call me. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you see an email from fr.hhilton coming from a gmail account – delete it immediately. Also, I do not solicit contributions of any sort via email. Only in the last few days have I been made aware that there is a whole cottage industry of people out there who pretend, via email, to be priests. Rough stuff. Onward!
THIS WEEK IN PRAYER
Trees of Remembrance – Blessings for those of you have a chance to pray at the Trees of Remembrance. Great thanks to MaryAnn Comiskey and all who put the trees together. It is a giant undertaking. The Trees present an opportune moment for parents and CCD teachers to help younger parishioners learn our fundamental prayer for our deceased loved ones:
Eternal rest grant unto them oh Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Temple Beth-El – Thanks and blessings for the many parishioners who all who joined the very moving ecumenical prayer service at Temple Beth-El last Monday. The show of solidarity was impressive. Many of the brief reflections by area religious leaders were clearly inspired. Thanks too to the parishioners who were such cheerful givers when it came to sharing our bus with many others. May God hear our prayers, prevent recurrences of the Pittsburgh tragedy, put an end to anti-Semitism and an end to all violence.
Confirmandi – Congratulations and thanks to the 60+ young people who formally began their preparation for confirmation at Sunday’s 6:00 pm Mass. Thanks to the confirmandi for their participation. It is a great gift for all of us. Thanks to the parents, the sponsors-to-be and the CCD staff for putting it all together. Together, all of you make our parish and our larger church better.
CCD Resumes this Week – Calling all CCD students and teachers. Classes resume Tuesday. I hope your days off for the Teachers’ Convention were enjoyable.
Sunday’s Homily – “Perfection? Part I: God Loves Progress”
To listen to Sunday's homily, click here.
To read a summary of it, go to the bottom of this page
THIS WEEK IN SERVICE:
Thanksgiving Food Drive – Help us feed those in need this Thanksgiving by providing a food basket for a family. Our goal is to fill 100 baskets for families and we need your help! Download the shopping list here. If you can't do a whole basket we are also collecting other non-perishable items. All food can be brought to the Memorial Hallway starting Nov. 10 and must be there by Friday afternoon Nov. 16.
Our Advent Giving Tree – Since most of us have not yet gotten around to putting away the porch furniture, it is a little bit hard to believe that it is almost time for the Advent Giving Tree. But it is. Thanks in advance to all who are already working hard at making this year’s project a great success.
Our Knitting and Crocheting Stars – Blessings for those who join forces to produce the beautiful afghans and blankets that continue to delight the residents of area nursing homes. Your labor of love brings great happiness to many – and gives the faith and its communities such great credibility.
THIS WEEK IN COMMUNITY:
Gathering Space Flowers – The sister/brother team from the Flower Barn, Angelo Yaccone and Rosie Tamburini – take great care of us with church flowers each week. Extra special thanks to Ang and Rosie for last week’s flowers. In honor of the anniversary of their mom, they provided their mom’s favorite flowers, all from the tropics. Loads of people commented on the arrangement’s beauty.
Becca’s Friends – Three cheers for all involved in the Becca’s Friends Ministry. Tonight the ministry is hosting “Arc’s Got Talent!” – a talent show for many of our area friends with special needs who are served by the Arc. Tomorrow night is the big (pre-) Thanksgiving dinner cooked by guess who?
Thanksgiving Tailgate – Sort of. Given the great time had by all at last year’s gathering, we will once again have a BYOB get-together on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The 5:00 pm Mass will be followed by a 6:00 BYOB and much Thanksgiving merriment.
Youth Group Reunion – While the adults gather in the Hospitality Room, the college kids will be getting together in the Parish Hall. Remind your college student (in case they don’t read “This Week”) to join us for the 5:00 pm Mass and the post-Mass wingding.
Parking Lot Lights – The lights are just about finished. All the bad wires have been replaced and we have electricity to each pole. All we need to do now is replace two special-order lightbulbs and replace the pole we lost in one of last year’s blizzards. Thanks to all for your cooperation during the project.
Family Wreath-making for Advent – Eat pizza and make your Advent wreath! Who could ask for more? Join the fun on Sunday, November 18 from 12:30 – 3:00 PM in the Parish Hall. Register at the parish’s Religious Education website or call Mr. Jungels in the parish office to RSVP. It is a mighty fine time
Artifacts Roadshow Will Be Back – Not sure what to do with those inherited statues, rosaries, crucifixes or other “holy items”? Keep them safe at home until Lent. We will then collect them in the gathering space and deliver them to the organization in PA that then finds them new homes in mission territories of every sort.
PJ Anderson is Returning – Mark your calendar for the return of Nashville recording artist P.J. Anderson. P.J. will be here to lead us in song and fun on Friday, November 30. See you there.
With blessings for every parishioner,
Summary of November 4 Homily:
Perfection? Part 1: God Loves Progress
Moses lays down a most intimidating challenge in Sunday’s first reading. Jesus repeats the challenge in Sunday’s gospel. Both challenges sound like an unachievable call to perfection.
What should be our response when scripture or other voices call us to unachievable perfection? Politely ignore the call? Pretend to be perfect? Engage it? And if we engage it, which way do we go?
Both Moses (Deuteronomy 6: 2-6) and Jesus (Mark 12: 28-34) challenge us to love God completely. Moses says: “you shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Jesus adds a fourth aspect: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” How are we to interpret the “all” aspect of both commands? And what are we to do if we come up short? If we feel as if we do not love God with all our heart and all our soul and all our might?
Maybe just maybe, after studying the complex backgrounds of the worlds “heart,” “soul,” and “strength” – and after reflecting on the way Jesus interacts with people through the gospels – perhaps we should hear Moses and Jesus as calling us to make progress rather than to covet perfection. Perhaps we should put less emphasis on being perfect, which we will never be in this lifetime and more emphasis on making progress.
Might it be that when Jesus asks us to “love God with all our heart” he is asking us to look at our relationships and wonder about the ways they glorify God and lead people to peace? And maybe He wants us to wonder about relationships that we don’t yet have and should have, especially with people at the edge? Maybe Jesus is saying that he wants us to try to make progress in all of them, enrich them in ways that delight God, both the important relationships and the less important ones.
Might it be that when Jesus asks us to “love God with all our soul” he is asking us to look at our aspirations and wonder about the ways they glorify God and lead people to peace. Might he want us to seek progress in all the aspirations that our souls hold? To hold them up to the light of his life and wonder how we might tweak each of our ambitions? To seek progress rather than perfection in all of our ambitions and aspirations?
Finally, might it be that when Jesus asks us to “love God with all our might” he is asking us to look at our actions and wonder about the ways our actions, especially our habitual actions, glorify God and lead people to peace? Maybe Jesus is not demanding perfection.
Maybe he is asking us to be mindful of our actions and the ways we can improve them.
What about you? Can you notice ways in which you have made progress in your relationships, your ambitions, and your actions? Do you see indicators of progress ineach area? And in terms of “all” your heart, soul, and mind, can you notice ways inwhich you used to “hide” some of them from God (i.e., not open your entire heart, soul or might to God) but now bring more of them to your conversations with God?
Both Moses and Jesus lay down pretty tall orders, orders that seem to demand perfection. But maybe the deeper truth is that they are asking us to let God’s light shine on all our relationships (heart), all our aspirations (soul) and all our actions (strength or might)? And maybe they are asking us to delight in our progress rather than regret our lack of perfection?