This coming Saturday, August 18, two of my Salvatorian confreres, Virginus Osuagwu and Paul Wilkin, will be ordained transitional deacons at the 5 pm liturgy. Please join us, if you are able, and keep them in prayer as they begin a new stage of formation.
I have good news and sad news concerning our school, Wauwatosa Catholic. The good news is that the school received authorization as an International Baccalaureate school for MIDDLE years (it has had authorization for PRIMARY for a couple years). Congratulations to all the staff who worked so hard for this wonderful achievement. The sad news is that our principal, Heidi Hernandez, has resigned. I thank her for her 6 years of dedication to our school and children. The position has been listed with the archdiocese, a number of applications have been received, and a process for interviewing candidates has begun. Please keep this process in your prayers. Meanwhile, I am working with staff at the school so that everything will move forward smoothly, as planned.
In our reading from Ephesians, Paul continues to call the community members (and us) to a life “worthy of their calling.” Two weeks ago he challenged them to live with humility, patience, and gentleness. Last week we heard him acknowledge that living that way is not easy, that it demands “putting away the old self and putting on a new one.”
As we continue reading Ephesians this weekend, Paul gives us two interesting commands followed by examples. The first is “do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,” backed up with the caveat to remove all bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, reviling, and malice: these are the actions that grieve the Spirit. He then tells us what we SHOULD do: “be imitators of God…and live in love.” He explains how to do that: be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.”
It all comes back to relationships. First of all, a relationship with God, a relationship in which we “grieve” the Spirit when we break it. But that relationship is lived out in our relationships with other human beings. The bottom line is this: we need to make sure we are constantly growing in our ability to forgive, to be compassionate, to not judge, etc., etc. It is not easy: it involves putting on “another self” over these human emotions. But we CAN grow, and the Spirit is always there to help us. We just have to make sure we are putting forth the effort.
I invite us this week to reflect on one negative emotion toward someone (or an ethnic group, etc.) that we might be harboring, asking the Holy Spirit to help us move forward and “live in love, as Christ loved us.” If we focus on one issue at a time, we CAN and WILL grow. And let us support each other in prayer.