At the 10:15 Mass this Sunday, Simon Muema will make his first profession as a Salvatorian. He was the candidate that was shot multiple times on November 30, 2013, and whose life hung in the balance for weeks. As his formation supervisor, I journeyed with him the 9 months it took for recovery, going each day to Froedtert or Alexian Village. I cannot tell you how much the support of the Pius family meant to me during those long days and I am sure all the prayers secured his recovery! I am pleased that Simon has chosen to celebrate at Pius, a sign of his gratefulness for all the prayers.
Volunteers are so important for our community. I have mentioned our “Garden Angels.” Another example: three of our “senior” parishioners work behind the scenes to clean the church every week (Blake McDuffy, Doug Varebrook, and Jim Konkel). I can’t thank them enough! The more that parishioners are willing to share some time and talent, the stronger we will be.
Our Gospel begins with Jesus saying, “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” This fire is the fire of LOVE! With all the crazy things that are happening and the crazy things being said by influential people, it is obvious that we have a ways to go in setting the world ablaze with the love that Jesus demonstrated in His life. EACH ONE of us has the responsibility to set the earth on fire with the love shown to us by Jesus.
Simon and those of us who profess the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience have chosen one specific way to do that, but these three vows indicate attitudes or approaches to life that are central to each person who wants to set the earth on fire.
Poverty: to “possess” what the Lord has given us NOT just for ourselves, but to share with our communities and especially with those most in need.
Chastity: to live a life respectful of ourselves and others, whatever our state in life might be (married, single, professed religious, cleric).
Obedience: to remember that it is not just MY will that counts, but the will of God as it is manifest both by those in authority and by the needs of the poor around us.
As we celebrate with Simon, let us renew our baptismal commitment to “set the earth on fire” with the love that Jesus, who was poor, chaste, and obedient to the will of His Father, has shown us.
-- Paul James Portland, SDS