Thank you to all who celebrated Simon Muema’s first profession last Sunday. It was a wonderful celebration. I appreciate that so many of you came down to visit with our Salvatorian visitors and to enjoy the delicious Kenyan food. I especially thank Sarah Willmering, JoAnn Willmering, Diana Krumenauer, Roxana Harris, and Karen Manning, who helped with the reception. In two weeks we will have another celebration as Bishop Sklba ordains Michael Neeland SDS to the deaconate at the 10:15 Mass. And don’t forget our annual Grass Mass on September 11!
In addition to his normal work and negotiating the sale of our back parking lot, our Director of Administrative Services, Dean Weyer, has done an excellent job of finding renters for our gymnasium. A significant new renter is Bryant & Stratton College, which will be using our gym for practices for its new men’s and women’s division II basketball program. We are thankful to Dean for his hard work.
The theme of our readings this weekend is very clear and one that needs to be heard in our world today: all are welcome, God plays no favorites. In the first reading Isaiah is warning the Jews, who thought they were the only people of God, that people will come from ALL nations to the temple and (horror of horrors) God will even make some of them priests and Levites! That was unfathomable to the Jews.
Jesus picks up the theme in the Gospel. Someone asks him how many will be saved; obviously, the person was asking “how many JEWS will be saved,” since it was a given no one else had a chance. Jesus blew them away with his answer: …people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God. ALL ARE WELCOME!
Our human tendency, left over from our tribal past, is to divide people into two groups: my group and others. Jesus did it: he called the Syrian woman, who asked him to cure her daughter, a dog! But our faith tells us that each person is made in the image of God and is priceless. We cannot discount or denigrate others.
The amount of paranoia, fear, racism, hatred that is spilling out in our national debates simply is NOT Christian. There is no way of rationalizing to say that it is. And all of those negative emotions spill over into our streets, as we experienced in a horrible way last weekend here in Milwaukee.
I invite us to reflect on our attitudes and prejudices, being honest with ourselves about where we need to grow and asking the Lord for the grace to do so. Jesus grew out of his prejudices as he interacted with the Syrian woman; we can do the same. And let us support each other in prayer.
-- Paul James Portland, SDS