Last weekend the archdiocesan 2017 appeal entitled “We Are One” was introduced at all Masses by our coordinator, Holly Cartier. This appeal supports offices in the chancery (Worship and Liturgical Ministries, Christian Formation, Catholic Schools) that provide valuable services and support to our parish community. It also supports the seminary and deacon formation and Catholic Charities! We have the responsibility to support it along with the other parish communities in the archdiocese. Last year less than 20% of our families made a contribution. I ask each family to please make a contribution to this appeal. You should receive an appeal in the mail; if you do not, there are envelopes and appeal cards on the table in the vestibule of the church. Thank you.
Thank you to all who participated in Catholic Schools’ Week. I am pleased that Wauwatosa Catholic begins the week with a Mass in the sponsoring parishes. I enjoyed participating in the International Day, sharing some of my experiences living in Mexico and Italy. The children enjoyed hearing about different customs, for example, the place of the Virgen de Guadalupe in Mexican Catholicism. I thank our principal (Heidi Hernandez), the teachers, and the staff for the excellent job they are doing blending Catholic identity and values with the International Baccalaureate curriculum. We have a great school!!
Our readings this weekend continue challenging us to live the Gospel: what is the place of law in my life? Children obey because they don’t want to be punished; do I obey the laws of God so I won’t be punished? To “win” heaven? That is a sort of a self-centered reason, but at least I am obeying.
Our first reading this weekend underscores that we have free will, that we can choose life or death, good or evil: God gives us that freedom and does not interfere. In the Gospel, Jesus calls us to “grow up,” to conduct our lives not simply to avoid punishment, but to do it out of love for the good of the other and the community. He calls us from a “minimalist” approach (not murdering, not committing adultery, etc.) to an approach that examines the underlying reasons for those grave acts: anger, gossip, hatred, lack of respect for others, etc.
His point is that talking bad about another person, gossip, etc., is just as wrong as taking a person’s life. Lacking respect for another person is just as wrong as adultery. Irresponsible use of social media can have devastating effects on people and that is wrong.
Jesus calls us to go beyond simply not hurting someone to acting in a way that is best for all involved, not just me. In one sense, it is another way of expressing the call of the Beatitudes.
I invite us to reflect this week on questions such as:
Let us resolve to live our faith more deeply and support each other in prayer.
-- Paul James Portland, SDS