The International Baccalaureate word for February at our school, Wauwatosa Catholic, is “open-minded.” IB Learners understand their own culture and history but also are willing to learn from others who are different. They listen to different points of view and learn from them.
We are celebrating Black History Month. Tosa Together (working to make Tosa a more welcoming community) is sponsoring a program from 7 to 8:30 pm on Wednesday, February 22, in the Firefly Room of the Tosa Library. Please consider attending this event.
This weekend our J & P Commission will begin a focus on various aspects of consumption and its consequences. I thank them for their work to raise our awareness about protecting the environment - not only caring for the earth, but also caring for the most vulnerable in the world who are most significantly affected by environmental issues.
Next weekend we will begin our annual discernment for parish leadership (one trustee and three pastoral council members). Please keep the process in your prayers and prayerfully consider sharing your time and talent with the community in a leadership position.
Two weeks ago the 2017 Catholic Stewardship Appeal for the Archdiocese began with a talk by Holly Cartier at each Mass. There is an excellent video (8 minutes) that we did not show at Mass because it is difficult to see in our church. But you can find it on the home page of our Pius webpage. It is well done and shows how important it is that we all support this campaign. Please take a few moments to view it.
Finally, March 5, the first Sunday of Lent, we will launch the One Percent Challenge. This is a call to each of us to spend 15 minutes a day for 30 days reflecting on a specific Gospel passage. The goal is to help us develop a habit of daily reflection, building a closer relationship with the Lord. We will all be reflecting on the same passage on the same day – a bonus for those who might already be in the practice of doing this each day. It will require that each one have access to a bible, either one in hand or through the internet. Please make sure you are ready on March 5. More information can be found in The Invitation, which comes out this week.
Our readings this weekend provide a clear challenge to us, a challenge that is difficult: to turn the other cheek, to love our enemies. The Old Testament “an eye for an eye” was to prevent over retaliation (e.g. you say something I don’t like and I beat you to death). But our reading from Leviticus has hints of what Jesus will proclaim as the fulfillment of the Law: instead of retaliation, we must turn the other cheek, we must love our enemies. It doesn’t mean we have to accept everything a person says or does, but it means that we have to treat them with respect: discuss the issue but not attack the other person.
We can see what happens when this is not followed by looking at our country. We are in a situation where issues are not being discussed rationally and solutions found because everyone is attacking everyone else. Imagine how different it would be if people were respectful of each other and entered into dialog about the issues. The same is true in our families, in our workplaces, etc. As soon as we attack the person instead of staying with the issue, disintegration occurs.
I invite us to reflect this week on how well we are able to control the human tendency to attack the other person when there is a disagreement. Our ability to live the law of love by respecting others, as Jesus presents in our Gospel, will indicate how well we are doing at bringing the peace, love, and joy of His Kingdom to the world around us.
Next weekend I will be in Racine at another workshop for candidates for religious life and their formators or mentors. Fr. Peter Schuessler, our Vicar Provincial, will celebrate the Masses with you. Please pray that the Holy Spirit accompany us. Thank you.
-- Paul James Portland, SDS