Our readings today challenge us to remember that following Christ demands a commitment that will not always be easy: our first reading reminds us that we can’t do it on our own, that we need the gift of the Spirit. Jesus minces no words in the Gospel, telling us we must “hate” our family members, carry our cross, and renounce all our possessions. (Matthew makes the meaning of “hate” clear when he says, “whoever loves his father or mother more than me…”).
An inspiration for me in this call to “radical discipleship” is our Salvatorian Founder, Fr. Francis Jordan. Barely out of childhood, he dropped out of school early to support his mother when his father died. Later he went back to school as an adult to begin the process of becoming a priest. Despite being regarded as incapable by many who knew him, including Church officials, he pursued what he felt was God’s will to start a movement to energize all Christians (not just clergy and religious) to bring God’s love to those they met in everyday life. Many clergy could not get their minds around his concept (emphasized by Vatican II) that lay people also need to be disciples. Despite many adversities, he stayed focused on his goal and trusted in Divine Providence, nurturing a strong relationship with God and placing his life and ministry in God’s hands. This is living out the call to discipleship that our readings present to us.
We welcome Bishop Sklba and members of the Salvatorian Family to our community for the deaconate ordination of Michael Neeland, SDS. We also welcome Michael as he spends his transitional deacon year with us here at Pius.
Sr. Carol Grandlich, OSF has been a faithful, active member of our parish. Her classmate and friend for 54 years, Sr. Margaret Held, OSF, was one of the two nuns murdered in Mississippi. This has been very difficult for Sr. Carol, who has been battling cancer the last months. Please remember in your prayers Sr. Carol and all those affected by violence.
You might have noticed how bad the frames look on many of our windows. The Building and Grounds Committee feels that maintenance cannot be delayed any longer and the Finance Council has agreed to use funds from the Building and Grounds account to perform the maintenance. (This fund comes from the donations in the monthly “Take Pride in Pius” brown envelopes). If you are able to contribute a little extra to the fund, I would appreciate it, since this project will deplete it.
I invite us to reflect this week on the strength of our commitment to be disciples. Are we on fire to bring God’s love to others? Are we constant even in adversity? And let us ask the Lord to help each member of our community grow in our commitment to bring Christ to others. Fr. Jordan, pray for us.
-- Paul James Portland, SDS