This weekend we have our collection for our sister parish in Guatemala. We have seen pictures of the good that is done with our support, which is used to buy materials for catechetical centers in outlying communities, while the people themselves provide the labor. More information can be found in this bulletin and on our website under “News.” Please be as generous as possible.
All of the ministries for our youth (Wauwatosa Catholic, Formation for Children, and Youth Ministry) are underway, with various forms of virtual and safe in-person learning. Please keep our children and their ministers in your prayers.
In our Gospel this weekend, Jesus presents two brothers to the Scribes and Pharisees, asking which did the will of the Father: the one who SAID he would do what he was asked, but didn’t follow through; or the one who said “no way,” but relented and did what his father wanted. Jesus was saying that actually DOING what the Father has asked us is what counts: living as Jesus taught and modelled. This comes as an exclamation point after three weeks of challenging teachings: as an injured or aggrieved person, we must reach out to bring reconciliation and peace; we must forgive an innumerable number of times; and we must put the basic survival needs of others over personal desires for more and more.
These challenges go right to the core of our human nature: they push us to go past ourselves to the other. There is no doubt that they are difficult and challenging! But we are not left alone to struggle: we have the Spirit, we have the Community, we have the Eucharist, we have the Gospels, we have each other. And when we fail, we have the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Let us use all these resources to help us become more and more Christ-like, as we reach out to others and do the will of the Father! I invite us this week to reflect on how we are doing at “walking the talk.”
Have a good week close to the Lord and stay safe!
This coming weekend we will have our collection for our sister parish in Guatemala. We have seen pictures of the good that is done with our support, which is used to buy materials for catechetical centers in outlying communities, while the people themselves provide the labor. More information can be found in this bulletin and on our
website. Please be as generous as possible.
This weekend the obligation to attend Mass resumes for those who do not have a reason not to come. See the Archbishop’s video for more information on the end of the dispensation at www.stpiusparish.org/pius-prevails.html.
Our reading from Isaiah this weekend has something that’s hard for us to comprehend: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts. This is the third weekend with a clear example of how God thinks differently than we do; maybe we would be much more content if God would just do things OUR way?
Two weeks ago we were told to take the initiative and make peace, even though the other person was wrong. No harboring hurt feelings and saying “let them make the first move.”
Last week we were told to forgive innumerable times, no “hurt me once, shame on you; hurt me twice, shame on me!”
This week we are told that our sense of what is “fair” is not how God thinks. Who has “suffered” more: the one who worked all day, even if it is hard work in the sun, but has the satisfaction of knowing he can feed his family? Or the one who languished all day, with a growing feeling of desperation and failure, that he will go home to the looks of hunger and disappointment on the faces of his children?
This is THE BIGGER PICTURE that God sees: Jesus is saying that, for justice to reign, each person needs to be able to get their “daily bread” to feed their family. Do we think that way? Or do we think, “That is not fair. The one who worked only an hour should only be paid for an hour, no matter if the family is hungry”? Do we grumble about social assistance to those in need, saying “I worked hard to earn my money; why should they get something for nothing? Which do we have to do to follow Jesus?
If the workers who had labored all day thought to themselves: I am so blessed to have been chosen to earn food for my children. I am pleased that these others also can feed their children, they would have been closer to God’s mercy and compassion. We have been very blessed by God; with that comes the responsibility to be compassionate. I invite us to reflect on that this week.
God bless and stay safe.
We joyfully received the news recently that the founder of the Salvatorian Family, Fr. Francis Mary of the Cross Jordan, will be beatified in Rome on May 15th, 2021. I thank all who have been praying for this.We will certainly have a celebration here, for his charism of universality and inclusivity have been a part of Pius from the beginning.
This is the last weekend that the obligation to attend Mass is waived. I emphasize that you are not obliged to attend if you have a legitimate reason. The Mass will continue to be on our website and Facebook. Please note the following for attending Mass in person: face masks and social distancing are required; call the parish office during the week to register the number of people who will be coming to which Mass; and arrive early to facilitate seating with social distancing. If you have any questions, please let me know. Thank you.
Please remember the collection for the Holy Land, which is being held this week. Information can be found elsewhere in this bulletin and on our website. And advanced warning: our sister parish collection will be taken up September 26th and 27th.
Last week our readings emphasized that we have an obligation, as followers of Christ, to love other people, to bring peace and harmony to our relationships. Our readings this week address the same point by looking at when we don’t do that.
The reading from Sirach tells us that wrath, anger, and vengeance are hateful things, but people have a tendency to “hug them tight,” “cherish” them, and “nourish” them. This is the opposite of what we were told last week: to do all in our power to heal and have good relationships. Sirach reminds us that those who do not forgive cannot seek pardon for themselves. The reading ends with “hate not your neighbor...and overlook faults.” Nothing could be clearer!
What a powerful parable Jesus presents in our Gospel reading, to bring home Sirach’s point. One servant owed his master 750,000 pounds of silver or gold (how is that for Jewish hyperbole!!!) but the master was moved with “pity” (literally “gut wrenching,” the same word use for Jesus when he fed the crowd with 5 loaves) and forgave the debt, even though the steward was only asking for more time to repay! That is how wonderfully generous God is to us. Yet that servant had another servant thrown into prison for a few dollars! He could not translate the generosity given to him into generosity for others. You know what happened to him!
My friends, the message to us is clear. God is immeasurably generous in forgiving us and he expects us to do the same for others. We say it every time we pray the Our Father: forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Forgiveness is an essential part of “loving our neighbor as ourselves.”
Our readings this weekend invite us to make sure we are taking those words seriously. Are we?
The bishop’s suspension of the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday will expire on September 14th, as stated in his letter (link) included at the end of our parish newsletter, newly named The Parish Press, which you should have received this week. He explains conditions under which it is still acceptable not to attend. We will continue to employ the highest safety procedures at our Masses and the Mass will be posted on our website for the indefinite future. I can’t wait until I can be in the back of church and greet everyone as before!
September 1st through October 4th, the feast of St. Francis, is called the “Season of Creation.” We are invited to reflect on God’s marvelous creation and commit ourselves to doing our part to protect it, for example, joining our Justice and Peace Commission’s river cleanup project, which will be announced in the bulletin in coming weeks.
A debt is something we HAVE to take care of. Paul tells the Romans in our reading this weekend that we OWE it to others to love them. It is an obligation. He adds that when one loves others, that person fulfills all the law.
Jesus comes back to this theme over and over. When asked what is the greatest commandment, He responds love of God, but then quickly raises love of neighbor to the same level. THAT WAS NEW for the Jews. When asked who is “my neighbor,” he responds with the parable of the Good Samaritan. He ate with tax collectors and sinners. When we look at our world, at our country, our state, our city, it is obvious this very clear message is needed.
In our Gospel this weekend, Jesus instructs his disciples to work diligently to have good relationships with others. In any relationship there are conflicts and tensions – it is part of being human. But a true Christian works to resolve the conflicts peacefully. That is a critical part of loving others.
Christians need to take a lead in modeling this in our country. If we do not find a way to dialog with each other, to agree on a way to move forward, and to cooperate in making it happen, our country will continue to disintegrate. And Jesus tells us how: go to the other person and be willing to work things out. If that does not work, get others to help, and so on. But the point is we need to be trying to work things out, not name calling and dismissing those who disagree with us.
I urge each one of us to resolve that we will do our very best to bring unity and not division, to resolve differences rather than widening gaps, to act out of love and not anger or hate.
This is difficult, but God will help us, if we give Him the chance. To love one another, to end divisions and disagreements, to work together for the common good are NOT optional. They are basic Gospel values: they are a debt that we owe to each other. Let us make sure we are paying off our debt to others. And let us support each
other in prayer, as we struggle to do so. God bless.