We have received a letter with pictures from Tanzania informing us that the six wells constructed with our 2020 Living Waters collection have been completed. Sue Haertel will be sharing more information in upcoming issues of the newsletter. Thank you for your generosity. PACT: Pius Parishioners Always Come Through!
This weekend we have the witness talks for our 2021 Stewardship Pledge. Witness talks are also on our website. Materials were mailed out this past week, so you should receive them soon, if you have not already. Please be as generous as you can in supporting our community and its ministries. Thank you.
This year November 1st is a Sunday, so the Solemnity of All Saints trumps the 31st Sunday of Ordinary time (only solemnities can do this, not feasts or memorials). In this celebration, we honor those who have died and are in heaven. The next day, in the Commemoration of All Souls, we pray for those who have died but are not yet in heaven. These two celebrations remind us that we are the Body of Christ, one family in Christ, and our relationships are not broken by death, since “life is changed, not ended.” On All Saints we pray to those who are in heaven, asking them to intercede for us; on All Souls we pray for those who need our help and support. We are helped by those in a position to do so and we help those for whom we are in a position to do so. We are one family, the Body of Christ!
When we think of “saints,” we tend to think of the people in statues or icons we have seen, people who have done “great” things, people who have been recognized and venerated by the Church. But the reality is that 99.9999% of saints are simple people like you and me, our family members, our neighbors, those we work with. They will never be publicly recognized, they will never be venerated throughout the Church. They simply did their best to bring Christ’s love, forgiveness, and compassion to the world.
We are called to be saints, not by doing great, memorable things, but by living each day the best we can, according to Gospel values. As we celebrate this feast and honor all those who have done their best to live Gospel values, I invite us to reflect on how we are doing, zeroing in on one area where we can improve and strategizing on how we can do that. And as we struggle to be better disciples, let us support each other in prayer. God bless.
Our Holy Land collection totaled $1,318, more than 4 times our normal Good Friday collection. I thank you for your generosity. They need the help more than ever this year, with the lack of tourist income. PACT (Pius Parishioners Always Come Through)!
When a scholar of the law asked Jesus which was the greatest commandment, Jesus gave an answer that would have been expected: You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The religious leaders and the people would have agreed with this. However, Jesus didn’t stop; He added something new: The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. He elevated love of neighbor to the level of love of God. This was consistent with what He had been preaching throughout His active ministry. For example, He turned “an eye for an eye” into “turn the other cheek.”
The Jews thought they showed love of God by fidelity to the Covenant, by keeping all the laws (over 600 of them!). Jesus was saying we REALLY show love God by love of neighbor. Sometimes, we Christians have not gotten this message. In a survey of American Catholics taken in the 60’s, participants were asked this question: What's the more important law -- love your neighbor or give up meat on Friday? More than 50% responded, "Give up meat on Friday." The Second Vatican Council addressed this mix up in priorities by stripping away some non-essential things that had taken center stage. Pope Francis has been following up on that by reminding us that love – manifested as mercy and compassion – needs to be in the center, not rules and regulations. It doesn’t mean that law and rules are unimportant; it means that they are in service of love and compassion.
Therefore, as Christians who believe in Jesus and his Gospel, we must put love and compassion in the center when we are deciding what we will believe, how we will act, or how we will vote.
REFLECTION: do I use observance of laws and regulations as an excuse to avoid showing love for my neighbor, especially the most needy? Or do I use following the laws and regulations of the faith to help me grow in my love of God, shown through love of neighbor? How can I improve?
Our Gospel ends with these words of Jesus: The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments. Let us make sure that religious observance is helping us to grow in love of God, manifested through love of neighbor. God bless.
Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” This is a complicated saying of Jesus that is often twisted or misinterpreted, but there are two things coming up in the near future for which it is relevant:
First: Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. I remember one time I was at a gathering where a man was complaining vociferously about the condition of the streets, the lack of police service, etc. A few sentences later he was bragging about how he found a way to avoid paying any taxes!! We have responsibilities as citizens. One is to be willing to pay our fair share for the infrastructure that we use: roads, water, fire and police protection, etc. Another is to participate in choosing our leaders. So many people complain about our civil leadership or lack of it, but then don’t vote! We have the responsibility to study which candidates best reflect Gospel values and then vote on November 3rd!
Second, …give to God what is God’s. This coming weekend I will introduce our 2021 Stewardship Drive and the following weekend we will have our witness talks (which we will also put on our website). This is an opportunity to “give to God what is God’s,” that is, to
support the ministries of our community, which work to bring about God’s Kingdom of justice and love. God has blessed us all with time, talent, and treasure. We show our gratitude by generously sharing from what God has given us. Hopefully, all parishioners will pledge so that we can responsibly budget for the next fiscal year.
Please pray for the success of our pledge drive and for God’s Spirit to guide our elections on November 3rd, as we struggle to build up his Kingdom through our participation in civil life and in the Church. We also continue to work and pray for equality, justice, and peace. May God continue to bless each of us. Be safe!
Our sister parish collection will end this coming weekend. If you have not yet contributed and you are able to do so, please be as generous as possible. Click here for more information or to donate online.
We are out of pyxes that parishioners can use to take Communion to the homebound. If you have any that you are not using, please return them to the parish. Thank you.
In our first reading from Isaiah, we hear all-inclusive words five times (“all people” twice, “all nations,” “every face,” “whole earth”). In the short second reading from Philippians, all-inclusive words appear four times (“every circumstance,” “all things” twice, “fully supply”). In the Gospel, the servants go out to the highways and byways to invite ALL to the wedding banquet (after the original invitees blew off the king and his invitation). There is no doubt that these readings are telling us that ALL are redeemed by Jesus and invited to the Kingdom.
But it is not a “get out of jail free” card for everyone. There is a catch: we need to have on our wedding gown. When we hear the Gospel, it sounds odd: if the guests were invited in from the highways and byways, how could they have a wedding garment? But the reality is that wedding garments were handed out at the door to those who did not have one, so the guest who was not wearing one had no excuse: he chose not to wear it.
The point for us is this: we have been invited to the heavenly banquet, but we need to cooperate. We are given the Gospels, the Community, the Sacraments, etc., to help us know how to live. If our lives are clothed in the proper apparel of faith, hope, love, forgiveness, tolerance and all the virtues of the Christian life, we will fit in perfectly at the wedding feast, for we will be properly dressed.
I invite us to reflect on how well we are using our religious observance to grow in Gospel values. What kind of shape is my wedding garment in? What is one area I can do better –and how?
Let us support each other with example and prayer, as we strive to grow in our ability to live Gospel values.
Congratulations to our children who receive their First Communion (finally) at the 10:30 am Mass this weekend. May you always walk close to Jesus. I thank the parents for bringing them to this point in their faith journey. May God bless them.
If you have not yet supported our sister parish collection for this year, please do so soon, if you are able. Information on how to do so is elsewhere in this bulletin or at www.stpiusparish.org/news/sister-parish-collection. God bless Santa Maria Nebaj, Guatemala.
In the first years of my priestly ministry, one of the most difficult questions I encountered was “Why do we pray? After all, we believe that God knows everything and wants the best for us.”
The beginning of our reading from Philippians gives the answer: Brothers and sisters: Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
We “make our requests known to God” for ourselves, not to manipulate God or tell God what to do. When we pray to God, we are connecting, we are relating. Add that personal relationship to our belief that God wants the best for us and we can move toward “having no anxiety at all.” And when that anxiety drops, “then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding” is ours. It doesn’t mean the concern is gone, it doesn’t mean the problem is gone (e.g. a relative in serious condition), but it does mean that we “know” that God is in control and all will be OK, even if it is not what we want. That anxiety deep in our hearts is lessened.
This is a great gift of faith, a great gift of connecting
personally with the Lord in conversation and prayer. If I ever had any doubt about this, it was taken away by the innumerable times I have ministered to dying friends of Jesus, who had the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. It is awesome and humbling to experience that.
The secret is making sure that our experience with God is a relationship of conversation in prayer, not simply believing dogmas. I pray for all of us that we may deepen our personal relationship with the Lord by speaking to Him and listening. Then, the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard [our] hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
This is my prayer for all of us. Have a good week and stay safe. God bless.