Thank you for your prayers last weekend for the candidates discerning a religious vocation and their sponsors. Our reflections on “managing transitions” was very helpful as the candidates begin transitioning to novitiate in the next months. The next weekend will be in January. This weekend is “nomination” Sunday for our parish leadership. Nominations are accepted until May 8th. Please continue to discern about this; we do not have many nominations so far.
I urge you to take advantage of the May series on Mary that will be given on three consecutive Tuesdays beginning May 3 by Silas Henderson, managing editor of Abbey Press. Please see the bulletin for details.
We are moving forward with our second major goal for clustering this year: a combined K through 8 religious education program. The opening for a full time Director was posted on the diocesan website and Fr. Phil and I have begun sifting through applications. Barb Abler, who has generously been covering this position for us on a temporary basis, will continue her responsibilities as Director of Youth Ministry (Tosa Trio). The preferred scenario would be for the new hire to run the current two programs (one at Christ King and the other at Pius for Pius and St. Bernard) for the coming year, while working with those involved to combine for the following year. Please keep this process in your prayers.
For the last three elections I was not living in the United States (in 2004 I lived in México, in 2008 and 2012 in Rome) and so I simply went to the embassy to vote. What has been going on in the campaigning for the last long months has been a shock to me, but people who have been here for all elections say this is a shock for them, also. There are two things that disturb me greatly: the first is the lack of civility, the lack of respect, that candidates show one another and to various groups of people. Are we saying to our children (and to ourselves) that this is acceptable behavior?? And this leads to the second concern: the issues are not being addressed in a reasonable and adult way, as we watch candidates attack one another. It is obvious that there are many problems both in the US and in the world; do we really have the time and energy for the kind of campaigning that is going on? If gridlock continues, how can our country survive and prosper?
The sad state of our presidential campaign was in my mind as I reflected on our readings this weekend, which promise us something new: John in his vision presented in Revelations sees a new heaven and a new earth, a new Jerusalem. The one who sits on the throne promises “I make all things new.” And Jesus has done his part to make all things new: he showed us how to live, he suffered and died for us, and he has given us a “new commandment” which will make all things new, as we hear in the Gospel.
My friends, we have heard that new commandment over and over: love one another. As I have loved you, so you should love one another. Do we take it seriously? Or do we give ourselves a pass by saying how impossible it is? Ultimately, it is the test of whether or not we are a follower of Christ, a Christ-ian. Our Gospel ends: This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. As people around the world listen to our campaigning, do they see the respect and compassion Christ had for all reflected in our behavior? As people look at me and our community, do they say “See how they love one another?” The change that is needed begins with each one of us. Let us pray for each other in our efforts to live the new commandment Jesus has modeled for us. Let us also pray for our country, that we may grow in our ability to love and unite, not divide.
-- Paul James Portland, SDS