As of February 4, the donations to the first annual Salvatorian Sunday collection totaled $5,111. On behalf of all Salvatorian brothers and priests, I thank you for your generosity. PACT: Pius Parishioners Always Come Through!!!!
This weekend and the next couple weekends there will be a table in the back of church to sign up for The 99 Experience. There is information in the bulletin and on our website, where you can also sign up. Please read the material and seriously consider taking advantage of this Lenten opportunity to let the Lord speak to you in a personal way.
Our readings this weekend deal with the commandments and how we are to observe them. Our first reading tells us that by observing the commandments of God, we are choosing life. Most of us try to keep the “commandments,” but Jesus warns us in the Gospel that we might be taking too simplistic a view of what the commandments really are asking of us. With compelling examples, He challenges us to move from external behaviors to a righteous heart that motivates good behavior.
A clear example is Jesus’ first one: thou shalt not kill. I don’t think any of us are in the habit of killing people. But Jesus moves to anger and name calling, saying that these things are also reprehensible. And maybe we are not as innocent when we look at the fifth commandment from this perspective. Do we kill people’s reputations with the things we say about them? Are there people we can’t forgive? Do we harbor anger in our hearts?
Our culture needs to hear and heed this message of forgiveness and civility. Jesus emphasizes how important it is by telling us not to bring our gift to the altar, that is, don’t come to worship, until we resolve these issues.
Being human, we will never be perfect in avoiding hurtful words and actions, but it is important to recognize how sinful these are and how they hurt both the other person and ourselves. Our culture desperately needs the witness of Christians who can forgive and relate compassionately to others. For an excellent reflection on this, search for “Arthur Brooks National Prayer Breakfast Speech” online.
I invite us to reflect this week on our ability to forgive, to dissipate anger in a positive way, and to avoid negative speech. How can I do better? What practical steps can I take to improve? And let us support each other’s efforts with prayer.