This weekend we begin our warmup for the 2018 pledge drive for financial support of our community with witness talks at each Mass (thank you to Emily Wisniewski, Steve True, and Joanna Clementi for sharing their stewardship stories with us). Our goal this year is $425,000. The mailing will be coming soon with all the information needed. Please be as generous as you can and support our efforts with your prayers.
Our readings this weekend are powerful and challenging. The religious leaders continue to try to trip Jesus up with trick questions. Last week it was about paying the census tax to Caesar; this week it is about the greatest of all the commandments. Jesus makes clear that the essential command of following him is loving God and showing it through love of neighbor.
When we think of “love,” we might think of warm, fuzzy feelings. But Jesus is not talking about emotions and feelings: he is talking about actions, HOW we treat others. It is important to keep that distinction clear in our minds, or it becomes too easy to say I cannot “love” people I don’t know. There are two aspects of this “love in actions,” a negative and a positive: not harming others and doing good for others when needed and possible.
The examples in the first reading from Exodus, challenging to the people of the Old Testament, remain challenging for us today. One example is to protect and take care of the alien (we would say immigrant or refugee); a second is for those with power and money not to take advantage of the poor by usury. These examples are showing that those who HAVE need to take care of those who HAVE NOT.
The topics of immigration and supporting the poor are “hot” political topics today. If we wish to be true followers of Jesus, we need to keep His values in mind as we approach these topics and as we live our lives. Let us pray in a special way this week that we as a country with Christian roots may follow Gospel values in dealing with the most vulnerable in society.
-- Paul James Portland, SDS