From Our Pastor's Desk
From Our Pastor's Desk
Sunday, September 18th, 2022 – Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle C Readings: Amos 8:4-7, Psalm 113 “Praise the Lord who lifts up the poor”, 1 Timothy 2:1-8, Luke 16:1-13
Each year, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) to recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic Americans who have inspired others to achieve success. “The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their Independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or ‘Día de la Raza’, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.” We are very proud as a parish to celebrate the history and culture of our brothers and sisters and to recognize the contribution that they play in our community and parish. May we continue to be enriched through the presence of one another.
On the third Sunday of September, the church celebrates ‘Catechetical Sunday’, which began as an opportunity for catechists, parents and guardians to recommit themselves to the mission of catechesis, and to celebrate and affirm in them this great vocation. This year, the Church celebrates Catechetical Sunday on September 19, 2021, and the theme is: “This is my body given for you.” We are very grateful to all those who provide faith formation to diverse age groups and settings. This is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel.
The readings of this Sunday reflect on being a good steward of the goods of the world. Can we call the rich of the time Amos shrewd? They became wealthy by cheating the poor, had no respect for ‘holy days’ and they busied themselves with their own selfish interests. In the eyes of people they were certainly shrewd, but in the eyes of God they ruined themselves. This is what the first reading teaches us. Jesus tells us in the gospel that we are ‘shrewd’ if we use the goods of this world to help others. In this way we acquire the only thing that counts, the friendship of the poor. To understand this truth, so difficult to accept, we need prayer. Paul tells us this in the second reading.
May the Lord bless us. In the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Fr. Paschal Chester, SVD
Sunday, September 11th, 2022 – Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle C Readings: .Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14, Psalm 51 “I will rise and go to my father”, 1 Timothy 1:12-17, Luke 15:1-32
My dear brothers and sisters, today, all three readings have the same theme. In the first we see a God who forgives the people of Israel though they had returned to the worship of idols. His forgiveness is without conditions, he does not wait to see if they are going to deserve his forgiveness. He is led only by love. The gospel says the same thing: what could the little sheep have done to merit the attention of the shepherd? Nothing. It had just got lost, that’s all. The example of Paul proposed in the second reading completes today’s catechesis. Some may say that Paul was wrong without knowing it (1 Timothy 1:13); the people of Israel had reverted to paganism because of ignorance; the little sheep had gone astray by mistake…That is why the Lord was so good and understanding of them. But I say, is there anybody who sins in any other different way?
A story is told of a father who has two sons and who loses them both. One son is lost in a far country, and the other is lost in the wilderness of his own hostility. One leaves home in the fond hope that he will experience happiness in the unfamiliar, only to discover it is found at the heart of the familiar. One stays at home but is such a stranger to the love and acceptance which surround him that he might as well be an alien in a foreign land. They are a mixed human family in which tenderness and selfishness and hostility vie with each other for possession.
The young son yearns for a life different from that at home. He leaves home and soon discovers that his promised land is barren. He experiences failure, but his failure is not unimportant: through his failure he comes to himself. It appears that the younger son has gone on a fruitless journey to end up where he started; but if he ends up in the same place, he is different. At journey’s end he is a man of new insight. The elder son does not leave home, but staying at home has not led him to hospitality. When he returns from the fields, with the sweat of the slave on his brow, he hears music and dancing. Rather than hurry in to join the party, he reacts with anger. Unlike his father, he does not have the generous instinct to rush to meet the younger brother. The elder brother refuses to move. He sees himself as a slave: “All these years I have slaved for you…” His own anger immobilizes him. Now, it is he who is far from home. He is “the separated one” who cannot move to except his brother and rejoice with him.
But the father loves both of his sons and he lives in the hope that they will love and accept each other. The father's attitude reflects the generosity of Jesus’ way of dealing with sinners. May we encounter this love in the sacrament of reconciliation and may we put it into practice. Kay the Lord bless us with peace and love. In the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Fr. Paschal Chester, SVD.
Sunday, September 4th, 2022 – Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle C Readings: Wisdom 9:13-18b, Psalm 90 “In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge”, Philemon 9-10, 12-17, Luke 14:25-33
My dear brothers and sisters, chapter nine of the book of Wisdom has a wonderful prayer that asks God to grant us his wisdom. Let us not confuse the ‘wisdom’ of the Bible with all that we learnt at school. The author of the book was a very intelligent and highly educated person and yet he still felt the need to ask God for wisdom. This is because the kind of wisdom he wanted can only come from God and it cannot be earned.
In today’s first reading, the author reflects that it is hardly surprising that we have trouble figuring out the intentions of God when we have so much trouble figuring each other out. He warns: “And scarce do we guess the things on earth, and what is within our grasp we find with difficulty.” There are times when those within our reach puzzle us, just as we puzzle them; there are times when we have to work at understanding our own intentions and behavior because we are a puzzle to ourselves. And even though God has revealed himself through the Holy Spirit, nobody can claim to fully understand the mystery that is God.
We cannot discover truth just by using our intelligence. In the gospel, Jesus gives a twin parable, anyone intending to build a tower would: first sit down and work out the cost”. If he started without finishing, the sum of his achievement would be a monument to his own stupidity. Likewise, the king who discovers that his forces are outnumbered would “first sit down and consider” whether the opposing troop is too heavy. If he wants to be a smarter survivor “he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms”. In both instances the advice is clear: take time; sit down; look at the demands; figure out whether you can honestly meet them.
Much of our lives involve figuring out what is within our reach and what we ourselves can realistically achieve. May the Lord bless us with his spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom to discern what is best for us. In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Fr. Paschal Chester, SVD