Dear Sisters and Brothers,
After sitting here for I don’t know how long, staring at a blank screen and praying “Come, Holy Spirit”, once again I marvel at how Monsignor Jim composes a new and relevant “Twitch” every week! Thankfully, he will be back at it for next Sunday’s bulletin, God willing.
Today’s Gospel tells of two men praying in the Temple – a Pharisee and a tax collector. The fact that they were 1) in the Temple, and 2) praying, tells us that they were both trying to be good guys.
The Pharisee “spoke this prayer to himself” about his virtues and how he wasn’t like the rest of humanity. The tax collector, on the other hand, “beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’” Certainly, two very different view-points in prayer.
It seems that the Pharisee was all wrapped up in himself, thanking God that he was so special... and don’t we all like to think of ourselves as special, especially in the eyes of God? Yes, God made each of us unique and precious. We are just as special as everyone else God has created!
The tax collector, in his humility, cries out to God for mercy. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (#2559) tells us that humility is the foundation of prayer. It’s not “all about me”. It’s about my relationship with others.
Today the Church celebrates World Mission Sunday. We are asked to give monetary support to the foreign missions for the propagation of the Faith. I remember as a child putting coins in the box on the teacher’s desk to help the babies in Afri¬ca. Some of those babies we helped many years ago have grown up and become priests and religious today!
Mission Sunday challenges us to accept the responsibility for sharing the Faith with others. We pray for the success of missionaries in far-away places, but we are also called to live up to our name as “Catholic” or “universal’ in the extent of our concern and love. We are challenged to share faith with those who look or think or behave differently than us. Mission is fundamental to the identity of the Church, and that Mission is a responsibility of us all, not just priests or those in leadership positions. By reason of our Baptism, we all share in the work of the Church. None of us can do it all, but all of us can do something to build up the Church.
It seems like this might be a good question to pray about...What can I do to help bring about the Kingdom of God on earth? Since God made each of us unique, we all have different gifts and talents. It’s important to (re)discover those gifts and discern how God can work through us with them.
As many of you are aware, we have resumed Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in our Chapel on Fridays, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. It is a wonderful space to spend quiet time with the Lord. Some of our parishioners have committed to being present for a one-half hour time slot. If you are willing to make such a commitment, please call the office.
There’s a story about a man who would go into a church every day at noon and just sit before the Blessed Sacrament. After a month or so of seeing this, the priest finally said to him, “I see you here every day. What do you do?” The man replied, “Oh Father, I just come in here and I look at Him, and He looks at me.” What a beautiful image - to just be present, in the gaze of the Beloved.
We have that opportunity at St. Sebastian. How blessed we are to be able to come and sit quietly and -just by being there – offer our praise and thanks to God who has given us all we have and all we are!
Blessings and peace,