The last weekend of Respect Life Month, we are praying for victims of Domestic violence and human trafficking. We are invited to love one another, be the sight for those who have no sight. The violence against another person is a failure to treat that person as someone worthy of love. The violence within the sacramental marriage, the abused spouse may question, "How do these violent acts relate to my promise to take my spouse for better or for worse?" The person being assaulted needs to know that acting to end the abuse does not violate the marriage promises. An article from United States Bishop says, “We focus here on violence against women since 85 percent of the victims of reported cases of non-lethal domestic violence are women. Women's greatest risk of violence comes from intimate partners—a current or former husband or boyfriend.”
Today human trafficking is a new form of slavery. United Bishop’s Conference says, “Human trafficking violates the sanctity, dignity, and fundamental rights of the human person.” They state that every nation is affected by this disease—the United States is no exception. We all are called to love God and love one another. It is the essence of our discipleship. In the month of October, we were reflecting and praying, especially through the devotion to the Rosary, on the dignity of the human life from the womb to the tomb.
This weekends reading invites us to reflect on LOVE: love for God and love for neighbor. We continue to hear from the Gospel of Matthew (22:34-40). A scholar of the law came to Jesus with a question: "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" The reason behind the question is clear, the grudge: Jesus silenced the Sadducees, so what we can do the next.
As usual, Jesus uses the opportunity to teach them. The first part of Jesus' answer is a quote from Deuteronomy 6:5 “Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole strength.” This was part of the Shema, the basic and essential creed of Judaism, which every Jewish child would memorize. It tells us that our total commitment is to God.
The second part of Jesus' answer is from Leviticus 19:18 “Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your own people. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” Jews had laws for everything. Our love for God needs to be delivered in love for other human beings.
In a way, Jesus emphasizes the scriptures which they all know and reminds us what is most important in the law. First and foremost love for God and love for the human being who was created in the image and likeness of God.
The first reading is taken from the Covenant at Sinai (Exodus 19-24). Israelites were liberated from slavery and they are Mount Sinai. The reading for this weekend talks about how to treat the other person. In another word, it is talking about God’s law of LOVE: love God and neighbor. In the second reading, Paul presents the people of Thessalonians who lived their faithfully. They expressed their love for God in prayer and their love for the neighbor in compassion and mercy. Paul is praising their enthusiasm and love for the faith. This weekend readings can be summarized in one word: LOVE.
Congratulations! All of you might have read in the Catholic Herald that Betty Hirtreiter received the Pax Christi Award. Please join me to congratulate her. We will recognize and celebrate the joy in later days. Congratulations Betty!
I read the story of a phone call Father O’Malley received. It goes like this: Hello, is this Father O’Malley? Father O’Malley says, “Yes, It Is.” From the other side, “This is the IRS. Can you help us?” Father O’Malley, “Yes-I can” “Do you know a Ted Houlihan?” Father O’Malley, “Yes, I do” Is he a member of your congregation? Father O’Malley, “Yes, He is” Did he donate $10,000 to the church? Father O’Malley, “Yes, He will”
We are celebrating Mission Sunday. Mission Sunday invites us to reflect beyond our local church and see the mission of the universal church. Some give to the missions by going. Some go by giving. Mission Sunday is the day to reach out beyond the needs of the local Parish and diocese to assist missionaries as they go and tell in the young churches. The theme for the Extraordinary Missionary Month is: “Here am I, send me” (Isaiah 6:8). Pope Francis in his message for World Mission Sunday invites us to respond to our baptismal call to mission by saying, “Here I Am, Send Me.” Mission Sunday brings us together to celebrate our faith and support by our prayer and financially Pope Francis's mission.
If we listen to our media, there is a lot of questions about what is secular and what is sacred. Most of the time, we hear that we have to embrace one and hate other realities. We like to separate this world and the world to come. In reality, we cannot separate, it is a continuation. Both of the worlds give us privileges and responsibility. In the first reading from Second Isaiah, we see, God anointed Cyrus to carry out God's plan for the people of Israel. Israelites were in Babylonian exile. God called Cyrus for the deliverance and restoration of Israel. God said to Cyrus, I am the LORD and there is no other, there is no God beside me. For Cyrus, anointing comes with responsibility.
The Gospel of Matthew chapters 21 and 22 bring a series of the controversial moment between Jesus and leaders of Israelites. In the Gospel passage for this weekend, we see Pharisees sending their disciples with the Herodians. Why did they go with Herodians? Herodians are the supporters of Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee and Perea, and they would favor payment of the tax; the Pharisees did not. Also, the people of Israel were against the payment of the tax to Romans. If they could find fault in Jesus, Herodians were the most suitable people to report to Roman authorities. So their question was, “Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?” If Jesus answers yes, people become against him and it will destroy Jesus’ influence among the people. If Jesus answers no, then, Herodians will report to the authorities. Jesus is not giving a yes or no answer; instead, he asked them to bring a coin and asked them "Whose image is this and whose inscription?" In a way, Jesus asked them to answer their own question. Jesus told them, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”
The coin belongs to Caesar. Then a question emerges, what belongs to God? Each one of us belongs to God. God created us in his own image and likeness. What should we do? We should engage in the “work of faith and labor of love and endurance in hope” as we hear in the second reading. St. Paul says, Holy Spirit is at work among the Thessalonians. They grew in three theological virtues. So St. Paul gives thanks to God for them.
Respect life month invites us to meditate on the dignity of life. The Bible teaches that life is a gift of God and hence we have to respect it from womb to tomb. This weekend we celebrate Inclusion Awareness Day as a part of respect life month. Respect life month we celebrate life with our abilities and disAbilities, strengths, and weaknesses. We are one family. Inclusion awareness Sunday is an opportunity to reflect on how we include everyone in the community by looking at our abilities, rather than looking at disabilities. How we appreciate the gift of each and every one. In other words, how we celebrate our differences. This weekends reading invites us to wear the wedding garment which is our good deeds. Let us “do something beautiful for God.”
Christian spirituality is joy-filled and needs to be celebrated. All three readings for this weekend we read about food. The first reading and Gospel clearly talks about the banquet.
The first reading praises God for carrying his plan to destroy the enemy and save his people Zion and they announce the victory banquet to be celebrated in the Lord’s city. It is a prophetic vision of the universality of salvation. Isaiah says, “On this mountain, the LORD of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.” This mountain is Jerusalem’s mountain, Zion. A feast for people, destroy the death, wiping away tears from every face. The Book of Revelation chapter 7 talks about “a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongue, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robe… (7:9) for the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water; and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes (7:17).” On that day we will chant together, “let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us (Isaiah 25:9).”
The first reading from the book of Isaiah is parallel to Jesus’ parable of the Wedding Feast. The Gospel begins with "The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.” In this parable, the King is the Lord God, the son is Jesus, and the servants are the prophets, the invited guest is the people of Israel, they are the chosen one. They ignored the invitation and engaged their daily business. Some of them mistreated or killed the servants (prophets) who came to announce the invitation. Then the King destroyed the murderers and burned their city. It is about the distraction of the Jerusalem temple.
Then King's invitation send out everyone and gathered for the wedding feast. It is talking about the Church. God gathered everyone from around the globe. We all are invited to come to the heavenly banquets. The requirement for the wedding feast is to wear the wedding garment. What is the wedding garment? Revelation 19:8 says, “She was allowed to wear a bright, clean linen garment. The linen represents the righteous deeds of the holy ones.
Jesus told this parable to the chief priest, elders, and Israelites; today he tells us the same parable. This parable tells us that God invites everyone. The first step is to accept the invitation. The second step is to wear the wedding garment which is our good deeds. Colossians 3:12 says, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Let us be grateful to Christ for the invitation and prepare well to participate in the heavenly banquet.
Christian spirituality is a spirituality of joy and celebration. Let us celebrate our faith with joy.
Thank you! I would like to express gratitude to the Knights of Columbus for putting up the cemetery of innocence for Respect Life month.
First of all, let us wish our St. Francis parishioners, a happy and joyful Feast of St. Francis. Feast of St. Francis of Assis was on October 4th. St. Francis of Assis loved the whole universe. The custom of blessing of animals originated from St. Francis’s love all creatures. Animals used to come and listen to St. Francis preach. St. Francis loved all God’s creation, in other words, loved all life.
The Church dedicates the month of October for respect life and the rosary. This year, the theme for the respect life is "Live the Gospel of Life." Every moment of our life from womb to tomb is a gift from God and He is our Hope. As I mentioned above October is the month of the Rosary, a devotion to our Mother Mary, which very well connects with respect life month. When we meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary, we walk through the life of Jesus: from the very moment of his conception in the womb of Mary, through his public life; passion, death, and resurrection to his ascension and coming of the Holy Spirit. He restored the dignity of our life. Through his salvific action, we received the dignity of life.
The first week we pray in a special way, we pray for unborn babies, mothers, and babies aborted and the healing of their parents. In the second week, we will be praying for people with different abilities (disabilities). We call it Inclusion awareness Sunday. If you know someone who has not received a Sacrament in their appropriate age, please call Kathy Rominske, Sandy Kennedy, and we can prepare them for Sacraments. If you know someone who would like to read, or greet please call the parish office. We will train and prepare them for the ministry.
On the third Sunday, we celebrate World Mission Sunday. Pope Francis, in his message, asks us to respond to our baptismal call to mission by saying, “Here I Am, Send me.” Thirds Sunday, October 18th is also the feast of St. Luck, who was a physician and patron saint of the medical profession. This weekend Mass we pray for all those who are sick, opportunity to receive the Sacrament of the Sick, and offer a special prayer for the caregivers and healthcare professional. Fourth Sunday, we meditate and pray for domestic violence and human trafficking. Again, it is an opportunity to reflect on the dignity of life in our day-to-day life.
Respect Life month invites us to reflect on the dignity of the lives from womb to tomb, and evaluate, how we respect one another’s lives. Let us pay special attention to pray the Rosary this month and pray for peace, human life, and the family. “The Rosary is the ‘weapon’ for these times.” -Saint Padre Pio.
This weekends reading is about God’s chosen people. We see in the book of Isaiah, (meaning the Lord is salvation) and the Gospel of Matthew the vineyard. The Israelites were the vineyard of the Lord. Isaiah 5:7 says, “The vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel.” The parable of tenants in the Gospel is about the dealing of God with his people. In the parable, the landowner is the Lord, the vineyard is the people, hedge around them, wine press, and tower are his protection and care. The tenants are the chief priest and elders, and God’s servants who came to obtain his products are the prophets, and finally his Son Jesus. This parable is to tell us much about God, his patience, his judgment, and above all it tells about Jesus' sacrifice. It is also about the privilege of his people, freedom, the fallen nature of human beings, and answerability.
The parable concludes with the picture of the stone. Psalm 118:22: “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” Jews were hated by all. There were slaves of many nations. But they were the chosen people of God. Isaiah 28:16: “Behold, I am laying in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation.” There are many more places in the Old Testament. These pictures of stone are summed up in Jesus. Jesus is the foundation of which everything is built, and the cornerstone holds everything together.