October 29th – Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Love never wrongs the neighbor, hence love is the fulfillment of the law.
This weekend, besides being the annual Halloween Trick or Treat outing, is significant as we commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The theme for this common celebration among Catholics and Lutherans is “From Conflict toward Communion.” As I read the Joint Statement on the Occasion of the Joint Catholic-Lutheran Commemoration of the Reformation issued in Lund, Sweden on October 31, 2016, when Pope Francis visited that country and joined in a common worship service, I was reminded of today’s gospel from Matthew 23:34-40. The statement can be found on the Vatican website.
Jesus was being tested again, this time by a scholar of the law, about the greatest commandment. In the Torah there were 613 commandments: 365 negative and 248 positive. Jesus, drawing on his knowledge of the Jewish tradition, expressed the essence of God’s commandments: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The core of our relationship with God involves total commitment and love of all who are my neighbor, especially widows, orphans and the poor.
The Joint Statement echoes today’s readings as we give thanks to God for the spiritual and theological gifts received through the Reformation and confess and lament before Christ that Lutherans and Catholics have wounded the visible unity of the Church. At this point in the history of Christianity, we acknowledge that we have more in common than what divides us. We are no longer strangers. Refer to last week’s bulletin or the parish website for more information on ecumenical activities in the community and in our dialogue with City Reformed Church.
This coming Wednesday November 1st we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints, a holyday of obligation. Please refer to the bulletin or parish website for the time of Masses. On Thursday November 2nd, the Church celebrates the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls Day). Besides the regular weekday Mass schedule, there will be a Vespers Service at 6:00p.m. at Three Holy Women-Holy Rosary Parish. Please remember all the faithful departed plus those who died within the last year.
Peace and blessings,
Fr. Mike Michalski
October 22nd – Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Let God be God!
I have been finding that my greatest mistakes and most powerful frustrations occur when I don’t let God be God.
I know I appear shy (KIDDING), but sometimes my larger-than-life ego takes over, and I think that I am much more in control and thus much more responsible for the way things turn out than I actually am. In today’s first reading from the prophet Isaiah, God reminds us, “I am the Lord and there is no other, there is no God besides me.”
That really comforts me in that there is Someone ultimately in charge, and it’s not me! There is Someone who knows how to work things out, who is larger and more intelligent that can work out even the most pressing and oppressive problems we are facing.
When Jesus became one with us in our humanity, he knew what he had to do, and it started by getting his followers and his enemies to get over themselves and trust that he could bring the Kingdom of God to life, even when sinful humanity in its pride and desire for control tried otherwise.
And so he tells me, he tells us: “Get over yourselves; trust me; I know what I am doing!”
Have a blessed week!
Sincerely, with love,
October 15th – Twenty-Eigth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Come to the wedding banquet.
Put on the wedding robe.
Don’t be late, because the wedding banquet is starting now.
Source: John Donahue, The Gospel in Parable: Metaphor, Narrative and
Theology in the Synoptic Gospels (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1988)
Today’s gospel of the wedding banquet completes the triad of parables that deal with rejection and refusal. God has prepared a sumptuous banquet for all of us. The first reading from Isaiah 25:6-10a, often read at funerals, describes God’s plan to host a big party with lots of rich food and choice wines as He celebrates the final victory over Death. The parable of the Wedding Banquet/Wedding Garment refers to the rejection of the preaching of Christian missionaries on behalf of the Risen Christ. We are invited by our baptism and confirmation to serve the Lord as missionary disciples. With such a beautiful destiny laid out before us, why do so many people refuse to respond to the invitation or reject the message and the messengers sent by Jesus?
I have a hard time responding to the invitations I receive to attend an event or a reception. I place them on my desk and then forget about responding until the due date is past. I am really trying to respond in a more timely fashion. I also am trying to balance my work load and say No to some requests that I cannot fulfill. On a deeper level, the readings for today are calling us to be good servants and stewards of the mysteries of faith. With each gift comes a corresponding responsibility.
At baptism we received a white garment and were told to keep it unstained until our death. This is our wedding garment. We are invited each Sunday to thebanquet feast of the Paschal Lamb and are nourished by the Good Shepherd. We are called to say Yes to God’s invitation and invite others to the banquet with us. I don’t know about you but I am looking forward to the heavenly banquet. I wonder what God will be serving?
On a personal note, I wanted to inform you of my plans for retirement. I asked Archbishop Listecki for permission to retire next year. I will be 68 years of age this December 2017. I received permission from the Archbishop to retire in June of 2018. My future plans for where I will live and what I will do as a senior priest are still in the planning stage. Please keep me in your prayers as I always remember you in my Masses.
Fr. Mike Michalski
October 8th – Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, THINK ABOUT THESE THINGS.”
(St. Paul, Letter to the Philippians, ch. 4)
It seems as if the world is falling apart! Needless to say the events of these weeks, be they hurricanes or earthquakes or shootings or protests or political arguments—the list could go on—all seem to point to a dissolution of order that creates fear, judgment, and sad to say seemingly insurmountable disunity. Lately the Holy Father has been talking about the devil a lot, and his pernicious attempt to defeat humanity, and thus defeat Christ and God’s plan of salvation for this world He brought into existence. I think the Holy Father is spot on. It is not a coincidence that a title of the devil is the Prince of Lies. He is sowing amongst us a basic distrust and hard-heartedness that leads to his ultimate weapon—pitting us against each other.
The only solution, and our ultimate support, is prayer. Might I suggest, and I promise to practice what I preach, that we increase our prayers for unity and peace amongst all. That we fervently engage in our love for Christ in the Eucharist. That we pray for the defeat of the devil and evil. That we connect ourselves to the heart of Christ, and use him as the standard for what we do and say and feel. That we implore Mary, and all the saints and angels to stand by our sides and help us face the problems we have, not with fear, but with faith. Our God is a God of fidelity to us, and in our fidelity to Him, goodness will triumph. Promise to God!
Sincerely, with love,
October 1st – Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory: rather humbly regard others
as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others. Have in you that same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus… “ Phil 2:3-5a)
Today we begin Respect Life Month in our country with the theme taken from Matthew’s gospel: Be not afraid. “Behold I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matt 28:20) During this month we seek to preach the Gospel of Life in a culture of death, as St. John Paul II often said. We face many challenges in our world today as we seek to promote respect for life in the midst of a world culture that disregards the value of human life. The litany of sins against human dignity are many, including abortion, euthanasia, abuse, violence, war and human trafficking.
Today’s Scriptures remind us that it is not easy to follow the way of the Lord, or, in our case, the teachings of the Catholic Church. God’s way, according to the prophet Ezechiel, promotes conversion and choosing the good in order to have the fullness of life. Paul, writing in prison to the Philippians, encourages them to imitate the Lord Jesus who humbled himself and redeemed us by the Paschal Mystery. The gospel from Matthew 21:28-32 contains the parable of the two sons who responded to their father’s request to work in the vineyard. The one who changed his mind and did his father’s will is a lesson that “tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God.”
The bottom line is that we are responsible for each other to grow in our spiritual journey. We need to help others as they struggle with moral choices. There are many ways we can respond during this Respect Life month. We can participate in 40 Days of Life or volunteer at the Women’s Center or other pro-life organizations. We can visit the sick as a Minister of Care, especially to those who are alone or never receive a visitor. We can be involved in the many social justice and outreach ministries in our family of four parishes, including the Riverwest Food Pantry. We can support women going through a difficult pregnancy or pray with the dying.
Finally, Pope Francis launched a two-year global campaign on September 27, 2017 with a focus on immigrants and refugees. The United States Conference of Bishops is inviting us to take part in a Week of Prayer and Action, Oct.7-13. Refer to future bulletins and our website for more information. In this month of October, let us pray the rosary for more respect for life.
Fr. Mike Michalski