September 17th – Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The message of today’s readings talk about God’s mercy and compassion for us sinners and the need for us to let go of wrath, anger and revenge as we forgive our neighbor. I could think of no better message for us in our world today as we see the collateral damage caused by anger, hate, violence and the racism that plagues our country. Whether we look at our individual relationships or any group that we may belong to, we see the human tendency to nurse a grudge or never forgive the wrong that has been done to us. It is also true of our city, nation or world.
Peter’s question to Jesus about “How often must I forgive?” reminds us of our own tendency to limit forgiving others. I can speak from direct experience, without going into details, of how I have been betrayed or hurt by others. Sometimes these experiences occurred in my pastoral work and at other times I have been the one who hurt others or hung on to angry feelings. The old saying is still true: it is easier to forgive than to forget.
Our Scriptures for today broaden our horizons. We are reminded in chapter 5 of Romans that we have all sinned and deserve God’s judgment. God sent his Son Jesus to be the offering for our sins on the wood of the cross, forgiving us and giving us the grace of adoption. We can rejoice in our rebirth in the Holy Spirit. We are a redeemed community, given the mission of being a healing, reconciling community. Our second reading from Romans 14 reminds us that we are a community in the Lord Jesus who are responsible for one another. The time for action is now. The U.S. Conference of Bishops and our own Archbishop Listecki have spoken out on the recent issues of racism and immigration in the light of DACA. We pray for the grace to forgive 77 times. If I have offended anyone, I ask for forgiveness. The Archbishop has asked us to frequent the Sacrament of Reconciliation to help in the process of conversion. Please refer to the parish bulletin and website for times and location.
Thanks so much for your generous response by your donations to the relief of all those affected by the recent hurricanes in our country. There is still time to make a donation by writing out a check to your individual parish. We will then send one check to the Archdiocese to be sent to Catholic Charities.
Love and prayers,
Fr. Mike Michalski
September 10th – Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
The feast of St. Peter Claver is September 9, and it provides us, as the lives of saints often do, with a chance not only for inspiration about what someone did in the past, but a challenge as to what we are called to do NOW!
Because of his exemplary and Christ-like service to the African slaves so horrendously brought to Cartagena, Columbia in the 17th century, St. Peter is rightly called the slave to the slaves. Google his life, and be ready for not only the absolute sinfulness he faced as human beings were degraded and treated as chattel in a terrible system of economic oppression, but also be absolutely inspired by what one can do if one cooperates with grace and acts always with compassion as a guiding light. Christ can work through human weakness and fear to bring about new life and hope even in the most impossible situations.
St. Peter started out with basic human kindness, love, and compassion for all, regardless of race or origin or circumstance. He just did the job of Christians, the job that starts with compassion, but moves to justice, as St. Peter Claver was a challenge to the very systems that produced the horrors he encountered everyday.
As we continue to struggle with injustice and racism, let us pray to St. Peter Claver that we not only do all things with love and compassion, but ask the tough questions of justice that need to be asked!
We need the saints more than ever, not only for the hope they offer that goodness always triumphs, but also for the fire they light in us to work for justice for all, that justice which leads to peace! Have a blessed week! Let’s get to work!
Sincerely, with love,
September 3rd – Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed
by the renewal
of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God,
what is good
and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
As we celebrate this Labor Day weekend, the unofficial last weekend of summer, and prepare for a new school year and all the activities that begin this coming fall, we hear the poignant words of St. Paul, calling us to a renewed heart and mind. I often felt that September should be the first month of the year since everything starts in earnest. Our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrate their high holy days Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, beginning a New Year.
Both Jeremiah and Jesus reflect on the consequences of following the will of God. Jeremiah is ridiculed and persecuted for calling God’s people to repentance and to greater concern for the poor. Jesus tells the disciples what were the implications of the title the Christ that Peter gave him: suffering, rejection and death, leading to resurrection on the third day.
I have been thinking a lot about the need to change my attitude as I seek to discern the will of God. The rise in hate groups in our country which includes violent behavior and the 50th anniversary of the open housing marches in Milwaukee force me to look at the racism in my own heart. I am part of a book study group reading the book “Racial Justice and the Catholic Church” written by our own Fr. Bryan Massingale. The first chapter alone has challenged me to see how racism is imbedded in the very culture we live in. I pray for the grace to be color blind.
Our scholars from Catholic East Elementary began school last week. This is our first year being part of Seton Catholic Schools. We warmly welcome our new principal, Ms. Jennifer Jones who has been a part of the CEE family for several years. Our first all school Mass is set for September 7, 2017 at Holy Rosary at 8:30 a.m. You are more than welcome to join our scholars at Mass any Thursday; refer to the bulletin for the schedule.
Our Parish Family of Four will celebrate liturgy for Labor Day on Monday September 4th at 9:00 a.m. at SS. Peter and Paul Parish.
Wishing you a restful Labor Day weekend.
Fr. Mike Michalski