Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Words from Fr Ed (From September 25th, 2011 Bulletin)

Which of the two did the Father’s will?

Jesus tells us that we must do the Father’s will if we are to be saved. “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Mt 7:21)  It is imperative that we find out what that will of the Father is for us. This involves knowing the Father.
How do we best get to know this Father whom we cannot see? Jesus is the answer. He said, “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father.” (John 14:21)  But how do we see Jesus? The Church has given us several sources for the truth about Jesus Christ, including the Scriptures, Tradition and the Magisterium. All of these entail formal revelation. There is also an informal revelation that occurs when we observe the creation around us or our own human nature. All, when evaluated with reason, point to the existence of our loving God.

Just before sitting down to write this, my friend Larry, the owner of the ranch where I am vacationing, showed me the honey trays that he just brought in from his bee boxes. Extraordinary, the beauty of the honey combs that the bees have developed. Perfectly formed and patterned six-sided wax receptacles are laden with liquid honey which the bees then seal over for storage. I remarked to Larry that these were proof of God’s existence. We can see too, from the order in the hive that He is a loving God, taking care of even the needs of bees.

Like these bees, there is an order to our lives if we are willing to accept it. And that is precisely the key, we have free will. The bees cooperate with God by natural instinct. They aren’t sitting around wondering whether they should build six-sided containers or five. No, they simply do what is written into their nature by our orderly and loving God. Our lives tend to be less orderly, depending on our openness to God. I don’t mean to say that this necessitates external order in our lives, though often it is a fruit of interior order. This interior order comes from submitting our will to God’s.

Again, this brings us back around to the question of determining what God’s will is for us, moment to moment. Our vocations give us a lot of clues in the duties and responsibilities that govern our lives. His general will for married people is to raise a family, training children in the faith, supplying the material goods necessary for life. This would mean working in some way that fits our skills and desires. To be more specific, to do a good job of this means being honest and efficient, maintaining competency in one’s field. But we can still be more specific.

Through the day we have a myriad of decisions to make. To know God’s will on each of them is difficult, but we can begin by asking. Jesus said, “Ask, and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be opened to you.” (Mt 7:7) We need to take Jesus’ promise seriously and realize its veracity. The way to find out if it is true is to ask with an open heart to know God’s will, and be prepared to hear the answer. He will inform you in one way or another. That may include the difficult trial of not receiving extraordinary explicit signs of His will, but rather growing in faith, which is more important than specific knowledge of a task to be performed.

You may be discouraged by past failures to do God’s will, or you mope about how better your life could be if you had taken a different course.  Never mind, listen to the Gospel this Sunday about the two sons. One refused the father’s will initially, but then “changed his mind”.  We can change our mind too, taking on the mind of Christ, and become, even in an instant, full of God’s glory and grace.

African Mission Presentation on Sunday, October 2 (at 9:45 AM, between the two morning Masses)
St. Stephen’s has had a significant connection to Uganda through the Masaka Children’s Fund started by one of our very own parish-ioners, Emily Bourgeois. This project provides for orphaned children. A video presentation of the December 2010 mission trip to Uganda and Kenya, which included Masaka in their itinerary, will be shown Sunday between Masses. Also included will be info about the mission trip next August!  Do you feel drawn to help the children of Africa? For more info, contact Diane Cooper (425-652-1445 or

Jesus asked, “Which of the two sons did the father’s will?”
Sometimes we hear the Gospel, and it sounds harsh.  Jesus compares the minimal response to those that would allow great sinners greater access to heaven than persons who think of themselves righteous.  However when digging deeper into the reading and the intent of Jesus we find that on the contrary Jesus is seeking a greater commitment from his followers, a more engaged Christian lifestyle that is not just words but also true action. To learn what this might look like, RCIA is designed to bring persons into the Catholic Church, and unpacking the deeper meaning of the Gospels is an integral part of the process. If you would like to share in this process, please contact Cynde Bosshart (253-631-1940 x104 or

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