Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Words from Fr Ed (From March 11th, 2012 Bulletin)

… stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.Jesus was zealous for His Father’s house, the temple in Jerusalem. The Scriptures say, "Zeal for your house will consume me." Jesus cared about worship and guarding it from the intrusion of secular greed and interests. We have to do the same as a parish which is called first and foremost to return gratitude to God for our salvation. We come to the font of the Eucharist to unite ourselves fully with the Heavenly Bread, Jesus Christ. All other interests are secondary. As Jesus told Martha, "…only one thing is necessary". This was said in regard to her sister who was doing that thing, sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to and waiting upon His word.

It is easy for churches to wander into the business of business. We are a big institution with a big budget and staff. If we want the same or better structures of service that we had yesterday we naturally plan for those expenses. This can become a temptation that leads to too much fundraising and concern about money. This runs contrary to a spirit of faith in God’s providence. As a religious institution committed to preaching, and thus living, the Gospel, we must maintain a healthy trust that God will provide for His will to be done. In fact, He promises this Divine assistance. Jesus teaches us to "…seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things (clothing, food, drink) will be given you besides."

That may sound easy for a single celibate to promote. I can’t imagine how difficult this is for a family with anxieties for children. But God’s promise extends to families as well. It’s a matter for discernment, but how are you as a family called to ‘seek first His Kingdom’? How can we honor the temple of the Holy Spirit and not allow our secular concerns to encroach on the primacy of our spiritual needs? The money-changers in the temple also try to enter our temple, our own soul, as well as our family homes and relationships. That is why finances are a major component of marriage prep. Attitude and understanding of how to manage finances as a Christian is vital for a marriage to thrive, especially in times of scarcity.

Those of you who are out of work face a particular trial in balancing out your real financial needs with the demand of the Gospel. How will ‘the Kingdom’ feed and clothe your family? I would say, pray well, and then see God work. Our Office of Readings this morning (I’m writing this on Monday, March 5th) gave the story of the Israelites backed up against the Red Sea as the Egyptians came down upon them with all their force. Moses tried to calm their fears with this prophecy, "These Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again. The Lord himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still."

As I have said elsewhere, taking up a prayer practice of Scriptural reading and meditation is essential for Christian life. What better time to pick up God’s word than when we are facing difficult trials. It is humbling, yes, and that alone would be worth it. Let God’s word penetrate any doubts or worries that you have. He is more than capable of taking care of you and your family. Proverbs says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not; In all your ways be mindful of Him , and he will make straight your paths." (3:5-6) May God give you confidence in His mercy and kindness.

Liguorian Magazine Subscriptions
Some of you shared with me that you never received subscriptions from the Liquarian magazine that you signed up for. The Redemptorist priest was surprised when I called him and asked us to contact the main subscription office regarding this. We can do that for you if you let us know about this error. Please call Paul Schwarz at 253-631-1940, ext 129 to let us know who you are. Bless you for your patience in trying to get this straightened out.

Gallup ME 25
We will be participating this weekend in a survey that helps us determine our engagement level as a parish. We did this almost two years ago and discovered that we were approximately 27% engaged. This is higher than the national average for Catholic parishes (~16%), but lower than the threshold that emits an ambiance of complete engagement and welcome (37%). Hopefully we have grown in the past few years in this area of Christian life. To know this we need your participation in the survey, no matter how involved you are in the parish. If you haven’t filled one out in the pew during Mass, please take time to either go online or pick up a survey in the Narthex. It only takes a few minutes. May God bless you for your involvement in the parish, it is a mutual benefit to all of us.

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