Love one another as I love you
The heart of Christian living lies here in this commandment to love one another, yet not in some nebulous way, but in a very specific way, ‘as’ Jesus loves us. So in order to know how to love one another we have to know first how Jesus loves us.
We can see by Jesus’ actions how He loves us. First, He is not afraid to tell us the truth and call us to repentance. When Jesus began His public life, after His baptism in the Jordan and the temptation in the desert, Matthew records His first words as being, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mt 4:17) We are all called to repentance in the face of a holy kingdom, one that does not operate according to our own agenda. God says through the prophet Isaiah, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” (Is 55:8) This means we have to be open to change and willing to call others to repentance.
Jesus’ love includes a radical, actually an infinite mercy for our sins. As you may know, I work with Project Rachel, a ministry to women and men who have suffered one or more abortions. It is amazing to see the power of God’s mercy at work in a soul. I am privileged to witness people, burdened with guilt and shame, realize that God forgives serious sin. The peace, joy, and freedom that one can experience with the grace of God’s mercy is incredible and can’t be manufactured through positive thinking. No, it is supernatural and a free gift of God. Nor could it occur without a radical honesty about one’s tragic mistake. “The truth will set you free”.
Let us pray for the grace to love as Jesus loved, with mercy and truth.
Annual Catholic AppealThis weekend is our primary appeal for financial and spiritual support for our Archdiocesan ministries. I try to contain this as best I can to just one weekend so as not to take away from our Easter liturgies. Our success depends in part on your help. I would like everyone to participate regardless of your financial capability at this time. That’s one reason why I say ‘spiritual’ support. Those who cannot give at this time should send in your forms with a promise of prayer for our Archbishop and the 80+ ministries of the Archdiocese. Our Archbishop Sartain needs these prayers now more than ever.
Some hostile voices in the press have encouraged a boycott of the Annual Appeal, given the appointment of Archbishop Sartain as Archbishop Delegate for the review and renewal of the LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious). His task is “…to work collaboratively with the officers of the LCWR to achieve the goals outlined in this document (“Doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious”; see http://www.usccb.org/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&pageid=55544) Regardless of whether one agrees with the assessment, I can only imagine Archbishop Sartain being the most charitable and understanding bishop to be assigned this task, one that he did not ask for.
One effect of a boycott would be to deprive Sisters, members of the LCWR, of the benefits given by the Appeal. The Appeal provides $50,000 a year to the National Religious Retirement Office to support our religious sisters in retirement. The total archdiocesan contribution to that fund - supported by Annual Catholic Appeal donations - is more than $1.2 million since its inception. In 2009, the most recent year for which figures are available, congregations represented by LCWR with mother houses in the archdiocese received $105,198.19 from this Annual Catholic Appeal-supported fund. A successful boycott could affect these benefits in addition to the many services that we use on a daily basis in the parish, including CYO, Marriage Tribunal, and Seminarian support just to name a few.
In addition, if our parish were to fail to achieve our Archdiocesan goal, then the shortfall becomes an unbudgeted assessment, which would then have to come out of our operating expenses and salaries. In turn, that could impact our youth and outreach programs, liturgy support, and faith formation. While everyone must follow their conscience, I can only encourage people to consider the appropriateness of our Archbishop’s simple cooperation with the Holy See as well as the impact of a boycott. I encourage you too to read the actual Assessment rather than the media’s ‘assessment’. It helps to know the whole truth.
Sister Sharon Parks and R-74 Concerns Monday Night
We’ve invited Sr. Sharon Parks, Executive Director of the Washington State Catholic Conference, to be here along with Greg Magnoni, Director of the Office of Communications for our Archdiocese, to speak about formation of conscience, especially in light of the recent pending state law to change the definition of marriage. Please come and here an excellent presentation on various questions surrounding this challenging issue. They will begin at 7:30 PM in the main church, this Monday evening, May 14th.