Challenges Ahead

(September 18, 2022)

Bottom line: We have challenges ahead. To meet them I ask you to recognize there is one God. From him comes all we have and all we are. And one mediator between us and God and among each other - the man Jesus Christ.

It is good to be back with you. I had a good couple weeks in Oregon with Bishop Liam Cary and Fr Jim Coleman. It all went well except for a strange fall. I'm looking forward to talking to my doctor about it. So far I have heard theories from dehydration to Fr. Tim Sauer telling me I should stop smoking marijuana. Marijuana is a topic for another day, maybe in our faith formation program.

We do have good news. As I mentioned in a Flocknote, Archbishop Etienne has authorized return to sharing cup of Jesus' Precious Blood. We will begin next Sunday. Meanwhile I ask Communion Ministers to attend a training this Friday at 6 pm. Current ministers and those interested in this vital ministry should attend.

Now is a good moment to mention some practical business. We've addressed the needs of our church doors and now we are looking at our roofs, especially the one over our parish hall. Before doing that we need to face the shortfall in our Annual Catholic Appeal. So far you have given or pledged about $40K. We need about $17k to meet our 2022-2023 goal. This Sunday and the following two we will have a second collection for the Annual Catholic Appeal. I know all of us have felt the squeeze of increasing prices, but if any are able to make a special donation it will be greatly appreciated. We need to meet our parish goal. Anything above will go toward roof renovation.

Today we have the orientation meeting for parents of children in First Communion and Confirmation preparation. Next Sunday we will have the Touching Safety Program for all children in our faith formation program. For parents and other interested adults we will have a presentation on safety in regard to use of cell phones. All of us know our parents need help in guiding their children on how to prevent these devices from becoming instruments of spiritual and emotional destruction. Someone has observed that for all their power and benefits cell phones have become the devil's great tool. That will be next weekend. Then on the first Sunday of October we begin the faith formation program for all ages, first grade through adults, 9:15 - 10:15 on Sunday mornings.

I will focus my homilies to include themes that our children and youth will be studying. In a sense Fr. Sauer has already begun this. For example he gave a homily on the letter to Philemon, the owner of a runaway slave named Onesimus. This short letter is especially important to re-read as we deal with our own nation's shameful history of slavery - and how the Bible can help us achieve a broader perspective.

Today Paul speaks about how God "wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth."

He continues, "For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as ransom for all."

We could avoid so much conflict if we fixed this truth in our minds: There is one God. All creation comes from him and belongs to him. It is true that God allows private property. The Catechism expresses it this way: "The right to private property, acquired or received in a just way, does not do away with the original gift of the earth to the whole of mankind." (Catechism #2403) Like Bill Gates, but on a much smaller scale I possess certain good that I can use and hand on to a good cause, like the archdiocese or family members. But ultimately I cannot call them mine. The Catechism continues: "The universal destination of goods remains primordial, even if the promotion of the common good requires respect for the right to private property and its exercise." You and I are stewards of God's gifts.

And what about all the enmity and fights among us? Part of it comes from shame because of our own sins and the sins of our ancestors. We need to discern where we can make atonement but we have to face the fact we cannot resolve all sins, especially those of the more distant past. Thank God, though, that we do have "one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as ransom for all." He alone can resolve the deep wounds in our hearts. A good portion of our faith formation will focus on the role of Jesus in our lives.

Next Sunday Paul lays out some basics of Christian living. In our faith formation we will have a whole section devoted to morality - living as followers of Jesus. I think you will find it helpful.

We have challenges ahead. To meet them I ask you to recognize there is one God. From him comes all we have and all we are. And one mediator between us and God and among each other - the man Jesus Christ. Amen.

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From Archives (Homilies for Twenty-Fifth Sunday, Year C):

2019: Time to Take Action
2016: Boots Laced Week 1: Small Things with Great Love
2013: Geography of Faith: The Promised Land
2010: That Dishonest Steward
2007: The Best of a Bad Situation
2004: Is the Pope Naive?
2001: A Response to Terrorism
1998: Purpose of Money

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources) *New episodes for Ordinary Time leading up to Lent*

Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.

Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron

And don't miss Catholic Liturgy & Homily Prep

Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)

Parish Picture Album

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MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru

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