Dear Sisters and Brothers,
“Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.” Ouch!! This had to sting. Jesus spoke these shocking words not just to anybody. He spoke them to “the chief priests and elders of the people.” The ones who were professional law-keepers. The ones who were religious leaders and teachers. The ones who were, in truth, self-righteous, pompous, and presumptuous. Jesus must have known how offensive it would be to his audience to share this unpleasant fact. But he said it anyway because he knew they needed to hear it.
But the point wasn’t to offend. The point was to amend. Jesus was urging them to change their lives for the better, to come to God with a humble, contrite heart, seeking forgiveness and mercy. These unrepentant upper-crust leaders were plagued by an inability to see their own sins. They were far too focused on identifying where others were going wrong. And, as was his style, Jesus’ preaching was adapted according to his audience. These guys needed to get knocked out of their complacency. So Jesus did what he had to do.
It’s important to realize, by the way, that the reason tax collectors and prostitutes were leading the line to heaven wasn’t because of their sins. It was because of their sorrow. The people Jesus had in mind when he mentioned this—like Zacchaeus and Mary Magdalene perhaps—had repented from their sinful behavior and begun anew. This is why he praises them. And this is what the Lord longs to see everyone doing, including us. Either we need to acknowledge and repent for our sins, or we are placing ourselves in the same category as the pharisaical priests and elders. And that’s definitely not the place to be.
I would like to invite you to our annual Blessing of the Animals in honor of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. I will meet you and your pet(s) outside in front of the church next Saturday, October 3rd at 11:00am for this special blessing. Don’t forget to wear a mask and maintain social distance.
You may notice when you come to the parish that a number of trees have been removed and trimmed back. We are blessed to have a beautiful wooded campus, but with that come liabilities and upkeep. Every few years we must trim back any dead and threatening branches as well as evaluate dying trees. We recently had 11 trees removed in addition to the trimming of branches, the majority of which hang over the parking lot. As with everything we do, the safety of our people is our top priority.
Here is this Sunday’s Worship Aid
I encourage you to sign up for weekend Masses through the parish website or FaceBook page. The link is available after the 9:30 Mass each Sunday UNTIL Wednesday evenings at 10:00pm. If you come to Mass without signing up, we will do our best to find you a seat. Don’t forget to wear your mask, use hand sanitizers in the Narthex and keep your social distance as you approach the Main Entrance of the Church!
As usual, we will continue to live-stream Mass(Mon—Thurs and Sunday, 9:30am) on the parish Facebook (link) and uploaded on YouTube (link), and our parish website, https://www.seaseton.org/Resources/Media. If you do not have Facebook but wish to watch our livestream, click here for instructions.
Have a good week!