Voices of Faith

The Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Dear Friends:

It’s Labor Day Weekend… where does the time go?! I hope this weekend brings a time of rest and relaxation as the summer season draws to a close for many of us.

We proclaim with gratitude in today’s Psalm refrain, “God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor” (Psalm 68:11). Linked to Jesus’ parable about the wedding banquet to which the poor, the blind, and the lame should be invited, we are given a strong mandate to care for the less fortunate. True enough, but there is, however, a deeper message that calls us to see things from another perspective. In a culture where entitlement and privilege often rule the day, we have to see ourselves before God as undeserving of his gifts, because in reality, we do fall short of our part of the covenant. I don’t mean for this to be about beating ourselves up, but to find that right stance before God in which we can see everything as a gift. Love can’t be earned; it is freely given… in relationships in the family, with friends, and certainly with God. And the same is true of charity… the Latin word, caritas, is one of several Latin words that means love. This kind of love is selfless, generous, and caring. Our charity is not about merit or what people deserve, but it is about our call to love. Such charity begins with recognizing that we are first loved by God in a similar way. To pray our psalm today with a sense of gratitude is to recognize that God has been good to us and called us together into a people, a home, that is the Church. Take time this week to be mindful of the ways in which God has loved you when you didn’t deserve it, and rejoice in God’s goodness!

As we reach the beginning of September this weekend, we mark the “official” start of the school year. Even though many students have returned to the classroom already, orientation programs and fall sports have been underway for some time, and teachers have been hard at work preparing for the year, on Tuesday everyone will be back in the classroom. We pray for a year of successful endeavors, new learning, and intellectual, personal, and spiritual growth for all.

God’s peace,

Fr. Rick