The Pastor’s Corner
Respect Life Sunday
This is Respect Life Sunday in all Catholic churches throughout the United States. This year, Respect Life Sunday follows Pope Francis’ journey to the United States and the conclusion of World Meeting of Families. The two are, of course, connected.
We all know the importance of the family for the health of the Church, of our nation and of ourselves. The family is the place where we learn to get along with others, where we learn responsibility, practical Christian living and forgiveness. More lessons of practical value are learned at home than in school.
If the family is under stress or in crisis, this has to affect the Church and country. The connection with Respect Life Sunday is that the family is where young people of the next generation learn to be pro-life and recognize the inherent dignity of every human being from conception to natural death.
In the family young people see the aging process and learn to assist generations older and younger than they. As Pope Francis stated during his visit to the United States, the contribution we can make to transforming our society and culture is to build up strong and healthy families. Caring for the unity, shared faith and cooperation of members of our families teaches invaluable lessons that will strengthen and transform our culture. The media as we all know have great impact for better or worse. But nothing can replace the lived experience of a caring family.
No family is perfect. But a family does not have to be perfect to be a place of care, Gospel truth and respect for all human life.
A reminder: the Life Chain takes place today, October 4th, from 2-3 pm on Pleasant Valley Avenue.
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Bishop Loverde is celebrating his 50th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood. Prayer cards in English and Spanish are available in the narthex. There will also be an opportunity to send Bishop Loverde a message of gratitude and of prayers for him. Those cards will be available next week.
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We had an ushers’ meeting last week. One of the recommendations was to keep the center doors of the church closed for the first part of the Mass. Many people have complained that the seating of parishioners during the readings and homily is distracting. People will be able to enter through the two side doors which will be kept open. Please help us to maintain respect for God’s Word in the first part of the Mass.
In Our Lord
Father Stan Krempa
Read Fr. Krempa’s column from the Arlington Herald
|Click here to go to the Arlington Herald|
In the first part of the Gospel, Jesus speaks about His coming suffering and crucifixion. It seemed scandalous to Peter who, as most people in those days, saw suffering as only a curse and without redeeming value. But, we know the rest of the story. From Jesus’ Crucifixion came His Resurrection, redemption and renewal. Some of the most majestic Christian hymns over the centuries have been about the Crucifixion of Christ. Today, we raise the crucifix high in our churches because we see it as the place of Christ’s great victory over sin, death and human treachery. Some churches conclude the Stations of the Cross with a fifteenth station of the Resurrection so that we don’t divorce Christ’s death from His Resurrection. To do so can be spiritually lethal. Cross and Resurrection go together for the Christian disciple.
The particular cross we carry, however, opens our eyes to some critical truths.
The first is that the cross is what unites us. The poet Virgil has a line in his epic poem, “The Aeneid,” where the protagonist Aeneas sees images of war drawn on a wall. It brings back memories of what he had actually experienced. Virgil then states, (“Sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt.” “There are tears at the heart of our world, and men’s hearts are moved by what people have to bear.”) Our individual crosses may differ but we all have a burden to bear. That is the common thread of our humanity. We all have a cross whether it is public or private.
The second insight for us from the cross is that the cross we carry is our distinctively individual and personal way of following the Lord. Jesus tells us to pick up our cross daily and to follow Him. It does little good to deny our cross, to resist it, to curse it, to refuse to deal with it. It is there as a fact of our life. All we can do is carry it. We can carry it grudgingly or as a disciple.
The third lesson of the cross for us is that the cross of Christ gives us hope. It is not hope that it will go away but that God will bring good from it in a way we can barely imagine. Through our cross, we will enter the world of deep discipleship; we will enter the path of faithful following of Jesus. It is the place where we will connect most deeply with the Lord.
When we boldly carry our cross, trusting in the Father’s love, that is when we can become most like Jesus. So, we have the tale of two crosses — Christ’s and our own. We know where the cross of Jesus leads. What about our own?