Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 30, 2020
When I first started seminary in the fall of 2007 right after graduating college, I remember going to the gym downstairs in the seminary basement to work out. On the wall by the bench press was this quote from today's second reading: "offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship" (Romans 12:1).
Yo, bro, you lift?
I heard Jesus say that to me. Just kidding.
There's something to St. Paul's quote. Being healthy is a grace and is pleasing to God. Our bodies are gifts from God and not only should we take care of those gifts, but we should offer them back to him as a sacrifice of worship. Sort of like what we do with the Eucharist, no? Gifts of bread and wine made with human hands that we, in turn, offer to God for transformation.
But, like all things, moderation and temperance is important. We need to be healthy, but we shouldn't be obsessed with our bodies. Health and respect can easily turn into vanity. That's why I smoke cigars and drink beer...so I don't look too good. Again, just kidding.
Jesus calls us to take up the cross and follow him. To state the obvious: the cross is not good for health. Crucifixion kills the body. Holes are nailed into the hands and feet, and the person dies either from asphyxiation or blood loss.
What's the point, then, of the cross? It focuses our attachment to be on Jesus Christ. We are not attached to our bodies or to our image. We should be healthy, yes, but if Jesus calls us to let go of our bodies for his sake and be crucified, then we do it. When we desire to do only God's will, whatever that may be, then we will be well off.
Perhaps this week we can pray for a healthy body as well as a healthy soul. Yo, bro, you pray?
The rescheduled First Communion for the current 3rd graders is this Sunday. SJS students will have their Mass at noon Mass and RE students at 3pm. Confirmation will be Sunday, September 13th, with SJS students attending a noon Mass and RE students at 2pm. Congratulations to our First Communicants and families!
To all of our college students who have left for school or will be leaving, all the best and please know of my prayers for you. Same to all of our Religious Education students and other students in public schools. I am praying for you and hope your studies and e-learning go well.
Thank you, God, for a successful first week of school at SJS! And thank you teachers, parents, students, administrators, and Ms. Scotkovsky for your flexibility and hard work in making this all possible. Unfortunately many of you cannot see inside the school, but with the new, beautiful school hall and freshly painted classrooms and hallways, not to mention the signage and other health and safety items, the school looks great and are students are in a great position to learn. May God continue to watch over us.
A reminder that tomorrow, Monday, we will have Eucharistic Adoration in the church from 6pm-8pm. Confessions will be offered from 6:30-7:30 in the sacristy, and I will give a talk on prayer and the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola at 7:30pm. There will be no Monday Evening of Prayer next Monday, September 7th for Labor Day.
Yours in Christ,