Increasing Our Faith

Letters from a Pastor to His People- October 4, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

A pretty grim parable, no?  Yes, but there is hope, especially if we look at the parable with a Trinitarian lens. 

We might think the King is reckless, careless, and imprudent in sending his son to the rebellious vineyard, especially after all of the previous messengers have been killed.  And we might also think the King is distancing himself from the situation, as if he's saying, "Go, figure it out, Son, while I just hang back at the palace."  But the Son is an ambassador—an extension of the King.  When the Son is rejected and killed, it is the Father ultimately who is rejected and killed.

There is great love occurring between the King and Son in this dire situation.  The King allows the Son to cooperate and take ownership in the King's being and the King's work.  Jesus, of course, says this repeatedly throughout the Gospels: "the Father and I are one; if you've seen me, you've seen the Father; whoever rejects me, rejects the one who sent me." 

There's the consolation and hope of this parable.  It isn't so much about the wicked tenants as it is about the unity of the Father and Son.

For our personal application: God the Father likewise "sends" us into very difficult situations, "the rebellious vineyard." It might be an illness that you or a loved one are going through.  You might be unemployed or not in an ideal work situation.  Or something else.  The Son in the parable is sent into a battle.  We have our own battles.  The temptation is to have that be a cause of separation between us and God.  We can resent God.  "Why did you give me this illness? Why won't you heal my mother? Why won't you change my job circumstance?" we ask ourselves and God.

God is with us in our cross.  In fact, he is experiencing that very cross himself.  We are an extension of God.  And so the cross can be a cause not of separation, but a cause of unity between us and God.  What could be grounds for sin are grounds for grace. 

If we can increase our faith and trust and, ultimately, our sense of union and cooperation with God, particularly in our difficult situations, then we'll bear fruit in our vineyard.  And we'll also experience the peace of heart spoken of by St. Paul, who likewise was sent in a rebellious vineyard and killed. 

This Sunday, October 4, we are adding back the 11am Sunday Mass.  We will now have three Masses Sunday morning, in addition to the Saturday 5pm Mass.  Confessions will still be held Sunday morning following the 9:30am Mass until 11am, but will be heard in the bridal room across from the women's restroom in the back of the church.  Confessions are also offered Monday evenings from 6:30-7:30pm in the sacristy during the Monday Evening of Prayer.

Also, following the 11am Mass this Sunday, October 4th, we will have the socially-distanced pet blessing, it being the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi.  Bring your animals to the area outside the church.  I will probably do the blessing at 11:45am.

The School Board will meet virtually this Monday, October 5th.  If you would like to see a copy of the minutes of last month's meeting, please reach out to me or Ms. Scotkovsky.  The teachers are doing a fantastic job in these stressful circumstances, and, thanks be to God, our school has been safe and are students healthy.  Please continue to keep our school in your prayers.

The next Teen Ministry event will be Friday, October 9th, "Friday Night Lights" at Mary, Seat of Wisdom.  There was a great turnout for this last month, so consider coming and perhaps meeting some new people from Park Ridge and the surrounding area.  You can find more information, the full calendar, and register here: https://www.mswparish.org/crux-teen-ministry.

 

Yours in Christ,

Fr. James

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