Letters from a Pastor to His People- October 11, 2020
Moderation is key in life. Often the path to holiness is simply finding the mean between extremes. It is okay to have sweets, but one piece of candy, and not ten. Okay, maybe two pieces of candy. The Old Testament acknowledges the permission of delicacies when Isaiah prophesies, "On this mountain the LORD of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines" (Isaiah 25:6). This isn't permitting getting drunk or stuffed on those rich wines/foods, like that hillside for the overserved at Oktoberfest in Munich, but just recognizing that it is okay for God to delight us.
We are not all called to be Mother Teresa and work in the slums of Calcutta, but we should do something for the poor, be it an act of service or a donation within our means. We don't have to pray ten hours a day like a monk, but we shouldn't go a whole day without spending at least half an hour in quiet prayer with God.
Having said that, it's also not automatically sinful or sanctifying to be in the extreme. Sometimes we think holiness is fasting or that only those who are poor can be holy. Not necessarily. Look at Saint Paul. He did both. "I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need" (Philippians 4:12).
Paul was holy because he lived in moderation and was attached to only one extreme: God. That is, Paul practiced holy indifference. It didn't matter whether he was rich or poor, hungry or well-fed, as long as he was doing the Lord's will. "I can do all things in him who strengthens me," he said (v.14). That too should be our motto.
Inside the bulletin you will see a letter from Bishop Bartosic, our auxiliary bishop, about the leadership survey that will be conducted on yours truly this fall. Every pastor and associate pastor every five years has to undergo this review process. This is to help me in my own growth as a priest and pastor, and Lord knows I need to grow! Thank you for your feedback and please keep me in your prayers that I may grow closer to the Lord and in holiness as a result of this process.
Next weekend, we celebrate World Mission Sunday. As Pope Francis reminds us, “God’s question: ‘Whom shall I send?’ is addressed once more to us and awaits a generous and convincing response: ‘Here am I, send me!” (Is 6:8) World Mission Sunday calls us to solidarity with communities of faith that are young, struggling or economically strained around the globe. Please pray for our brothers and sisters in faith and be generous in next week’s collection to support the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. You can make a donation online at WeAreMissionary.org/wms or drop your envelope marked "World Mission Sunday" in the back of the church.
The Saint Juliana Book Club will meet Saturday, October 24th at 9:15am in the back of the church to discuss A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce. If you would like to Zoom in to join virtually, please send me an email. And if you have recommendations for our next book, please email and let me know!
Yours in Christ,