Called to Live Anew

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me… He has sent me

Anew – it is a word we will focus on for years to come. Now is the time for our next great step together, to call people anew to knowing, loving, and serving the Lord and His Holy Church right here at this parish.

At the beginning of today’s gospel, Luke, the scientist, addresses Theophilus (translated literally as “Friend of God”), relating to him the gospel message he received.

Luke relates the gospel, not for the sake of telling a story, or even creating a documentary on the life of Jesus (he wasn’t working for the History or Discovery channels), but rather for the purpose of Theophilus’ certainty. He was sending the message so that energized with it, Theophilus would live out and proclaim the gospel message, drawing others to it.

We need the same certainty. We have the same charge.

In regrettable ways many Christians have become bystander faithful, documentary viewing devotees, and going through the motions followers, believers without passion or resolve. Many have forgotten the gospel charge – to go out and proclaim it for the gathering in of fellow disciples.

It must not be so for us. We need to feel within ourselves the Gospel’s confidence and certainty. Armed with its confidence and certainty we then walk the gospel path ever more closely. We proclaim that gospel ever more boldly. We become like Theophilus – each of us a friend of God and witness in our community.

To live life anew, life in the Kingdom already present for us, we must set confidently to work, the work shown us this very day. 

Like Ezra and Nehemiah, we are to call the people in, call them together, and place before them the glory of the gospel word and way – and then celebrate. We are to take the gifts St. Paul reminds us we have each received in different type and proportion and use them with passion for the building up of the Kingdom. By our work and word many are to know, love, and serve the Lord in His Holy Church, members of His body.

Because we are the friends of God, the Theophiloi, residents of and workers in the Kingdom, armed with the great gifts of the Holy Spirit, and charged by Jesus Himself to go out and make disciples, we must take the certainty of the gospel seriously and set to work. We must be bold in our proclamation – sometimes in subtle ways, other times ingeniously, still other times with great verve, but always confidently.

The words Jesus spoke today are not just Self-referential. They apply to us. The Spirit of the Lord is upon us. We are anointed. We are sent.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

This month, along with the celebration of the Solemnity of the Christian Family, we also celebrate Heritage Sunday (October 18th). Why? Reading through the documents created in the Church’s organizing years we see so many references to humanity, established in nations, to be bearers and sharers of the gifts God has given them. In the Tenant and Aims Document it is recorded: “The most important objective of the Church… is to maintain, enrich and develop the life of God in the soul of man…” Likewise, the Confession of Faith, our Creedal Document. Familiarize yourself with these statements, for they are a call to us and to the world. We are to recognize the dignity and value of each person and nation in their contribution toward helping us know God. These documents from the early 1900’s a sure cure to the inequality we still face today. We are not called to division, but to celebrate each other in unity and equality. We celebrate heritage because God has given us gifts, attributes, and experiences that when shared adds to our collective knowledge of God. A paraphrase of the Preamble to our Constitution sums this up: “Religion is the source of life and regeneration. Religion [that] possess the character of a nation [transmits innate] moral principles from which we achieve real freedom and stature.” As we celebrate let us each experience God more fully in each other and in what we share of ourselves.

October, our next jam packed month of events and opportunities. We bless pets on Sunday, October 4th. We celebrate the Solemnity of the Christian Family, a feast unique to our Church as well as Heritage Sunday. We will pray the Rosary every Wednesday evening in church and virtually. And … Fr. Jim is in the kitchen cooking up a yummy take-out/take-away American Goulash Dinner for Sunday, October 25th. Your efforts at discipleship and evangelism are drawing people to church – keep up the good work in the ministries you each have. There are some great prayers for family and our nation and a wonderful reflection on Certainty in God.

Read about all it in our October 2020 Newsletter.

Reflection for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time


We often wonder
what if?

But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. We are confident of you in the Lord that what we instruct you, you are doing and will continue to do. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the endurance of Christ.

The Sadducees confronted Jesus intent on embarrassing Him so they could prove their political point of view. The party of the Sadducees believed that there would be no resurrection of the dead. The Pharisees believed in the resurrection.

The conflict over the resurrection was one of several between the Pharisees and the Sadducees. They had a conflict of class, wealthy versus the poor, priests and aristocrats versus ordinary people. Another conflict was cultural, between those who favored Hellenization and those who resisted it. The Pharisees emphasized the importance of the Second Temple with its rites and services, while the Sadducees emphasized the importance of other Mosaic laws. They differed too on the Torah and how to apply it to Jewish life, with the Sadducees recognizing only the written Torah and rejecting oral tradition. The historian Josephus tells us that the Pharisees had the backing of the common people.

The problem of political and philosophical conflicts – as we know – aren’t limited to the times of Jesus. It even rears its ugliness in conflicts between Christians. When will the end come, what will it be like, how should the Church be organized, who should lead, how should we worship…? It goes on and on.

Each political point of view tries to provide the answer to “what if.” They try to ease our wondering and our wandering, but their answers are not the truth. Jesus is the truth. Unfortunately neither the Pharisees nor Sadducees saw that – their politics got in the way. We still fail when we seek answers to “what if” from politicians and the world even though the answer of Jesus is within our grasp.

The Maccabees were certain. They knew that surety in God was more important than the “what ifs” of today. They suffered and died, not asking “what if,” but saying, “I know.” the mother who, seeing her seven sons perish in a single day, bore it courageously because of her hope in the Lord.

For us there can be no reliance on politics. We needn’t question “what if,” but rather need to stand strong and sure. Jesus never promised more questions but promised absolute certainty to His faithful – life everlasting.

Take confidence in the way of the Lord. Do not wonder “what if.” Be sure only in Him Who guides us, is faithful, and gives us the answer we need.