Saturday, October 04, 2014

Three things this week -- or is it one?

Thank you all for your response to our collection for the beset Christians in the Middle East last weekend.  The total received over the weekend was $3,965.13, and I am sure more will come in over coming weeks.  You are quite generous; this outpouring is toward the higher end for a second collection here.  This is more remarkable because it was not scheduled, but “special,” situational, and the third second collection during September. 
Please, please do not forget to follow up with your prayers and attention.  Do not neglect to attend to the travails of these people!  I did notice a few extra folks who made the sacrifice of time for them at Adoration this past Sunday.  Do not underestimate the value of your prayers.
If you want to continue your material support, allow me to commend to you the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (http://www.cnewa.org).  They have been on the ground in the Holy Land and surrounding nations for decades, and are integrated with the local churches, who are the best at identifying authentic needs and providing long-term help.  They also have full oversight of the Church, and therefore meet all standards of transparency and accountability.
I have been supporting CNEWA as one of my personal charitable endeavors for as long as I have had a paycheck. I think this started because of my seminary trip to the Holy Land and Jordan, when I saw just how great the disadvantage our Baptismal brothers and sisters there face even when they are not being persecuted, much less martyred for their faith.  This is the ancient home of the Church, and the geographic and cultural ground of our Faith; it is worthy of our support and attention. 
It seems I haven’t preached to you in ages, since we are enjoying the efforts of our weekend seminarian Deacon Steve Graeve.  It is good for me to get a break, but also to be preached to, a rare luxury in my life.  As he explores all the elements of homiletic style and technique, he does not fail to bring insights that I had not considered before.  It also frees my meditation from weekly compartmentalization into homilies on specific Sunday scriptures, and allows me to reflect on whatever the Spirit reveals.
In the context of all that our Christian brothers and sisters are facing, I am drawn to the mystery of the Holy Trinity that is the heart of God’s self-revelation, and our faith.  Every year on Trinity Sunday I acknowledge it to be the most daunting subject to preach, but now world events lead me to the conclusion that it is the most vital aspect of our faith to explore.  You will hear more from me on this subject soon enough, but I invite you to join me in preparatory meditation. 
What is the greatest gift of the God who is in Himself Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?  Is it love?  Is it intelligibility?  Is it freedom?  What is the most marvelous sign on earth of this heavenly Communion?  Is it the unity of the Body of Christ that is made of many members?   Is it the unity of the Sacred Scripture that is the fruit of many authors?  Is it the dynamic of the life-giving unity of Holy Matrimony, in which multiple souls are bound into the basic unit of society, of culture, and the Church?  Join me in reflecting on this.
I look forward to seeing you all on the field this weekend at the Fall Festival.  A lot of people have put in a great deal of work so that we can all have fun.  Right now the prediction is for it to be chilly, but sunny.  Make a prayer for the weather to reflect the glory of the Lord, and the radiance of our love for one another, rather than be a reminder of our Baptism.  There is never a shortage of worthy intentions for our prayers, and never anything less than abundance of care in the Providence of God who responds to them.

Monsignor Smith

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