Who Will I Love Today, And How Will I Love Them?

11-13-2022From the Pastor's DeskMonsignor Ellsworth R. Walden

I thank you for your patience, concern, and receptiveness the past two weekends and today as we are speaking about our parish financial condition. I thank you for whatever you can do to help us keep all we are doing in our parish family as we pray together and share who we are and what we do with your financial support.

Our faith is a gift that opens our minds and hearts to the goodness, mercy, and love of God and enables us to be that goodness, mercy, and love with and for one another. Jesus came into our world to enable us to see who we are as the children of God and how we can live our lives each day as such. That does not mean everything is pleasant, delightful, and joyful each day. We certainly encounter challenges, confusion, and conflicts at times. That is nothing new. We are now coming to the end of the current church year. In the Gospel for today’s Mass (Luke 21:5-19) Jesus concludes with these words: “You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” In spite of being God’s unconditional love, pure goodness, absolute truth, and life-giving forgiveness He was rejected. Why? For too many people, and especially those in political and religious power, He was undesirable and a threat to them and their lifestyle.

In Luke 10:25-28 we have these words: There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” This sounds simple and even desirable, but is very hard to live out each day. Jesus lived those words even in His last three hours as He was dying an unjust death on the cross. How can I be consistent, courageous, and loving? Jesus is a pure gift. All He wants to do is give us all we need to live our lives every day with hope, inner peace, and purpose as He did. That means looking beyond ourselves to Him. He is not looking to put us in our place when we fail but to guide and walk with us, intimately part of all we say, do, and think each day. He is not looking to make us His dependents or servants, but bearers of His life, humility, mercy, compassion, and love - gifts that are sorely needed in our world and lives today. I write this message before the election results are in since the bulletin has to be sent in on Wednesday by noon. Only Jesus is the Messiah. Leaders who seek to lead us down different paths than His will only confuse and puzzle us, leaving us empty and frustrated. It is very difficult to love purely when we feel we have to win. Our lives are not a game where we seek to come out on top and successful. The simplest and most direct question to ask each day is: “Who will I love today and how will I love them?”

I offer Psalm 23 for your prayerful reflection. 

The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures
where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me,
to revive my drooping spirit.
He guides me along the right path;
he is true to his name.
If I should walk in the valley of darkness
no evil would I fear.
You are there with your crook and your staff;
with these you give me comfort.
You have prepared a banquet for me
in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil;
my cup is overflowing.
Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me
all the days of my life.
In the Lord's own house shall I dwell
for ever and ever.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be. Psalm Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Shepherd of your Church, you give us new birth in the waters of Baptism; you anoint us with oil, and call us to salvation at your table. Dispel the terrors of death and the darkness of error. Lead your people along safe paths, that they may rest securely in you and live for ever in your Father's house.