Dear Parish Family,
Last Sunday, the Gospel was about how Jesus held up as an example a dishonest steward. My homily was about why Jesus did so and what we can learn from it and apply today. If you missed it, I encourage you to access it on our website, as I mention some matters about the parish as well.
I would like to highlight some of Jesus’ words from last Sunday’s Gospel that can be puzzling: “The children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.” What did Jesus mean? All of us have some worldly pursuits, which is whatever we take part in this world that is passing, but which we are passionate about. This could be whatever our job is or whatever our hobbies are. For some it could be sports, playing a particular one or following their team. We know how passionate folks can be about keeping up with MSU, Michigan, or Notre Dame! For others, it could be home improvement, cars, being a foodie, or keeping up with the specs of the latest technological gadgets. The different types of worldly pursuits are countless. Golf is a big one for me.
Then there are those worldly pursuits which actually go against what the Kingdom of God stands for, whether it’s promoting or using drugs, pornography, or other harmful activities, swindling or bullying people, preying upon the weaknesses of others, human trafficking, or whatever. There are many of these as well.
Here’s Jesus’ point. There are those who work to advance those things who work a lot harder and with greater street smarts and creativity than we do in our labor of love and our fight against the injustice we find in our world! So our Lord Jesus is exhorting us, “the children of light,” to work to build up God’s Kingdom in a way that matches or exceeds the shrewdness, the ingenuity, and the industriousness that the children of this passing world apply to their merely earthly pursuits. In other words, he is basically telling us to get off our rear ends and use our brain, resources, and talents for the advancement of God’s kingdom, which is one of love, peace, justice and joy, of which our world could use a lot more.
So, am I doing that already, or is Jesus speaking to me in today’s Gospel? We can be so into our own world and about our worldly pursuits that we have forgotten the responsibility and vocation God has given to each of us to build up his Kingdom of goodness, truth and beauty. So many people suffer because we have not invested ourselves with the same passion that those who work to destroy, divide, and use people do, and Jesus is not happy about that. Neither should we.
The very mission of the Church is to combat this culture of division and death, to bring its victims into a saving and transformative relationship with God that places them on the trajectory of the happiness and fulfillment for which they yearn. That is our common work together here at St. John Parish for the people of our community.
We obviously need resources to fulfill this great work, which is why I called for our parishioners to faithfully tithe and give God the first fruits of our labors, not the leftovers. This is also why I have been strongly encouraging people to attend the “Called By Name” Diocesan Assembly on Oct. 21 and 22 and to even take that Friday off of work to make it. The Kingdom of God is worth it, and so are our loved ones whose healing and happiness we desire. You can register on the website, www.calledbyname2016.org, or by calling the parish office.
Yours in Christ,