Dear Friends in Christ:
Every now and then there is one line that really sticks with you! Do you know what I mean? I have found through my years that when I am at a talk, or listening to another priest give a homily, there is often one line that really stands out!
I remember one line that still sticks with me and comes up often in my prayer during these months of pandemic as I have been reflecting on the ministries of our parish. It was from a talk by Peter Burak, director of i.d.9:16, a young adult outreach of Renewal Ministries in Michigan, who by the way, is working with an amazing group of young adults from our parish to launch a Young Adult Ministry here in our parish. Anyway, I digress; the line he said during his talk at the Archdiocesan Synod last October was “what if this works?” His main point was what if the work of the Synod works? Let’s plan as if the things we are going to do are actually going to accomplish what we intended them to do. This is really something that provides a basis for much of what we are about in terms of reaching out to others, bringing the Gospel message to the wider community, calling others into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Well, the reason I bring this up is that this weekend in the Gospel, Jesus asks a question that is really one of those lines that can stick with you. Jesus has a powerful question for you and me: "Are you envious because I am generous?"
Wow. Give that one some thought. Bring that line into some prayer time and see what is on your heart.
Before we can answer that question we need to know what envy is. Here's the definition I found in a commentary on this parable: "Envy is not simply jealousy which is the desire to attain or possess what the other person has. Envy is the sin of being upset at another's good fortune."
The sin of being upset at another's good fortune. Wow. YES, I have given in to the temptation to fall into this envy.
I recently had an occasion of envy. I was speaking with a classmate who is also a Pastor of a large parish with a school. I was sharing with him the difficulties I have been experiencing as we prepared to reopen the school. The need to empty so much into a tractor trailer, the need to replace the PODS in the Science Room with new tables, the need to replace the tables in Pre-K with actual individual desks, and the great expense of ensuring the HVAC was ready to bring in the outside air as required by the State guidelines. He said “don’t worry Jeff we too faced all of that and the Lord provided.” I said “what?” He said “I was losing sleep about these issues and how we are going to meet our budget and then we got word about a new bequest given to the school.”
“That's great," I said while inside I was thinking, "Why couldn't St. Bridget School get a bequest?" I was upset at another priest's good fortune. I gave in to the sin of envy.
What should we do when envy attacks? We find the answer when we face Jesus' question: "Are you envious because I am generous?" You and I have to keep going back to the generosity of God. While I may not have received a bequest for our school, the more I think about this question from Jesus, the clearer I see that I have received something even better: the generosity of God poured out in his Son Jesus.
St. Paul tells us we are interconnected like organs in body. If one suffers, all suffer. And if one thrives, all ultimately thrive. That other priest's bequest is like the water of an incoming tide of blessings. So it is with God's generosity.
I am grateful for God's generosity - and the generosity that so many of you give to our Parish Family and our ministries with the gifts of your time, talent and financial resources. That brings me back to the line from Peter Burak, what if this works? I hope it does because if it does more and more will have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and will bring about a transformation of the lives around them that can then transform the world.
Today think about the very simple call of today’s Gospel: When envy enters the heart, we need to focus on God's generosity. Maybe then we can hear Jesus asking that tough question: "Are you envious because I am generous?"
THIS WEEKEND WE START OUR NEW MASS SCHEDULE!!!
We had made this clear in last week’s bulletin but due to the bulletin company only sending us 200 bulletins I realize many of you did not receive a bulletin and a good number of you do not have the Parish App or a way to get on the parish website. This change is a good change. It indicates more people are coming to Mass and it is our way of accommodating more people for the celebration of the Eucharist! So here is the information that was shared in the bulletin last weekend!
How can this possibly work? It can. But only with your help and your patience. Since we are limited to no congregational singing due to the pandemic, we have noticed that Mass is taking about 30-35 minutes. It then takes about 5 minutes for our amazing volunteers to sanitize the church, and then 10 minutes for the chemical to do its work.
That means we can open the doors between quarter of and ten of the hour for people to find their seats and say their pre-Mass prayers. WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PERMIT PEOPLE INSIDE THE CHURCH UNTIL SUCH TIME…please be understanding of this during this time. As things change, if the demand continues to increase, we will certainly reevaluate and possibly add additional Masses. SO STAY TUNED.
What will this mean for intentions? Father, what about my intention for my mother for the 7:30AM Mass? Here is a chart to help you figure this out:
As we continue through this pandemic please be sure to download our Parish App TODAY. Don’t miss any notifications that we send out. DOWNLOAD THE APP TODAY! myParish App is being used already to communicate with our parishioners. It is a great tool for us to communicate information to our parishioners and also a “go to” place to access daily Mass readings, confession prayer reminders, and our parish bulletin. It is certain to become your “go-to” app for Catholic parish life as it has become mine. You can download the app by texting APP to phone number 88202. You will receive a link, click on it, open it in the store, download, search, and enter St. Bridget of Sweden and then click get started!
Annual Family Commitment 2020…THANK YOU!...Our initial response to the Annual Family Commitment is tremendous.
As of Friday, September 11th, we have received pledges in the amount of $42,920.00 from 145 of our families representing participation from only 4.68% of our families.
Thank you to those families who have made a commitment to our parish family. Facing major capital projects we need the help of every family! This year I am personally asking every family to support the 2020 Annual Family Commitment. Your generosity to this year’s collection will help us to address the deterioration of the pews here in Saint Bridget Church (once the pandemic is over), and address some much-needed parking lot repairs and hopefully address some repairs to the West Wall at Saint Thomas Becket Church. These are projects, once again, that simply could not be addressed within the ordinary budget of our parish. Please be as generous as you are able.
Your gift, no matter its size, makes a difference, and 100% of all funds collected will be used here in Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish. We need your help! If you have not given yet please prayerfully consider doing so. Thank you for what you do to make Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish such a phenomenal and vibrant family of faith.
YOU ARE INVITED to join the Knights of Columbus Council 2978 as the Silver Rose makes a historic visit to our parish family. As announced in last weekend’s bulletin the Silver Rose will be visiting our Parish once again along the way from Canada to Mexico. Every stop, at every parish, is an opportunity for Knights, parishioners, and community members to gather in prayer with the Holy Rosary and to pray for a greater respect for human life, for the spiritual renewal of our nation, and for the advancement of devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of America.
The Silver Rose is a program through which the Knights of Columbus share the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe and promote respect for life by participating in this meaningful pilgrimage. All the members of our parish family are strongly encouraged to join us this coming Sunday, September 27th, from 2-3PM in Saint Bridget Church for a Prayer Service as we mark this historic visit of the Silver Rose to our parish family. I am very pleased this program will be visiting our parish and really do hope you will join us in prayer next Sunday from 2-3PM in Saint Bridget Church. Please visit our website to use the Signup Genius for this event.
As always, remember to pray and ask God’s blessings upon our family of faith as we build His kingdom here. Please know that I am praying for you, and I ask for your prayers for me, that together through the intercession of Saint Bridget of Sweden, our Patroness, and united in the Eucharist, we will reflect the presence of Jesus to the world.