Pastors Corner

A message from Fr. Jim

December 10, 2017

Our parish namesake comes on the scene  today. The one thing I love about John the Baptist is that he is true to his ;mission in life. He knows that his role is to point to the person of Jesus Christ even though he is not quite sure whether his cousin is the one who fills the bill. He is not tempted to tell his questioners that he himself is the one they are looking for. He is able to say: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water, he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. “May we follow his example and point others to Christ.

 Please join us for the Filipino celebration of Simbang Gabi at our 5:30 pm Mass next Saturday, Dec. 16th. This is one of a series of novena Masses leading up to  Christmas. Festive paroles (lanterns) and Filipino music plus a Filipino dinner will be a part of our celebration. All are invited.

December 3, 2017

The beginning of the liturgical year would have us preparing a place for Christ to come again and to be born anew for his coming or “advent”-in our hearts and in our world. We remember his entry into human life as a vulnerable newborn, and remembering the Paschal Mystery, we also affirm when he will return in glory at the Parousia, the fulfillment of salvation history. Advent invites us to quiet ourselves, much as the coming of winter stills and quiets the natural world. May we prepare a place in our heart to receive our newborn Savior.

Next Saturday, Dec. 9, we will celebrate a Communal Advent Reconciliation Service at 2 pm.

November 26, 2017

On this the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe we are invited to reflect on the Final Judgment.. As uncomfortable as that might be I would hope that it will also serve as an affirmation of the good we do to those who are least among us. If we are failing in this area of living out the corporal works of mercy may the gospel today be a spur for us to “do something.” After all the hungry, the homeless, the imprisoned, and the poor are our neighbors as well. May we be fitting subjects of Christ our King who calls us to serve all his brothers and sisters.

November 5, 2017

November in church circles is known as the Month of All Souls. This past Thursday about 85 names of our deceased loved ones who died this past were read at each of the two masses that day. Prayer for the dead reaches deep into our human history, and it has been our custom from the earliest days of the church. The belief that our prayers can be of assistance to the dead is a treasured tenet of our Catholic faith. We profess it every time we recite the Nicene Creed “I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.” Our book of the Names of the Dead is placed near the baptismal font throughout November.  If you do not have a will and/or a funeral plan this might be the time to think about it. Your family will thank you.

This Thursday at 6:30 pm we will have our annual Veteran’s Day Mass. All serving in the military as well as veterans will be recognized. May we give God thanks for your service.

October 22, 2017

When Jesus responds to the deceitful Pharisees “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God” we are invited to reflect on “which things belong to God.” I would venture to say that those who have allowed God to walk with them in their lives have spread a much wider net of what rightfully belongs to God. For those who are more hard hearted and selfish God’s world is shrinking by the moment. May we indeed cast our nets wide. All belongs to God.

October 15, 2017

As we continue our study of the Washington State bishops’ pastoral “Who Is My Neighbor?” I can’t help but think that we as a parish are working to have the two feet of love put into action. We are doing fairly well with the one foot of charitable works which meet basic needs and individuals, for example, volunteering at the homeless shelters, donating to food banks, fundraising for our sister parish in Guatemala, contributing to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and so on. The other foot to stand on is social justice which removes root causes and improve structures. My prayer is that as a parish community we work to improve the education system, expand access to affordable housing, participate in a living wage campaign, support environmental protection laws, and so on. Charitable works and social justice are imperative in the lives of Christian disciples

Congratulations to Nancy Huntington of our parish who will be receiving one of the Jack Witte “Spirit of Caring” awards at the toast for Recovery Breakfast this Wednesday in Kent. Nancy has been a long time presence with the HOME program which provides shelter for homeless men. Thank you, Nancy, for being a true disciple of love.

 

October 8, 2017

October is traditionally known as Respect Life Month. We are asked to reflect on                      human life issues from the womb to the tomb. Does the young pregnant mother have available the kind of care that is affordable? The same question can be posed regarding those with pre-existing health conditions. Are people of color being treated with the dignity and respect they deserve by virtue of their being beloved sons and daughters of God? Are those who are elderly and infirm by reason of their age shunted aside because of the belief they are no loner productive? These and more questions need to be brought to the fore in our faith communities today. The question of “Who is My Neighbor?” is at the heart of the respect for life issue. May we work together for genuine life, justice, and peace in our society today.

October 1, 2017

We welcome Paul Gockel as our new Pastoral Assistant for Youth Ministry. He will be responsible for coordinating our 5th through 12 grade programs. Paul is an architect and has owned a construction company. He and his wife are long time members of St. Louise parish in Bellevue where he has taken an active part in their youth programs. I am impressed with his energy and enthusiasm. May God bless him in all his endeavors.

Again I would invite each of you to be involved in a particular ministry here at St. John’s as part of your stewardship of talent. Call on the spirit of discernment to help you choose a ministry which will be life-giving for you and others. We’re all in this together.

September 17, 2017

For the next few days we as a parish community are asked to contemplate the important question “Who is my neighbor?” That query invites us to look beyond our self centered interests to the least of our brothers and sisters. The first step is to recognize them as our brothers and sisters in Christ. Often they are seen as “them” or people that other agencies should help. Perhaps we accuse them of being freeloaders or blame them for their plight. We welcome this weekend Michael Reichert the long time executive director of Catholic Community Services of Western Washington who will speak at all Masses about what it means to have the vision of Christ to the needy in our midst. He and several others will be involved with our parish mission through Tuesday night. From this Mission, small faith groups will be formed to study the Washington State bishops pastoral letter “Who’s My Neighbor?” What a wonderful opportunity to grow in our appreciation of our calling as disciples of Jesus Christ.

September 10, 2017

Our hearts go out to the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Southeast Texas and Louisiana. It is hard to conceive of so much rain concentrated in one area. What a contrast to our dry summer here in the Pacific Northwest! What is gratifying is the tremendous outpouring of love in the form of rescue efforts and the flow of resources both financial and material to the afflicted areas. I pray that the beleaguered survivors find in us a source of comfort and assistance in this time of difficulty. Please give generously to the special collection taken up this weekend. Thank you for you love and compassion.

 

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