We just finished the fiscal year on June 30th. Our outlook was bright until Covid-19 reared its ugly head. Even so I was heartened by the generosity of all of you. Yes, we had a deficit of only $25,000. and at the beginning of this new fiscal year I can tell that many of you are trying to catch up on your stewardship pledges. At the end of July we are almost $16,000 in the black. Thank you for being responsible stewards.
The Annual Catholic Appeal has been inching towards our goal of $126,503. If you have not sent in your pledge either to the parish or archdiocese, I would ask you to do so now. With the rebate we are hoping to make some improvements to our technology in the church. May the Lord continue to be with us during this difficult time.
A student wondered about the difference between heaven and hell, and so approached his teacher. “In heaven,” the teacher said, “there is a large banquet table with every imaginable delicacy you can imagine, every plate is full, every chair is occupied – it’s a bountiful feast. And hell looks exactly the same, a great banquet, but there, everyone is starving.” “Why is that?” the student asked. “The forks are too long,” the teacher said, “and they can’t feed themselves.” “How about in heaven?” the student asked. “Ah,” said the teacher, “in heaven, they feed each other.”
Though we think of Jesus feeding the five thousand that day, it’s really the disciples who do it – with God’s help, of course. Jesus tells them to give the crowd something to eat. Blessing and breaking the bread, he gives it not to the crowd, but to the disciples first, and they in turn pass it around…and are amazed to find there is plenty for everyone, with lots to spare.
Discipleship requires participation on our part and a willingness for us, like Jesus, to take action. When we do-acting with and for Christ-miraculous things are possible. It’s up to us to feed each other.
That may seem like a daunting task, given the magnitude of need we see in the world today, but the story of the feeding of the five thousand serves as evidence that God multiplies our efforts and provides what we alone cannot. All we can do is be faithful with what we’ve been given and do what we’re asked, like the disciples on that mountainside that day.
When Jesus asked them to feed the crowd, their first response was, “We have nothing!” But Jesus knew better. And to the disciples’ credit, they did what he asked. What they found as a result were basketfuls left over – full stomachs, satisfied people, meager resources turned into abundance.
The wise man had reached the out-skirts of the village and settled down under a tree for the night when a villager came running up to him and said, “The stone! The stone! Give me the precious stone!”
“What stone?” asked the wise man.
“Last night God appeared to me in a dream,” said the villager, “and told me that if I went to the outskirts of the village at dusk I should find a wise man who would give me a precious stone that would make me rich forever.”
The wise man rummaged in his bag and pulled out a stone. “He probably meant this one,” he said, as he handed the stone over to the villager. “I found it on a for-est path some days ago. You can certainly have it.”
The man gazed at the stone in wonder. It was a diamond, probably the largest diamond in the whole world, for it was as large as a person’s head.
He took the diamond and walked away. All night he tossed about in bed, unable to sleep. The next day at the crack of dawn he woke the wise man and said, “Give me the wealth that makes it possible for you to give this diamond away so easily.”
Jesus offers us some good advice today in the parable of the weeds and the wheat. He advises that they be allowed to grow together. Then at the harvest they may be separated. Sometimes we have difficulty in determining what is a weed and what is wheat. I thought my competitive nature in athletics in high school and college was wheat and yet looking back on that time I realize that my behavior wasn’t all that mature. I downgraded my shyness and quiet nature as a weed but I now realize introversion has its own merits. May we allow the Lord redeem that which needs redeeming and may we give God thanks for the wheat we produce.
The “Parable of the Sower” is perhaps not Jesus’ most famous parable, or even his most colorful. But it is the first of many parables he told about the Kingdom. The parable begins with an enthusiastic and prodigal farmer who indiscriminately sows on all types of terrain or soil. Seventy-five percent of what he scatters produces nothing, but the yield of the rest is extraordinary. In the interpretation of the parable “what is sown” in its telling is finally specified as the people who hear “the word of the kingdom” preached. Of all these, only those who take the time and make the effort to understand Jesus’ teachings and live by them bear fruit – but the amount they bear is beyond their wildest imagining. There is no greater fulfillment nor nobler calling than living and working for the Lord’s concerns – the privilege of the baptized in every age.