Dear St. Louis Parishioners,
I recognize a bit of irony in that, after several months of reading letters of Saint Paul in our Lectionary, and giving them further emphasis in the homilies, it is on the Sunday when we finally move onto another New Testament author (St. James) that our cover finally features the great Caravaggio image of The Conversion of St. Paul, which hangs in the hallway outside of my office, across from the parish offices. Our copy of this beautiful and classic image was donated by a parishioner shortly before my arrival and was waiting to find its new home. As we prepared for the move into our new parish offices and began to anticipate that hallway getting more frequent use again, from a larger number of our parishioners, this seemed to be the ideal spot for it. So, why feature it this weekend? Well, as we prepare to reflect upon the upcoming fourth pillar - responsibility - one Scripture passage in particular comes to mind. “If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it!” Now, some might say, “Wait a second! The context of that statement is when Paul is talking about his specific role as an apostle! Are you trying to say that this is the responsibility of every Catholic?!” Well, not quite. The particular ministry of preaching is not the responsibility of every Catholic, but every Catholic is called to witness to Christ in the world, and take part in the mission of making disciples. And I would propose to you all that we all ought to be inspired by the awareness that Paul has that the unique way in which he is called to spread the Gospel is indeed a responsibility, not just an option in case he really wanted to go above and beyond. We ought to apply this same sense of responsibility to the ways in which Christ is calling us to be His witnesses in the world. This is not going above and beyond, but simply attending to the duty of every Christian. Consider the words of Saint Peter: “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace. Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God; whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:11). Each one of us has been entrusted with the Gospel. Furthermore, each one of us has been entrusted with unique gifts to build up the Body of Christ. The entrustment of these gifts constitutes a kind of stewardship, meaning that we have a responsibility to make good use of what is entrusted to us, to build up the kingdom of God. The most basic and important way in which we build up the kingdom is by inviting people to the King’s banquet (Mt. 22:1-14), by inviting them to come to know Christ. This is something every Catholic is called to do in the world and it is not optional. Christ respects our free will and does not force us to do anything, but we should not imagine that this call of Christ does not apply to us. It applies to each and every one of us, even if the unique way that we live it out is different. We will try to flesh this out in a fun way this coming Wednesday night...
SAINT LOUIS LIVE!: This Wednesday, we are hosting this fun talk show event in order to seek to show examples of parishioners who can point, not primarily to their own selves alone, but to how others have influenced their ongoing conversion. As we consider all of these every day examples, it is the hope that we will begin to see this “responsibility” to carry the Light of the Gospel into the world isn’t so much an obligation imposed upon us, as it is quite ordinary. It really is simply a part of the life of every Catholic who intentionally seeks to live their faith to the full. It’s not simply for the “extraordinary” ones. It is for all the baptized and it happens everyday. I look forward to how our panelists will give us this witness. And I also look forward to the fun to be had along the way, in the engaging talk show setting of it all. We have deliberately chosen a diverse panel, which will bring different perspectives. So, please pray for each of our panelists: Rita Tracey, Mario Carlone, David Lawrence, Kennedy Kloepping, and Sister Anne Germaine, as well as our host Dave Roden and his sidekick Vince Gelsomino. Then, come Wednesday night to hear them share a bit of their story!
THE HOUSE TAKES SHAPE: Remember, our final pillar will be Hospitality, which I like to refer to as “the pillar in which the house takes shape.” The event connected to this pillar is the climax of it all: our Parish Picnic, Activities Fair, and Fall Kick-Off. It will be throughout our parish grounds, after the 10:30 Mass, on Sunday, September 16th. Hope to see you there.
In Christ through Mary,
St. Louis, pray for us!
Blessed Mary, Queen Mother of the King of Kings, pray for us!