Father James baptized the children of some recent SJS alumni. Congratulations!
Letters from a Pastor to His People- June 30, 2019
In the Old Testament, each of the Twelve Tribes of Israel were given parcels of land throughout Israel, following the Exodus and return to the Holy Land. That is, all of the tribes except the tribe of Levi. The Levites were set apart as priests for Israel. This was determined by Moses when he came down from Mount Sinai with the Law. The Levites would not farm, goat and sheep herd. They would not have to worry about land disputes. Their whole task was to care for the Temple in Jerusalem. How would they be sustained? From where would their livelihood come? One word answer: God.
The psalm this week is a reference to the Levites' dependence. Again, they will not flourish because of the income earned from the land they inherited from the Exodus. God is the source of their blessing. "You are my inheritance, O Lord" (Psalm 16).
Elisha in the first reading also demonstrates how God is his inheritance, his "allotted portion and cup" (Psalm 16:5). When he is chosen by Elijah to be the next prophet, Elisha slaughters the oxen he was previously tasked with caring for, and burns the plowing equipment. He will trust in God. God is now his lifestyle.
Jesus challenges potential disciples in the Gospel. If we want to be a fully committed disciple, we cannot have other major attachments. Now, our Lord is being extreme when he tells the one fellow to not go bury his father, and the other to not even say farewell to his family. Jesus often uses extremes to get his point across (like, on another occasion, when he tells us to cut off our hand if it causes us to sin). I don't think he means this literally—to not bury the dead, etc.
What Jesus means is to let go of anything that would prevent us from having a good relationship with God. We can have other responsibilities (our job, our family) in addition to being a disciple. But our total trust is in God, not those things. Only God will fulfill us. God is our inheritance. He provided for the Levites, Elisha, and his apostles. He will provide for us.
Happy Fourth of July. We will have one Mass on Thursday, July 4th--at 8:30am in the Church. We hope you can join us to celebrate our day of independence. If you can't make Mass, you might consider meditating upon Paul's letter to the Galatians, which we actually have as our second reading this Sunday (Galatians 5:1, 13-18). He speaks about freedom: "For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh..." Our freedom should lead to an increase in our faith, hope, and love. May our great nation continue to protect the real meaning of freedom.
God Friday, July 5th is a First Friday of the month, which means we will have Eucharistic Adoration in the chapel following the 8:30am Mass. Benediction will conclude Adoration at 5:45pm. Please consider coming to the chapel to pray and perhaps even signing up for a half-hour slot as an adorer. The fruits of Eucharistic Adoration are abundant: in your life, in the lives of your loved ones, and in our parish! Thank you for your prayers and devotion to Jesus.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. James Wallace