Men must not shave...

Dear Parishioners,

I don't know about you, but I'm a neat freak. I'm very organized and I look to declutter and simplify whenever and wherever I can.

The Gospel this week thus resonates with me. There were over 600 laws in the Torah. Some laws were good and necessary, like “Do not oppress the weak” (Law 18). Some laws were not so essential, like “Do not bow down before a smooth stone” (Law 51). Some I wish were still laws, like “Men must not shave their beards with a razor” (Law 69).

Jesus acts like a neat freak here. He reduces the code to two laws. “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:37-40).

Complexity and clutter can lead to confusion and anxiety. Some of us know that better than others. It can be stressful to not know where things are or to live amidst chaos. Christ is the great simplifier. We don't need to worry about fulfilling 613 laws, only two. And they're pretty easy laws, in my mind: love God and love your neighbor.

How simple the path to peace and ease!

Stop by the parking lot today, Sunday, at 2pm for Trunk or Treat, hosted by the SJS Parent Ambassadors. You might see your pastor in a Halloween costume. Otherwise, I hope to see some trick or treaters at the rectory!

Because of Halloween, there will be no Tuesday Night Theology session this week. We will resume next week, November 7th, with a talk on Mary.

Wednesday, November 1st is All Saints Day, a holy day of obligation. All the Masses that day (7am, 8:30pm, 7pm) will be in the church. Our school students will be in attendance at the 8:30am Mass and our Religious Education students will be in attendance at the 7pm Mass. The next day, Thursday, is All Souls Day. The 7am and 8:30am Mass will be in the chapel, as usual, and we will have a special Mass at 7pm in the church celebrating all the deceased from our parish who have died this past year. We especially invite the family members of all the deceased to attend this Mass, as your loved one's name will be read off and a candle lit in memoriam. Please view the bulletin to see a list of all the deceased.

Friday will have adoration in the church from 9am-9pm. Please stop in to pray and even sign up for a time slot, if you haven’t already. We will have all day adoration on the first Fridays of the month.

You may have noticed the Sacrament of Reconciliation is now being offered in the church, in the confessional box to your left when you enter. Please come to experience our Lord’s healing and forgiveness.

On Saturday, November 4th I will be on Relevant Radio at 10:15am, discussing how God can be found in secular music. This is a follow-up to my Tuesday Night Theology session last month on classic rock and theology.

Yours in Christ,
Father James

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