From the desk of Fr Stephen Nov 22, 2020

From the desk of Fr Stephen

Today we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King.  It is the last Sunday of Ordinary Time for the Catholic church.  Next Sunday, we will begin the season of Advent, preparing ourselves for the coming of Jesus amongst us as a baby.  As we conclude our liturgical year, I am not sure anyone can adequately express our feelings about what has happened over the past year.  No one could have foreseen the spread of sickness in our modern world the way we have seen it happen.  Here in America, the virus has spread far worse than in any other country, mostly because some have chosen to ignore all sense of reason and not protect themselves.  I do appreciate the efforts we have taken at the “Rock.”  We would all love to go about our days in the same way we did one year ago, but this is not possible.  Last Sunday, I asked people to really consider whether they should come to church or not.  Many chose to stay at home.  God is not angry with us in any way because we could not make it to mass.  In fact, we are Prudent Stewards for staying away.  Our parish cannot afford to have anyone get sick.  You are too important to us.

In our Gospel today, Jesus tells the parable of what will happen at “the end of the ages.”  None of us knows when this might happen, but evidently, at the end, there will be some sort of judgment.  Jesus will separate everyone who has ever lived.  This separation, or judgment, will comprise of just one question; “How well did you love?”  Ultimately, that is the thing Jesus will judge us on; did we reach out in love to those around us in the best way we could?

Mother Teresa, who spent a lifetime loving those around her, once remarked, “Our lives are not a matter of doing great things, but a matter of doing small things with great love” - this is a great quote.  Donald Trump has said many times he would like to make America great again.  I am not always sure what he means, but it is not a bad quote if heard in the proper context.  I would love to see America great also.  Who wouldn’t?  But great in what way.  I think Donald Trump is talking about economic greatness, striving to be the wealthiest and most profitable country in the world.  I would love to see America great in the sense of what we hear in the gospel today.  I would love to see this country be a leader, showing greatness, not economically, but in our capacity to love.  Wouldn’t it be a different world to live in where we all saw the needs of others, and we responded to them rather than always satisfying our own needs?  Jesus uses this parable today to show some will go to heaven, and some will go to hell.  Dostoyevsky once said that “Hell is living in a place where no one loves.”  I do not want to go to a place where no one is even capable of loving.  Let us learn to love others today as we love ourselves.