Prepared for Thursday’s Adult Faith Formation session focused on ways God calls us in the midst of loss. Multiple emails prior and after.
Spent several hours compiling info to help us decide whether to continue or suspend Sunday Mass. Multiple emails prior and after. Numerous phone calls.
Met with folks to review and discuss plans for the future ADA entry for SVDP. Couple of hours of research prior. Multiple emails prior and after. Numerous phone calls.
Participated in C3 Webinar exploring strategic ways to sustain cultural momentum in the parish. Multiple emails prior and after.
Developed this week’s Order of Worship and PowerPoint slides for today’s service. Wrote the Parish News. Updated the Sunday Page. Multiple emails.
Attended a Zoom gathering reviewing the new plans for PCC property on 42nd & Killingsworth. Multiple emails prior and after. Fascinating, by the way!
Attended a Zoom vicariate meeting with other pastors in NE. Talked a great deal about how each is holding up, Advent plans in the parish, support for Catholic School personnel, and broken boilers.
Facilitated our Staff meeting where the majority of conversation focused on the decision to suspend mass. Also discussed plans for Advent, reviewed OSHA requirements in the workplace due to COVID, plans for Sacramental Preparation, submitting paperwork to relieve our PPP Loan, reviewing outstanding work left to be done in our office remodel, reviewed plans for ADA entry for SVDP.
Spent several hours communicating the decision to suspend Mass and reconfiguring our communication platforms website, social media, phone greetings, etc. Multiple emails. Numerous phone calls.
Met with Admin Council where we discussed parish financials, suspension of Mass, Spaghetti Dinner Appeal, SVDP ADA access, Parishioners in Need Fund. Multiple emails prior and after. Phone calls prior and after.
Met with Mylie to discuss this year’s Confirmation program. Multiple emails prior and after.
Met with JD Duran to discuss this week’s parish news and items to be posted on Facebook. Multiple emails.
Met with Mary Lynn to reconfigure Sign Up Genius in light of suspending Mass.
Constant stream of emails related to everything from Archdiocesan Census count, to plea to complete our parish info for the Official Catholic Directory, to determining who gets one of the ten new mail slots in our office, etc.
I consider all of this—and quite frankly there’s a lot more—important. It’s my job. And these administrative tasks maintain the infrastructure of the parish and empowers us to carry on. I know this. In my head, I know it’s all necessary, and on most days I do it all reasonably well.
But when I hold it all up to today’s gospel, I wonder . . . am I really doing the right things? Are we doing the right things?
I’m just going to let that question dangle for a few minutes . . . while I say a few other things.
Today is the last Sunday of the liturgical year, the Feast of Christ the King. Today’s feast is relatively new in the life of the Church. Less than a hundred years old. Pope Pius XI instituted this feast in 1925 to respond to growing secularism and hostility against the Church. At that time, particularly in Europe, Russia, and Mexico governments were crumbling. Pius sought to give Catholics hope in assuring that Christ the King will reign forever.
Jesus turns the notion of kingship and kingdom on its ear and completely re-defines it. The Kingdom of God is not like any other. It is a place where the poor are no longer miserable, the ill find healing, the immigrant is embraced, the worker is fully employed, and no one, absolutely no one, goes hungry.
What stands out in this parable is not otherworldly visions of eternal glory or unrelenting damnation—don’t let the apocalyptic nature of the story distract you—but rather what stands out is the face of the hungry, thirsty, immigrant, naked, sick, and incarcerated Jesus. Four times the listed is repeated . . . you can’t miss it! The message is unavoidably clear: The works of mercy . . . do them.
This is a challenge to each one of us as individuals, to be sure, but also to us as a community. In response, the Church has institutionalized many of these works of mercy, setting up schools, refugee resettlement agencies, adoption and foster care services, hospitals, and much more.
And there’s no question the Church should play a vital role in our world’s recovery from the pandemic.
And so, we are called to serve and offer support in areas like health care, child welfare services, immigration, hunger prevention, housing advocacy, and education. We are called to do what we can: volunteer, advocate, demonstrate, donate, to support these agencies and efforts.
Hmmm . . . that calling leaves me in still in a quandary over the question left dangling a few minutes ago: is the stuff I’m doing in the world really aligned with the stuff God is doing in the world? It haunts me and won’t leave me alone. But it also beckons me into prayer, and there I find some solace and encouragement, and direction. Quite frankly, I hope it haunts and beckons you as well.
Okay, so let me quickly tell you what happened yesterday . . . $5 for the man on the street.
This much seems clear: when all the masses have been said, when all the Zoom services are concluded, when all the meetings are exhausted, when all the renovations are completed, all the emails sent, web pages posted, etc., each of us will be faced with one question: What have you done for the least? As a community, what have we done for the least?