Pastor Letter August 31

Dear Parish Family,

As we round out the last licks of summer, we listen to the lament of Jeremiah the Prophet this Sunday. He was indeed reluctant to become the mouth- piece of God, speaking His word to the people whether they wanted to hear it or not. His famous quote, “You duped me O Lord, and I let myself be duped”. Indeed, he suffered greatly from the reaction of people to God’s message and yet he acknowledged that although he did not want to speak in God’s name anymore; he recognized the deep fire within his heart burning. This dilemma is shared by many people these days. We are tired of this hand washing, mask wearing, socially distant world. We find ourselves still anxious and frustrated with the fall out from Covid-19. And yet we strive to keep our faith in Him high and be faithful during this hard summer. When the chips are down, we can repeat what Father Basil says all the time: “God is good, all the time and all the time, God is good

Saint Paul also acknowledges the suffering and toll it takes to be faithful in difficult time. “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good, and pleasing and perfect.” The key here is discernment. I believe we need to ask the Lord for wisdom and understanding to live through these days. We don’t want to go down the rabbit hole of anxiety, or lashing anger, or biting criticism of everything. It seems its so easy to react rather than respond. Prayer and trust in Jesus sharpens the saw of discernment to cut through the garbage of the news we ingest.

This Sunday’s Gospel reading is from Saint Matthew. Saint Peter answered the question correctly last Sunday to Jesus, “Who do you say I am” and now this week once again he blows it. He refuses to accept Jesus’ prediction of His passion and death. Peter exclaims, “God forbid, Lord!” How true to form we are to this attitude when we are asked to sacrifice and deal with loss and linger with suffering. Taking up our cross is extremely difficult and yet isn’t there down the line, maybe years later untold gifts in what we have endured. It’s like Steven Colbert, late night talk show host on CBS, admitting that he nearly lost his faith and his mind when his dad and two brothers were killed in an airplane crash. That tragedy broke his heart and it took a long while to grieve and deal with that loss but then he slowly began to discover all the blessings that God had given him through that experience. “Every time you open up a present, it doesn’t have to be good”. This paradox comes many times in our lives and when we embrace the cross, and take up our crosses, we discover the face of Jesus.

Many people are reevaluating what’s essential and important in their lives during this pandemic. If you lost your job, or a loved one and finances are hurting, can we trust that we will come through this bitter or better. I am encountering people coming back to the Sacrament of Penance after many years. It’s certainly a time for repentance, soul searching and finding the God of the cross and Resurrection, who never left us. What a gift we have in the merciful touch of Jesus. May I invite you to prepare for this upcoming academic year with a clean slate and renew and refresh your soul. Let the new year begin with Jesus leading the way.

Blessings and Peace,

Father Tom Devery