Father Carey’s Pastor’s Corner
My Dear Friends,
This weekend, we celebrate the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time. This weekend’s Gospel follows close behind the Gospel that was read to us last Sunday. It is the last of three questions put to Jesus by Jewish religious leaders who are trying to trick him into saying something that might get him arrested. This reminds us that the context for today’s reading is the mounting tension between Jesus and the religious leaders in Jerusalem.
The Herodians and the Pharisees asked the first question, which was about taxes. The Sadducees ask a second question, which was about the Resurrection. The third question, considered in today’s Gospel, is asked by a Pharisee who asks Jesus about the greatest of the commandments.
The question requires Jesus to interpret the Law of Moses. The Mosaic Law consists of the Ten Commandments and many additional rules, numbering over six hundred. Adherence to the Mosaic Law, for a devout Jew, is an expression of faithfulness to God’s covenant with Israel. The ranking of the Commandments was regularly debated among the teachers of the Law.
Jesus answers the Pharisees’ question with a two-fold summary. Jesus says that all of the commandments can be summarized in two commandments: love God and love your neighbor. Both of these were central elements of the religious tradition Jesus learned from his Jewish community. Indeed these continue to be central aspects of contemporary Jewish religious understanding. Jesus’ response to his questioners proposed an integral connection between these two aspects of the Jewish Law. Love of God finds its expression in our love for our neighbor.
Last Saturday morning at 10 AM, we celebrated our First Holy Communion Mass with many of our younger parishioners. It was a beautiful day outside as well as inside the church! As you may know, our young boys and girls have had to wait very patiently up until now to receive our Lord in Holy Communion as the original date of reception back in April had to be postponed due to the pandemic. The ceremonies, while very simple, were dignified and solemn. I want to offer my sincerest thanks and gratitude to all of our liturgical ministers who were present to make the Mass so prayerful and beautiful. In addition, I want thank Sr. Rita Marian Angelilli, IHM (our Director of Religious Education) as well as Mrs. Christine Gaeto for all of their time and hard work in preparing our young children to receive our Lord so reverently and devoutly for the first time in the Eucharist. I would ask you to continue to pray for them, that their love and joy for the Lord which they experienced that day will only increase through the years.
This past week as well, we conducted our annual celebration of Forty Hours Devotion. I was so happy and grateful that we had sufficient adorers signed up each and every day for adoration and even more so, I was so uplifted because throughout these three days, many others could be seen praying in the church. In light of the pandemic this year, we decided to keep the ceremonies very simple. I took the opportunity to preach this year (as opposed to bringing in a guest homilist) and I invited Fr. Augustin Kassa SMA (our new resident priest) to preach as well on Monday evening. On each of the three nights, we contemplated the gift of the Eucharist as a Sacrament of Adoration, Mission and Imitation. On Tuesday evening, the final night, we concluded our devotions with a formal Eucharistic Procession with Solemn Benediction. I thank all of those who served as liturgical ministers for these three special nights and I hope and pray that these days were filled with many graces and blessings for you and our parish community.
Once again, I do want take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued spiritual and financial support during these most difficult times. Your generous sacrifices keep our parish healthy and strong and I want you to know that it is greatly appreciated. May God continue to bless you and your families and our wonderful parish of Our Lady of the Assumption. Have a great week!
Love and prayers,