From the pastor’s desk on the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, year A
On this Sunday the second reading and the gospel touch upon the theme of obedience. In the second reading we are presented with a beautiful and theologically loaded hymn composed by St. Paul. This hymn encapsulates the mission and the person of Jesus Christ, “Who, though he was in the form of God, (…) he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness”(Phil 2:6-7).
Our Lord Jesus did something opposite to that what the first parents did and what most people do as a consequence of the original sin. Namely, we disobey very easily what God commands us to do. That is the condition of the fallen humanity. After the original sin, more often than not, we do not seek how to do God’s will out of love but how to fulfill our own wishes and desires. This tendency could be reversed only by Jesus Christ, who was strong enough to say to Satan, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve” (Luke 4:8) and “He humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:8).
In his Christological hymn St. Paul emphasizes this truth that Jesus Christ did everything on our behalf out of loving obedience to the Father. It is something that the devil cannot stand, but what all of us must learn, if we want to be saved in Jesus. That is the Way of Christ—the conformity to God’s will. By becoming obedient out of love, we begin to fulfill the will of God in our lives. As St. John of the Cross said, “God wants from us the least degree of obedience and submission, rather than all the works we desire to offer Him.”
Also in this Sunday’s gospel reading Jesus reflects upon the topic of obedience while telling us another parable. Our Lord juxtaposes a stance of two brothers: one is obedient and another is disobedient. By the means of this parable Jesus tells us that what is important is not what we verbally declare but what we really do. Our actions must proceed from our hearts and do not only stay on our lips. It is the heart that will drive one towards the fulfillment of God’s will. If the heart is not set on God, it will estrange one from God and subsequently will lead to disobedience. Even if we are great sinners, if we turn to Christ with our whole heart we will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
After Jesus Christ the greatest example of humility and loving obedience is the Blessed Virgin Mary. Let us pray trough Her intercession that we too may be able to say “I am the handmaid of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). We also should invoke our patron St. Joseph, who through obedience in faith was able to follow God’s will in spite of many uncertainties in his life. As we too are living in very unstable times we should pray more and trust God unreservedly, knowing that He loves each and every one of us and He will provide for all that we need.
Speaking of the uncertainties and the temporal needs, I would like to provide a few updates on the parish workings. Last week I met with a representative of the ramp committee, an architect, and the diocesan project supervisor. The conclusions are these: The project now must include a new handicapped accessible bathroom on the church’s level (the altar severs room will be adapted for that purpose) and renovated bathrooms in the parish hall downstairs. This means, that we are going to rebid the project among the vendors and as soon as we get necessary permits from the town of Brookhaven we are going to proceed with the project in our church. As for other things, we will try to work on night lighting around the church while changing traditional light bulbs to LEDs and to set up the lighting timers.
We are very grateful for all your support and generosity, both spiritual and material.
Saint Mary, Most Humble Virgin, pray for us! St. Joseph, pray for us!
Have a blessed week. Fr. Janusz Mocarski, pastor