28th Sunday in Ordinary Time-C
October 20th, 2019
Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time-C
Annual Stewardship Commitment reminder
Saint Joseph Church Enhancement Project update
Exodus 17: 8-13
2 Timothy 3: 14–4: 2
Luke 18: 1-8
Our Annual Stewardship Renewal is underway. If you brought your commitment card with you, you are welcome to place in it the Offertory collection basket. If you still need a commitment card, they can be found at the ends of the pews today and at the doorways of the church. We would be very grateful if everyone would return their completed commitment cards this week.
Tom Ziska and his son, Rick Ziska, are our architects for our Saint Joseph Parish Church Enhancement Project. It is with sadness that I let you know that Tom Ziska died this past Monday morning, following complications after he fell from a ladder about a month ago. May Tom live forever in the kingdom of heaven, and may the Lord comfort his family with His consolation and peace.
For Saint Joseph Parishioners, there is some very important information about our Church Enhancement Project in this weekend’s bulletin, which can also be viewed on our parish website. We will be getting started on the outdoor work very soon, before the wintry weather is here.
There is more information in this letter than I can briefly summarize for you right now. So I encourage you to read my letter in full.
Very important to understand is that although we have already raised $1.4 million for this Church Enhancement Project, we still need to raise another $500,000. Material and labor prices have gone up. And there are some items that now need attention – like the leaking church roof and the dangerously-crumbling bell tower – that we had not originally included.
Is raising an additional $500,000 do-able? I believe that it is. We have 2000 households in Saint Joseph Parish. I am grateful for the 300 households from Saint Joseph who contributed to our Church Enhancement Project capital campaign, enabling us to raise $1.4 million. And we still have another 1700 households from whom we would still welcome a pledge or a gift. Might you be among them?
Enclosed in this bulletin is a pledge form. And please note that this new pledge fulfillment period continues until 31 January 2022, one year longer than before. We want to make pledge payments easier for those who are pledging now for the first time, and for those who would like to increase their original pledge by adding an extra year of contributions.
In the next few weeks, you are going to be seeing our Church Enhancement Project getting underway. It is going to happen! And these will be some very exciting times for Saint Joseph Parish. Every gift counts and every gift will help us achieve our goal to “enhance” our beloved church to celebrate her 50th birthday in 2020.
Saint Joseph Parishioners, may I please count on you to be “all in” for this exciting parish project? If you have not done so already, would you kindly let me know this week, if possible, what your pledge decision is? And I thank you all from my heart.
And now some thoughts on today’s Gospel.
A widow had lost her only son, and she was very upset with God. One day she was pouring out her heart to one of her friends, and her friend remarked, “You know, I always wanted to have a son, but my husband and I were never blessed with children.”
And the widow said that her way of thinking changed. She was no longer upset with God. Her payers became those of thanksgiving because she had had such a wonderful son.
It is amazing what prayer can do for us – changing the ways we think, changing the ways we feel.
So Jesus, in today’s Gospel, tells us a parable about the necessity of praying always and not growing weary, not losing heart.
Jesus talks about a dishonest judge. To get a fair judgment from this judge, a person needed to bribe him. Judges like this were called “robber judges.” They were described as “willing to pervert justice for a plate of meat.”
And then there was a widow who brought a matter to this judge. She had no money with which to bribe him. She had no social status to hold over his head. But she had one thing in her favor: she was persistent. She went day and night to that judge asking for a settlement.
Finally, the judge said, “I’ve had it! This woman is driving me berserk, so I’ll give her the settlement that she’s asking for lest she come into my office and give me a black eye.”
What is Jesus teaching us about prayer? Notice: that crooked judge is not like God at all. This is a not a parable of similarity but a parable of contrast. If a dishonest judge is willing to give a just judgment because of someone’s persistence, how much more so will our good and loving Father be willing to answer our prayers because He loves and cares for us?
We all have our catalogues of prayers that were answered. We also have our lists of the times when we prayed but we didn’t get what we were asking for. [I know that in my life that I am grateful to God that some of my prayers were not answered the way I was asking for. It would have been a disaster! And I’ll bet the same is true for you.]
But there are also times when we have prayed and God didn’t seem to give us any answer at all. What are we to make of all of this?
One way we can approach that question is by looking at children. Children ask for all kinds of things, don’t they? [I can see by your nods and smiles that you know exactly what I am talking about.]
Imagine a child says to you, “May I have a brownie, please?” And you answer, “Certainly you may.” The request was made and the request was answered right away.
The child may ask during dinner, “May I have a brownie, please?” And you might respond, “You may, but only after you have finished your vegetables.” The answer is yes, but not right at the moment.
The child may ask, “May I have a brownie, please?” And you may respond, “No, you have had three already and I don’t want you to get sick.” You said no, but not to be mean. It is for the child’s well-being not to have four brownies in a row.
Now think of God our Father. There are times that we ask – and God likes it when we ask – and sometimes we get an immediate answer. There are other times we ask and God tells us, “Yes, but not just yet.” And still other times we ask God and God says no – not to be mean but out of love for us, or out of love for others.
You and I cannot see tomorrow with absolute precision, let alone next week, next month, next year. But God sees the whole picture. And if the unjust judge was willing to answer that woman’s request because of her persistence, how much more so is our loving God willing to hear us when we pray.
Remember, our heavenly Father loves it when we pray. And so Jesus tells us a story to help us pray always and not grow weary, and not lose heart.