Pastoral Message – February 26, 2023
Happy Lent Y’all!
Sometimes when I’m feeling a need for humility, I’ll look up what I think to be a simple concept on my favorite giant-headed website – the online version of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (https://plato.stanford.edu/entries). Since Lent is a season to embrace humility, I typed in the word “sin” as a search subject. Wow! I can’t think of any other three-lettered word that could generate so lengthy a definition. The Stanford Encyclopedia article on sin went on for 13,392 words – not one of which was three-lettered. Moreover, sin as a concept seems to be controversial. Some people deny it. Some people embrace it. Some people are anxious about it. Some people are conflicted about it. From the philosophical brains at Stanford, I garnered that sin is both simple and complex. So, while, in my sophistication, I might define sin as simple naughtiness, it is more than that. Come to think of it, I could have avoided the Stanford experts and figured that out from a thoughtful glance at our readings today. From Genesis, Romans and Matthew, I could deduce that sin defines our human experience. The fallen aspect of our human experience that is.Lent as a season, a discipline, a service, and a celebration is all about helping us to define and deal with sin and our fallen human experience. Lent doesn’t let us deny sin. It reminds us that sin is not to be embraced, instead it is to be avoided, even hated. Lent as a challenge won’t let us justify sin. We’re to take responsibility for our sinful attitudes and our actions.
So this week, define sin in your own heart and mind. Not so much to condemn yourself. But more to just know yourself, and your motives, and your attitudes. Then as we heard on Ash Wednesday, Repent. Turn from sin, and be faithful to the Gospel. And as we continue to move through Lent, we’ll move from sin to grace, being joyful to celebrate victory over fallen humanity by humans lifted up by the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
ANNUAL PSA CAMPAIGN
Finally y’all, just a quick request from your Pastor. It is that time of year when we are asked to participate in our Diocesan Pastoral Services Appeal. This request comes every year around this time. The funds generated by the PSA pay for ministries at the diocesan level – Seminarian and Deaconate education, retired Clergy, Catholic Charities, Catholic Schools. And once we reach our parish goal of $209,000, any monies donated will be rebated back to us.
For the last several years we’ve been putting the rebated money into an account for a new sound system and visual system in the Church. Finally, the plans are in, the money is mostly raised. And we hope to begin the installation of a new audio-visual system this summer. That is the fruit of your generosity in the past! Thanks for that!
So for the next several weeks Fr. Mike and I will be talking about the PSA. You’ll get a little letter from me in the next week or so. And we’ll begin to seek your generous help. I know that these are uncertain economic times but please know that God is always good and it’s a blessing to live by faith and to live with a generous spirit. So thanks again for your consideration!