Dear Sacred Heart family,
Happy Labor Day! I hope your last minute get aways are rejuvenating, that you had a wonderful summer, and that as the school year begins anew for all of our families, you are ready to begin some new adventures.
This weekend, we read in our Scriptures at Holy Mass that God wants us to find favor with Him, that He has made a home for us, that we are approaching the heavenly Jerusalem, and that God wants us to be exalted, and repaid in eternal glory for all the good that we have done on earth. Yet, the Lord Jesus seems to have a strange ingredient: pursue humility first.
As hard-working Americans, our parish family is full of dedicated, humble, hard-working families and laborers. Our community is built up by people who do the hard work and don’t seek to take credit. Building up our families, schools, neighborhoods and community, we find parishioners who don’t seek the limelight, but who do the hard work to make things happen. What is it that so many of our parish families know, and from which we can all benefit?
The grace of God, which is really the love of God Himself at work within us, helps us as disciples to recognize two things: everything we have is a gift from God, and we serve Him in our neighbor. Saint Teresa of Calcutta said, “Jesus comes to us hidden in disguise in our neighbor, and sometimes He is very hidden.”
When we leave this earth, and go to God from for our particular judgment, the words in todays Gospel offer us hope: “Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
When we serve others who are challenging, difficult to understand, hard to love, we are sharing through hospitality with those who are the source of our eternal blessings. God promises us that when we invest in our neighbor, the payoff is eternal.
Thus, this weekend's readings remind us of the power of humility. Humility isn’t saying you and I have no gifts or that we cannot pursue great things. On the contrary, the Lord encourages us to pursue greatness by starting to serve others first and to recognize that all our talents and riches are gifts from God. Just as we want our children to thrive, God wants us, His daughters and sons, to thrive as well. The psalm tells us that God has made a home for the poor. On some level, we all stand in need of God’s love, mercy and blessings. As we recognize our need for Him, we can more easily serve the needs of others, with His grace and power.
The second reading and the psalm also remind us that we are a people who participate in liturgical worship by God’s design. We are called to rejoice, chant, honor His Name, in the Divine Liturgy of Heaven, in festal gathering, with angels and saints, with the living God. The Mass was given by God to enter Heavenly realities, and to bring all our service and work to the altar to give glory to God.
As we celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year, we have new opportunities to develop our gifts. Sanctifying our work, we are called to imitate the humility of Jesus Who humbles Himself in the Sacred Host at Mass, and who teaches how to humbly work for love of each other.
In Our Lady's Immaculate Heart,
Rev. Bjorn C. Lundberg