From the Pastor – August 30, 2020

As many of you already know, Deacon Jerry Bongiovanni’s wife, Janice, died last week. She had been in thehospital, and for the last few weeks of her life, she was on hospice care. Janice was faithful to Jerry as his wife, andeven though she was Presbyterian, she was faithful to Jerry’s ministry as a deacon of the Catholic church here atSaint James. Jerry and Janice were a special couple. She was devoted to her family, to the DAR (Daughters of theAmerican Revolution), and to her church, First Presbyterian Church in Springfield. Because of COVID-19restrictions, Janice’s burial was private; there will be a memorial celebration at a later date. On behalf of our Parish Staff, our entire parish, and myself, I have extended our condolences to Jerry and his family. May Janice rest inpeace.  If you would like to send your condolences to Jerry and his family, his address is 133 Short Hills Avenue, Springfield, NJ 07081  We end the month of August with a great deal of uncertainty. Some school districts are opening for in-classteaching, while others, like Springfield, are choosing remote learning at least through November. Obviously, thisaffects families as well as teachers and other school staff members. COVID-19 has drastically changed how welearn, worship, and maintain our daily lives and work schedules. There is a serious concern that the fall will bringCOVID-19 back even stronger, and it may coincide with the flu season. Continue to wear masks, social distanceand wash your hands often. Only when all of us take these directives seriously will we be able to lessen COVID19. There are folks who maintain they have a constitutional right to live their lives as they choose. Do they alsohave a constitutional right to get sick from COVID-19? They never seem to answer that question!  In today’s Gospel, Peter does not want to hear of Jesus’s suffering and death. After all, Peter is trying to listen toand learn from Jesus. He thinks it will do him and the other apostles no good if Jesus dies. He was probablywondering what would happen to him and all the other followers if Jesus died. Eventually, Peter understood thatif Jesus did not suffer and die, the followers could not continue Jesus’s ministry. The suffering and death of Jesusnot just freed us from sin and death; it also restored us to a right relationship with God. One effect of this is thatJesus’s suffering and death allowed us to touch that intimate relationship of Father and Son so that we can continue to bring the Good News of Jesus to others. The Feast of Pentecost energized the apostles so that they wentout and proclaimed the Good News to all they met. And most died because of this.  If Peter had a problem with Jesus and what he was saying, Jeremiah had a problem with God in the first reading.God called him to speak in his name and Jeremiah was probably looking for something better or different thanwhat was asked of him. Any time God chooses anyone to speak and act in his name, there will be misunderstandings and rejections. There will also be faithful acceptance of what God calls us to be. Once you and I accept thisresponsibility, then we are sent not just to proclaim the Good News but to be the Good News for others. Beinga disciple is more than just what we say; it is who we are, what we believe, and how we live as followers of theLord.Even in the midst of the pandemic, it is critical for us as followers of Jesus, and as a church, to continue to bringthe Gospel to others, especially in the way we care for them. We have to stand as a sign of hope for each other, orelse we give in to the doom and gloom of our society. Even in the midst of the pandemic, we can still do goodthings, especially by reflecting Jesus in who we are as God’s people.  HAPPY AUGUST!!  ~ Fr. Joe