From the Pastor – Sept. 2, 2018

Labor Day is here! It usually means the unoficial end of summer and the beginning of the school year. But there are still three more weeks of summer ahead. Hopefully, these weeks will be a little better than the weird summer we have had. Hopefully, all those traveling this weekend will do so in safety.
Fr. Everest will be with us beginning Tuesday, September 4, and will be here until the 17th. While he is here, he will celebrate some of the Masses during the week and on Sunday.
During his trip to Ireland, Pope Francis stated that the church will have to end the abuse of children and young people by bishops, priests and religious. Since this is such a serious issue in the church, bishops across the country and the world have begun to look at cases of predator priests and bishops, and the victims of this despicable and immoral situation. Our mission is always to protect the most vulnerable, especially the children, the elderly, those with disabilities and every other member of the church. This scandal has struck at the root of the life of the church, and this would never have been tolerated by Jesus. For too many years bishops protected pedophile priests, and they were allowed to function as priests. Hopefully, under Francis, this will end for both priests and bishops. There is a notice in today’s bulletin about a service at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, as Cardinal Tobin calls for a day of penance and abstinence to recognize the seriousness of this whole experience in the life of the church.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is reminding the Pharisees that what comes out of our hearts, minds and mouths is what affects us positively or negatively. Have you noticed how much rancor and hostility is expressed in our society? It’s happening on television, the newspapers and on social media. It seems we can’t wait to say something negative and destructive about people. It’s happening in politics, in business, in our everyday interactions with each other, and in the life of the church. We need to be reminded what our core values are which formed and guide us. They were expressed by Jesus, and if we want to be his faithful followers, these values have to be a part of who we are as God’s people, what we believe and how we interact with one another. It begins with love and respect of oneself, and extends to others, and ultimately to God. We can’t love God if we don’t love others, and we can’t love others if we don’t love ourselves as a valuable creature of God, which all of us are (Bernard of Clairvaux said that in his writings).
We may criticize the church for the way that it handled the sexual abuse of children, and we have a right to do so as members of the church. But we also have to look at ourselves to see whether attitudes, behavior, words and actions relect those of Jesus. If not, then before we criticize anyone, we irst have to criticize ourselves for failure to respect one another. We don’t have to like everyone, but we do have┬áto love and respect them because Jesus has shown us the way.
Reminder: Since school opens this week, please be careful when you are driving. The children on the sidewalks may not pay attention to you, but we have to pay attention to them and we need to keep them safe year!