Message from Fr. David October 17, 2021

A BIG THANK YOU to all the organizers of the Parish Festival!  Even after not having the Festival for close to two years, you made this year’s festival a unique success.  I also would like to acknowledge, on behalf of our parish community, all the volunteers, benefactors, local partners, and guests for your presence, participation, and assistance.  In more ways than one, this year’s festival was like no other.  Not only will the proceeds go a long way in providing the parish with much-needed financial assistance, we hope that it has sparked a revival of sorts in our parish community.  Now it’s time for my fried Oreo fast…until next year! ?
Next weekend you will be receiving a State of the Parish brochure and hearing a brief financial report from members of our Parish Finance Council at all the Masses.  As you will read in my letter to parishioners next week, the report is meant to provide you with a Point A as we move together Forward in Faith towards Point B.  As part of our commitment to transparency and honesty, it is important to state that our current financial situation is in no way sustainable.  Yet, there is tremendous potential here at St. James.  Please know that I, along with my staff, the Finance Council, and Pastoral Council, are wholeheartedly optimistic about our future state…no doubt, because we know that you will respond generously and faithfully to our call for assistance.
How would you react if you were James or John in our gospel?  Modern disciples are not much better at hearing Jesus than James and John.  We listen in on the gospels to the message that suits us: the heavenly banquet for those who believe, forgiveness of sins for those who ask, comfort in our time of affliction, and other pleasant ideas that compose what we mean by “good news.” Good news has to be good for us, and the sooner the better. Sacrifice, serving others, willingness to suffer, and lay down our lives for our friends is not our idea of good news.
Many of us resist providing basic hospitality to others, much less give our lives for them.  We don’t want to deal with the outsiders who don’t speak our language or deserve the benefits of our citizenship.  We balk at merging our parish with the one down the road in these times of fewer priests.  We don’t want to hear any more lectures about justice or our responsibility to the poor.  Service and sacrifice are not what we signed up for when we agreed to follow Jesus.
We want heaven, seats of glory, and we’re willing to obey an assortment of commandments for that.  We’re even willing to come to church and be subject to bad liturgy, boring preaching, and not our kind of music to get there (not here at St. James, of course ?).  Isn’t that suffering enough?  Isn’t being Catholic and doing all the things Catholics have to do payment enough for those seats of glory?  When we think this way, we’re thinking like James and John, biding their time along the dusty road to Jerusalem, presuming all this hard work and inconvenience is going to pay off in long-term good times very shortly.  Think differently.

The things that will destroy us are: politics without principle; pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character; business without morality; science without humanity; and worship without sacrifice.

—Mohandas Gandhi