“You, Bethlehem-Ephrathah, too small to be among the clans of Judah, From you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel…he shall stand firm and shepherd his flock by the strength of the Lord, in the majestic name of the Lord, his God…he shall be peace.”
The prophet Micah gives us this morning’s message, and a beautiful message it is: that God will indeed send one to be Savior of Israel. At the same time, though, such a prophecy would have been disconcerting to those who heard it. Why would the Savior come from a place like Bethlehem? It was small, unimportant; it didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. And why would he be a shepherd? Why would he be peace? We need a general, a king; we need to break the yokes of those who oppress us and have invaded our land. This isn’t at all what we expect; this isn’t at all what we think we need…
In hindsight, such complaints seem ridiculous. We know Jesus to be the Good Shepherd, and we know that the enemies He conquered are sin and death, and we know that He is indeed the peace the world cannot give. But at the same time, we make similar arguments about our relationship with God in our lives. We’re too small or insignificant, we say. God doesn’t want to work through me; God can’t work through me. I’m not strong enough, or majestic; I don’t have the gifts or the talents it takes to build up the Kingdom. All of that kind of thinking is, quite simply, rubbish. God has a plan for each of us. God never abandons His people. God desires that all people be saved. You were made in the image and likeness of God. Those are all things that are true, and because they are true, then you are not too small for God. You are exactly what He needs.
The Church celebrates the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary today, 9 months after the Immaculate Conception. Very little – almost nothing – is known of Mary before the Archangel Gabriel comes to her at the Annunciation. Does that make her small or insignificant? Her simple “yes” to God makes her the Queen of Heaven and Earth. Will you say “yes” when God calls to you? What will that do to you?
Some news and notes:
No funerals, no baptisms, no weddings… I’d say I’m enjoying the peace and quiet, but as you’ll see, there’s plenty of other stuff going on…
Faith Formation season has begun. The Upper Room, our new program for 7th and 8th grade, got off to a rousing start this past Wednesday night. Pre-K through 6th grade starts this week, either on Sunday, or this coming Wednesday night. If you’ve not registered yet, what are you waiting for? Call the Faith Formation Office today.
On a similar note, EDGE starts on Saturday, September 16th and Life Teen resumes on Sunday, September 17th.
My weekly plea to spend some time with the Lord in Eucharistic Adoration: we especially need coverage from 3-4 this afternoon.
Thank you for your generous response to the missionary appeal last week, both in terms of your financial support, but also the warm welcome you extended to Fr. Moses. The second collection this week is for the Bishop’s Education Fund, which provides tuition assistance for students of our diocesan Catholic schools. Having just come from a parish with a school, I can tell you first-hand how important that fund is. Next week’s second collection is slated to support Catholic Charities and their outreach to the victims of Hurricane Harvey; I imagine it will be extended to cover those affected by Hurricane Irma, as well. Please keep Florida and Texas in your prayers.
We have a new Bible study starting this week, taking an in-depth look at the Acts of the Apostles. See the bulletin or call Mary Jordan for more details.
Did you know our parish turns 25 years old on November 1? (I’m going to keep reminding you of this.) Our plan is to celebrate the past, present, and future of our parish family over the course of a fun and faith-filled weekend. You’ll be getting a “save-the-date” in the mail soon, and more info will follow. Meanwhile, we’re looking for pictures of our history – especially from the early days when we worshipped at St. Barnabas, and from the construction and first days in this property, but really, from any time will do. Please drop them off at the office and make sure your name is on them so we can return them to you.
Enjoy the fall weather and have a great weekend! Know that you’re loved!
See you at Mass!