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16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear OLPH Family and Friends,

                The readings this week can be seen as a second part of what we heard last week.  This is especially seen in the Gospel as Jesus explains the parable of the sower and seed that we heard last week.   The first reading from Wisdom reminds us that God “has the care of all.”   This of course means all of creation, not just humanity.  Paul speaks again of groaning but this time he refers to the Spirit groaning within us. 

                There is a very strong recognition of God’s mercy and our need for repentance.   Wisdom ends by reminding us that God gave us hope when He said that he would permit repentance for our sins. The responsorial psalm proclaims that God is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness and fidelity.”   Romans speak of the Spirit coming to the aid of our weakness, and the Gospel includes a call to repentance for “all who cause others to sin and all evildoers.  While we are a long way from this past Lent and even further for this coming Advent we want to remind you that Reconciliation is regularly scheduled every Saturday.   We are happy to meet you at other times if that is better for your needs.   During these summer months we can take advantage of Jesus’ invitation to “come aside and rest with me.”    Remember, the church is air conditioned.   J

                The readings present God and what he expects of us.   God, while powerful and just is also lenient, kind and most of all, love.   We are offered endless opportunities to hear and respond to God, but nothing matches God’s efforts to claim us.   God chooses us.  He sends help and invites us into a kingdom of love and peace. 

                In so many words, Jesus reminds us that He alone can judge and His desire is to lead all to a favorable judgement.   It is only His judgement which will tell who goes to heaven who does not.  We necessarily have to be content to live in a world and a church where saints and sinners live side by side.   A church full of saints might be a nice church, but it wouldn’t be Christ’s Church.  As Henry Ward Beecher put it:  “The Church is not a gallery for the exhibition of eminent Christians, but a school for the education of imperfect ones.” Charles Clayton Morrison put it in similar terms:   “The Christian Church is a society of sinners.   It is the only society in which membership is based on the single qualification that the candidate by unworthy of membership.”

                May God grant that we see ourselves as He sees us and inspire us to become what He made us to be – His image and likeness!   Peace and blessings!    Father Ron